AST 383D

Stellar Structure and Evolution

Spring 1999

MWF 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
RLM 15.216B
Unique No. 44125


In-Class Lecture and Discussions; Guest Lectures; Stellar Seminar: Computing Theoretical Evolutionary Model Sequences


This is intended as a sketch of how I see the course developing at this point in time: I include the estimated time in hours in parentheses as an indication of relative emphasis. It is important for us to know where we are going, but it is also important to be flexible in these goals. The following outline is subject to revision as the course progresses and your interests become better defined.


    astrophysical context of the study of stellar structure and evolution (1)

    mathematical context: basic equations for constructing highly idealized stellar structure models: timescales: virial theorem (3)

    basic equations of stellar evolution: the non-eternal stars (1)

    a walk through the Hertzsprung-Russell zoo (1)


    equations of state of matter (3)

    heat transfer by radiation and conduction, a discussion of opacities (2)

    convective energy transport (2)

    energy sources and sinks: nuclear reactions, gravitational contraction, neutrinos, bfe-particles (2)


    simple models: polytropes, homology transformation (1)

    building a better mule: towards more realistic models, but still leaving out all the physics we can get away with -- and more (1)


    star formation (1)

    main sequence evolution (1)

    post-main sequence evolution (3)

    binary star evolution (1)

    supernovae (1)

  5. "LOOK, MA, NO PHYSICS. . ."

    the three Big Uglies: rotation, convection, and magnetic fields (2)

    mass loss (1)


    cosmochronology (3)

    to be determined (3)


    assuming six teams, one report per class period (6)


Class participation: 5% -- based on participation in discussions

Stellar seminar attendance: 5% -- based on attendance (5%-1% x (no. absences)) Note for those who might have observing runs or meetings: If you must be absent, notes in your handwriting (copied from someone else) will be accepted in lieu of attendance.

Course notes: 15% -- your graduate course notes will be your most handy reference material later in your career: this is my way of guaranteeing that your stellar evolution notes will be first-rate.

Exam 1: 25% -- derivation and analytical problems in stellar structure and evolution.

Exam 2: 25% -- derivation and analytical problems in stellar structure and evolution.

Term Project (Numerical Experiments): 25% -- a project of your choice, built around the calculation of evolutionary sequences using a simplified numerical code provided, and mastering the relevant literature.

REMEMBER: You will get out of this course exactly what you put into it.


  1. Clayton, D.D. 1968, Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis -- probably the best graduate-level text available, discussions generally clear, physical, without too much detail. Through discussion of nucleosynthesis, but too much for this course. Designed for one-year course.

  2. Schwarzschild, M. 1958, Structure and Evolution of the Stars-- no modern applications, but discussion of input physics timeless, clear and brief as appropriate to a one-term survey course.

  3. Cox, J.P. and Giuli, R. T. 1968, Principles of Stellar Structure (2 volumes) -- the bible -- as a reference work -- but far too detailed to be generally useful for first-time learning. Fair summary of single star evolution in Volume 2, detailed discussion of pulsation theory

  4. Chiu and Muriel (eds,) 1972, Stellar Evolution -- excellent review papers.

  5. Chiu, H.Y. 1968, Stellar Physics -- standard discussion of basics, particular specialty -- discussion of quantum physics, weak interactions.

  6. Chandrasekhar, S. 1939, An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure -- still-useful discussions of polytropes, degeneracy, white dwarfs.

  7. Stein, R.F. and Cameron, A.G.W. (eds.) 1966, Stellar Evolution -- good reviews, particularly Stein's article on analytical models.


Hydrostatic Equilibrium: Schwarzschild Chapter II, pp. 30-31
*Clayton pp. 130-134
Cox and Giuli pp. 16-17
Virial Theorem: Schwarzschild --
Clayton pp. 134-136
*Cox and Giuli pp. 402-414
Thermal Equilibrium: Schwarzschild pp. 35-37
Clayton pp. 167-170
Cox and Giuli pp. 129-133, 417-420
Radiative Transfer: *Schwarzschild pp. 37-44
Clayton pp. 170-183
Cox and Giuli pp. 134-157
Convection: *Schwarzschild pp. 44-52
Clayton pp. 252-259
Cox and Giuli pp. 262-325
Adiabatic Exponents: Clayton pp. 117-120, 123-130
*Cox and Giuli pp. 206-231, 257-261
Equation of State: *Schwarzschild pp. 52-62
Clayton pp. 79-112
Cox and Giuli pp. 233-256 (I)
pp. 781-873 (II)
Opacity: *Schwarzschild pp. 73-88
Clayton pp. 185-232
Cox and Giuli pp. 353-397 (I)
Nuclear Reactions: Schwarzschild pp. 73-88
Clayton pp. 281-435
Cox and Giuli pp. 422-512 (I)
Neutrino Reactions: Schwarzschild --
Clayton pp. 259-282
Cox and Giuli pp. 512-523 (I)
Vogt-Russell Theorem: *Schwarzschild pp. 96-101
Clayton pp. 436-446
Cox and Giuli pp. 569-579
Homologous Stars: *Cox and Giuli pp. 680-689
Cox and Giuli pp. 689-702
Polytropes: Clayton pp. 155-165
*Cox and Giuli pp. 703-713 (II)
Outer Stellar Layers: *Schwarzschild pp. 89-95
Clayton --
Cox and Giuli pp. 587-643 (II)
Convective Stars *Clayton pp. 462-465
Hayashi Track/ Cox and Giuli pp. 736-759 (II)
Forbidden Region:
Numerical Techniques Schwarzschild --
Henyey or Relaxation *Clayton pp. 451-462
Method: Cox and Giuli pp. 672-679 (II)
Star Formation -- Pre- *Clayton pp. 462-469
Main Sequence Evolution: Cox and Giuli pp. 958-977
Main Sequence Evolution: Clayton pp. 470-484
Cox and Giuli pp. 977-986
Post Main Sequence Evolution: Clayton pp. 484-497
Comparison with Observations: *Iben 1974, Ann. Rev., 12, 215 in Stellar
Evolution, Chiu and Muriel eds.
Iben, 1971, PASP, 83, 496.
Advanced Stages of Wheeler, Reports on Progress in Physics
Evolution 44, 85, 1981+
Variable Stars: Clayton pp. 504-515
Cox and Giuli pp. 1029-1138 (II)
Rotation: Clayton pp. 497-501
Binary Evolution: Pazzynski 1971, Ann Rev, 9, 183
1972, Chiu 7 Muriel
Robinson 1976, Ann Rev, 14, ll9.
Thomas 1977, Ann Rev, 15, 127.

+Trimble, Reviews of Modern Physics, 54, 1183, 1983.
55, 511, 1983.
Woosley and Weaver, Ann. Rev. Astr. Ap., 24, 205, 1986.

Nuclear Astrophysics, Fowler, Caughlin, and Zimmerman, Ann. Rev., 13, 69, 1975.