Figure: The Hourglass Nebula (Credit: R. Sahai & J. Trauger (JPL), the WFPC2 science team, NASA).

Stellar evolution describes the way in which the physical, chemical and structural properties of a star change throughout its lifetime. Low-mass stars, like our Sun, spend thousands of millions of years apparently unchanging, although the hydrogen in their interior is being slowly converted into helium. These stars will end their lives as slowly cooling white dwarfs. Much more massive stars live only a few million years before exploding as supernovae, leaving behind a compact remnant such as a neutron star or black hole.

Current work in this area by IRyA researchers includes:

  • Multiwavelength observations of planetary nebulae: infrared, optical, UV and X-ray.
  • Kinematics and structure of planetary nebulae to explain the late stages of evolution of low mass stars.
  • Dust formation in AGB stars.
  • Multiwavelength observations of Wolf-Rayet nebulae around massive stars.
  • Late stages of evolution of massive stars.
  • Novae and low-mass binary systems.
  • Evolution in high-mass binary systems.
  • Mass loss and stellar winds.
  • Stellar population synthesis.

Researchers who work directly in this field:

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