Seminar details

Date: 14.05.2024

Elena Pancino (INAF, Arcetri)

StarDance: the non-canonical evolution of stars in cluster

Thanks to their ubiquity, brightness, and the fact that they are made of stars with similar properties, star clusters have been used as astrophysical laboratories or test particles in an impressive range of research domains. However, we still do not understand fundamental details of their formation and evolution. In spite of recent technological progress, a list of unsolved problems and apparently isolated mysteries has been accumulating over time, some standing since decades. Among them, the existence of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters, with different chemistry, has challenged generations of researchers. They are not the result of classical galactic chemical evolution, mostly mediated by supernovae, and they jeopardize the use of clusters as simple stellar population templates for extragalactic studies. Given the mounting problems faced by the most favored scenarios to explain multiple populations, it is now time to revisit the foundations of our current thinking. New results show that: (i) the peculiarities in the chemistry of multiple populations are not limited to the oldest globular clusters; (ii) they can be transient in the evolution of individual cluster stars; and most importantly (iii) binary interactions and fast stellar rotation cannot be neglected in the study of star clusters and do have the capability to produce the observed chemistry. The StarDance hypothesis assumes that multiple stellar populations and five other non-canonical stellar populations (extreme horizontal branch stars and hot sub-dwarfs; extended main sequence turn-offs; red stragglers and sub-subgiants; lithium-rich stars; and blue stragglers) are caused by the interplay between stellar rotation and binary interactions, that are greatly enhanced in the special environment of star cluster, with spectacular results.


Elena obtained her PhD in Padova. Postdocs at ESO then in Bologna, where she also was a member of Gaia DPAC group. Currently she is a professor at Arceti Observatory of INAF, near Florence. She leads the ERC Advanced Grant StarDance.

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