General outline: This course introduces fundamental concepts such as radiative transfer and opacity to explain the observed spectroscopic and photometric signatures of stars. Students will interpret the observed intrinsic properties of stars through a theoretical understanding of the energy production inside stars and the propagation of the electromagnetic radiation from the stellar core through its interior to the stellar surface, from where the radiation escapes unhindered. The life cycle of stars is considered in great detail, from the collapse of an interstellar gas cloud to the end products of stellar evolution: white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. This course includes an observational component in which the students use the modern teaching observatory on campus to derive fundamental properties of stars and stellar systems.
Course co-ordinator :Prof Patrick Woudt, Room 5.39.1 in the RW James Building, Tel (o): 021 650 2392
Course lecturers : Dr Retha Pretorius, Prof Patrick Woudt