Stellar Evolution Links

General Stellar Evolution

  • APOD Index has categories on the different types of stars, clusters and galaxies with useful descriptions from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site.
  • ASTR 103: Stars-Hertzsprung Russell Diagram has a useful summary of the properties of different star types and statistics on the relative number of each type plus their ranges in various characteristics.\
  • Skyserver - The Hertzsprung Russell Diagram is an excellent section of the SDSS Skyserver education site dealing with the HR diagram. It tackles all the required concepts including bright stars, clusters, age and evolution. Well written wwith logical development of concepts.
  • Star Formation, Life, and Death provides a concise, illustrated overview of the key stages in the lives of stars.
  • Stellar Evolution and Death provides a useful set of pages describing in summary form, the key stages in the life and death of stars. It is part of NASA's Observatorium site.
  • The boisterous life of stars is a set of pages describing the stages in the life of a star. It has several pages pages focusing on black holes and neutron stars. Lots of useful diagrams.
  • The Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram is a concise page from UC San Diego explaining the key concepts in the HR diagram.
  • The Life and Times of Stars is a useful, illustrated pdf document summarising stellar evolution. Aimed at non-science US university students.
  • The Natures of the Stars is a useful one-page overview of key features of stars and their properties by James Kaler.

Star Formation

  • Ka Chun's Star Formation Page is an excellent annotated and detailed set of links on star formation.
  • Nebulae and Star Formation is a set of descriptions and annotated links to images of nebulae and star formation.
  • Origins: Star Formation provdes a concise account in general terms of how the first stars formed then how stars such as our Sun form. Part of NASA's Origin site.
  • Science magazine special issue on Star Formation has the 4 January 2002 issue of the prestigious US magazine online. It has review and research articles on aspects of star formation.
  • Star Formation is a page detailing star formation in the Orion KL structure. It has images at different wavebands and several animations showing cloud collapse and an astronomer discussing the processes.
  • Star Formation; The Interstellar Medium is a useful set of lecture notes from Queen's University in Canada that focuses on the properties and role of the interstellar medium in star formation. It also discusses the impact of dust on reddening and in nebulae.
  • The INFRARED UNIVERSE - Star Formation, part of NASA's IPAC site provides a concise, well illustrated account of how stars form. Most of the images show the role of infrared astronomy in unlocking the secrets of starbirth.
  • UK Astrophysics Fluid Facility has a an excellent section on supercomputing modelling of the formation of stars and brown dwarfs in a star cluster. It has large animation files and individual images that show the collapse of a 50 solar mass molecular cloud into a cluster of stars.

Main Sequence Stars & Nucleosynthesis

Post Main Sequence Stars and Star Death

  • An Introduction to Pulsars is another section of this ATNF Outreach site that provides a clear description of pulsars, their discovery, properties and ongoing research. Links to further information are also given.
  • Cambridge Physics - Discovery of Pulsars is an excellent site with ten pages explaining how pulsars were discovered at Cambridge. It uses animations to effectively convey many of the concepts behind pulsars.
  • Planetary Nebulae is a SEDS site with details and extensive links on planetary nebulae. Links are also provided to the SEDS pages on SNRs, diffuse nebulae and dark nebulae.
  • Supernova is part of NASA's HEASARC website that provides images and animations of supernovae, pulsars and black holes. There are extensive links to many aspects of high-energy astrophysics.
  • Supernova and Supernova Remnant Pages on the WWW provides and extensive, categorised list of links to both professional and amateur astronomy pages and observers.
  • Supernova Cosmology Project is the homepage for one of the projects that observed supernovae at cosmologial distances and found evidence to suggest that the Universe is accelerating.
  • Supernovae, part of NASA's Imagine the Universe education site has a concise, clear explanation of the types of supernovae, their causes and what happens to the ejected material and the remnant core.
  • The High-Z SN Search Public Page provides useful descriptions, facts and figures about the SN project that found evidence for an accelerating Universe. It is written for the public and has useful diagrams and clear explanations of supernovae and the implications of the team's research.
  • When supernovae go hyper: A mystery surrounds an exploding star describes the story behind the discovery of the first hypernovae and its linkage with GRBs.


  • Open Star Clusters is the SEDS site with details and extensive links to other related sites. There is a matching page on Globular Clusters.
  • Star Clusters provides a clear explanation of the types of clusters, their properties and how to determine cluster ages. There is an effective animation illustrating the evolution of stars off the main sequence on an HR diagram. It also discusses pulsating variable stars.
  • The Globular Cluster Page actually is an extensive site with many pages on various aspects of globular clusters. It contains an image gallery.

Catalogs & Sources of Star Data

Applets, Activities and Software

  • Cluster Color-Magnitude Diagrams and the Age of Stars provides colour indices and magnitude data for the Pleiades and 47 Tuc, a globular cluster so that you can plot colour-magnitude diagrams and determine cluster ages.
  • How old is Sunlight? has a simple pen and paper activity in a pdf file that guides you through calculations for the random walk of photons from the Sun's core. Part of NASA's Image Poetry (Public Outreach, Education, Taeching and Reaching Youth) site.
  • HR Applet (© McGraw Hill) is an online applet showing stellar evolution on the HR diagram. You can specify a star's parameters and watch it evolve. An evolutionary track is plotted. The site has accompanying explanations and background information.
  • HR Diagram is an exercise that you can print out. It provides background theory and tables of bright and nearby stars for you to plot on the accompanying HR plot and frequency plot.
  • HR Diagram Simulator allows you to place 1, 10 or 100 stars on the main sequence then compare their evolution off the main sequence either in steps or as a movie. Useful for demonstrating the concept of ZAMS.
  • Life Cycles of Stars (Grades 9-12), part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site, allows you to download a pdf booklet with a number of activities related to stellar evolution.
  • Properties of Stars allows to examine the properties of several stars using a virtual observatory then explore some of the evolutionary stages. An excellent activity with high quality graphics and pedagogy from University of New Mexico.
  • Star Clusters is another detailed activity from University of New Mexico where you find the distance to star clusters then use them to explore stellar evolution and the ages of stars. Excellent graphics and development of concepts. Useful for understanding the concept of ZAMS and spectroscopic parallax.
  • Stellar Evolution Applet , from Victoria University in Canada allows you to compare evolutionary tracks off the main sequence for stars of different masses and metallicities.
  • Stellar Evolution Simulation from Cornell allows you to alter the mass of a star and see how this affects its evolutionary track from the main sequence onwards. The results are plotted on a luminosity/temperature HR diagram in time steps with representations of star size. It comes with a useful set of instructions. Highly recommended.
  • Stellar Evolutionary Tracks is another Java applet.
  • Stellar Parameters is an excellent tool, part of the ClassAction Interactive Materials for Introductory Astronomy at the University of Nebraska. Clickon the link to the Stellar Parameters page to run the module from the web or download a zipped version to run on your owbn computer. The module uses Flash simulations to investigate the distance modulus, stellar velocity, parallax, spectroscopic parallax, luminosity, flux and the HR Diagram. It also contains a quiz, images, tables and an outline of each concept. You can also download an Instructors manual. An excellent resource.