Physics 606
Stars & Planets
Fall 2016
Prof. Tad Pryor
Room 302, Serin Physics Building, Busch Campus
Email: pryor[at]physics.rutgers.edu
Class meetings:
Tuesday and Friday 12:00-1:20pm,
ARC 203
Office hours: Monday 3:00 - 4:30 PM
Overview
This is an advanced graduate course designed for students pursuing
research in astrophysics. We will study the physics of gas in extreme
conditions and use it to understand the structure and evolution of stars.
We will apply some of the same principles to planetary structure and
atmospheres in
order to understand ongoing work on extrasolar planets. We will develop
the formal theory as much as possible and consider computational
approaches as appropriate.
Materials
Here are some of the main sources we will use:
The approach to some of the foundations will reflect Chuck Keeton's
advanced undergraduate textbook since he taught an earlier version of
this course (you do not have to buy this; I will place a copy on reserve
in the physics library):
Here are some other resources:
- Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis, by Clayton (Chicago, 1968)
- Stellar Structure and Evolution, by Kippenhahn & Weigert (Springer, 1996)
- The Physics of Stars, by Phillips (2nd ed., Wiley, 1998)
- Stellar Interiors, by Hansen, Kawaler, and Trimble (Springer, 2004)
- Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution, by Prialnik (Cambridge 2009)
- Stellar Evolution, by Iben (two volumes; Cambridge, 2013)
Topics
Here is a preliminary list of topics for the course. A detailed
schedule will be available on our
Sakai site.
- what do we know about stars?
- equations of stellar structure
- gas properties: equation of state, ionization
- energy transport
- nuclear processes
- life cycle: protostars, main sequence, late stages, remnants
- evolution in binary systems
- stellar oscillations, variable stars
- stellar issues in cosmology
- stellar archaeology
- stellar atmospheres
- brown dwarfs
- exoplanets
- planet atmospheres
Methods
Astrophysicists use a wide range of analysis methods. You can expect
to see all of the following methods in class and on homework assignments.
(It is okay if some of these are new to you; the key is being willing to
learn and practice.)
- build intuition for physical effects and scalings using dimensional
analysis, toy models, and approximations
- build intuition about typical numbers using specific examples
- solve problems analytically where possible
- solve problems computationally where needed (e.g., numerical integration,
numerical solution of differential equations)
- plot results
Grading
- 50% homework (4-5 assignments)
- 20% project proposal
- 5% peer review of project proposals
- 5% topic discussion
- 20% final presentation
Collaboration, and academic integrity
- You should first try all the homework problems yourself. You may then
discuss the problems with other students in this course, but you must write
up your solutions individually. Include a brief note about what you
discussed, and with whom.
- You may consult books and published papers, but not solutions sets from
other courses at Rutgers or elsewhere. If you use material from any other
source (for homework, the final paper, or the presentation), make sure to
give clear attribution.
- We will discuss whether the final projects will be independent or
collaborative, depending on enrollment and student interest.
- Please familiarize yourself with the
Rutgers policy on academic integrity,
including the different
levels of violations and sanctions.
Students with disabilities
If you have a disability, please let me know early in the semester so
that we can make the necessary arrangements for you to have a successful
learning experience. Please consult
this web
page for more details.
Astrophysics at Rutgers • Department of Physics and Astronomy • Rutgers University