Stellar Evolution

This World Wide Web page written by Dan Styer, Oberlin College Physics Department;;
last updated 7 November 2000.

Stellar evolution can be simulated on MS-DOS/MS-Windows computers using a program called StarClock 2.0. The author of this program, Leos Ondra, has generously made it available for free. It can be downloaded from the WWW site

The program was written in 1996, so its interface does not adhere to today's expectations. For example, it does not use a mouse. It is nevertheless far more valuable than several more recent programs that emphasize glitz over substance.

To run Star Clock on a Pentium computer, first slow it down. Use the cursor keys to highlight "Delay", then set the delay time to 25 ms.

Start the simulation by typing "R" (for "Run"). After the stars of 5 solar masses have burned out, the action comes pretty slowly. To go into "fast forward", hit "R", use the cursor keys to highligh "Step", and change the step size to 100 ky (100 thousand years). To resume, hit "R" again.

After the stars of 2 solar masses have burned out, repeat this process to change the step time to 1000 ky.