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2.4 Stellar Spectroscopy

In the nearest galaxies it is possible to spectroscopically determine the abundances of individual stars. While this method should yield accurate abundance determinations, it is not directly translatable into global values, since there are star to star variations and poor statistics; in practice, only few stars, and in general the most luminous, can be observed for each galaxy. The Magellanic Clouds have been accessible since more than a decade (Spite et al. 1986; Russell and Bessell 1989; see also Haser et al. 1998) as well as the most nearby dwarf satellites of the Milky Way with present instrumentation (e.g. Shetrone et al. 1998). Spectroscopic observations of young metal-poor stars would also be of great importance for improving models of stellar evolution and population synthesis.

With the new generation of 8m class telescopes, the distance to which individual luminous stars can be studied has been increased, and it is now possible to reach outside the Local Group. An outline of the merits of spectroscopy of luminous early type stars and on some work in progress can be found in Kudritzki (1998). In the near future the situation will change when 8m class telescopes are equipped with spectrographs that allow observations of many stars simultaneously with sufficient spectral resolution.