The Physics of Nebulae and Stars 2
SCQF Level 10
Academic year(s): 2019-2020
SCOTCAT credits : 15
ECTS credits : 7
Level : SCQF Level 10
Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students
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.
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
Weekly contact: 3 lectures occasionally replaced by whole-group tutorials.
Scheduled learning hours: 32
Guided independent study hours: 118
As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 75%, Coursework = 25%
As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 75%
Practical examinations : 0%
Re-assessment: Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7
Module coordinator: Dr P Woitke
Module teaching staff: Dr P Woitke
Develop a deeper understanding of all physical processes that are important in the atmospheres and interiors of stars to explain their observed spectra, their internal structure and their evolution.
By the end of the module the students will be able to:
The course is organised in two parts: stellar atmospheres (11 lectures) and stellar interiors (12 lectures). There are six additional workshop sessions taking place in the lecture room with exam-like questions. There are two assessed computational homework exercises to self-compute simple models for the emergent spectrum and the inner structure of solar-like stars using PYTHON, which count with 12.5% each towards to module grade.
Additional information on workshops and continuous assessment
Please note that the definitive comments on continuous assessment will be communicated within the module. This section is intended to give an indication of the likely breakdown and timing of the continuous assessment.
The six workshops develop exam-style problem-solving skills. The questions will be distributed about one week prior to the sessions. Students will then be subdivided into small groups in the workshops to discuss and compare their solutions. Complete solutions of all exam-style questions will be made available to the students afterwards on Moodle.
The deadlines for submitting the assessed computational homework are likely to be towards the end of weeks 5 and 11.
This module may not contain material that is part of the IOP “Core of Physics”, but does contribute to the wider and deeper learning expected in an accredited degree programme. The skills developed in this module, and others, contribute towards the requirements of the IOP “Graduate Skill Base”.
Please view University online record:
Please also read the general information in the School's honours handbook that is available via st-andrews.ac.uk/physics/staff_students/timetables.php