The Evolution of Massive Stars towards their Death: Rotation, Binarity and Mergers
Selma de Mink
January 24, 2013
Abstract: Although they are rare and short-lived, massive stars play a major role in Universe. With their large luminosities, strong stellar winds and spectacular explosions they act as cosmic engines, heating and enriching their surroundings, where the next generation of stars and their planets are forming. I will discuss recent developments in the massive star community triggered by new surveys and theoretical modeling, that are slowly changing our general picture of how massive stars live their lives. In particular, I will discuss examples of the effects of rotation and binarity can drastically change the properties of both stars (brightness, color, ionizing flux, chemical yields, X-rays etc.) as well as their final fate as core-collapse and pair-instability supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. These developments call for a critical reconsideration of the implications for a wide variety of astrophysical problems where the classic stellar models are used, which do not account for these effects.