Stellar Structure and Evolution (Spring 2013)
Instructor: Eliot Quataert
(Astronomy and Physics
Departments, UC Berkeley)
MESA Guru: Josiah Schwab
Time & Place:
MW 10:30-12 B1 HFA
Office Hours: For graduate courses, I don't hold separate
office hours. Instead, I encourage you to come by and talk
to me at any point with questions. You can also email me
to arrange a time to meet. Josiah will be holding MESA
TALC to help with questions about using MESA (see below).
Stars are the building blocks of galaxies and play a central role in the evolution of structure in the universe, in the nucleosynthesis of most elements, in the formation of compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes), and as tools for measuring cosmological distances (e.g., Cepheids and Type 1a SN). 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, and the properties of compact objects. The course will emphasize physical understanding and basic principles. No previous coursework on stars is required.
Weekly lectures. There will be some problem sets, roughly every other week. Problem sets will include numerical calculations (e.g., solving ODEs). We will also make extensive use of the publicly available stellar evolution code MESA. Each student will be required to give a final presentation on an advanced topic. For those taking the course for credit, your grade will be determined by your HW and presentation. Auditers are welcome to attend.
A list of topics, including readings and suggestions for presentations, can be found here.
Problem sets will include order of magnitude estimates and
analytic and numerical calculations. In addition, we will
make extensive use of MESA (Modules for Experiments in
Stellar Astrophysics), a state of the art open source 1D
(spherically symmetric) stellar evolution code. The
reasons for doing this are: 1. Using MESA and
understanding the results using analytic and order of magnitude
calculations will significantly improve your understanding of the
structure and evolution of stars. 2. There
are many open
source and/or publicly available codes for
astrophysics. Learning to utilize these codes in your
research will significantly increase the range of problems you can
tackle. This is mostly a matter of getting
comfortable with certain aspects of programming. Using
MESA in this course will be a good introduction to doing this.
Instructions for using and downloading MESA are available here (a synthesis from Josiah of
information from the MESA websites that contains the key
information you need for this course; this includes links to more
detailed information about MESA, should you desire
it). Please read these instructions carefully.
Problem Set 0: Inlists that you will need for Homework 0.
Problem Set 1: Due Friday Feb 8
Problem Set 2: Due Wed Feb
27. Part of Problem 4 needs to be finished by Wed Feb 20
(see Josiah's email). This date is not flexible.
Plots for Problem 4. Log files from all of your runs in case you want to get into the results in more detail.