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Late stages of stars, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts

In this course you will study fundamental processes governing the final stages of the stellar life cycle, and how some stars end as supernova explosions and gamma-ray bursts.

Supernova 1987A. Image credit: ALMA: ESO/NAOJ/NRAO/A. Angelich; Hubble: NASA, ESA, R. Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) and P. Challis (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics); Chandra: NASA/CXC/Penn State/K. Frank et al.

Through this course you will develop an understanding of the fundamental processes governing the evolution of stars in their dramatic late stages. While the sun and other light stars only burn hydrogen and helium, and end as white dwarfs, more massive stars continue nuclear fusion until an iron core is formed. You will learn what such stars look like, and what different outcomes are possible once the nuclear fuel is eventually exhausted. This depends on a variety of physical processes such as how the star loses mass by stellar winds, and how neutrinos first cool and then sometimes explode the core. You will study how different elements are made in supernova explosions and gamma-ray bursts, and how neutron stars and black holes are born.

  • Course structure

    This is an advanced level course, given at 50% pace. It can be taken as part of the Master’s program in Astronomy or as a free-standing course.

    Teaching format

    Lectures and exercises/computer laborations.

    Lecturer: Anders Jerkstrand


    Written exercises, seminars and reports.


    Peter Lundqvist

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Course literature: Material will be made available through the course page
    in Athena or handed out during lectures.

  • Contact

    The student office and academic advisor can be reached via