The Structure, Stability, and Dynamics
of Self-Gravitating Systems

Fall Semester, 1997
Project #1

Arthur Thomason

Rotating, Isothermal Equilibria

Assignment (by J.E. Tohline):

Present a clear discussion of the equilibrium structure of nonrotating, zero-temperature white dwarfs. The presentation should be in an HTML format, similar to the presentation that already has been developed in the context of Spherical Polytropes, but use a degenerate gas equation of state that is relevant to zero-temperature white dwarfs, rather than a polytropic equation of state.

More specifically, after you derive the set of equations that must be solved in order to determine the equilibrium structure of spherical white dwarfs, you should choose one of the following two tasks:

  1. Write a numerical algorithm that will solve the set of equations for a variety of white dwarf masses, then present a discussion of your numerical model results for two or three example cases (eg., M = 0.5, 1.0, and 1.3 solar masses); or

  2. Present a derivation of the zero-temperature, white dwarf equation of state then, after simply reviewing the published literature on this subject, describe the properties of spherical white dwarfs that have a variety of different masses and explain the origin of the "Chandrasekhar mass limit."

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