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Australian Human Resources Institute Diversity Awards 2013 Finalist

Margaret Hanson, Cincinnati ()


"Improving mass and age estimates of unresolved Stellar Clusters"

Abstract. Stellar clusters provide astronomers with powerful diagnostics to derive thehistory and evolution of the galaxies they reside in. Even with the HubbleSpace Telescope, galaxies beyond our Local Group are too distant for theindividual stars within these clusters to be resolved. Interpreting theintegrated photometry of stellar clusters relies entirely on models togenerate predicted colors of unresolved stellar systems. However, previousmethods can lead to inaccurate estimates of cluster age because of thestatistical fluctuations in the clusterıs stellar mass function that leadsto real and large ranges in integrated stellar cluster photometry. I willintroduce a new stellar cluster-modeling program we have designed thatpopulates and evolves a realistic sample of stars and derives integratedproperties as a function of age and total cluster mass. We have used ourmodel to generate a Monte Carlo database of 100 million stellar clusters toderive likelihood photometric properties as a function of cluster age andmass. This allows the user to work back, through statistical inference, tofind the most probable age and mass of their stellar cluster based onintegrated photometry alone.


Held in the AAO Conference room at 03:30 PM on Tuesday, 23 November 2010

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