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I begin by summarizing the evidence that there is a close relationship between the evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes. They evidently share a common fuel source, and feedback from the black hole may be needed to suppress over-cooling in massive galaxies. I then review what we know about the co-evolution of galaxies and black holes in the modern universe (z < 1). We now have a good documentation of which black holes are growing (the lower mass ones), where they are growing (in the less massive early-type galaxies), and how this growth is related in a statistical sense to star formation in the central region of the galaxy. The opportunity in the next decade will be to use the new observatories to undertake ambitious programs of 3-D imaging spectroscopy of the stars and gas in order to understand the actual astrophysical processes that produce the demographics we observe. At high redshift (z > 2), the most massive black holes and the progenitors of the most massive galaxies are forming. Here, we currently have a tantalizing but fragmented view of their co-evolution. In the next decade, the huge increase in sensitivity and discovery power of our observatories will enable us to analyze the large, complete samples we need to achieve robust and clear results.
Ten years ago our team completed the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the extragalactic distance scale. Cepheids were detected in some 25 galaxies and used to calibrate four secondary distance indicators that reach out into the expansion field beyond the noise of galaxy peculiar velocities. The result was H0 = 72 ± 8 km s−1 Mpc−1 and put an end to galaxy distances uncertain by a factor of two. This work has been awarded the Gruber Prize in Cosmology for 2009.
This brief paper summarizes a “key general review” with the same title given at the IAU meeting in Rio de Janeiro. The intent of the review talk was to give a broad and well-illustrated overview of recent work on the icy middle and outer Solar system, in a style interesting for those astronomers whose gaze is otherwise drawn to more distant realms. The intent of this written review is the same.
In 1609, as Galileo pointed the sky with a telescope, he observed Jupiter's satellites and changed our vision of the universe. Four hundred years later, we celebrate this event all over the world, and also in the Canaries. 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, is a very special year for the Science and Cosmos Museum (Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos). This was the first museum in Spain supported by a public entity, The Local Government of Tenerife (Cabildo de Tenerife), through its Autonomous Council of Museums (Organismo Autónomo de Museos y Centros), and a research centre, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. Fifteen years later, this museum, which receives 50,000 visitors a year, celebrates the International Year of Astronomy with fifty projects described in this paper.
Proper characterization of the host star to a planet is a key element to the understanding of its overall properties. The star has a direct impact through the modification of the structure and evolution of the planet atmosphere by being the overwhelmingly larger source of energy. The star plays a central role in shaping the structure, evolution, and even determining the mere existence of planetary atmospheres. The vast majority of the stellar flux is well understood thanks to the impressive progress made in the modeling of stellar atmospheres. At short wavelengths (X-rays to UV), however, the information is scarcer since the stellar emission does not originate in the photosphere but in the chromospheric and coronal regions, which are much less understood. The same can be said about particle emissions, with a strong impact on planetary atmospheres, because a detailed description of the time-evolution of stellar wind is still lacking. Here we review our current understanding of the flux and particle emissions of the Sun and low-mass stars and briefly address their impact in the context of planetary atmospheres.
Today we understand, to reasonable accuracy, the origin of most of the abundant elements in the sun and similar Population I stars. Given our relatively primitive ability to model supernova explosion mechanisms, stellar mass loss, and stellar mixing, this is a remarkable achievement. This understanding is possible, in part, because supernovae are highly constrained by their spectra, light curves and the sorts of remnants they leave. This same understanding extends to the major abundances seen in primitive metal-poor stars down to [Fe/H] > −4. In particular, one finds no compelling evidence for exotic energies or unusual stellar properties. There are exceptions, however. About half of the isotopes above iron, the r-process and the p-process with A < 130, still have an uncertain origin, both in the sun and in metal-poor stars. The abundances in the hyper-iron-poor stars ([Fe/H] < −4) also require a special explanation. We suggest that they represent the operation of a first generation of massive stars that produced almost exclusively C, N, and O and black holes, a generation in which 100 M⊙ were abundant, but stars over about 150 M⊙ and under 30 M⊙ were almost absent.
This essay attempts to provide a historical perspective on some of the key questions that engaged the attention of participants at the symposium. In particular, the writer offers and comments on a personal list of milestones in the literature published between 1957 and 1982.
The IAU framework for relativistic reference systems is based upon the work by Brumberg and Kopeikin and by Damour, Soffel and Xu (DSX). We begin with a brief introduction into the DSX-formalism. After that the various IAU Resolutions concerning relativistic astronomical reference systems are discussed. Finally, it is indicated how the expansion of the universe can be considered in the BCRS.
The stellar populations of galaxies contain a wealth of detailed information. From the youngest, most massive stars, to almost invisible remnants, the history of star formation is encoded in the stars that make up a galaxy. Extracting some, or all, of this information has long been a goal of stellar population studies. This was achieved in the last couple of decades and it is now a routine task, which forms a crucial ingredient in much of observational galaxy evolution, from our Galaxy out to the most distant systems found. In many of these domains we are now limited not by sample size, but by systematic uncertainties and this will increasingly be the case in the future.
The aim of this review is to outline the challenges faced by stellar population studies in the coming decade within the context of upcoming observational facilities. I will highlight the need to better understand the near-IR spectral range and outline the difficulties presented by less well understood phases of stellar evolution such as thermally pulsing AGB stars, horizontal branch stars and the very first stars. The influence of rotation and binarity on stellar population modelling is also briefly discussed.
Star clusters have hierarchical patterns in space and time, suggesting formation processes in the densest regions of a turbulent interstellar medium. Clusters also have hierarchical substructure when they are young, which makes them all look like the inner mixed parts of a pervasive stellar hierarchy. Young field stars share this distribution, presumably because some of them came from dissolved clusters and others formed in a dispersed fashion in the same gas. The fraction of star formation that ends up in clusters is apparently not constant, but may increase with interstellar pressure. Hierarchical structure explains why stars form in clusters and why many of these clusters are self-bound. It also explains the cluster mass function. Halo globular clusters share many properties of disk clusters, including what appears to be an upper cluster cutoff mass. However, halo globulars are self-enriched and often connected with dwarf galaxy streams. The mass function of halo globulars could have initially been like the power-law mass function of disk clusters, but the halo globulars have lost their low-mass members. The reasons for this loss are not understood. It could have happened slowly over time as a result of cluster evaporation, or it could have happened early after cluster formation as a result of gas loss. The latter model explains best the observation that the globular cluster mass function has no radial gradient in galaxies.
This paper provides an introduction to IAU Symposium 266 on star clusters as basic building blocks in space and time. We define clusters as bound systems and discriminate them from general stellar clusterings or groups and unbound associations. We give a few examples of young, embedded, compact clusters which may evolve into looser, open clusters after dynamical relaxation due to mass loss and secular relaxation processes. We ask how and where star clusters form (in normal and interacting galaxies) and provide statistics of open clusters in terms of cluster masses and ages in the solar neighborhood (where observational data are most complete). Finally, we list a number of basic questions for current and future star cluster research and discuss the prospects for cluster studies with the next generation infrared and submillimeter telescopes (Herschel; JWST, E–ELT; ALMA, NOEMA).
We discuss evidence that quasars, and more generally radio jets, may have played an active role in the formation stage of galaxies by inducing star formation, i.e., through positive feedback. This mechanism first proposed in the 1970s has been considered as anecdotal until now, contrary to the opposite effect that is generally put forward, i.e., the quenching of star formation in massive galaxies to explain the galaxy bimodality, downsizing, and the universal black hole mass over bulge stellar mass ratio. This suggestion is based on the recent discovery of an ultra-luminous infrared galaxy, i.e., an extreme starburst, that appears to be triggered by a radio jet from the QSO HE 0450-2958 at z = 0.2863, together with the finding in several systems of a positional offset between molecular gas and quasars, which may be explained by the positive feedback effect of radio jets on their local environment.
We discuss three conceivable scenarios of extension and/or modification of the IAU relativistic resolutions on time scales and spatial coordinates beyond the Standard IAU Framework. These scenarios include: (1) the formalism of the monopole and dipole moment transformations of the metric tensor replacing the scale transformations of time and space coordinates; (2) implementing the parameterized post-Newtonian formalism with two PPN parameters – β and γ; (3) embedding the post-Newtonian barycentric reference system to the Friedman-Robertson-Walker cosmological model.
The scientific community is celebrating in 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The timing coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical use of a telescope, when Galileo's observations demonstrated that the Earth is not alone in the Universe. One can hardly think of a more important event in the history of mankind.
In this work we describe the method and results of precise solar astrometry made with the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI), on board the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), during one complete solar cycle. We measured an upper limit to the solar radius variation, the absolute solar radius value and the solar shape. Our results are 22 mas peak-to-peak upper limit for the solar radius variation over the solar cycle, the absolute radius was measured as 959.28 ± 0.15 arcsec at 1 AU and the difference between polar and equatorial solar radii in 1997 was 5 km and about three times larger in 2001.
During this last decade our knowledge of the evolutionary properties of stars has significantly improved. This result has been achieved thanks to our improved understanding of the physical behavior of stellar matter in the thermal regimes characteristic of the different stellar mass ranges and/or evolutionary stages.
This notwithstanding, the current generation of stellar models is still affected by several, not negligible, uncertainties related to our poor knowledge of some thermodynamical processes and nuclear reaction rates, as well as the efficiency of mixing processes. These drawbacks have to be properly taken into account when comparing theory with observations, to derive evolutionary properties of both resolved and unresolved stellar populations.
In this paper we review the major sources of uncertainty along the main evolutionary stages, and emphasize their impact on population synthesis techniques.
During its early evolution, the hot, dense Universe provided a laboratory for probing fundamental physics at high energies. By studying the relics from those early epochs, such as the light elements synthesized during primordial nucleosynthesis when the Universe was only a few minutes old, and the relic, cosmic microwave photons, last scattered when the protons, alphas, and electrons (re)combined some 400 thousand years later, the evolution of the Universe may be used to test the standard models of cosmology and particle physics and to set constraints on proposals of physics beyond these standard models.
I will give a review of the current constrains on light element abundances from cosmic microwave background experiments, focusing on results from WMAP and discussing prospects from upcoming data from Planck and ground-based experiments. I will describe how the production of light elements affects the CMB anisotropies, and how we use the data to extract cosmological information that includes constraints on the baryon density, and primordial abundances.
The Ciel, miroir des cultures poster-exhibition was designed by the Association Française d'Astronomie and printed in 300 copies in 2005. Each copy is composed of 14 posters introducing the different ways human beings and societies have used the sky and the heavens in history. More than three hundred cultural events have now been using the exhibition in schools and community structures as public libraries and social centres, taking place mainly in low-income urban or suburban neighbourhoods. This three-year work demonstrated the relevance of this kind of tools and events to pedagogical and social aims, specifically if the event is not limited to showing posters and also offers an opportunity for dialogue.
The snow line in a gas disk is defined as the distance from the star beyond which the water ice is stable against evaporation. Since oxygen is the most abundant element after hydrogen and helium, the presence of ice grains can have important consequences for disk evolution. However, determining the position of the snow line is not simple. I discuss some of the important processes that affect the position of the snow line.