The Milky Way as a Laboratory for Stellar Physics and Stellar Populations

At MPIA we pursue a number of basic, or fundamental, questions about understanding stars in the context of our Milky Way:

  • What can we learn about a star? How can we determine its mass, age, composition or prehistory? Our focus in finding this our is to build and apply models to interpret the spectra (link to stellar spectroscopy), emerging from their photosphere, the ultra-thin layer at their surface.

  • Do we understand the processes populating the periodic table of elements? .. after all, most of them get produced in stars. Our approach here is to determine the detailed element compositions in stars of very differential masses, ages and composition.

  • What is left of stars after they die? In particular, do  we understand the channels that result in “compact remnants”, black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs.


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