Institute of Astronomy

Dissecting Galaxies with the Brightest Stars in the Universe

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Rolf Kudritzki, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa27 January 2011Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


The determination of the chemical composition and distances of galaxies is
crucial for constraining the theory of galaxy formation and evolution in a
dark energy and cold dark matter dominated universe. However, the standard
techniques to obtain information about the chemical composition and
distances of star forming galaxies are subject to large systematic
uncertainties which are poorly understood. As an alternative, I introduce a
new method, which uses "supergiant stars", the brightest stars in the
universe, as individual sources of information about galaxies. I will
present most recent results on the quantitative spectral analysis of such
objects in galaxies beyond the Local Group based on medium and low
resolution spectra obtained with the ESO VLT and the Keck telescopes on
Mauna Kea. I will also discuss the perspectives of future work using the
giant ground-based telescopes of the next generation such as the TMT on
Mauna Kea and the European-ELT.


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