Institute of Astronomy

Alternative Pathways of Stellar Evolution in Open Clusters

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Robert Mathieu25 July 2016Binary Stars Talks

Abstract

Our understanding of the evolution of single stars is one of the great intellectual accomplishments of the past century. Even so, from their beginnings cluster color-magnitude diagrams have shown many stars that do not lie along the main sequences and giant branches. The most famous of these are the blue stragglers, but there are numerous others such as the sub-subgiants, the yellow giants and evolved blue straggler stars. In fact, as many as 25% of the evolved stars in older open clusters do not fall on single-star isochrones. Rather than being anomalies, these stars represent frequently traveled alternative pathways of stellar evolution.

The overarching goal of our research program is to understand these alternative stellar evolution stories in open clusters. These narratives will start from the large populations of hard binary stars that have been found in open clusters. Their accounts will include both evolutionary processes internal to these binaries and external stellar dynamical influences. I will present the observational landscape for describing these alternative stellar evolution paths, including new asteroseismic results from our K2 M67 Kepler data and recent modeling work.

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