The objective of the course is to understand the formation, structure, evolution and final fate of stars. Our emphasis will be on the fundamental physics, namely the physical properties of matter and radiation under conditions of extreme temperature and pressure and the various physical processes that take place under these conditions. Topics include: basic astrophysical concepts (gravitational contraction, and free fall, and hydrostatic equilibrium, stellar spectra, classification of stars, stellar nucleosynthesis, H-R diagram, main sequence stars, red giant phase, the sun), thermodynamics of matter and radiation, radiative and convective heat transport, energy production in stars and thermonuclear fusion (p-p chain and CNO cycle, helium burning and beyond), theory of stellar structure, endpoint of stellar evolution (relativistic degenerate Fermi gas, Chandrasekhar mass limit for white dwarfs, neutron stars and pulsars, black holes), Helioseismology.rerequisites: Familiarity with thermodynamics, quantum and statistical mechanics at the undergraduate level is required.
EN.615.642 Electromagnetics, or the equivalent, and EN.615.654 Quantum Mechanics.
Course instructor(s) :