Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The aim of this course is to give a general overview of the set of equations that regulates the internal structure of a star. The lectures are articulated in three parts: (1) the structure of stellar interiors and the sources of energy production; (2) the stellar atmosphere and the theory of the absorption lines; (3) basic stellar evolution.

Course contents

Structure of stars. Equation of stellar interiors. Hydrostatic equilibrium.The physical state of stellar matter. The degenerate matter. The LogT - Log(rho) diagram. The source of stellar energy. Thermonuclear reactions. The origin of chemical elements. Energy transport: radiation and convection. The Schwarzshild criterium. Sources of opacity in the stellar interiors. The Kramers equations. The structure of the stellar atmosphere. Photon absorption and emission. Theory of the formation of spectral lines. Curve of growth and determination of chemical abundance in stars. Equation of Saha and Boltzmann. Basic stellar evolution.


Lecture notes - Ferraro
An Introduction to modern Astrophysics - Carroll & Ostlie
Evolution of stars and stellar populations - Salaris & Cassisi
Astrofisica stellare - V. Castellani
Corso di Astrofisica - Cester
Astrophysics I. stars - Bowers& Deeming

Teaching methods

Lecures are presented by using power-point presentations.

Assessment methods

Written and oral examinations. The written examination consists of three simple problems dealing with the structure and atmosphere of a star. The oral examination begins with a correction of the written problems and include a series of general questions about the physical phenomena occurring in the stellar structure.

Teaching tools

A pdf file with all the slides shown during lectures is available at the student web page.

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Rosario Ferraro