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

Joel E. Tohline
Pete Nelson

Special Features of the Book

In several main pages of the book, one may find "advertisements" in the lower left frame of the page that link to some of the book's special features such as movies or VRML simulations. These are the features that make this on-line textbook so much more fascinating than the average printed book. Below is a table that summarizes all of the book's special features. Click the image in the table to try an example of each.

Java Applications
This java animation sequence, co-created by Parker Altice, is an attempt to really make Chandrasekhar's EFE diagrams come to life. It permits the reader to construct their own incompressible ellipsoid of arbitrary axis ratio. As an added bonus, a 3D VRML model can be created from the spinning 2D ellipsoidal cross-section. Note that to view the VRML model, a VRML 2.0 plug-in is required.
VRML Simulations
Through the following application, you may construct a three-dimensional, VRML "image" of any triaxial ellipsoid. Note that this application requires a VRML 1.0 plug-in to view the 3D model. If you don't have a plug-in of this type and your browser fails locate a website where you can download one, then check out this VRML site.
HSCF Simulations
This application uses the Hachisu Self-Consistent-Field, or HSCF, technique. We have found the HSCF technique to be an extremely powerful tool for constructing equilibrium configurations of self-gravitating fluid systems under a wide variety of different circumstances.
Mathematica Applications
The following application, developed originally by David Sherfesee, permits one to determine the gradient of virtually any analytically expressible scalar function G(x), in any of a number of different orthogonal coordinate systems, utilizing the symbolic manipulation capabilities of Mathematica©. Several other utilizations of Mathematica© exist throughout the book.
Movies
This links to an index page of several MPEG and Quicktime movies produced by LSU's Astrophysics Theory Group. Many of these movies were created using our Heterogeneous Computing Environment at the NSF-sponsored San Diego Supercomputing Center and the DoD's NAVOCEANO Major Shared Resource Center in Stennis, MS. It is our goal to soon incorporate these movie creations into the textbook. Your browser should be equipped with a plug-in to view these movies, but if not, you may want to check out this download site at Apple.
"Computer In Physics" Article
This book made the cover of the 1998 July/August issue of the American Institute of Physics' "Computers in Physics" magazine. Here is a link to a PDF format copy of the article, which was written by Mark Becker and can be found on pages 320-321 in Vol.12, No.4 issue of the magazine.
Search Index
This (WebSearch 1.11) search engine, designed by Darryl Burgdorf, has been designed to search through every page of this online textbook. It searches only the pages of this book and, thereby, serves as an excellent, complete index for the book.
Pop-Up Equations
A "Pop-Up" equation feature (script by Ray Stott) is provided to make cross-referencing mathematical expressions in the book more practical. Every time an equation reappears in the book, it is in maroon and can be clicked to produce the original equation in a smaller "pop-up" window, while leaving the current page of text in tact. This eliminates flipping back to an earlier chapter to locate and define a previous equation. To try it out, click the following: [Equation I.C.1]
Numeric Chart Generator
Through the following application, you may construct a table that details the properties of models along the Maclaurin spheroid sequence for any chosen range of spheroid eccentricities. This application quickly computes the desired spheroid model for the reader, who normally, when using a printed textbook, would have to use printed charts and perform long calculations by hand to solve for the same properties.
Homework Q and A
A feature scattered throughout the book is a group of interactive homework questions. After coming across one of these questions in a chapter, the reader can attempt to solve the problem by hand. Then, by clicking the "Answer" button, the reader is linked to a step-by-step solution to the problem. This eliminates having to "flip" through pages to find the answer elsewhere in the book. Also, the aforementioned Mathematica applications are provided in many of the homework problems to assist in creating a solution.
PDF Files
Many html pages of the book are also accessible in PDF format. This format allows the reader to print the viewed page exactly as it is seen on the screen. This prevents browser/printer incompatibilities that often cause the printed copy to appear significantly different than how the author intended the page to look. The PDF format also allows the Greek symbols in this book to be viewed and printed correctly from any platform. If a particular page in this book contains a PDF version, a link to the file will be located at the top header of that page. Click for an example.
Contents Frames
A frame system has been designed so that one can navigate through the book as easily as possible. A small frame located on the left side of most of the book's pages serves as an abbreviated table of contents. Within this contents-frame are links to the main sections of the book and to the subheadings of the section that the reader is currently in. As one gets farther along in a section, the contents frame shrinks so that only a vertical, turquoise title-bar can be seen. All one has to do, however, is drag the narrow frame wider to expose the hidden table of contents.


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