2009 CAP Congress - University of Moncton (Moncton, New Brunswick)

Moncton, New Brunswick

Year: 
2009
Date: 
June 7, 2009 - June 10, 2009
Venue: 
University of Moncton
Past Congress
Attendance: 
418
Keynote Speaker: 
Dr. Laurent Drissen, Université Laval
Keynote Title: 
The Splendours and Miseries of Massive Stars

Abstract for Herzberg Public Lecture :

LAURENT DRISSEN, UNIVERSITE LAVAL

The Splendours and Miseries of Massive Stars

 The most massive stars in the universe are also the most fascinating. Exceedingly rare, they nevertheless play an important role in galactic ecology and in the chemical evolution of the cosmos. They are born in gigantic molecular clouds and they light up with an enormous outpouring of ultraviolet radiation. Pressure exerted by these forms of light on heavy elements present in the stellar atmosphere results in a very powerful wind which enriches the regions between the stars and injects large amounts of energy in their surroundings. The life of massive stars is brief – a hundredth of that of ordinary, sun-like stars - and ends in a gigantic explosion detectable to distances of billions of light-years. With the help of beautiful images obtained by the largest ground-based and space telescopes, I will describe the life and death of these stars which illuminate our universe.