Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Stellar Physics
Code PHYS251
Coordinator Dr B Davies
Physics
Ben.Davies@liverpool.ac.uk
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 15

Aims

To provide students with an understanding of the physical processes which determine all aspects of the
structure and evolution of stars, from their birth to their death.

To enable students to determine the basic physical properties of stars via observation (e.g.
determination of temperatures, masses and radii etc. using continuum fluxes, broad-band colours, line
profiles etc).


Learning Outcomes

(LO1) At the end of the module the student should have knowledge of how the basic physical properties of stars can be determined from observation.

(LO2) At the end of the module the student should have an understanding of how stellar structure can be probed using observable quantities and simple physical principles.

(LO3) At the end of the module a student should have an understanding of the changes in structure and energy sources for stars throughout their lives.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) Numeracy


Syllabus

 

Introduction & observables

Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Observables: Luminosity, colours, temperature.
Measurement of stellar parameters (mass, radius, luminosity) and interrelations.

Physical state of stars

Hydrostatic equilibrium. The virial theorem and energy sources. Radiative and
convective energy transport mechanisms. The four mechanical equations of stellar
structure. Stellar interiors: Equations of state. Opacity.
Nucleosynthesis.

Introduction to stellar atmospheres

Radiative energy, and flow. Equation of Radiative Transport. Line formation at the
atomic level, including excitation and ionization. Line broadening mechanisms.

Stellar evolution

The onset of star formation. Jeans mass and length. Cloud fragmentation. Pre-main
sequence evolution - Hayashi contraction. Convective and radiative stars. Scaling
analysis.

Structure of stars on the Main sequence and their respective lifetimes. Mass loss.

Post main sequence evolution - Central fuel exhaustion and core contraction/collapse.

Structure of evolving stars and evolutionary tracks on Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Low mass stars: helium flash, thermal pulsing, nebulae generation and white dwarf
generation. High mass stars.


Teaching and Learning Strategies

online lectures
4x 2hour workshops

The module will be delivered remotely in 2021. Asynchronous learning materials (notes/videos/exercises etc) will be made available to students through the VLE. The module will have regular synchronous sessions in active learning mode.
We are planning no changes to module content compared to previous years, and expect students to spend a similar amount of time-on-task compared to previous years. These changes will mainly constitute a rebalancing of hours from scheduled directed learning hours to unscheduled directed learning hours as students will have some flexibility as to when they access asynchronous materials.


Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 36

  8

      44
Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 106
TOTAL HOURS 150

Assessment

EXAM Duration Timing
(Semester)
% of
final
mark
Resit/resubmission
opportunity
Penalty for late
submission
Notes
time-controlled online examination  2 hours on task    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
(Semester)
% of
final
mark
Resit/resubmission
opportunity
Penalty for late
submission
Notes
Workshop Assessment 1 Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.  2 hours    20       
Workshop Assessment 2 Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is an anonymous assessment.  2 hours    20       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at readinglists.liverpool.ac.uk. Click here to access the reading lists for this module.