Jim Heasley -- Fall 2000


Stellar Structure and Evolution by Christensen-Dalsgaard


Lecture Topic
1 Timescales (dynamical, thermal, nuclear), Observables (parallax, magnitude systems).
2 Bolometric luminosity and bolometric corrections, two color plots, H-R diagram, stellar populations.
3 Binary system types, stellar pulsations, sunspots/magnetic fields, thermal equilibrium, ideal gas law, basic thermodynamics.
4 Adiabatic processes, eqn of state for ionized and partially ionized gas, particle velocity distribution, radiation pressure.
5 Degenerate matter, fermi-dirac distributions of particles (relativistic and non-relativistic), boundary conditions for degenerate matter.
6 Hydrostatic equilibrium, mass as the fundamental variable, central pressure and temperature, virial theorem.
7 Density and pressure in an atmosphere, polytropes.
8 Thermal equilibrium, energy transport, transfer equation.
9 Sources of opacity, Rosseland mean opacity, Kramer's law opacity.
10 Stellar atmospheres (assumptions, grey atmosphere), convection theory, convection in stars.
11 Energy carried by convection, mixing length, mass-luminosity relations.
12 Hayashi track, boundary conditions, fusion reactions, cross sections.
13 Energy release via fusion, reaction rates, p-p chain, CNO cycle.
14 Triple alpha process, carbon burning, Vogt-Russel Theorem, Euler method, Predictor-corrector solutions.
15 Shooting method for solving non-linear coupled differential equations, boundary condition, relaxation method, linearization.
16 Lagrangian variables, Newton's method.
17 Star formation - Jeans instability, fragmentation, core formation.
18 Core accretion, luminosity of core, hydrostatic contraction, minimum stellar mass.
19 ZAMS, metallicity determination, main-sequence turnoff, evolutionary timescales.
20 PMS evolution, globular clusters, evolution of the sun, helioseismology.
21 PMS evolution for stars greater than 1 solar mass, low mass PMS evolution, helium flash, population I & II stars.
22 Tests of stellar evolution models, analysis of star cluster color-magnitude diagrams, isochrones.
23 Distances to star clusters via color-magnitude diagram, modeling star cluster evolution.
24 High mass star PMS evolution, creation of heavy elements, photodissociation.
25 Core reactions in high mass stars, basic supernova events, r- and s-process.
26 Compact objects in general, white dwarfs, Chandrasekhar limit.
27 Degenerate gas curve, pycnonuclear reactions, inverse beta-decay, thermal properties and evolution of white dwarfs.
28 Neutron stars: timescales, equation of state, interior structure, pulsars.
29 Non-rotating non-charged black holes: basic relativity, geodesics, light cones, observations at infinity.

Homework Assignments

  1. Magnitude system, color indices, Wien's law, RMS velocity and doppler shifts, average densities
  2. temperture and pressure gradients, energy density, molecular weights, Saha equation, velocities of particles
  3. Keplerian orbits, radiation pressure, fluctuations of the solar radius, scale heights of atmospheres, Lane-Emden equation, polytropes
  4. Pressure and density in the solar photosphere
  5. Numerical comparison of stellar models/predictions, polytropes
  6. Energy generation rate, neutrino generation rate, energy generation rate from fusion reactions
  7. Linearization of equations of stellar structure, predictor-corrector method vs. polytrope model
  8. Determination of age of Messier 67

Thanks to Megan Novicki for this syllabus.

Joshua E. Barnes (
Last modified: April 26, 2002