Readings for Astro 160:  Stellar Physics


I will not follow any book all that closely.   There is unfortunately no book that covers both the physics of stellar structure, the physics of stellar evolution, and the physics of compact objects at an appropriate level.   It is thus very important for you to attend lecture and take notes. In many cases, I suspect that you will not be able to do the homework problems based on the book material alone.

The primary book is The Physics of Stars by A.C. Phillips

Phillips does a great job of explaining the basic physics of stars.  It does not, however, go into sufficient depth on a number of topics (e.g., convection).  In addition, it has little to no material on stellar evolution, although it does cover much of the physics required to understand the evolution of stars.    For this, I will provide selected scanned readings from An Introduction to the Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution by Dina Prialnik.

Less Technical References:  The Physical Universe by Frank Shu and Modern Astrophysics by Carroll & Ostlie

More Technical References:   If you find yourself particularly interested in some of this material, there are a number of excellent more advanced books. Some of these are listed here in case you would like to pursue certain topics in more detail.

Clayton, Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis (particularly good for nuclear physics)
Kippenhahn & Weigert, Stellar Structure and Evolution (more details for stellar evolution)
Shapiro & Teukolsky, Black Holes, White Dwarfs, & Neutron Stars (compact objects)
Shu, Physics of Astrophyiscs Vol II: Gas Dynamics (some hydrodynamics background)
Hansen & Kawaler, Stellar Interiors (the whole shebang)

Topics & Reading

This course will cover the observations and physics of stars. Primary topics will include the structure of self-gravitating objects, energy transport in stars, nuclear fusion in stars, stellar evolution, the birth of compact objects, and stellar oscillations.  The course will emphasize physical understanding and basic principles. No previous coursework on stars is required.  The course will make significant use of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and some aspects of fluid mechanics, but I will try to review the key physics when necessary.