The stellar populations of galaxies contain a wealth of detailed information. From the youngest, most massive stars, to almost invisible remnants, the history of star formation is encoded in the stars that make up a galaxy. Extracting some, or all, of this information has long been a goal of stellar population studies. This was achieved in the last couple of decades and it is now a routine task, which forms a crucial ingredient in much of observational galaxy evolution, from our Galaxy out to the most distant systems found. In many of these domains we are now limited not by sample size, but by systematic uncertainties and this will increasingly be the case in the future.The aim of this review is to outline the challenges faced by stellar population studies in the coming decade within the context of upcoming observational facilities. I will highlight the need to better understand the near-IR spectral range and outline the difficulties presented by less well understood phases of stellar evolution such as thermally pulsing AGB stars, horizontal branch stars and the very first stars. The influence of rotation and binarity on stellar population modelling is also briefly discussed.
Stellar Populations - Planning for the Next Decade
- Pub Date:
- April 2010
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Plenary review talk at IAU GA in Rio de Janeiro to be published in the proceedings of IAU Symposium 262. Movies and talk slides available at http://www.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~jarle/IAU09