Harvard University

Astronomy 206. Stellar Physics

Catalog Number: 2128
Dimitar D. Sasselov
Half course (fall term)
2002, hours (Tu., Th. 10:10-11:30)
in Observatory Classroom (A-101).

Stellar physics is studied from the two basic precepts - of the elementary (baryonic) building blocks in the Universe and the evolution of matter (nucleosynthesis). The theory of stellar interiors and atmospheres is developed from general grounds and applied as fit to the variety of stellar objects and their environments. The observational methods (spectroscopy, dynamics, and seismology) are also discussed briefly. The goal is to provide the student with basic tools for further research and with an overall picture of the evolution of matter in the Universe. Exploring the physics and parameter space with the provided computer codes on the Web page is strongly encouraged.

The NEW Syllabus (2002) for this course is available as a PostScript file.

The COURSE with Web links & notes.

Course COMPUTER CODES for Stellar Physics.

Reading Material:

Stellar Interiors, by C.J. Hansen and S.D. Kawaler, 1994, Springer-Verlag (Price: 49.95)
Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis, by D.D. Clayton, 1984, McGraw-Hill (Price: 26.00)
Supernovae and Nucleosynthesis, by D. Arnett, 1996, Princeton (Price: 31.60)
Radiative Processes in Astrophysics, by G.B. Rybicki and A.P. Lightman, 1985, Wiley (Price: 54.95).
Some of the prices quoted above are from the online bookstore Barnes&Noble where you can get all or any of these books. They could also be available from used booksellers online for less, like abebooks.com. The first two books contain the basic material.

Problem Sets:

Problem Set 1 (SOLUTIONS [PDF]); Problem Set 2; Problem Set 3 (SOLUTIONS [PDF]);
Problem Set 4 [ PDF]; Problem Set 5 [ PDF].

Five (Sept.26, Oct.10, Oct.24, Nov.7, & Nov.21). Grading: 40% final exam, 50% problem sets, 10% participation (journal club).

FINAL Exam [ PDF] (due January 21, 2003, 12 noon, in DS or TF's offices or m-boxes).

Related Links:

Stellar Data: [SIMBAD Database] - [NASA Data Center]
Atomic & Molecular Data: ["Plasma Gate" Tables & Links] - [OSU Tables] - [LLNL Scattering]
Codes: [LOCAL] - [ATLAS] - [PHOENIX]
Opacities: [Los Alamos TOPS] - [Livermore OPAL] - [TOPbase]
Interesting Courses: [Ph136 CIT] - [Ph101 CIT]

Alyssa Goodman's Web Teaching in Astronomy. A useful Astrophysics Handbook on line - great for reference to basic formulae and data.
Questions or Comments? Click here to send me e-mail at
This page last updated on 09/20/02.