Massive Star Evolution
Supernovae are of wide interest to the astronomical community because they play a key role in the nucleosynthetic evolution of galaxies, stellar remnant populations, the energetics and phase balance of the interstellar medium (ISM), the interpretations of observations of distant galaxies, models of galaxy formation and evolution, the physics of star formation, and tests of cosmology, among other topics. This book deals largely with the interesting physics and observations associated with the supernova explosion itself and the immediate development of its gaseous and compact remnants. However, in order to contribute to these other fields, the fates of massive stars must be placed in a larger context. It is not sufficient to study the physics of the explosion in isolation; it is also necessary to have a firm grasp on the evolution of supernova progenitors. Quantifying the contribution of massive stars to the ambient radiation field, the dynamics of the ISM, and the chemical evolution of galaxies requires connecting supernovae with the stellar initial mass function (IMF) and understanding all the physics that lies in between.
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