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The Physics of Stars: An Introduction

Program(s): Immersion

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  Understanding how stars work - what makes them shine - is one of the great accomplishments of 20th-century science. The theory of stellar structure allows us to investigate the interiors of stars, even though what we observe is radiation from their outer atmospheres. This theory also helps us determine how old stars are, how they create heavier nuclei from lighter nuclei in their centers, and how they evolve from birth to death, ending as a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole. This course introduces you to the concepts behind and applications of this crucial breakthrough. We will review the physical principles - gravity, pressure, radiation, and how radiation interacts with matter - and apply these principles to further our understanding of stellar structure. We will collect our own measurements of stellar properties, such as the temperatures and luminosities of stars, using robotic telescopes controlled via the internet. Using these and other data, we will test the theory of stellar structure and explore what it can tell us about the universe.

Daily Course Expectations

  • 6 hours of daily work
  • Mix of synchronous and asynchronous work (see definitions here)
  • 1 required synchronous session per day: 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. CST

Course Considerations

Discussion Intensive
Math Intensive

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade

Program

Immersion

Start Date

July 13

End Date

July 29

Class Details

Primary Instructor

Rich Kron

Secondary Instructor

Academic Interest

Math and Computer Science
Physical Sciences (e.g., astronomy, physics)

Class Specifics

Course Code

ASTR 11901 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Session

Session II

Course Length

3 weeks