Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars as Tracers of Star Formation Histories: The GAIA Context
We discuss a possible use of the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars for tracing star formation histories on the Galactic and extragalactic distance scales with the ESA’s astrometric space mission GAIA. Extensive numerical simulations demonstrate that metallicities (Δ[M/H] ≲ 0.3) can be obtained for the AGB stars with GAIA up to the distances of ~ 200 kpc, if no interstellar extinction is present. Reliable population ages can be also obtained from the AGB stars if their T eff are constrained precisely. We show that precise effective temperatures can be obtained by fitting observed spectral energy distributions of the AGB stars with theoretical fluxes calculated from the synthetic spectra. A combination of the derived effective temperatures with the bolometric luminosities allows to derive precise population ages for a wide range of ages and metallicities over the large distance scales. This demonstrates that AGB stars can be employed very effectively for tracing star formation histories with GAIA, allowing to refine the global evolutionary scenarios of stellar populations in the Milky Way and the galaxies beyond.
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