Stellar Physics (Fall 2011)
Office Hours: E. Quataert: W 1-2, TALC, by appt
J. Schwab: Tue 12:30-1:30, TALC, by appt
The W1-2 and Tue 12:30-1:30 office hours will be held in B-26 Hearst Field Annex
TALC: this is a large collaborative "office hour" where students can discuss the homework assignments in a group setting. The GSI will be at TALC to help students with questions about the homework assignments. In addition to group work, students may discuss difficulties in their conceptual understanding of the material with their peers and the GSI. Based on previous experience, students do better in the course and understand the material better when they work on the problems by themselves before coming to TALC.
TALC will be held from 5-7 on Wed in B5 Hearst Field Annex
Stars are the building blocks of galaxies and play a central role in the evolution of structure in the universe, in the nucleosynthesis of most elements, in the formation of compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes), and as tools for measuring cosmological distances (e.g., Cepheids and Type 1a SN). This course will cover the observations and physics of stars. Primary topics will include the structure of self-gravitating objects, energy transport in stars, nuclear fusion in stars, stellar evolution, the birth of compact objects, and stellar oscillations.
The course will emphasize physical understanding and basic principles. No previous coursework on stars is required. The course will make significant use of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and some aspects of fluid mechanics, but I will try to review the key physics when necessary.
A comment: The books are in SI units. Astronomers, however, use cgs units and I will use cgs units in this class. I appreciate that this it is a little inconvenient, but after a small adjustment, my experience is that students get used to cgs (the only signficant differences are in electromagnetism where cgs is actually far more convenient than SI). We will also make use of convenient units such as eV for energy (= 1.6 10-12 ergs = 1.6 10-19 J).
To help you w/ the transition to cgs, here is a list of the fundamental constants in cgs units.