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AS4012   The Physics of Nebulae and Stars 2

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF Level 10

Semester: 2

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: 11.00 am odd Mon, Wed, Fri, 3.00 pm even Tue (TBC)

This module develops the physics of stellar interiors and atmospheres from the basic equations of stellar structure introduced in AS2001/AS2101 using the radiative transfer concepts developed in Nebulae and Stars I. Topics include: the equation of state that provides pressure support at the high temperatures and densities found in normal and white-dwarf stars; the interaction of radiation with matter, both in terms of radiation-pressure support in super-massive stars and in terms of the role of opacity in controlling the flow of energy from the stellar interior to the surface; the equation of radiative transfer and the effects of local temperatures, pressures and velocity fields on the continuum and line absorption profiles in the emergent spectrum. Computer-aided tutorial exercises illustrate the computational schemes that represent one of the triumphs of late twentieth-century physics, in their ability to predict the observable properties of a star from its radius and luminosity, which in turn are determined by its mass, age and chemical composition.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass AS4011

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take AS4023 or take AS3015

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures occasionally replaced by whole-group tutorials.

Scheduled learning hours: 32

Guided independent study hours: 118

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 75%, Coursework = 25%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 75%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 25%

Re-assessment: Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7

Additional information from school

Please see also the information in the School's Handbook for Honours modules available via This link also gives access to timetables for the modules


Module teaching staff: TBC