- Student Records
Programme & Unit Catalogues

PH30109: Stars and stellar evolution

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2017/8
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Physics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must ( take PH20013 OR take PH20060 ) AND ( take PH20014 OR take PH20061 ) AND ( take PH20016 OR take PH20076 OR take PH20106 ) AND ( take PH20029 OR take PH20067 )
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The aim of this unit is to provide an understanding of the composition of the interstellar medium and the processes of star formation, the structure and evolution of stars and their remnants. This unit draws upon material from many areas of core physics, including quantum and thermal physics, gravitation, dynamics and electromagnetism.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* describe the physical processes occurring in the inter-stellar medium;
* discuss in detail how stars form from gravitational collapse of dense gas clouds;
* demonstrate an understanding of energy transport in stars;
* describe in detail the post-main sequence evolution of stars;
* solve order of magnitude problems concerning spectral line formation, gas and dust clouds, gravitational collapse, hydrostatic equilibrium.

Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A.

Components of the ISM (6 hours): Atomic hydrogen and 21cm radiation. Dark clouds. HII regions. T-Tauri stars. HH objects. Masers. Obtaining information about the interstellar medium (ISM). Spectral line shapes. Interstellar reddening. Optical depth. Radiative transfer. Interstellar dust grains. Formation of molecules. Radiatively excited regions. Continuum emission.
Stars and Star Formation (6 hours): Hydrostatic equilibrium. Collapse processes. The Virial Theorem. Star formation. Evolution of protostars. Angular momentum and magnetic field problems. Accretion discs and molecular outflows. Classification of stars. The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Stellar Structure (6 hours): Energy transport in stars. Equations of stellar structure. Simple stellar models. Polytropic models. Zero-age main sequence stars. Evolution off the main sequence. The helium flash. Shell burning. The RGB and the AGB. Giant and supergiant stars.
Stellar Deaths (4 hours): Late stages of stellar evolution. Supernovae. Stellar remnants. White dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH30109 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USPH-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AFM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AFM11 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Research placement (Year 3)
  • USPH-AKM10 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Astrophysics with Professional Placement (Year 4)

PH30109 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USXX-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 3)
  • USXX-AAB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USXX-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • USXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 3)
  • USXX-AAM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USXX-AKM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • USPH-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Physics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USPH-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • USPH-AFM02 : MPhys(Hons) Physics (Year 3)
  • USPH-AFM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Research placement (Year 3)
  • USPH-AKM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional Placement (Year 4)
  • USPH-AKM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional and Research Placements (Year 4)