Readings and Links for Stellar Structure


I will not follow any text all that closely.   Note that none of the texts are in the bookstore so you need to order from Amazon or something equivalent. The books are also available in the Astronomy Department Library.

The primary book is Hansen, Kawaler, & Trimble (HKT), Stellar Interiors, 2nd edition
(there is an earlier edition by Hansen & Kawaler, i.e., sans Trimble, that is fine as well)

Additional Refs:

Clayton (C), Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis (particularly good for nuclear physics)
Phillips (P), The Physics of Stars (good upper level undergrad text)
Kippenhahn & Weigert (KW), 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)

If you are not that familiar with stellar astrophysics, I encourage you to read Ch. 1 of Phillips for an overview; this will provide some useful context for where we are going in this course.


1. Introduction and Overview; observations of stars; structure formation and nucleosynthesis; outstanding problems (rotation, magnetic fields, supernovae, ...)

2. Hydrostatic equilibrium; Virial Thm. for stars; Kelvin Helmholtz contraction
3. Energy transport by radiation (and conduction); deriving the luminosity of stars independent of the energy source; Eddington models; polytropes; opacity sources
4. Energy transport by convection; why energy transport is via convection in the outer part of the sun; mixing length theory; fully convective stars; Hayashi track; pre-main sequence evolution
5. Thermonuclear fusion in stars; the hydrogen burning main sequence; CNO vs. pp; the origin of the HR diagram; the minimum and maximum masses of stars
6. Stellar atmospheres and stellar spectral types; Saha equation
7. Low mass stellar evolution; the Schonberg-Chandresekhar limit; the red giant branch; He burning and the He flash; AGB stars
8.  White dwarfs; R(M); Chandrasekhar mass; WD cooling
9. Advanced stages of burning in massive stars; stellar core collapse & supernovae; explosive nucleosynthesis during SN; nucleosynthesis beyond Iron
10. Neutron Stars; structure and properties
11. Stellar seismology: stability of stars & precision tests of stellar structure (I rarely get to this but will try!)
12. Advanced Topics (Presentations)

You can give a presentation that is based in significant part on MESA calculations, along with some literature review.   Or you can give a presentation based primarily on a literature review/synthesis, perhaps with a MESA result thrown in for good measure.

MESA Final Projects
Presentation Topics