• Class Number 3634
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Martin Asplund
    • Dr Tony Travouillon
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
    • Dr Meridith Joyce
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to stellar structure, evolution, and atmospheres. It covers the basic physical processes that govern the behaviour of stars, including hydrostatic equilibrium, thermal balance, nuclear energy generation, and radiation transport, the application of these principles to modeling the life cycle of stars from birth to the main sequence to death, and the development of tools to deduce stars' physical properties from the light they emit.

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain the concepts of hydrostatic balance, equations of state for stellar matter, transfer of heat through stars, stellar nucleosynthesis, and radiation transport, and perform calculations using these concepts;
  2. Calculate the internal structures of stars at a variety of levels of approximation;
  3. Describe the life cycles of stars from birth to death, and how these cycles depend on stellar mass;
  4. Explain the basic theory of stellar spectra, and use this theory to interpret the observed spectra of stars;
  5. Work effectively as part of a group;
  6. Read, interpret, and critically analyse professional research literature in the areas of stars;
  7. Identify unsolved problems in stars, and propose research approaches that could be used to address them.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Verbal feedback on assessments during class tutorials
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Adjustments to delivery in 2020

Course delivery and assessment in 2020 was adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any information below that replaces what was published in the Class Summary for Semester 1, 2020 was approved by the Associate Dean Education (as is required after 10% commencement of a course). Where an activity or assessment is not referenced below, it remains unchanged.

Teaching Activities

  • Lectures were done on Zoom.
  • Tutorials were done on Zoom.


Adjustments were made to assignment due dates; for details see the course Wattle site.

  • Presentations were done on Zoom.
  • Final exam was take-home and then submitted on the Wattle page.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Stars: observations, stellar spectra, stellar structure, hydrostatic equilibrium
2 Stellar microphysics: equation of state, opacities, radiative energy transport
3 Stellar microphysics: convection, nuclear burning problem set #1 (task 1)
4 Stellar structure: timescales, constructing stellar models, polytropes
5 Stellar births: interstellar medium, star formation problem set #2 (task 2)
6 Stellar lives: evolution of low-mass stars, evolution of high-mass stars
7 Stellar remnants: white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes problem set #3 (task 3)
8 Stellar binaries, mass-loss
9 Stellar nucleosynthesis, pulsations, helio-/asteroseismology, Sun problem set #4 (task 4)
10 Stellar spectroscopy: radiative transfer, Maxwell+Boltzmann+Saha distribution
11 Stellar atmospheres, spectral line formation problem set #5 (task 5)
12 Student presentations oral presentation (task 6)
13 Course rehearsal Final written exam (task 7)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Problem Set #1 10 % 13/03/2020 26/03/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Problem Set #2 10 % 27/03/2020 09/04/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Problem Set #3 10 % 24/04/2020 07/05/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Problem Set #4 10 % 15/05/2020 28/05/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Problem Set #5 10 % 29/05/2020 05/06/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Oral presentation 10 % 29/05/2020 05/06/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Final written exam (task #7) 40 % 08/06/2029 02/07/2020 6,7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There will be a final written exam at the end of the semester with questions that cover all topics covered in the course. Value: 40%. Students will be assessed on their knowledge and problem-solving skills they acquired of the course material.

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date for mid-semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held; the due and return date for end of semester exams indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and the date official end of Semester results are released on ISIS. Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 13/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 26/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Problem Set #1

A take-home problem set with questions related to the topics covered in the lectures.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 27/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Problem Set #2

A take-home problem set with questions related to the topics covered in the lectures.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 07/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Problem Set #3

A take-home problem set with questions related to the topics covered in the lectures.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 15/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 28/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Problem Set #4

A take-home problem set with questions related to the topics covered in the lectures.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 05/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Problem Set #5

A take-home problem set with questions related to the topics covered in the lectures.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 05/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Oral presentation

Oral presentation on a topic of the course selected by the student.

Duration: 20 minutes, followed by Q&A for 10 min.

Assessment Task 7

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 08/06/2029
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 6,7

Final written exam (task #7)

Final written exam with questions related to all topics covered in the course.

Value: 40%. Students will be assessed on their knowledge and problem-solving skills they acquired of the course material throughout the semester.

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the course Wattle site and the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted seven working days after the due date. No late submission allowed for oral presentation and final written exam.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Graded assignments will be returned during tutorials.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Assignments cannot be resubmitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Martin Asplund

Research Interests

Stellar astrophysics, Milky Way galaxy, extrasolar planets, early Universe, observations, high-performance computing

Prof Martin Asplund

Friday 12:00 15:00
Dr Tony Travouillon
6125 0285

Research Interests

Dr Tony Travouillon

Monday 14:00 17:00
Dr Meridith Joyce

Research Interests

Dr Meridith Joyce

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions