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Proceedings Paper

Steller populations in the nearby universe
Author(s): Wendy Freedman
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Paper Abstract

In the distant universe, we can map the evolution of galaxies by observing how their global properties change with time. High-resolution studies of nearby galaxies afford a complementary view: for a few galaxies, we can study their star formation histories directly by the application of stellar evolution theory to their observed color-magnitude diagrams. Nearby objects offer a powerful and unique opportunity for understanding galaxy formation and evolution. The individual stars within these galaxies can provide a detailed record of the start formation and chemical history and kinematics: information critical (but unavailable) to the interpretation of galaxies at high redshift, a driving scientific motivation for the Next Generation Space Telescope, for example. Future high-resolution studies will address a number of outstanding questions: what is the range in formation times? Can the assembly of halos be traced for evidence of subclumps hierarchically built up over time as suggested by current cold dark matter models. Did some galaxies form early in the universe and continue to evolve passively to the present day? Do spiral disks form from the inside out or the reverse? When do disks form relative to the halos of galaxies?

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 December 2002
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 4835, Future Research Direction and Visions for Astronomy, (16 December 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.456767
Show Author Affiliations
Wendy Freedman, Observatories of the Carengie Institute of Washington (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4835:
Future Research Direction and Visions for Astronomy
Alan M. Dressler, Editor(s)

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