Life and Dynamics of Stars

Physics, Second Cycle
2 year
Hours per week – 1. semester:

Enrollment into the program.
Positive result from homeworks is necessary to enter the oral exam.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Formation of stars and planets: Properties of interstellar gas and dust, Jeans mass and collapse of an interstellar cloud, protostars, entrance on the main sequence of the HR diagram, protoplanetary disk, terrestrial planet formation, giant planet formation, evolution of planetary systems, short introduction to astrobiology, methods for detection and observation of exoplanets.
Properties and evolution of stars: Properties of stars on the main sequence of the HR diagram. Short introduction to astroseismology (stellar oscillations and stability). Evolution after the main sequence for low-mass and high-mass stars.
End states of stars: Properties of white dwarfs, neutron stars (pulsars, magnetars), and black holes.
High-energy transient events: Properties and types of supernovae, gamma ray bursts, X-ray binaries, active galactic nuclei, tidal disruption events, etc. Stellar winds, shock waves, accretion discs, host galaxies. Introduction to emerging multi-messenger astronomy. All sky surveys, missions Swift, Fermi, Chandra etc., modern detectors of gravitational waves, neutrinos and cosmic rays.
Stellar dynamics: Multiple stellar systems, stellar clusters, dynamics in galactic cores and supermassive black holes, dynamics of stars in galaxies, stellar streams, Gaia mission.


R. Kippenhahn, A. Weigert: Stellar Structure and Evolution, Springer-Verlag, 1994.
N. Duric: Advanced Astrophysics, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
P.J. Armitage: Astrophysics of Planet Formation, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
M.H.P.M. Van Putten, A. Levinson: Relativistic Astrophysics of the Transient Universe, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
U. Kolb, Extreme Environment Astrophysics, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Objectives and competences

The objective of the course is discussion of formation, evolution and dynamics of stars and high-energy transient phenomena in the Universe, which are connected with stars or galactic centres.

Knowledge and understanding of conditions for formation of stars and planetary systems, general life cycle of stars, their dynamics and end states. Knowledge of high-energy events in the Universe.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
Understanding of formation, properties, evolution, and dynamics of stars and planets based on fundamental physical findings. Knowledge and understanding of different types of high-energy phenomena in the Universe.

Understanding of physical processes in extreme physical conditions (density, temperature, gravity, magnetic field). Ability to use laws of physics to describe phenomena at very different scales of physical quantities.

Scientific view on laws of physics at large scales.

Transferable skills
Definition and solution of a problem, methods for testing results and critical evaluation of corectness of an interpretation.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, homework, consultations.


Oral exam
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references

dr. Janez Kos:
1. KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, et al. Pseudo-three-dimensional maps of the diffuse interstellar band at 862 nm. Science, ISSN 1095-9203, 15. avgust 2014, vol. 345, no. 6198, str. 791-795. , [COBISS-SI-ID 473217]
2. KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, ČOTAR, Klemen, et al. Discovery of a 21 Myr old stellar population in the Orion complex. Astronomy & astrophysics, ISSN 1432-0746, let. 631, november 2019, a166, str. 1-7., doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201834710. [COBISS-SI-ID 932993]
3. KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, et al. Holistic spectroscopy : complete reconstruction of a wide-field, multiobject spectroscopic image using a photonic comb. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 1365-2966, November 2018, vol. 480, issue 4, str. 5475-5494., doi: 10.1093/mnras/sty2175. [COBISS-SI-ID 890497]
4. KOS, Janez, TRAVEN, Gregor, ZWITTER, Tomaž, et al. The GALAH survey : chemical tagging of star clusters and new members in the Pleiades. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 1365-2966, February 2018, vol. 473, issue 4, str. 4612-4633., doi: 10.1093/mnras/stx2637. [COBISS-SI-ID 849281]
5. BUDER, Sven, KOS, Janez, ZWITTER, Tomaž, ČOTAR, Klemen, TRAVEN, Gregor, et al. The GALAH survey : an abundance, age, and kinematic inventoryof the solar neighbourhood made with TGAS. Astronomy & astrophysics, ISSN 1432-0746, let. 624, april 2019, a19, str. 1-30., doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833218. [COBISS-SI-ID 909185]