2023-2024 / SPAT0045-1

Stellar structure and evolution II


20h Th, 20h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in mathematics (120 ECTS)4 crédits 
 Master in space sciences (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Master in mathematics (60 ECTS)4 crédits 


Marc-Antoine Dupret

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course is a direct continuation of the course: "Structure et Evolution des Etoiles I".The theoretical background presented in the first part allows us now to explore the different phases of stellar evolution, putting the emphasis on the underlying physical processes. The use of homologous transformations allows us to understand the main tendencies and to quantify the importance of each physical aspect. The key phases of a stellar "life" are analysed in details: the initial phase of gravitational contraction, the main sequence (hydrogen fusion), the next red giant phases and the end of the story (white dwarfs, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes). The course is not limited to a simple description of each phase, the aim is to explore the key physical processes and causes at the origin of the stellar structure evolution in one or another direction. The different scenarios of evolution depending on the stellar mass are justified in detail. The critical phases of stellar evolution, when new nuclear reaction set off, are analysed, as well as the resulting nucleosynthesis. Stars are indeed the great creators of the universe, synthesizing all chemical elements of the universe heavier than helium.

In addition to the theoretical presentation, since 2020 this course includes an important practical part. Through this practical part, students are led to perform their own model calculations of the structure and evolution of stars, using the Liège Code of Stellar Evolution (CLES). In this way, they are brought to a much better visualization and understanding of the internal structure of stars and its evolution (e.g. temperature, chemical composition profiles, nuclear reactions, energy transport, ...).

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Knowing and understanding the main phases of a stellar life. An exhaustive and "descriptive" knowledge is not looked for. Instead, what imports here is a precise understanding of the underlying physical processes and their respective importance.
Through the practical part, students acquire the ability to calculate themselves models of internal structure and evolution of stars and a critical mind on their accuracy. This ability can be very useful to them in other fields of research in astrophysics, because stars are the main visible bodies of the universe. More generally, they will also improve their ability to manage numerous physical data files, graph them and interpret them.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

To have followed the course "Structure et Evolution des Etoiles I" (SPAT 0044-1), which is a "co-required".

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

The lectures are given second semester, 2-3/week.
From the academic year 2015-2016, the lectures are given in English if there is at least one student attending the lectures who does not speak French. If all students speak French, the lectures are given in French.

Recommended or required readings

Detailed lecture notes are available to students as well as the powerpoint slides of the lectures. The students can find them here:

Exam(s) in session

January exam session

- In-person

oral exam

May-June exam session

- In-person

oral exam

August-September exam session

- In-person

oral exam

Additional information:

list of possible questions covering the most important aspects of the course is provided (and commented) at the end of the semester. The student must answer one of them (drawn randomly) during the oral exam, he can choose to answer in English or French.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Marc-Antoine Dupret
email: MA.Dupret@ulg.ac.be
address: Institut d'Astrophysique et Géophysique, bât. B5c, +1
Tél: 04 366 97 32

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

Structure et évolution des étoiles II powerpoint
Structure et évolution des étoiles II powerpoint