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PN populations in the local group and distant stellar populations

  • Warren Reid (a1) (a2)

Abstract

Our understanding of galactic structure and evolution is far from complete. Within the past twelve months we have learnt that the Milky Way is about 50% wider than was previously thought. As a consequence, new models are being developed that force us to reassess the kinematic structure of our Galaxy. Similarly, we need to take a fresh look at the halo structure of external galaxies in our Local Group. Studies of stellar populations, star-forming regions, clusters, the interstellar medium, elemental abundances and late stellar evolution are all required in order to understand how galactic assembly has occurred as we see it. PNe play an important role in this investigation by providing a measure of stellar age, mass, abundances, morphology, kinematics and synthesized matter that is returned to the interstellar medium (ISM). Through a method of chemical tagging, halo PNe can reveal evidence of stellar migration and galactic mergers. This is an outline of the advances that have been made towards uncovering the full number of PNe in our Local Group galaxies and beyond. Current numbers are presented and compared to total population estimates based on galactic mass and luminosity. A near complete census of PNe is crucial to understanding the initial-to-final mass relation for stars with mass >1 to <8 times the mass of the sun. It also allows us to extract more evolutionary information from luminosity functions and compare dust-to-gas ratios from PNe in different galactic locations. With new data provided by the Gaia satellite, space-based telescopes and the rise of giant and extra-large telescopes, we are on the verge of observing and understanding objects such as PNe in distant galaxies with the same detail we expected from Galactic observations only a decade ago.

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PN populations in the local group and distant stellar populations

  • Warren Reid (a1) (a2)

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