Astronomy and Astrophysics

Binary stars and population synthesis

An important topic of research in astronomy at the VUB within the Department of Physics is the field of theoretical computational astrophysics. In the more theoretical oriented research we find four topics: population synthesis of dense, young stellar environments, chemical evolution of galaxies other than the Milky Way; evolution of close binary stars, and the formation of unusual stars (such as intermediate black holes) as a result of dynamical interactions. In a population synthesis, the researchers combine the knowledge of the evolution of stars with their dynamical behavior under the influence of gravity, to determine the time evolution of a large set of stars.

In this respect, compact massive star clusters and active star forming galaxies are key astrophysical objects because of many reasons.

Young compact star systems in the center of our Galaxy can provide the necessary conditions for the formation of black holes with intermediate mass (between 100 and 1000 solar masses) and, if they can form, this can be a very important element in the process of formation of supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies.

Evolutionary models of binaries: consult the catalogue online