Contraction to ignition or ignominy (due Mar 11)

Contraction using MESA

If you haven't done so already, download and install mesa, and run the test cases.

Now first we follow suggestions made for the MESA summer school: take inlist_first_things_to_try and run some pre-main-sequence experiments (adapted from the ones suggested by Kevin Moore who in turn adapted them from Bildsten's ``Stars with Lars'' class; please check the link for tips on how to get MESA to run this).

  1. Turn off nuclear reactions and let MESA evolve the star for a range of masses (say 0.06 to $6 Mo$, with maybe 5 logarithmically spaced steps). What happens? Why do some continue to contract while others do not? What is the limiting mass? Plot HR diagrammes as well as tracks of central density and temperature. Make a table with relevant properties (e.g., maximum temperature, if any, maximum density).
  2. Turn on nuclear fusion, and repeat (stopping when nuclear fusion has started, if it does). Determine the limiting mass for ignition.
  3. Change abundances to pure He, C, O, Si, and Fe, and repeat 1 and 2.
  4. Discuss your results physically. It may help to check KW2, chapters 28 (on contraction) and 23 (on other main sequences).

Note: On purpose, this problem set is much more open-ended than the previous one. However, you should not have to spend more time. I encourage you to work together (but write up separately if you want a separate grade).

Author: Marten van Kerkwijk <>

Date: 2013-02-25 22:45:53 EST

HTML generated by org-mode 6.33x in emacs 23