MESA Stellar Evolution Movies
In the past, I've taught the Astro 310 course (Introduction to Stellar Astrophysics) with the help of movies that animate the evolution of stars of various masses. These movies have been very successful in conveying key aspects of main-sequence and RGB stellar evolution; however, they are based on models created using EZ-Web, and are therefore increasingly unreliable beyond the onset of helium burning. (The helium flash is fudged in low-mass stars, and in high-mass stars the evolution has to be stopped during carbon burning).
Given that MESA is now my preferred way to calculate stellar models, and given that I've finally weaned myself off IDL and onto Python, I thought it time to update the movies.
The table below contains links to the "best-so-far" set of MESA-based movies I've created. Blanks in the table are partly deliberate (e.g., massive stars don't undergo helium flashes) and partly due to the fact that I'm still generating movies (which take a surprisingly long time to render). Please note that the already-extant movies are themselves a work-in-progress, and will change as I update movies with additional info, snazzier graphics, better axis scaling, etc.
|Mass (M☉)||Main Sequence||Red-Giant Branch||Helium Flash||Helium Burning||Asypmtotic Giant Branch|
|0.3||EOS Composition Energy|
|1.0||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy|
|3.0||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy|
|10.0||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy||EOS Composition Energy|
The 'EOS' links are to movies showing the equation-of-state variables (P, ρ, T and μ); the 'Composition' links are to movies showing the composition (X, Y and CNO mass fractions); and the 'Energy' links are to movies showing the energy generation (PP, CNO, triple α).