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PHY3040 : Stellar Structure and Evolution

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Tamara Rogers
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module will cover the essential physics of the internal structure of stars, including the basic equations of stellar structure and the microphysics of the equation of state, opacity and nuclear reactions. We will quantitatively examine how stars evolve prior to and subsequent to the main sequence. Observations will be used to motivate what we’re doing and to introduce essential terminology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Observational Framework of Astronomy, Equation of State, Classical Mechanics Applied to Stellar Structure, Additional Equations of State, Energy Transport, Chemical Composition of Stellar Matter, Numerical Computation of Stellar Structure, The Evolution of Stars, from pre to post main Sequence.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion111:0011:00Examination revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Formal Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Completion of coursework
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Examination
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study451:0045:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods are appropriate to allow students to develop a wide range of skills, from understanding basic concepts and facts to higher-order thinking. Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M50In class problem-solving exercises
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The format of the examination will enable students to reliably demonstrate their own knowledge, understanding and application of learning outcomes. The assurance of academic integrity forms a necessary part of programme accreditation.

Examination problems may require a synthesis of concepts and strategies from different sections, while they may have more than one ways for solution. The examination time allows the students to test different strategies, work out examples and gather evidence for deciding on an effective strategy, while carefully articulating their ideas and explicitly citing the theory they are using.

The coursework assignment allows the students to develop their problem-solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; this assessment has a secondary formative purpose as well as a primary summative purpose.

Reading Lists