The asymptotic giant branch (AGB) evolution of stars is interesting from many points of view. It is the final evolutionary phase for the large majority of all stars in the Universe that have left the main sequence. During this stage they contribute to the chemical evolution of galaxies, contribute to the integrated starlight of many galaxies, may provide the only interstellar matter there is in some galaxies, and can, due to their high luminosities and ages, be used as important probes of galactic structure and dynamics. It is also the final evolutionary stage of our own star, the Sun, and hence touches on aspects beyond the immediate astronomical interest. Furthermore, these stars provide us with fascinating systems, where intricate interplays between physical and chemical processes take place, that we simply would like to understand. In this introductory outline our present knowledge of the AGB-star phenomenon is reviewed.
Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars
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