Proceedings of lectures given at the XXIIIrd Canary Islands Winter School; 71 pages; to appear in Secular Evolution of Galaxies, eds. J. Falcón-Barroso & J. H. Knapen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
astro-ph/1210.2127

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STELLAR POPULATIONS

Reynier Peletier


(Kapteyn Astronomical Institute)
University of Groningen,
Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, NL

Abstract: This is a summary of my lectures during the 2011 IAC Winter School in Puerto de la Cruz. I give an introduction to the field of stellar populations in galaxies, and highlight some new results. Since the title of the Winter School was Secular Evolution in Galaxies I mostly concentrate on nearby galaxies, which are best suited to study this theme. Of course, the understanding of stellar populations is intimately connected to understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies, one of the great outstanding problems of astronomy. We are currently in a situation where very large observational advances have been made in recent years. Galaxies have been detected up to a redshift of 10. A huge effort has to be made so that stellar population theory can catch up with observations. Since most galaxies are far away, information about them has to come from stellar population synthesis of integrated light. Here I will discuss how stellar evolution theory, together with observations in our Milky Way and Local Group, are used as building blocks to analyze these integrated stellar populations.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

A QUICK LOOK AT GALAXY IMAGES

STELLAR POPULATION MODELS AND THEIR INGREDIENTS
Stellar evolution theory
Stellar libraries
The Initial Mass Function
Abundance ratios

STELLAR POPULATION ANALYSIS OF INDIVIDUAL GALAXIES
The age-metallicity degeneracy and luminosity weighting
Analysis using colors, and the role of extinction
Analysis using optical spectra
Star Formation Histories and the SSP
Learning about stellar populations using 2D spectroscopy
Stellar masses and the IMF in galaxies
Beyond the optical
Stellar population analysis from surface brightness fluctuations

THE USE OF SCALING RELATIONS
The color - sigma relation
Stellar Population Analysis from Spitzer Colors
The fundamental plane of galaxies

STELLAR POPULATION GRADIENTS IN EARLY-TYPE GALAXIES

FUTURE PROSPECTS

REFERENCES

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