Welcome to Astro 580!
Instructor: Prof. Steven Kawaler
From the course catalog:
Astro 580. Stellar Astrophysics. (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: 405
Prereq: 405 or 505. The interior structure and atmospheric properties of stars: Stellar structure equations and constitutive relations: energy generation, energy transport by radiation and convection; equation of state, nuclear energy generation and nucleosynthesis. Numerical and analytic solutions to the equations of structure and evolution. Observational connections through the theory of radiative transfer. Line and continuum processes and sources of opacity. Non-LTE and statistical equilibrium. Line profiles. Interpretation of stellar spectra: temperature, pressure, and abundance determinations. Stellar evolution from formation to final phases.
We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 11:00-12:20 in A401 Zaffarano (for now)
- Final Exam: Tuesday, May 7 9:45-11:45AM
- Reading, Week of April 22/29
- Reading, Week of April 15
- Bohm Vitense, Chapters 12-13
- PROJECT: The written format of your final project should be in the form of a referee report on your chosen paper. To help see what you might produce, please have a look at the following:
- Exam 2 is a take-home exam handed out on April 12 and due at 1PM on April 15.
- Project paper: Be sure to look over
this list of papers
for suggested papers to analyze for the final project. Paper choices (from
that list, or another paper published in a refereed journal within the last 2-3
years) should be completed by Friday, March 29.
Note on the delicious.com site, those that are more than 2 years old are from a previous
edition of Astro 580, so please try to concentrate on the newer papers.
In addition, check out information
here for a preview of a possible tool to help with your project. Or if
you prefer to see a narrative about the MESA project, go
here for the paper describing
- Winget et al. paper on neutrino emission in white dwarfs
Arnauld et al. (2007) review of r-process and s-process deconvolution
- Convection movies and other goodies
- Iglesias & Rogers: an excellent review
of astrophysical opacities
- Please note that stellar evolution and stellar atmosphere "theory" is mostly numerical experimentation using more-or-less standard modeling codes. We will make extensive use of stellar strucure, evolution, (and perhaps atmosphere) codes that run on almost any modern computer (Linux PCs and Macs). One that is now becoming an 'industry standard' is MESA
MESA installation is now easy on any Unix system (especially OSX on Macs), and running it is relatively easy after you make it up the somewhat steep learning curve.
As soon as possible, you'll need to install and run MESA on a computer that is readily available to you. Almost any Mac or Linux laptop is sufficient - Windows is problematic, but we can install MESA on one or more of the MacLab computers if you're stuck with Windows.
If you'd like to get a head start (a good idea!):
I know this may be quite intimidating, but please don't worry - we'll spend part of the class time the first week or two to make sure that you get up and running with MESA, and we'll be learning it together (I've only run it a few times myself).
Web materials and resources for class
As graduate students, you should be able to read the 'technical'
literature of any physical science and at least glean some things of interest
(assuming you can get through the jargon of the field). To that end, here
are links to the main journals of astronomy - have a glance occasionally
at the current online journals to see how the field is doing! All are
available from ISU-based computers via the WWW.
Astrophysical Journal - the premier journal of astrophysics.
in the "ApJ" can be purely theoretical, or purely observational, but most lie
somewhere in between. The "ApJ" consists of three separate publications:
the main Journal, the ApJ Letters which are short papers of
high interest that get published rapidly, and the ApJ
Supplement which contains longer papers (frequently catalogs and
other reference papers). In addtion, the ApJ publishes occasional CD-ROMs as
part of the Supplement.
Astronomical Journal - the premier journal of observational
astronomy. "AJ" papers concentrate on observations, with limited
interpretation, but there is no hard and fast rule.
- Astronomy and
Astrophysics - another top journal, concentrating on European
research (though I publish there because there are no page charges!).
The Europeans have it right - no distinction between astronomy and
astrophysics - it is all there. Includes a 'Letters' section that contains
short papers with rapid turnaround within the same covers. Much more
material on stellar astrophysics than the ApJ.
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- the main journal for British astronomy, it also publishes papers from
astronomers around the world. A top journal.
- Annual Reviews of
Astronomy and Astrophysics - authoritative reviews from experts
in a wide variety of subjects - uniformly excellent papers, and a good "first
place to go" when exploring a new field within astronomy.
- Other Journals - other smaller journals are more specialized in
topic or approach. For example,
of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (or PASP) has frequent
papers on astronmical instrumentation, and dissertation abstracts.
Icarus is the premier journal for solar
system/planetary astronomy. Nature, Science, and
Scientific American frequently have important astrophysics
papers of broad intrest. Etc., etc.
- Online access to the literature- In addition to the above
journal links, most of the literature is available for indexed searches by
author, keyword, and object via the
Data Service - an incredibly useful resource that I use at least 5 times
a day. Also, there is a heavily used
through arXiv.org - nearly all astronomy preprints are posted there before
publication. Also well indexed.
Here's the course syllabus
Consider a spherical cow...
Need to send me e-mail? Try my e-mail address: