Physics and astronomy

Stellar & Galactic Astrophysics

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

In this module, you'll cover the following topics:

Stellar structure and evolution:

  • observational properties of stars
  • hydrostatic support and polytropes
  • energy production
  • equations of stellar structure
  • end-points of stellar evolution
  • supernovae and 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 and relationship to stellar dynamics
  • hydrostatic gas disks
  • shocks and 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.