Stellar evolution

Stellar evolution refers to the life-cycle of a star, typically including the evolutionary phases from protostar until stellar death (as a supernova, black hole, neutron star, white dwarf, etc.).  Related studies include research on the process of stellar evolution and the early (star formation) and late (explosion or collapse to compact object) stages of a star’s life.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research
    | Open Access

    The ionisation fraction of protostellar jets is key to establish their true energetics. Here, the authors determine it in a jet from a high-mass young stellar object, using multi-wavelengths observations, confirming that the ionising mechanism giving rise to the radio emission originates from shocks.

    • R. Fedriani
    • , A. Caratti o Garatti
    • , S. J. D. Purser
    • , A. Sanna
    • , J. C. Tan
    • , R. Garcia-Lopez
    • , T. P. Ray
    • , D. Coffey
    • , B. Stecklum
    •  & M. Hoare
  • Reviews |

    Thermonuclear supernovae — those involving the explosion of a white dwarf — and particularly type-Ia supernovae, have become indispensable tools for observationally measuring the expansion of the Universe. However, we still do not fully understand these objects, especially the range of progenitor systems that give rise to them. Future observations will enable us to make headway.

    • Saurabh W. Jha
    • , Kate Maguire
    •  & Mark Sullivan
    Nature Astronomy 3, 706-716
  • Research |

    Observations of an eclipsing double-white-dwarf binary with an orbital period of 6.91 minutes that is decaying as predicted by general relativity are reported; once launched, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) should swiftly detect this binary.

    • Kevin B. Burdge
    • , Michael W. Coughlin
    • , Jim Fuller
    • , Thomas Kupfer
    • , Eric C. Bellm
    • , Lars Bildsten
    • , Matthew J. Graham
    • , David L. Kaplan
    • , Jan van Roestel
    • , Richard G. Dekany
    • , Dmitry A. Duev
    • , Michael Feeney
    • , Matteo Giomi
    • , George Helou
    • , Stephen Kaye
    • , Russ R. Laher
    • , Ashish A. Mahabal
    • , Frank J. Masci
    • , Reed Riddle
    • , David L. Shupe
    • , Maayane T. Soumagnac
    • , Roger M. Smith
    • , Paula Szkody
    • , Richard Walters
    • , S. R. Kulkarni
    •  & Thomas A. Prince
    Nature 571, 528-531
  • Research |

    Fragkou et al. present multiple pieces of evidence for the association of planetary nebula BMP J1613-5406 with Galactic open star cluster NGC 6067. Stars in the cluster evolve off the main sequence at about 5 solar masses, suggesting that this planetary nebula had a massive progenitor and supporting theoretical predictions of the mass range of planetary nebula progenitors.

    • V. Fragkou
    • , Q. A. Parker
    • , A. A. Zijlstra
    • , L. Crause
    •  & H. Barker
    Nature Astronomy 3, 851-857
  • Research |

    Leveraging the precision of K2 and TESS, Bowman et al. have detected variability in galactic and Magellanic blue supergiants that is due to low-frequency gravity waves in their interiors.

    • Dominic M. Bowman
    • , Siemen Burssens
    • , May G. Pedersen
    • , Cole Johnston
    • , Conny Aerts
    • , Bram Buysschaert
    • , Mathias Michielsen
    • , Andrew Tkachenko
    • , Tamara M. Rogers
    • , Philipp V. F. Edelmann
    • , Rathish P. Ratnasingam
    • , Sergio Simón-Díaz
    • , Norberto Castro
    • , Ehsan Moravveji
    • , Benjamin J. S. Pope
    • , Timothy R. White
    •  & Peter De Cat
    Nature Astronomy 3, 760-765
  • Research |

    A new calibration of the surface brightness–colour relation of eclipsing binary stars gives a distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud that is precise to one per cent.

    • G. Pietrzyński
    • , D. Graczyk
    • , A. Gallenne
    • , W. Gieren
    • , I. B. Thompson
    • , B. Pilecki
    • , P. Karczmarek
    • , M. Górski
    • , K. Suchomska
    • , M. Taormina
    • , B. Zgirski
    • , P. Wielgórski
    • , Z. Kołaczkowski
    • , P. Konorski
    • , S. Villanova
    • , N. Nardetto
    • , P. Kervella
    • , F. Bresolin
    • , R. P. Kudritzki
    • , J. Storm
    • , R. Smolec
    •  & W. Narloch
    Nature 567, 200-203

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The stellar initial mass function (IMF) is the key to understanding the matter cycle in the Universe. Edwin Salpeter’s paper of 1955 founded this research field. Evidence today, however, challenges the initial mass function as an invariant probability distribution function.

    • Pavel Kroupa
    •  & Tereza Jerabkova
    Nature Astronomy 3, 482-484
  • News and Views |

    Zirconium alloys are widely used as cladding material in nuclear reactors due to their neutron transparency. Now, it is shown that 88Zr has a surprisingly high neutron capture cross-section exceeding that of other zirconium isotopes by six orders of magnitude.

    • Stephan Heinitz
    •  & Ulli Köster
    Nature Physics 15, 208-209
  • Research Highlights |

    Cosmological hydrodynamics simulations reveal the possible formation of supermassive stars within metal-free primordial gas haloes. These stars are thought to be the origin of supermassive black holes.

    • Anastasiia Novikova