Overview of directly measurable physical characteristics of stars: Mass, luminosity, spectroscopy, stellar atmospheres, temperature, pressure, composition.
Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, stellar population and stellar evolution, importance of studying binaries and clusters.
Physics of Stellar Stability (main sequence): Gravitationally bound systems, ideal gases. Hydrostatic equilibrium, Virial Theorem.
Estimating central pressure and temperature. Conditions for stellar stability, effects of gas pressure and radiation pressure.
Energy generation in stars: Gravitational contraction, thermonuclear fusion, basic principles. Comparison of energy released and timescales for different stellar collapse processes and fusion processes.
Energy transport in stellar interiors: Radiative diffusion, photon scattering mechanisms, random walk statistics, convection, conduction.
The Sun: A typical main sequence star closely observed. The standard model, variation of physical properties with depth. Helioseismology.
Star birth: The interstellar medium, Jeans criterion for collapse of a nebula, protostars, formation and detection of planetary systems.
Evolution off the main sequence: Giant stars, pulsating variables. Limits to classical models for describing collapsing stellar cores.