The New Cosmos pp 249-259 | Cite as

Internal Constitution and Energy Generation of Stars

  • Albrecht Unsöld
Part of the Heidelberg Science Library book series (HSL)


As long ago as 1913 H. N. Russell was convinced as to the significance of his diagram for the study of stellar evolution. However, the interpretation of the diagram, and therewith a theory of stellar evolution based on observation, first became possible in conjunction with the study of the internal constitution of the stars. The older work of J. H. Lane (1870), A. Ritter (1878–89), R. Emden (whose Gaskugeln appeared in 1907) and others could be based essentially only upon classical thermodynamics. A. S. Eddington then succeeded in combining their results with the theory of radiative equilibrium and with the Bohr theory of atomic structure, which had meanwhile been developed. His book The internal constitution of the stars (Cambridge, 1926) formed the prelude to the whole development of modern astrophysics. We can grasp the basic ideas of Eddington’s theory with only a very modest use of mathematics:


Energy Generation Helium Atom Stellar Evolution Internal Constitution Stellar Cluster 
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  1. Chandrasekhar, S.: An introduction to the study of stellar structure. Chicago Univ. Press 1939, also New York: Dover 1957.Google Scholar
  2. Eddington, A. S.: The internal constitution of the stars. Cambridge Univ. Press 1926, also New York: Dover 1959.Google Scholar
  3. Schwarzschild, M.: Structure and evolution of the stars. Princeton Univ. Press 1958, also New York: Dover. Les Processus nucléaires dans les astres. Col. Internat. d’Astrophysique Liége 1953.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albrecht Unsöld
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Theoretical Physics and University ObservatoryKielGermany

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