I wanted to know if there is a well established resource in the field of Stellar Astrophysics which is not very outdated. I have seen plenty of books at my university library but I do not know if there is a classical reference.

I am a last year undergraduate (5th year in my country, so it is like a just graduate level) with good level at mathematics.

Related: What are good books for graduates/undergraduates in Astrophysics? which ask for general Astrophysics books (two stellar astrophysics are mentioned in a general context, but I do not know if they are standard references in the field).


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I've taught a few classes on stellar evolution and stellar modelling, and here are some of the resources I've recommended there. These all lean on the theoretical stellar structure side, rather than observational characteristics of certain types of star and so on.

Free lecture notes

Both these sets of lecture notes are quite thorough, and at least cover the main components of any standard course in stellar structure and evolution. They're pitched at about the level I'd expect for a first course in stellar physics. Whether that be in third or fifth year doesn't really matter, as long as enough of the basic underlying physics (black body radiation, nuclear reactions, gravity, etc.) is known. I particularly like Pols' notes because of the high-quality figures (especially Kippenhahn diagrams) throughout.

Introductory books

This book is also pitched at about the same level as the notes above, but it perhaps a little bit more thorough. I've only glanced through it once, and it seemed to be similar to the notes above, but another perspective is always healthy.

Reference books

Kippenhahn & Weigert is my go-to reference for anything on stellar physics. It's something of a tome, and I don't think it lends itself well to a first course in stellar physics. But it serves as an excellent reference if you want to see more detail during such a course or subsequently in research.

Cox & Giuli is similar, in the sense of being an excellent reference text. I haven't been through as much of it as K&W, but several chapters that I have (e.g. convection) are very useful, especially from the practical point of view of actually having to compute models.

To be honest, the main reason I think I use K&W more often is because my library grants me access to a digital copy, which I can search more easily than C&G!

Many other texts exist, but I'm less familiar with them. Some address other specific cases. Maeder & Meynet (2009) specifically covers rotating stars, though the chapters on non-rotating stars are sufficient to be their own smaller book. Shapiro & Teukolsky (1983) covers the compact remnants of stars: black holes, white dwarfs and neutron stars (the name of the book). Though it's not really my area, I think it's a fairly definitive (though maybe now a bit old) text.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much, I've taken a look to those notes and they seem very solid options to learn about this subject. I'll read them more deeply. The answer is very useful and complete. (Also, the upvote will show when I get enough reputation, I'm new to this site, sorry). $\endgroup$ – Javier Nov 17 '15 at 21:29

Something like Hansen, Kawaler & Trimble "Stellar interiors" will do, if your interest is in stellar evolution.


If, instead, you are looking for something more on resolved stellar populations, then it's probably useless.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. Could you explain why you recommend it? In which way is it better than others? About the topic, yes, I'm more interested in evolution than in populations. $\endgroup$ – Javier Oct 22 '15 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ So I don't actually have much experience with other books, as I'm not exactly in the field. I've used it for a couple of courses for the Bachelor & Master and I found it useful in such it gets very detailed when dealing with the equations of stellar interiors (e.g., chap 4-7). But again, I've not actually a lot of experience in stellar evolution. $\endgroup$ – lposti Oct 22 '15 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ I have read the index and it seems that it is a very complete book, with long (and possibly detailed) explanations, so it seems like a solid book. Unfortunately, there are no copies of the book on my university library. Do you or anyone know of another good book for this field? $\endgroup$ – Javier Oct 23 '15 at 10:51

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