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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ana M. Larson
ASTR 421
Seattle Campus

Stellar Observations and Theory

Observations and theory of the atmospheres, chemical composition, internal structure, energy sources, and evolutionary history of stars. Prerequisite: ASTR 322. Offered: W.

Class description

The basic physics of stellar atmospheres and interiors, and how astrophysicists use that physics in their modeling of stars and in their interpretations of their observations.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Students will be active participants in the lecturing process by explaining the fundamentals of the theories pertaining to stellar atmospheres and stellar interiors. The overview of the fundamental physics will be followed by instruction and examples as to how astronomers actually USE the theory not only in their observations but also in their models. Students will be expected to produce their own model atmosphere of the Sun under LTE and the grey atmosphere approximation and compare their model to observations. Students will also do a similar project for stellar interiors, and relate their results to observations of stars in clusters.

Recommended preparation

Astronomy 322; 1st-yr calculus series; 1st-year physics series, elementary knowledge of computer programming. Students should have had some contact with the Saha equation, and the concepts of radiative transfer, equation of state, stellar energy sources, hydrostatic equilibrium, stellar opacity, amongst others.

Class assignments and grading

Classroom presentations, two quarter projects, outside reading and reporting, some exams testing basic knowledge

Performance on the assignments


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Ana M. Larson
Date: 11/14/2003