Course Objectives:





Midterm Exam:

  Final Exam:


Tiziana Di Matteo
Office: Wean Hall 8305
phone: 412-268-1888
email:   tiziana'at'phys.cmu.edu

In this course we will apply fundamental physical laws to model in the internal structure of stars. We will cover the equations of stellar structure
the microphysics of the equation of state, nuclear reactions, and opacity. We will review how stars evolve and what the endpoints of stellar evolution are (neutron stars and black holes). Finally we will examine the structure and components of our Milky Way.

It will be based on weekly problem sets distributed on Mondays and
due the following Monday before class (total of 40% - homework will be posted on this page). In addition we will have a midterm exam (30%) a
project worth 30% and a final take-home exam (weighted as 4 homework - 10%).

Classes are Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays at 3:30- 4:20pm in Wean Hall 8427. Attendance is required, please email me if you are not going to come to class.
Feel free to stop by my office for questions/problems etc.

1- Overview of the problem of stellar structure
Astronomical nomenclature and observed properties of stars
3- Derivation of stellar structure equations (mass, hydrostatic eq. and energy)
4- The Virial theorem, global energetics and stellar timescales
5-  Ideal gas law for a mixture of gases
6-  Equation of State I: Density of states (QM) and occupation  numbers(Stat.m)
7-  Equation of State II: Internal energy and pressure
8-  Maxwell distribution, Perfect gas, Quantum concentration
9-  Fermi-Dirac distribution, degenerate electrons in the Sun core -  Helium flash
10-Planck Distribution, radiation pressure in stars
11-Boltzmann law and Saha-equation. Stellar Spectra
12- Limitations of the Saha -equation. Specific heats, Polytropes
13- Lane-Emden equation Numerical Solutions - Tabulated functions
14- Mass-radius relation. Eddington-standard model and white dwarfs
15- Energy Transport in stars - Heat transfer due to random motions
16- Radiative transfer - Rosseland mean opacity - Eddington limit
17- Electron conduction (white dwarfs) - Sources of opacity - Kramer's law
18- Convective energy Transport - Schwarzchild criterion
19- Convection in low and high mass (MS) stars - Mixing length theory
20- Nuclear fusion in stars: Overview
21- MidTerm Exam
22- Thermonuclear reactions in stars:  intro and quantum tunnelling
23- Cross section to nuclear reactions, Gamow Peak
24- Major nuclear burning stages nuclear burning
25- The solar neutrino problem
26- Star formation - Jeans criterion - collapse and fragmentation
27- Proto-stars - Hayashi tracks - Observations and calculations
28- Project - setting up the stellar evolution code
30- Project Ideas - Stars in the Solar Neighbourhood, The age of clusters, etc..
31- Research Talk - Guest Speaker: Brigitte Koenig (PITT)
32- End-points of stellar evolution
33- White dwarfs - degeneracy - Luminosity and cooling times
34 - Neutron stars - Photodissociation - Neutronization - Maximum mass -Pulsars
35 - Black Holes - Fundamental GR predictions - event horizon - collapse
36 - Black Holes in astrophysics - star mass and supermassive black holes
37 - Constituents of a galaxy - Morphological classification - Luminosity function
38 - The structure of the Milky Way - Photometric and Kinematic model
39 - Oort constants: rotation curve of the Milky Way - dark matter

Problem Set 1- Due Monday,  September 12th
Problem Set 2- Due Monday,  September 19th
Problem Set 3 -Due Monday,  September 26th
Problem Set 4- Due Wednesday, October 5th
Problem Set 5- Due Wednesday, October 12th
Problem Set 6- Due Wednesday, October 26th
Problem Set 7- Due Wednesday, November 2nd
Problem Set 8 -Due Wednesday, November 9th

MONDAY OCTOBER 17th - 3:30 - 5:30pm - in W 7316

TAKE-HOME: Friday December 9th - Due Monday December 12th

Part I - Due Friday, November 18th
Part II - Grading Sheet  - Due Friday, December 9th

Research articles:
Low mass stars
M5 Globular Cluster HR diagram