Living Reviews in Solar Physics: "Solar structure and evolution"

© SpringerChristensen-Dalsgaard, J. Solar structure and evolution. Living Rev Sol Phys 18, 2 (2021).

Open Access | Review Article

Published: 26 April 2021


The Sun provides a critical benchmark for the general study of stellar structure and evolution. Also, knowledge about the internal properties of the Sun is important for the understanding of solar atmospheric phenomena, including the solar magnetic cycle. Here I provide a brief overview of the theory of stellar structure and evolution, including the physical processes and parameters that are involved. This is followed by a discussion of solar evolution, extending from the birth to the latest stages. As a background for the interpretation of observations related to the solar interior I provide a rather extensive analysis of the sensitivity of solar models to the assumptions underlying their calculation. I then discuss the detailed information about the solar interior that has become available through helioseismic investigations and the detection of solar neutrinos, with further constraints provided by the observed abundances of the lightest elements. Revisions in the determination of the solar surface abundances have led to increased discrepancies, discussed in some detail, between the observational inferences and solar models. I finally briefly address the relation of the Sun to other similar stars and the prospects for asteroseismic investigations of stellar structure and evolution.