Astronomy 545
Stars and Planets
Fall 2019
Course information
Astronomy 545 meets Tuesdays and Thursdays in Steward 208. The syllabus for the course is available here.

The first day of class is Tuesday, August 27.


The primary text for the course is
  • Stellar Interiors by Hansen, Kawaler, and Trimble (HKT).

    We will also draw from other sources, including
  • Stellar Structure and Evolution by Kippenhahn, Weigert, and Weiss (KWW).
  • Physics of Astrophysics, Vol. 2 by Shu.
  • Principles of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics by Clarke & Carswell.
  • Accretion Power in Astrophysics by Frank, King, & Raine.
  • Original research articles from scientific journals.

    Topic Schedule

    Topic Date Reading
    Observed Stellar Properties
    Observed Planetary Properties
    Observational Techniques and Biases
    August 27-29 Planet Frequency Paper 1, 2
    Thermal and Hydrostatic Equilibrium
    Virial Theorem
    Energy Generation and Transport
    September 3-5 HKT, Chapter 1
    KWW, Chapters 2-4
    Radiative Diffusion
    Convection, Mixing-Length Theory
    Introduction to MESA
    September 10-12 HKT, Chapters 4-5
    KWW, Chapters 6.1-6.4, 7.1-7.3
    using MESA output
    Stellar Structure equations and boundary conditions
    Methods of Solution
    Running Mesa
    September 17-19 HKT, Chapter 7.1-7.2, 1.6
    KWW, Chapters 10, 11, 12.1-12.2
    Solving the Lane-Emden Equation
    Semi-Analytic vs Numerical Solutions
    September 24-26 HKT, Chapter 7
    KWW, Chapters 19, 12
    Equations of State October 1-3 HKT, Chapter 3
    KWW Chapters 13-16
    Stellar Dimensional Analysis
    Deriving the Main-Sequence
    October 8-10 HKT, Chapter 1
    KWW, Chapter 20
    Mass-Radius Relationships for Stars and Planets October 15-17 HKT, Chapter 3
    KWW Chapters 13-16
    M-R Relationship Paper 1
    Midterm Exam October 22
    Nuclear Astrophysics October 24-29 HKT, Chapter 6
    Midterm Exam Rehash October 31
    Zero-Age Main Sequence
    Fully Convective Stars
    November 5-7 HKT, Chapter 7.3
    KWW Chapters 22, 24, 17
    Post-Main-Sequence Evolution November 12-14 HKT Chapter 2.1-2.7
    KWW Chapters 30-32
    Cepheids, Giants, He Flash, AGB Stars
    Final Burning and Explosions
    November 19-21 KWW Chapters 33-36
    Intro to Fluid Dynamics November 23 Clarke & Carswell, Chapters 1-2, link
    Fluid Equations (Energy), Bernoulli Equation,
    Spherical Accretion and Winds
    Viscous Flows, Accretion Disk Intro
    December 3-5 Clarke & Carswell, Chapters 4 and 9 (Tuesday)
    Clarke & Carswell, Chapters 11 and 12 (Thursday)
    Final Exam December 10

    Lecture Notes

    Recent lectures

    Nov 14

    Nov 19

    Nov 21


    Homework 1, tex, due September 12

    Homework 2, tex, due September 26

    Homework 3, tex, due October 8

    Homework 4 (Midterm Rehash), due October 31

    Homework 5, tex, due November 19

    Homework 6, tex, due December 11 (extra credit)

    Presentation Papers

    August 29:Exoplanet Detection Paper

    September 10:M Dwarf Habitability Paper

    September 17: MESA Paper

    September 24: Stellar Winds Paper

    October 1: M Dwarfs Paper

    October 10: Dynamo Paper

    October 15: Mass-Radius Relationship Paper

    November 7: Deuterium Burning Paper

    November 12: Angular Momentum Transport Paper

    November 14: Pre-Main-Sequence Evolution Paper

    November 14: Red Giants Paper

    November 19:Hot Jupiters Paper

    November 19:Massive Stellar Evolution Paper 1

    November 21: Kilonova Paper

    November 21:Dust Production Paper

    November 26:Massive Star Formation Paper

    November 26: Massive Stellar Evolution Paper 2

    December 3: Supernova Paper

    Decembver 3:Massive Star Accretion Disks Paper

    December 5: Massive Stellar Evolution Paper 3

    December 5: Disk Winds, Jets, Outflows Paper

    Josh Eisner; August 14, 2019