Subject details

Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to:

  1. Explain the classification schemes of stars, their physical parameters and the importance of the HR diagram
  2. Explain and summarise the mechanism of star formation and the evolution of stars from the main sequence through to the RGB and AGB phase
  3. Appraise and state the processes and properties of high mass stellar remnants, including supernovae, planetary nebulae, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes;
  4. Solve mathematical problems related to the physical processes that underlie stellar properties and evolution;
  5. Explain and summarise stellar astrophysical concepts in a non-technical manner understandable to the general public
  6. Design and create a research project on an astronomy topic, assessing and critiquing current knowledge, using credible sources of astronomical information, data and research articles
    • Classifying stars: magnitudes, colours, spectral types; physical properties; stellar spectra; the HR diagram
    • Stellar energy: gravitational contraction versus fusion, stellar nucleosynthesis
    • Hydrostatic equilibrium and radiation pressure; equations of stellar structure; stellar atmospheres
    • Protostars: cloud collapse, initial mass function, evolutionary tracks and ZAMS
    • Main sequence stars: lifetime on the MS
    • Evolution off the main sequence: low mass versus high mass stars
    • Supernovae: explosive nucleosynthesis, supernovae remnants
    • Neutron stars
    • Stellar mass black holes
    • Pulsating stars: the instability strip, helioseismology
    • Binary stars
    • Stellar clusters: types of clusters, open clusters and stellar evolution models, globular clusters; colour-magnitude diagrams
  • Study resources

    • Instructional methods

      • Discussion forum/Discussion Board
      • Embedded Multimedia
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links

Equivalent subjects

You cannot enrol in this subject if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SWI-HET611

You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:

SWI-AST80004-Exploring Stars and the Milky Way , or SWI-HET603


You should complete introductory tertiary-level mathematics and physics before commencing in this subject.

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject aims to cover the physical processes underlying stellar properties and the principles behind models of stellar evolution.

  • Computer Managed Tests (20%)
  • Newsgroups (30%)
  • Project (50%)

Textbook information is pending.

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