Colloquium Details

Elizabeth Stanway (University of Warwick)

"Exploring the properties of distant star formation with observations and models."

Observations of star-forming galaxies in the distant Universe (z > 2) are starting to confirm the importance of massive stars in shaping galaxy emission and evolution. The intense starbursts common at high redshift, and rare but identifable in local analogue populations, boast a very high specific star formation rate and are physically compact, leading to a similarly high star formation volume density. Understanding these populations, and their evolution with age and metallicity is likely to be key to interpreting processes such as supernova and gamma-ray burst rates, cosmic reionization and the chemical enrichment of the Universe through galaxy-scale winds, and even the history of cosmic habitability. One avenue of exploring these populations is through the study of local galaxies which share the star formation properties of the distant Universe. A second, overlapping, approach is through modelling. Inevitably, distant stellar populations are unresolved, and the limited data available must be interpreted in the context of stellar population synthesis models. With the imminent launch of JWST and the prospect of spectral observations of galaxies within a gigayear of the Big Bang, the uncertainties in modelling of massive stars are becoming increasingly important to our interpretation of the high redshift Universe. In turn, these observations of distant stellar populations will provide ever stronger tests against which to gauge the success of, and flaws in, current massive star models.

Held at 11:00AM on Thursday 15th March, 2018 in the AAO/NMI Meeting Room (Room 11, 3rd Floor, Building 2)