Physics and astronomy

Stellar & Galactic Astrophysics

Module code: 889F3
Level 7 (Masters)
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Workshop, Lecture
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework


Stellar Structure & Evolution:

  • Observational properties of stars
  • Hydrostatic support; polytropes
  • Energy production
  • Equations of stellar structure
  • End-points of stellar evolution
  • Supernovae; metal production
  • The IMF; yields of (ionising) photons, metals, snr energy.

Stellar Dynamics:

  • Stars as a collisionless fluid; the Boltzmann equation
  • The Jeans equations
  • The Poisson equation
  • Simple stellar systems: spherical and disk

Astrophysical fluids:

  • Inviscid fluid equations; relationship to stellar dynamics
  • Hydrostatic gas disks
  • Shocks & Blast waves
  • Accretion disks
  • Fluid instabilities: Kelvin Helmholtz / Rayleigh Taylor

Physics of the ISM:

  • Description: relative energy densities of different components
  • Thermal instability / multiphase structure
  • Jeans instability: collapse of molecular clouds / star-formation
  • The living ISM: recycling and feedback

Module learning outcomes

  • To have an understanding of basic observational properties of stars, their collapse in Jeans instabilities and their life cycle, and to be able to interpret equations of stellar structure.
  • To be able to solve for the structure of simple stellar systems using equations of stellar dynamics.
  • To be able to apply fluid equations for describing the hydrostatics of self-gravitating systems and different kinds of fluid instabilities and their relation to the astrophysical structures.
  • To have a qualitative understanding of the structure of the inter-stellar medium (ISM), its different phases and the recycling of mass between different ISM components.