Rick's Cosmology Tutorial: Appendix B2 Abstract

The Coulomb Energy of an Ellipsoidal Distribution of Charge

Chapter 9 of the Critique of the Cosmic Coincidences considers the stability of nuclei. One of the potential instabilities that was considered was instability to a change in shape. The argument required the Coulomb energy for an ellipsoidal distribution of charge - since this represents a perturbation on a spherically symmetric distribution. This is derived from first principles here.

Read Appendix B1: The Entropy of a Collapsing Gas Cloud

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Star Cluster R136 (30 Doradus Nebula, aka the Tarantula Nebula, in our neighbouring galaxy, the Larger Magellanic Cloud, 170,000 light-years away): A huge cluster of the largest, hottest, most massive stars known, captured in visible light (Hubble Wide Field Camera). Gas and dust clouds have been sculpted into elongated shapes by powerful winds and ultraviolet radiation from these hot cluster stars. [Credit: NASA,ESA, F.Paresce(INAF-IASF), R.O'Connell (U. Virginia),HST WFC3 Science Oversight Committee].