Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA)

Bill Paxton, Lars Bildsten, Aaron Dotter, Falk Herwig, Pierre Lesaffre, Francis Timmes

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470 Scopus citations

Abstract

Stellar physics and evolution calculations enable a broad range of research in astrophysics. Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) is a suite of open source, robust, efficient, thread-safe libraries for a wide range of applications in computational stellar astrophysics. A one-dimensional stellar evolution module, MESA star, combines many of the numerical and physics modules for simulations of a wide range of stellar evolution scenarios ranging from very low mass to massive stars, including advanced evolutionary phases. MESA star solves the fully coupled structure and composition equations simultaneously. It uses adaptive mesh refinement and sophisticated timestep controls, and supports shared memory parallelism based on OpenMP. State-of-the-art modules provide equation of state, opacity, nuclear reaction rates, element diffusion data, and atmosphere boundary conditions. Each module is constructed as a separate Fortran 95 library with its own explicitly defined public interface to facilitate independent development. Several detailed examples indicate the extensive verification and testing that is continuously performed and demonstrate the wide range of capabilities that MESA possesses. These examples include evolutionary tracks of very low mass stars, brown dwarfs, and gas giant planets to very old ages; the complete evolutionary track of a 1 M star from the pre-main sequence (PMS) to a cooling white dwarf; the solar sound speed profile; the evolution of intermediate-mass stars through the He-core burning phase and thermal pulses on the He-shell burning asymptotic giant branch phase; the interior structure of slowly pulsating B Stars and Beta Cepheids; the complete evolutionary tracks of massive stars from the PMS to the onset of core collapse; mass transfer from stars undergoing Roche lobe overflow; and the evolution of helium accretion onto a neutron star. MESA can be downloaded from the project Web site (http://mesa.sourceforge.net/).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Volume192
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

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Keywords

  • Methods: numerical
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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