Old Stellar Populations. How to Study the Fossil Record of Galaxy Formation

  • ID: 2329442
  • Book
  • 538 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The book presents and discusses in depth a wide range of theoretical tools to decode the information gathered from photometric and spectroscopic observations of old stellar populations. These systems are the fossil record of galaxy formation and early evolution, and provide invaluable insights into the development of cosmic structures and the universe as a whole. The book starts with a detailed and up–to–date treatment of the evolution of low–mass stars, followed by a comprehensive discussion of a broad range of techniques to determine ages and initial chemical compositions – and more in general star formation histories – of resolved and unresolved old stellar systems. An extensive list of references is provided, together with examples of recent advances in our knowledge of the evolution of old stellar populations. A particularly representative case is the recent discovery of multiple stellar populations in Galactic globular clusters – one of the hottest topics in stellar and Galactic astrophysics – that is discussed in detail.
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1. Introduction

1.1. The Problem of Galaxy Formation

1.2. Decoding the Fossil Record: Photometric and Spectroscopic Diagnostics

1.3. Decoding the Fossil Record: The Tools

1.4. Low–Mass Stars

2. Physical Processes in Low–mass Stars

2.1. Basic Equations

2.2. Thermodynamics of Low–Mass Stars

2.3. Energy Production and Nucleosynthesis

2.4. Radiation and Conduction

2.5. Convection

2.6. Atmospheric Structure

2.7. Mass Loss

2.8. Atomic Diffusion

2.9. Rotation and Rotational Mixing

2.10. Additional Processes

3. Early Evolution

3.1. Overview

3.2. Early Nuclear Burnings

3.3. Hayashi Track and Convection

3.3. Lithium Depletion Boundary

3.4. Gyrochronology

4. Hydrogen Burning Stages

4.1. Overview

4.2. Very Low–Mass Stars

4.3. The Main Sequence: Stars with Radiative Cores

4.4. The Main Sequence: Stars with Convective Cores

4.5. Chemical Evolution along the Main Sequence

4.6. The Standard Solar Model

4.7. Blue Stragglers and SX Phoenicis Stars

4.8. Subgiant Branch Evolution

4.9. Red Giant Branch Evolution

4.10. Main Sequence and Red Giant Branch Isochrones

5. Helium Burning Stages

5.1. Overview

5.2. Semiconvection and Overshooting

5.3. The Horizontal Branch

5.4. Instability Strip

5.5. The Red Clump

5.6. Hot Flashers

5.7. The Effect of Diffusion, Rotation and Mass Loss

6. Double Shell Burning Stage

6.1. Overview

6.2. Early AGB Phase

6.3. Thermal Pulses

6.4. Nucleosynthesis

6.5. Evolution of Surface Chemical Abundances

6.6. Calibration of AGB Models

6.7. Synthetic AGB Models

6.8. Long Period Variables

6.9. Nucleochronolgy

6.10. Post–AGB Evolution

7. White Dwarf Sequences

7.1. Overview

7.2. Structure and Energy Budget

7.3. From Formation to Crystallization

7.4. Crystallization and Beyond

7.5. Properties of White Dwarf Isochrones

7.6. HE–Core White Dwarfs

8. Old Populations in the Galaxy

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Galactic Globular Clusters

8.3. Globular Cluster Distances

8.4. Globular Cluster Ages

8.5. Estimates of Cosmological HE

8.6. Multipopulations in Globular Clusters

8.7. Halo Field Star Ages

8.8. Ultra Metal Poor Halo Stars

8.9. Old Open Clusters

8.10. Old Open Clusters Ages

8.11. Eclipsing Binary Systems: Ages and Distances of Star Clusters

9. Resolved old Systems in the Local Group

9.1. Introduction

9.2. Magellanic Clouds Clusters

9.3. Globular Clusters in M31

9.4. Star Formation Histories of Dwarf Galaxies

10. Unresolved Old Systems

10.1. Introduction

10.2. Low Resolution Diagnostics

10.3. High Resolution Diagnostics

10.4. Extragalactic Globular Clusters

10.5. Elliptical Galaxies and Bulges
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Santi Cassisi received his degree in physics from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1991. He then spent a year at the Astronomical Observatory of Meudon–Paris, France, followed by a PhD–fellowship at the University of L′Aquila, Italy, from 1995 to 1997. In 1998, he accepted a post as staff researcher at the Collurania–Teramo–Observatory, a research unit of INAF. He currently holds a position as associate professor at the same institution. Professor Cassisi′s research focuses on theoretical stellar evolution and its application to the study of both galactic and extra–galactic stellar populations. He has authored about 210 scientific papers, 115 of them in peer–reviewed journals, and a monograph.

Maurizio Salaris studied physics at the University of Rome ′La Sapienza′, and then worked at the Collurania–Teramo–Observatory, Italy, the Institut d′Estudis Espacials de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, and the Astrophysics Research Institute of the Liverpool John Moores University, UK, where he currently holds the post of Professor of Stellar Astrophysics. He has published about 150 papers in peer–reviewed journals and books, plus a monograph, co–authored by Santi Cassisi. Professor Salaris′s scientific work focuses on theoretical stellar evolution, stellar population synthesis models, and the interpretation of photometric and spectroscopic observations of Galactic and extragalactic stellar populations.
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