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Population synthesis at the crossroads
Leitherer, Claus; Ekström, Sylvia
AA( Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218, USA ), AB( Observatoire de Genève, 51 chemin des Maillettes, CH-1290 Sauverny, Switzerland )
The Spectral Energy Distribution of Galaxies, Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, IAU Symposium, Volume 284, p. 2-11
Publication Date:
binaries: close, stars: evolution, HII regions, galaxies: fundamental parameters, galaxies: photometry, galaxies: starburst, galaxies: stellar content,
Abstract Copyright:
(c) 2012: Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2012
Bibliographic Code:


The current state-of-the-art of population synthesis is reviewed. The field is currently undergoing major revisions with the recognition of several key processes as new critical ingredients. Stochastic effects can artificially enhance or suppress certain evolutionary phases and/or stellar mass regimes and introduce systematic biases in, e.g., the determination of the stellar initial mass function. Post-main-sequence evolution is often associated with irregular variations of stellar properties on ultra-short time-scales. Examples are asymptotic giant branch stars and luminous blue variables, both of which are poorly treated in the models. Stars rarely form in isolation, and the fraction of truly single stars may be very small. Therefore, stellar multiplicity must be accounted for since many systems will develop tidal interaction over the course of their evolution. Last but not least, stellar rotation can drastically increase stellar temperatures and luminosities, which in turn leads to revised mass-to-light ratios in population synthesis models.

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