Stellar structure and evolution

Module PH2168

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

PH2168 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • General catalogue of special courses
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 40 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2168 is Wolfgang Hillebrandt.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


I. Equations of stellar evolution
  1. The virial theorem and relevant timescales
  2. Hydrostatic equilibrium
  3. Energy generation in stars - thermonuclear reactions
  4. Energy transport in stars
II. Stellar evolution
  1. Stellar models
  2. Main-sequence evolution
  3. Late stages of stellar evolution
  4. Evolution of binary stars
III. Stars as physics laboratories
  1. The sun, solar neutrinos
  2. Cooling of white dwarfs
IV. Stars and cosmology
  1. Stars as distance indicators
  2. Chemical evolution of galaxies

Learning Outcome

After participation in the module the student:

1. is able to understand the structure and evolution of stars from their birth to late stages
2. understands the physical processes that control stellar structure and evolution
3. knows the role stars play in the chemical evolution of galxies and in cosmology


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Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Sternaufbau und Sternentwicklung Hillebrandt, W. Mittwoch, 12:00–14:00

Learning and Teaching Methods

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Cox, Giuli: Principles of Stellar Structure (new edition by A. Weiss et al.); Cambridge Scientific Publishers (2004)

Kippenhahn, Weigert, Weiss: Stellar Structure and Evolution; Springer (2012)

Salaris, Cassis: Evolution of Stars and Stellar Populations; Wiley & Sons (2005)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam at the end of the semester.

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