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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Stellar Physics
Module Code PS311
School School of Physical Sciences

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

Module Aims: To treat the physics of the stellar interior and the underlying fundamental processes and parameters. To introduce the topics of star formation and stellar atmosphere physics. To introduce different models developed for the explanation of the stability, dynamics and evolution of the stars.

Learning Outcomes

1. Outline and discuss the physical concepts relating to the stability of stellar structure. Solve analytically related problems.
2. Discuss the modalities of the comparison between theoretical models and observations, with applications to specific cases.
3. Describe and illustrate the different fusion reactions dominating the different phases of stellar evolution. Solve related problems.
4. Describe the main physical principles regulating stellar atmospheres and solve analytically simplified problems.
5. Discuss the evolutionary phases of stars of different masses.
6. Discuss the role of compact objects and supernovae in the evolution of binary stars and the consequences on galactic evolution.
7. Demonstrate oral communication skills

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 lectures per week
Tutorial6tutorial every second week
Assignment Completion10oral presentation on a assigned research paper
Independent Study85studying lecture material, solving numerical problems and doing background reading
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative Syllabus
Observation of stars and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram as a diagnostic tool for stellar evolution. Equations of stellar structure, equation of state of stellar matter. Stellar atmospheres (stellar opacity and mechanisms of radiation absorption). Numerical methods for the solution of stellar structure equations. Stellar models. Comparison Theory-Observation. Radiative transport of energy: radiation and convection. The Virial theorem, evolutionary time scales, evolutionary speed with mass. Nuclear reactions in stars (introduction to nuclear reactions, fusion reactions, stellar nuclear reaction cycles). Stellar evolution (evolutionary phases for stars of various masses: pre-main sequence, main sequence, post-main sequence, late and final stages). White Dwarfs, Neutron stars and pulsars. Supernovae and supernova remnants. Introduction to the evolution of binary stars.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment20% Examination Weight80%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie: 2007, Modern Astrophysics, second edition, AddisonWesley Publishing Company, 0201547309.7
  • Carl J. Hansen and Steven D. Kawaler: 1999, Stellar Interiors: Physical Principles, Structure, and Evolution, SpringerVerlag, 038794138X
  • Rudolf Kippenhahn and Alfred Weigert: 1994, Stellar Structure and Evolution, SpringerVerlag, 0387580131.7
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
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ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
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