ASTR3007/4007/6007 (Part I) -- The Stars

Semester 1, 2017

Class meeting times

Lectures: Thursday, 10 AM - 11 AM, Friday 10 AM - 12 PM, Hancock 2.24
Tutorials: Thursday 11 AM - 12 PM, Gould 113

Syllabus (PDF)


This part of the course provides an introduction to stellar structure and evolution. We will begin with a brief review of observations of stars and what they tell us. Then we discuss the physical processes that govern the behaviour of stars, followed by an application of these prin- ciples to develop a theory for the structure of main sequence stars. We will end this part of the course with a discussion of stellar evolution and the stellar life cycle.


Our main textbook for the class will be An Introduction to the Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution, by Dina Prialnik. This books is available in two editions, and either one is fine for the class. For a more extensive treatment of stars and stellar structure at roughly the same level of sophistication, you can consult An Introduction to Modern Stellar Astrophysics, by Dale Ostlie and Bradley Carroll. A graduate-level treatment is given in Stellar Structure and Evolution by Kippenhahn and Weigert.


There will be 3 problem sets during this part of the course. The problem sets and their due dates will be posted below in the course schedule. Each of the three assignments is worth 1/3 of the grade for this part of the course. The assignments include extra problems for tudents enrolled in ASTR4007.

Students enrolled in ASTR6007 must complete an additional written paper as part of the course. I will meet with students in this situation individually during the first teaching week to choose topics.

Class-by-Class Topics and Reading

Date Topic Reading Assignments / downloads
Feb. 23 Lecture 1: Observing the stars
Feb. 23 Tutorial 1: What stars are made of Solar spectrum: CaK, NaD2, Halpha
Feb. 24 Lecture 2: Stellar masses; the virial theorem Chapter 1
Mar. 2 Lecture 3: Principles of stellar evolution
Mar. 2 Tutorial 2: Polytropes
Mar. 3 Lecture 4: The equation of state Chapters 2, 3
Mar. 9 Lecture 5: Energy, entropy, and transport Problem set 1 due
Mar. 9 Tutorial 3: Radiation pressure
Mar. 10 Lecture 6: Nuclear reactions Chapter 4
Mar. 16 Lecture 7: Simple stellar models
Mar. 16 Tutorial 4: Deuterium burning in protostars
Mar. 17 Lecture 8: Stability and convection Chapters 5, 6
Mar. 23 Lecture 9: The main sequence Problem set 2 due
Mar. 23 Tutorial 5: Shell burning
Mar. 24 Lecture 10: Low mass stellar evolution Chapter 7
Mar. 30 Lecture 11: Massive stellar evolution
Mar. 30 Tutorial 6: Degenerate demographics
Mar. 31 Lecture 12: Supernovae and compact objects Chapters 9, 10
Apr. 17 Problem set 3 due