Massive stars, black holes and binaries

12. July 2022

SET group at HITS organized the first presence meeting of VFTS & Friends

30 Doradus is the brightest star-forming region in our galactic neighbourhood and home to the most massive stars ever seen. The nebula resides 170 000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. (Credits: NASA, ESA, ESO, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi, J. Anderson, S. E. de Mink, R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and N. Walborn, N. Bastian, L. Bedin, E. Bressert, P. Crowther, A. de Koter, C. Evans, A. Herrero (IAC, Tenerife), N. Langer, I. Platais and H. Sana.

It all started with an “ESO Large Programme”: In 2008, the VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey started mapping massive stars with Chris Evans as PI (then Edinburgh, UK). The program has been extremely successful. After all the observational data had been analyzed and the report had been published, the researchers involved decided to continue collaborating. They adopted the title of the ESO program under the acronym “VFTS”.

After two online workshops, the first meeting took place in presence at Studio Villa Bosch in Heidelberg from 20 to 22 June 2022, coordinated and organized by HITS group leader Fabian Schneider (Stellar Evolution Theory Group; SET). Observers, data analysts, and modelers came together from seven countries and a number of institutes, among them Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary islands in Spain, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching (Germany), or the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). The event was designed in an open format to analyze the current state of research and to initiate new developments. The meeting also serves as a platform for young scientists. The program included new insights into massive stars, black holes and binary star systems.

The participants during a break in the Villa Bosch garden. (Photo: HITS)

The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey was an ESO Large Programme that has provided a rich, legacy dataset for studies of both resolved and integrated populations of massive stars. Initiated in 2008 (ESO Period 82), the Fibre Large Array Multi Element Spectrograph (FLAMES) was used to observe more than 800 massive stars in the dramatic 30 Doradus star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The survey´s PI was Chris Evans, HITS researcher Fabian Schneider was one of the collaborators. A summary of the survey with the latest results was published in 2020.

About HITS

The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.

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