PHY 688: Special Topics in Astrophysics

The Formation of Stars and Planets

Fall 2017

F.M. Walter



Stars generate most of the visible light in the universe, and are the major (baryonic) constituent of galaxies. Along with the origins of the universe and of galaxies, the origins of stars and planets form a major part of our invesigations into the cosmos.

This semester we will explore the current frontiers in the formation of stars, brown dwarfs, and planets. High spatial resolution observations from the X-rays through the radio have revealed a wealth of new insights. The focus will be on low mass stars and exoplanets, but will include topics ranging from molecular clouds and the initial mass function to accretion disks and protostars and on to the stability of planetary systems and the long term habitability of exoplanets. We will be biased towards the observational side of things, and will emphasize recent results (e.g., from ALMA, Herschel, and HST/COS).

This is a broad-based general survey of current issues in star and planet formation. Interest in the topic, and a general familiarity with astronomical concepts at the undergraduate level, is required. There are no graduate course prerequisites.


These pages maintained by
Prof. Frederick M. Walter
Astronomy Program
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
State University of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800
631-632-8232
email: frederick.walter at stonybrook.edu (replace the "at" with "@")