Stellar & Galactic Astrophysics (889F3)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

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).

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: