STELLAR ECOLOGY

What is Stellar Ecology?

Stars form out of the accumulation of gas and dust in the interstellar medium. During their lives, stars may interact with eachother through gravitation. Especially in the final stages of their evolution, stars also act upon the surrounding space by their radiation field and mass outflow. From these interactions between stars and their environment we do not only learn a lot about the astrophysics of stars (their evolution and mass loss) but also about the cycle of Life and Death, the chemical enrichment of the gas and dust, the stars and planets that are born out of it, and the structure and evolution of the galaxies in which they live. These processes can be brought together under the title "Stellar Ecology".


Key projects

* The Galactic ASKAP Spectral Line Survey - GASKAP
* Structure and dynamics of the Magellanic Clouds
* Stellar mass loss in low metallicity environments (incl. globular clusters)
* Pulsating red giants in the M33 spiral galaxy: tracers of galaxy evolution
* Structure and dynamics of the interstellar medium
* Mass loss and evolution of massive stars, supernovae, and supernova remnants
* Star formation in the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds

Recent reviews

* Betelgeuse and (other) red supergiants
* Circumstellar masers in the Magellanic Clouds
* Chemical evolution of star clusters
* The effects of red supergiant mass loss on supernova ejecta and the circumburst medium
* The connection between mass loss and nucleosynthesis
* Observational constraints on AGB mass loss and its effect on AGB evolution
* Historic mass loss from the RS Ophiuchi system
* On determining the mass-loss rates of red giants and red supergiants based on infrared data
* On the metallicity dependence of the winds from red supergiants and Asymptotic Giant Branch stars

Selected recent refereed journal publications

* Something different: a supermassive black hole in too modest a galaxy (2015) - RAS press release
* The Tarantula Nebula seen through diffuse interstellar bands and neutral sodium (2013)
* Dust and shocks in supernova 1987A (Science, a series of Letters: 1, 2, 3, 4) (2011-2014)
* Variable stars, star formation history and dust production in M33 (2011, 2013)
* A Spitzer far-IR spectral atlas of compact sources in the Magellanic Clouds (2010)
* Small-scale structures in the Galactic Disc-Halo interface (2009)
* A peculiar HI cloud near the distant globular cluster Pal 4 (2009)
* Molecules and dust production in the Magellanic Clouds (2008)
* Spitzer constraints on mass loss in the metal-rich cluster NGC 6791 (2008)
* A Spitzer infrared atlas of omega Centauri (2008)
* A spectral atlas of post-main sequence evolution in omega Centauri (2007)
* The role of dust, pulsation and chromospheres in driving mass loss (2007)
* First 10-micron spectra of dusty red giants in a globular cluster: 47 Tucanae (2006)
* Discovery of neutral hydrogen gas in a globular cluster: M 15 (2006)
* The molecular atmospheres of dust-enshrouded carbon stars in the LMC (2006)
* Spitzer spectra of ices around a massive YSO in the LMC (2005)
* Dust-enshrouded stars in clusters in the Magellanic Clouds (2005)
* The superwind mass-loss rate as a function of temperature and luminosity (2005)
* New wind velocity measurements for magellanic OH/IR stars (2004)
* Discovery of a dust cloud next to sigma Orionis (2003)