Stellar Astrophysics

Stellar astronomy and astrophysics have a long tradition at Princeton, inaugurated by the pioneering work of Martin Schwarzschild and Bohdan Paczynski in the early years of detailed stellar modeling. The Department maintains this tradition and conducts cutting-edge research across a broad spectrum of modern topics. These include supernova theory (Burrows), compact objects, such as neutron stars, pulsars, magnetars, and black holes (Burrows, Goodman, Spitkovsky), star formation (Draine, Kunz, Ostriker, Stone), the stellar IMF (Ostriker), gamma-ray bursters (Goodman, Spitkovsky), X-ray bursters (Spitkovsky), brown dwarfs (Burrows, Knapp), white dwarfs (Knapp), and astrophysical disks (Draine, Goodman, Kunz, Spitkovsky, Stone).

Observational programs employ the Subaru, Apache-Point, MMT, Hubble, JWST, Spitzer, Chandra, and Magellan telescopes and data, and make extensive use of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which Princeton astronomers conceived and developed, and of the Vera Rubin Observatory/LSST. Theoretical projects involve simulations of disk, atmosphere, magnetospheric, plasma, and explosive phenomena, using state-of-the-art computational and modeling tools, detailed physical models, and high-performance computers. Many of the numerical simulations are performed on the Princeton supercomputer clusters of the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE) and at NSF and DOE National supercomputer centers. 

We maintain strong connections and collaborations with, among many others, the Department of Physics, the School of Natural Sciences of the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Program in Applied and Comptutational Mathematics (PACM) of the Princeton Department of Mathematics. Moreover, there are strong links with the various research programs at Princeton studying Planets and Exoplanets.

Department faculty members with major research interests in stellar astrophysics:

Adam Burrows


Bruce Draine


Jeremy Goodman


Gillian Knapp


Eliot Quataert


Anatoly Spitkovsky


James Stone