Open Questions: Stellar Formation and Evolution

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See also: Supernovae -- Solar system and planetary science

30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud

See Space Telescope Science Institute page for information.

Star birth image gallery



Introduction

Supernovae


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Open Directory Project: Stellar Evolution
Categorized and annotated links. A version of this list is at Google, with entries sorted in "page rank" order. May also be found at Netscape.
Galaxy: Stars
Categorized site directory. Entries usually include descriptive annotations.
Galaxy: Stellar Phenomena
Categorized site directory. Entries usually include descriptive annotations.


Sites with general resources

The Center for Star Formation Studies
"The Center for Star Formation Studies is a consortium of researchers working together in a coordinated fashion to construct a comprehensive theoretical model of the process of star formation."
X-ray Binary Stars
Part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site. Contains basic information about X-ray binary stars, computer animations, and links to related topics. There is also a more advanced level page on the topic.
Cardiff University Star Formation Group
Research group which is part of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University (Wales). Pages describe research interests and include links to related information.


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Stellar evolution
Article from Wikipedia. See also Star, Star formation.
Frequently Asked Questions in Astronomy: Stars
Questions and answers from the Usenet sci.astro newsgroup.
Ask a High-Energy Astronomer: Physics of Stars
Common questions, with answers, provided by NASA's Ask a High-Energy Astronomer service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stars
Very good set of questions and answers, by John Simonetti.
How Stars Work
Wery good introduction, with external links, at How Stuff Works, by Craig C. Freudenrich.
Star Formation
A ScienceWeek "symposium" consisting of excerpts and summaries of articles from various sources.
Ready to Explode: Inside Look at an Unstable Star
December 2003 article from Space.com. Discusses the unstable supermassive star Eta Carinae.
Nebulae: Star Birth, Star Death
Good reference article form Space.com.
Stars: Introduction
Basic information about stars. Part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site. There is also a more advanced level page on stars.
White Dwarfs: Introduction
Basic information on white dwarf stars at NASA's Imagine the Universe site. There is also a more advanced level page on the topic.
Stellar Evolution I - Solar Type Stars
Good explanations and external links, part of Gene Smith's Astronomy Tutorial. See also Stellar Evolution II - Massive Stars.
Stellar Evolution and Death
NASA site that provides overview of stellar evolution and the later stages of stellar life - planetary nebulae, supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. Good references for further reading.
StarDate Online: Star Guide
General overview information at the StarDate Online site.
Birth and Death of Stars
A lecture course by James Schombert. Another version is here.
The Structure and Evolution of Stars
A lecture coures by James Imamura.
Stellar Structure and Evolution
A lecture coures by James Imamura.
Star Birth
Outline/notes of a talk by James Imamura.
Living with a star
November 2010 article from Physics World, by Alan Title. "Launched in February, data from the sensitive suite of instruments aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory are already reshaping what we know about solar processes and the causes of space weather."
Solar explosions in 3D
July 2006 article from Physics World, by Edwin Cartlidge. "Huge eruptions on the Sun known as coronal mass ejections can generate violent magnetic storms in the Earth's atmosphere. The author describes a new space mission that will provide unprecedented views of these explosions."
Sunspots reveal their dark side
Summary of February 2003 article from Physics World, by Eric Priest. "New theories have clarified the structure of sunspots but the latest observations have revealed intriguing dark cores in the bright filaments that surround them."
Nuclei prompt stellar rethink
December 2001 article from Physics World, by Alan Shotter. "By measuring a crucial process in nuclear astrophysics with unprecedented precision, physicists have discovered that stars may live longer than had previously been thought."
Baby star blows a bubble
May 2001 news article from PhysicsWeb about a spherical shell of water vapor ejected from a newborn star.
Ulysses probes the solar maximum
September 2000 news article from Physics World, about measurements of the solar wind by the Ulysses space mission.
Solar magnetic field poses problems
Summary of December 1999 article from Physics World, by Steven Tobias and Nigel Weiss, about the problem of understanding the origin of solar magnetic fields.
New light on the Solar corona
August 1999 news article from Physics World about a suggestion that viscosity of plasma within the solar corona is responsible for its high temperature.
Bubble-Blowing Star Baffles Astronomers
May 2001 Scientific American news article about a young star blowing a bubble of gas around itself.
Hubble Glimpses Fitful Infant Stars
March 2001 Scientific American news article about a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
How is a star born?
Scientific American page with answers and external links from several experts.
Craft finds where sun's corona gets its hots
September 2000 news article in Science News about the question of how the solar corona is heated.
Model Tracks Storms from the Sun
June 2000 news article in Science News, about studies into the mechanisms of solar flares and coronal mass ejections.
Sun has a heart beat
April 2000 news article about currents of gas inside the Sun that rise and fall in speed on a 16-month period.
High velocity clouds make new stars
November 1999 news article about high velocity clouds of galaxtic gas that has low metal content, so that it dilutes metallicity of recently formed stars in the galactic disk.


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Stellar oddballs
Charles Petit
Science News, June 4, 2011
Kepler spacecraft finds much more than exoplanets.
Cloudy with a Chance of Stars
Erick T. Young
Scientific American, February 2010
The Star That Ate a Mars
Charles Petit
Science News, July 18, 2009
Astronomers study white dwarf pollution for clues to extrasolar planet ingredients.
Enigmatic Eruption
Ron Cowen
Science News, October 14, 2006
The strange case of V838 Monocerotis.
Parting Shots
Sid Perkins
Science News, July 31, 2004
Just as the sun was calming down, it flared with a vengeance.
The Sun: Living with a Stormy Star
Curt Suplee
National Geographic, July 2004, pp. 2-33
Many dramatic pictures and a little text present the stormy surface of a typical star, the Sun.
[Additional resources]
The Extraordinary Deaths of Ordinary Stars
Bruce Balick; Adam Frank
Scientific American, July 2004
Protostars
Thomas Greene
American Scientist, July-August 2001, pp. 316-325
Protostars -- stellar embryos -- tend to be embedded in thick dust which obscures them from observation in visible light, so more is known of them theoretically than observationally. However, the process of stellar formation is complex and much remains to be explained. The observational problems are being overcome with new instuments for infrared astronomy.
Stormy Weather
Ron Cowen
Science News, January 13, 2001
When the sun's fury maxes out, Earth may take a hit.
White Dwarf Stars
Steven Kawaler, Michael Dahlstrom
American Scientist, November-December 2000, pp. 498-507
White dwarfs represent the end of a star's life cycle. Though most are unobservable, they may be numerous enough to constitute a large part of the dark matter in galactic halos.
[Abstract and references]
Fountains of Youth: Early Days in the Life of a Star
Thomas P. Ray
Scientific American, August 2000, pp. 42-47
A number of detailed aspects of early stages in the life of a star are still mysterious. One example is the presence of jets of matter being ejected from young stars, when what one expects to find is matter gradually falling into the star.
The Discovery of Brown Dwarfs
Gibor Basri
Scientific American, April 2000
Less massive than stars but more massive than planets, brown dwarfs were long assumed to be rare. New sky surveys, however, show that the objects may be as common as stars.
The Formation of Star Clusters
Bruce Elmegreen, Yuri Efremov
American Scientist, May-June 1998, pp. 264-273
The formation of star clusters from galactic gas clouds is a classic problem of astrophysics. There seem to be several different processes involved which occur under different conditions.
The Story of Starbirth
Robert Naeye
Astronomy, February 1998, pp. 50-55
Although the general outline of how stars develop from clouds of gas and dust is fairly clear, many questions about details of the process remain.
Companions to Young Stars
Alan P. Boss
Scientific American, October 1995, pp. 134-139
Astronomers have been surprised to find that binary systems are as common amoung young stars as older ones. The implication that stars often form in groups of two or even three should affect threories of stellar formation.


Recommended references: Books

James B. Kaler -- The Hundred Greatest Stars
Copernicus Books, 2002
This book should be on the coffee table of anyone interested in astronomy, for its illustrations that accompany each star. But there's a lot of factual information in it as well, illuminating many aspects of stellar structure and evolution, and the profuse variety of forms in which stars exist.
James B. Kaler -- Extreme Stars
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Kaler's idea in this book is to give a feel for the range of forms that stars assume by looking at extremes -- the hottest and coldest, brightest and dimmest, largest and smallest, youngest and oldest. As well as a few stars that are simply strange.
James B. Kaler -- Stars
Scientific American Library, 1998
Kaler presents an introductory book on stellar astronomy for general readers. It includes the history of the subject, and deals with stellar formation and death, classification, and energy production.
R. J. Tayler - The Stars: Their Structure and Evolution
Cambridge University Press, 1994
New edition of a popular text on the subject. A good, brief, relatively unmathematical survey of the whole stellar life cycle.

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Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved