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Red Supergiant Stars as Cosmic Abundance Probes

Dr. Lee Patrick

January 17th, 2017


Red supergiant stars (RSGs) are among brightest stars in the Universe. Their extreme luminosities and young ages make them excellent candidates to probe young stellar populations of external galaxies. The problem is that their spectra are typically dominated by molecular absorption features, which makes a chemical analysis almost impossible.

Using state-of-the-art stellar model atmospheres I'll discuss how a new analysis method allows us to probe the chemical evolution of external galaxies using RSGs as abundance tracers. I'll detail why near-IR multi-object spectrographs are vital to this work, highlight some of our recent results and compare these results with other abundance indicators (i.e BSGs, HII regions). Finally, I'll outline the potential of this technique on future facilities such as JWST-NIRspec and a MOS on the E-ELT.