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Wolf-Rayet Stars in the Local Group Galaxies

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA 10th Floor - Foothills Room

Speaker Name(s): 

Kathryn Neugent

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Northern Arizona University
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

 

The physics behind hot, massive stars is complicated. Stellar winds result in significant mass loss, and stellar models are sensitive to the details of how convection and mixing are treated. Thus we must rely on observations to test current stellar evolutionary theories. One such test involves comparing the observed versus predicted ratio of various types of massive stars. Since massive star evolution is strongly influenced by mass loss, the star-forming galaxies of the Local Group with their varying metallicities provide an excellent laboratory for such studies. My research focuses on using Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in M31, M33 and the Magellanic Clouds to conduct these observational tests. We've almost finished a multi-year observational survey aimed at identifying a complete sample of WRs within the Local Group. As we near the end, it isn't the number of WRs that most excites us, but their unique characteristics. Ten of our discoveries within the Large Magellanic Cloud appear to belong to an entirely new class of WRs. Here I'll discuss how well our observations match up with the evolutionary models and what these new WRs might mean for stellar evolutionary theory.