|Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 2013. 51:393-455
Copyright © 2013 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Reprinted with kind permission from Annual Reviews, 4139 El Camino Way, Palo Alto, California, USA
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Abstract: The spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of galaxies
are shaped by nearly every physical property of the system, including
the star formation history, metal content, abundance pattern, dust mass,
grain size distribution, star-dust geometry, and interstellar radiation
field. The principal goal of stellar population synthesis (SPS) is to
extract these variables from observed SEDs. In this review I provide an
overview of the SPS technique and discuss what can be reliably measured
from galaxy SEDs. Topics include stellar masses, star formation rates
and histories, metallicities and abundance patterns, dust properties,
and the stellar initial mass function.
Key words: stars, abundances, dust, stellar populations, galaxies: stellar content, galaxy evolution
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