Astro 534 -- Stellar Structure and Evolution

Astro 534 -- Stellar Structure and Evolution

Class Time: MWF 2:30 - 3:20 Professor : Robin Ciardullo
Classroom: 541 Davey Lab Office: 519 Davey Lab
Web Site: Office Hours: MWF 1:30-2:20 or any other time
e-mail: Phone: 865-6601

Graduate Class in stellar astronomy. The first ~40% of the course will deal with understanding the equations of stellar structure and all the physics that is applicable to stars. The second ~40% of the class uses our knowledge of stellar structure to investigate stellar evolution, from the main sequence to white dwarfs and supernovae. The remainder of the class will be devoted to special topics, such as binary star evolution, asteroseismology, and other current problems in stellar astronomy.

The bulk of the material covered in this class comes from 3 sources. The primary text is Stellar Structure and Evolution by Kippenhahn, Weigaert, & Weiss. If you don't want to buy this book, it's on-line version available for free via your Penn State access account. Just Click Here.

While the Kippenhahn book is the best graduate-level text I've found, it does have some weak points. For example, the undergraduate-level textbook Stellar Interiors by Hansen & Kawaler does a much better job on the topic of stellar convection. This book also is the only one that I've found that covers the topic of non-radial pulsations.

Finally, for the topic of stellar nuclear reaction, there's still no better resource than Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis, by Donald Clayton. The book was originally written in 1968, but it's still relevent -- when other texts cover about nuclear reactions, they they usually just re-stating what's written in Clayton's book (but in less detail).

You grade in this class will be based on

Homework Projects       40%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 25%
Class Talks/Participation 20%