(11/28): HW4 solutions and Lectures 16-19 posted

(11/15): HW3 solutions and Lectures 12-15 posted

(11/7): HW4 posted, due Friday November 18th

(11/1): Lectures 10 & 11 posted

(10/26): HW2 solutions and Lecture 9 posted

(10/25): HW3 posted

(10/20): Lectures 2-8 posted; HW2 correction

(10/18): HW1 solutions posted; lectures 2-6 posted; course project description posted

(10/10): HW2 posted

(10/5): MESA Workshop notes can be found here

(10/5): Corrections made to HW1

(9/27): Course information sheet updated with class-determined grade breakdowns

(9/26): HW1 posted; due Friday 10/7 @ 5pm

(9/20): First lecture is Thursday September 22 in SERF 383; course materials uploaded


Homework 4 due 11/18 at 5pm; this assignment will be using MESA
[Python Notebook]
[MESA inlists: 10 Msun (as example): main project pgstar

Homework 3 due 11/4 at 5pm; this assignment will be using MESA
[#3 Python Notebook]
[#4 Python Notebook]
MESA inlists:
Metal-poor: main project pgstar
Solar-metallicity: main project pgstar]

Homework 2 due 10/21 at 5pm; this assignment requires some numerical integration work
[#1e Python Notebook]

Homework 1 due 10/7 at 5pm; you will want to make use of the abundances and HR data files contained in the Course data folder
[#1 Python Notebook]
[#3 Python Notebook]
[MESA inlists: main project pgstar]

contact info

Prof. Adam Burgasser
SERF 340
Office hours: Wednesday 3pm-4pm or by appt. (see my teaching & meeting schedule)

Course manager:
Ms. Toni Moore
MHA 2581

Physics 223: Stellar Structure is a graduate-level astrophysics course on stellar interiors and structure. The goal of the coarse is to familiarize you with the physics underlying the formation, energy generation and evolution of stars. The topics we will cover include (see the syllabus):

  • Fundamental properties of stars and observational foundation;
  • Equations of stellar structure and polytrope models;
  • Properties of gas in ideal, ionized, degenerate and "photonic" states;
  • Energy generation from gravitational collapse and nuclear fusion;
  • Energy transport via radiation, conduction and convection;
  • Star and planet formation;
  • Pre Main Sequence, Main Sequence and Post Main Sequence evolution;
  • Degenerate stars (brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, neutron stars)

In addition, my intention is to provide training in practical skills necessary to succeed in stellar and astrophysical research in general. Assignments will therefore include computational problems (Python recommended but not required), use of community software such as astropy and MESA, written assignments using LaTeX, and oral presentations. An optional workshop session will provide training in some of these components.


I will be primarily drawing my lectures from Stellar Interiors - Physical Principles, Structure, and Evolution [2nd ed.] by Hansen, Kawaler & Trimble (ISBN 0387200894). Additional texts you might also consider having available are:

Course Calendar