The puzzle of massive star evolution brought scientists around the globe to Tõravere

Kairi Janson | 18.09.2017

From September 10 to 15, 2017 stellar scientists from around the world attended the five-day astrophysics conference „Massive Stars in Transition Phases“ held in Tõravere. They discussed the post-main sequence evolution of massive stars.

Massive Stars .. seminar 2017

Observationally, many different transition phases in the life of massive stars are known. But until now, the real evolutionary path of massive stars, from their cradle all the way to their fate as powerful supernova explosions, is one of the major puzzles in stellar astrophysics. Most crucial hereby is to understand those transition phases, in which the stars undergo strongly enhanced mass loss and sudden eruptions. As there is growing evidence from both theory and observations that stars in such phases experience pulsational instabilities, the role of pulsations in triggering mass ejections was consequently one of the major topics of the conference. Other important subjects that were focused on during the conference were clumping in hot star winds, mass-loss variability and structure, kinematics, and chemistry of circumstellar environments. The scientists also discussed about new methods to search for massive stars in transition phases in other galaxies and to disentangle massive star populations based on cutting edge methodologies using both observational and theoretical approaches.

The conference gathered experts in the fields of stellar atmospheres, stellar winds, pulsations, and physics and chemistry of circumstellar material. The scientists came from seven countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Estonia and United Kingdom. Telecommunication was extensively used in the event with about a quarter of participants presenting talks and joining discussions over internet. Tartu Observatory was represented in the conference by Tõnis Eenmäe, Indrek Kolka, Tiina Liimets, and Michaela Kraus as speakers.

The conference was organised by Tartu Observatory and supported from the ERDF project KOMEET.
The SOC was led by Michaela Kraus and the LOC by Anna Aret.