You are to complete a library research paper, on a topic of your choice
(within limits), as an integral part of this course. The purpose of the paper
is to let you explore some aspect of stellar astronomy in more detail than is
possible in the lectures, and to give you experience doing library research.
20% of your final grade will be assigned on the basis of this paper. The
emphasis should be on using the physics we're discussing to explain
astronomical objects or phenomena.
Research Paper Guidelines
Sources which you can use in your research are to be found in the
I recommend that you begin your search for review articles in the
Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics or in the
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Scientific American also has some good articles, but at a more
qualitative level. You may use on-line sources (but not wikipedia!), so long
as they are properly referenced, and the site is legitimate.
Amateur antronomical sites are generally not acceptable.
Among the possible topics are:
- Stellar structure and interiors
- The Solar neutrino problem
- Solar oscillations
- White Dwarfs
- Pulsars and Neutron stars
- Stellar Atmospheres
- Sunspots and starspots
- Flares in the Sun and dMe flare stars
- The emission line B stars
- The Solar cycle
- Cepheids, W Virginis stars, and the cosmic distance scale
- Pulsating stars: Miras, Cepheids, RR Lyraes, and ZZ Ceti stars
- Stellar evolution
- Star Formation, T Tauri stars, and Herbig Ae/Be stars
- Technitium in S Stars: Evidence for Nucleosynthesis
- Supernovae and SN1987A
- Evolution in interacting binaries
- Phenomena in Binaries
- The RS CVn stars or the W UMa stars
- Novae and Cataclysmic Variables
- Observational Evidence for Black Holes - X-ray binaries
The paper should be written at the Scientific American level.
not use equations, but you must demonstrate a mastery both of the astrophysics
and of the qualitative astronomy. Do not exceed 20 pages (typed,
double-spaced). Include references.
Papers are due one week before the last class.
I will help you find references, but only after you do some exploring in the
library or on-line first.