Foundations of Physics

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 223–269 | Cite as

Thermodynamics of Self-Gravitating Systems

  • Joseph Katz


This work assembles some basic theoretical elements on thermal equilibrium, stability conditions, and fluctuation theory in self-gravitating systems illustrated with a few examples. Thermodynamics deals with states that have settled down after sufficient time has gone by. Time dependent phenomena are beyond the scope of this paper. While thermodynamics is firmly rooted in statistical physics, equilibrium configurations, stability criteria and the destabilizing effect of fluctuations are all expressed in terms of thermodynamic functions. The work is not a review paper but a pedagogical introduction which may interest theoreticians in astronomy and astrophysicists. It contains sufficient mathematical details for the reader to redo all calculations. References are only to seminal works or readable reviews. Delicate mathematical problems are mentioned but are not discussed in detail.

gravity thermodynamics of non-extensive systems statistical mechanics with long range forces 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Katz
    • 1
  1. 1.The Racah Institute of PhysicsGivat RamJerusalemIsrael

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