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The Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) is an HST multi-cycle treasury program that has mapped the resolved stellar populations of ∼1/3 of the disk of M31 from the UV through the near-IR. This data provides color and luminosity information for more than 150 million stars. Using stellar evolution models, we model the optical color-magnitude diagram to derive spatially-resolved recent star formation histories (SFHs) over large areas of M31 with 100 pc resolution. These include individual star-forming regions as well as quiescent portions of the disk. With these gridded SFHs, we create movies of star formation activity to study the evolution of individual star-forming events across the disk. We analyze the structure of star formation and examine the relation between star formation and gas throughout the disk and particularly in the 10-kpc star-forming ring. We find that the ring has been continuously forming stars for at least 500 Myr. As the only large disk galaxy that is close enough to obtain the photometry for this type of spatially-resolved SFH mapping, M31 plays an important role in our understanding of the evolution of an L* galaxy.
More than 50% of the global population already lives in urban settlements and urban areas are projected to absorb almost all the global population growth to 2050, amounting to some additional three billion people. Over the next decades the increase in rural population in many developing countries will be overshadowed by population flows to cities. Rural populations globally are expected to peak at a level of 3.5 billion people by around 2020 and decline thereafter, albeit with heterogeneous regional trends. This adds urgency in addressing rural energy access, but our common future will be predominantly urban. Most of urban growth will continue to occur in small-to medium-sized urban centers. Growth in these smaller cities poses serious policy challenges, especially in the developing world. In small cities, data and information to guide policy are largely absent, local resources to tackle development challenges are limited, and governance and institutional capacities are weak, requiring serious efforts in capacity building, novel applications of remote sensing, information, and decision support techniques, and new institutional partnerships. While ‘megacities’ with more than 10 million inhabitants have distinctive challenges, their contribution to global urban growth will remain comparatively small.
Energy-wise, the world is already predominantly urban. This assessment estimates that between 60–80% of final energy use globally is urban, with a central estimate of 75%. Applying national energy (or GHG inventory) reporting formats to the urban scale and to urban administrative boundaries is often referred to as a ‘production’ accounting approach and underlies the above GEA estimate.
The star formation history (SFH) of galaxies is a principle uncertainty in SED modeling, and simple parameterizations of the SFH in typical SED fitting techniques may introduce biases in the resulting derived parameters. It is possible to constrain the SFH of galaxies more tightly through the observations of resolved stellar colour-magnitude diagrams with HST. This work is a first attempt to combine constraints on galaxy SFH from resolved stars with broadband SED modeling from the UV to the IR. This combination allows for the effects of different realistic SFHs on the SED to be quantified.
Recent (≤ 0.5 Gyr) star formation histories have a large impact on the observable properties of galaxies. Using HST/ACS observations, we have used the blue helium burning (BHeB) stars to construct spatially resolved star formation histories of M81 group dwarf galaxies with a time resolution of roughly 30 Myr over the last 500 Myr. We have designed a sample of ten galaxies spanning ranges of 6 magnitudes in luminosity, 1000 in current star formation rate, and 0.5 dex in metallicity. The ACS observations allow us to directly observe the strength and spatial relationships of all of the recent star formation in these galaxies. These observations are complemented by high-quality ancillary data (e.g., Spitzer, UV/optical/H-alpha/NIR, VLA HI). Our resolved star formation maps will be compared with star formation rates inferred from H-alpha, UV, and IR observations – allowing an independent calibration of these techniques. Given the ranges in metallicity, these observations will provide calibrations of stellar evolution tracks for young, low metallicity stars. These observations will also enable us to construct prescriptions of how star formation and feedback depend on metallicity, size, gas content, and current star formation rates in galaxies. Finally, I note that the new observations becoming available as a part of the ANGST (ACS Nearby Galaxies Survey Treasury Program) will allow a large number of dwarf galaxies to be analyzed in this way.
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