This week at BEA the topic under discussion was stellar evolution. After a brief discussion of why stars twinkle, we moved onto how astronomers measure the properties of stars (temperature and luminosity) before taking a look at the most important diagram in astrophysics: the Hertzsprung Russell diagram.
Then it was a brief tour of how stars shine; the competition between gravity and pressure which keeps a star in hydrostatic equilibrium during life on the Main Sequence of the HR diagram.
Finally we looked at stellar evolution for low mass and high mass stars. Low mass stars such as the Sun are destined to end up as white dwarf stars. High mass stars are heading for supernova and a more violent end.
Lecture notes can be downloaded here. (Warning: big powerpoint file; 19MB).
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Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.