Class Notes

Homework & Project


ASTR730 / CSI661 - Fall 2012
 Stellar Astrophysics

Prof. Jie Zhang
corona magnetic field

Home (Last Modified: Aug. 27, 2012)

Syllabus (print version in PDF)

Prerequisites: PHYS 303 (Classical Mechanics), PHYS 305 (Electromagnetic Theory), PHYS 308 (Modern Physics with Applications); MATH 214 (Elementary Differential Equations)

Credits: 3

Date and Time:  every Tuesday from 4:30 PM to 7:10 PM                              

Location: Room 1108, Nguyen Engineering Building

Instructor:  Prof. Jie Zhang

Contact Info:  (703)993-1998 (phone), jzhang7@gmu.edu (e-mail)

Office Hour: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Tuesday, or by appointment

Office: Room 351, Research Hall

Description: The general purpose of this course is a survey of contemporary astrophysics. Topics include physical concepts, stellar spectra, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, stellar atmospheres, stellar structure, interstellar matter, stellar evolution, high-energy phenomena, hydrodynamical processes in astrophysics, accretion disk formation, and shock formation. In this semester, the class will focus on stellar structure and evolution, and stellar atmosphere.  


  • Overview of Stellar Evolution
  • Basic Principle
  • Equations of State
  • Radiative and Conductive Heat Transfer
  • Convective Heat Transfer
  • Stellar Energy Sources
  • Stellar Modeling
  • Structure and Evolution of the Sun
  • Stellar Atmosphere: the Background
  • The Line Absorption Coefficient

Homework: There will be weekly assignment of homework. Each homework consists of 2 to 5 short questions.      

Project: There will be one project. Students learn how to use numerical methods to solve physical equations, in order to fully model and understand the structure of stars of different masses.

Exams: There will be one midterm and one final exam. Exams are of closed-book.

Grades:  Homework (30%), Project (20%), Midterm (20%), Final Exam (30%)

Class URL:  http://solar.gmu.edu/teaching/2012_ASTR730/

Text Book (required):   “Physical Principles, Structure and Evolution”. by C.J. Hansen, S.D. Kawaler and V. Trimble, 2nd edition, Springer-Verlag,  2004. ISBN 978-0-387-20089-7

Supplement  Reference Books:

·         “Stellar Atmosphere: The Observation and Analysis of Stellar Photospheres”. By David F. Gray. Third Edition, Cambridge Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-06681-6