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  • Cited by 4
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: May 2010

Massive stars in the Local Group: Star formation and stellar evolution


The galaxies of the Local Group that are currently forming stars can serve as our laboratories for understanding star formation and the evolution of massive stars. In this talk I will summarize what I think we've learned about these topics over the past few decades of research, and briefly mention what I think needs to happen next.


My talk today will be restricted to giving a brief introduction to the study of massive stars in the Local Group; I'll begin by discussing why I think the subject is important, and giving you a few of the complications and caveats. I'll spend most of my time then talking about what I think we've learned, first about star formation (stories of star formation, the initial mass function, and the upper mass cut-off), and second about the evolution of massive stars (including Luminous Blue Variables, Wolf-Rayet stars, and red supergiants). Finally I'll conclude with a brief discussion of what I think we need to do next. This talk is based in large part on an Annual Reviews of Astronomy & Astrophysics paper that I have coming out in October (Massey 2003), and the reader is referred there for a more in-depth analysis. I have used this opportunity to update some of the figures and thoughts from that, so hopefully the two will be somewhat complementary.

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