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Solar structure and evolution

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisReviewForskningpeer review


The Sun provides a critical benchmark for the general study of stellar structure and evolution. Also, knowledge about the internal properties of the Sun is important for the understanding of solar atmospheric phenomena, including the solar magnetic cycle. Here I provide a brief overview of the theory of stellar structure and evolution, including the physical processes and parameters that are involved. This is followed by a discussion of solar evolution, extending from the birth to the latest stages. As a background for the interpretation of observations related to the solar interior I provide a rather extensive analysis of the sensitivity of solar models to the assumptions underlying their calculation. I then discuss the detailed information about the solar interior that has become available through helioseismic investigations and the detection of solar neutrinos, with further constraints provided by the observed abundances of the lightest elements. Revisions in the determination of the solar surface abundances have led to increased discrepancies, discussed in some detail, between the observational inferences and solar models. I finally briefly address the relation of the Sun to other similar stars and the prospects for asteroseismic investigations of stellar structure and evolution.

TidsskriftLiving reviews in solar physics
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
I am very grateful to Douglas Gough for introducing me, as his PhD student, to stellar structure and evolution and involving me in the development of helioseismology, thus forming the basis for this review. Many colleagues have contributed through discussions or specific contributions to the writing of the review, and the following will unavoidably be an incomplete list. I am grateful to Werner Däppen and Regner Trampedach for discussions on the equation of state and the opacity, and to H. M. Antia for the data illustrated in Fig. . Günter Houdek is thanked for extensive discussions on the effects of convection on pulsations and Nick Featherstone for contributing the result on large-scale hydrodynamical simulations in Fig. . I thank Sarbani Basu for fruitful collaboration on solar structure inversions and for contributing the data shown in Fig. . Rachel Howe is thanked for collaboration over many years on helioseismic analysis of solar rotation, and for providing Fig. , and Roger Ulrich is thanked for a useful correspondence on solar torsional oscillations. I thank Tami Rogers for interesting discussions on the transport of angular momentum in the solar interior, and Travis Metcalfe and Jen van Saders for discussions on gyrochronology. Remo Collet and Poul Erik Nissen are thanked for useful discussions on the solar composition, and Bengt Gustafsson is thanked for valuable insight into the issues of the composition of solar twins. I thank Kai Zuber for organizing the 5th International Solar Neutrino Conference, Dresden, and for inviting me to give a talk there; this provided a great deal of information and inspiration on the study of solar neutrinos. I am grateful to Günter Houdek and Werner Däppen for providing the equation of state and opacity packages used in the solar-model calculations and to Maria Pia Di Mauro for providing the helioseismic structure inversion code that has been used extensively here. Aldo Serenelli and Francesco Villante are thanked for helpful discussions on solar modelling, particularly the neutrino aspects, and for contributing Figs. , , and , and I thank Aldo Ianni and Serenelli for providing Fig. and Serenelli for providing Fig. . I thank Gaël Buldgen for providing Fig. and Joyce Guzik and Katie Mussack for discussions on solar mass loss, and for contributing the information used in Figs. and . I am grateful to Achim Weiss for discussions on general stellar evolution, in particular the helium flash, and to Andrea Miglio for contributing the results shown in Fig. . Finally, Achim Weiss, Günter Houdek, Gaël Buldgen, Vladimir Baturin and the anonymous referee are thanked for reading and providing very valuable comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Funding for the Stellar Astrophysics Centre is provided by the Danish National Research Foundation (Grant DNRF106).

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© 2021, The Author(s).

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