Spherically symmetric solutions in relativistic astrophysics.
In this thesis we study classes of static spherically symmetric spacetimes admitting a perfect fluid source, electromagnetic fields and anisotropic pressures. Our intention is to generate exact solutions that model the interior of dense, relativistic stars. We find a sufficient condition for the existence of series solutions to the condition of pressure isotropy for neutral isolated spheres. The existence of a series solution is demonstrated by the method of Frobenius. With the help of MATHEMATICA (Wolfram 1991) we recovered the Tolman VII model for a quadratic gravitational potential, but failed to obtain other known classes of solution. This establishes the weakness, in certain instances, of symbolic manipulation software to extract series solutions from differential equations. For a cubic potential, we obtained a new series solution to the Einstein field equations describing neutral stars. The gravitational and thermodynamic variables are non-singular and continuous. This model also satisfies the important barotropic equation of state p = p(p). Two new exact solutions to the Einstein-Maxwell system, that generalise previous results for uncharged stars, were also found. The first of these generalises the solution of Maharaj and Mkhwanazi (1996), and has well-behaved matter and curvature variables. The second solution reduces to the Durgapal and Bannerji (1983) model in the uncharged limit; this new result may only serve as a toy model for quark stars because of negative energy densities. In both examples we observe that the solutions may be expressed in terms of hypergeometric and elementary functions; this indicates the possibility of unifying isolated solutions under the hypergeometric equation. We also briefly study compact stars with spheroidal geometry, that may be charged or admit anisotropic pressure distributions. The adapted forms of the pressure isotropy condition can be written as a harmonic oscillator equation. Two simple examples are presented.