The stellar epoch in the evolution of the Galaxy View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2000-11

AUTHORS

A. V. Tutukov, B. M. Shustov, D. S. Wiebe

ABSTRACT

We consider the astrophysical evolution of the Galaxy over large time scales, from early stages (an age of ∼108 yrs) to the end of traditional stellar evolution (∼1011 yrs). Despite the fact that the basic parameters of our stellar system (such as its size, mass, and general structure) have varied little over this time, variations in the characteristics of stars (their total luminosity, color, mass function, and chemical composition) are rather substantial. The interaction of the Galaxy with other stellar systems becomes an important factor in its evolution 100–1000 Gyr after its origin; however, we take the Galaxy to be isolated. In the model considered, the basic stages of Galactic evolution are as follows. The Galaxy forms as the result of the contraction (collapse) of a protogalactic cloud. The beginning of the Milky Way’s life—the relaxation period, which lasts about 1–2 Gyr—is characterized by active star formation and final structurization. The luminosity and colors of the Galaxy are correlated to the star formation rate (SFR). The young Galaxy intensely radiates high-energy photons, which are mostly absorbed by dust and re-emitted at IR wavelengths. In the subsequent period of steady-state evolution, the gas content in the Galactic disk gradually decreases; accordingly, the SFR decreases, reaching 3–5M⊙/yr at the present epoch and decreasing to 0.03M⊙/yr by an age of 100 Gyr. Essentially all other basic parameters of the Galaxy vary little. Later, the decrease in the SFR accelerates, since the evolution of stars with masses exceeding 0.4M⊙ (i.e., those able to lose matter and renew the supply of interstellar gas) comes to an end. The Galaxy enters a period of “dying”, and becomes fainter and redder. The variation of its chemical composition is manifested most appreciably in a dramatic enrichment of the interstellar gas in iron. The final “stellar epoch” in the life of the Galaxy is completed ∼1013 yrs after its formation, when the evolution of the least massive stars comes to an end. By this time, the supplies of interstellar and intergalactic gas are exhausted, the remaining stars become dark, compact remnants, there is no further formation of new stars, and the Galactic disk no longer radiates. Eventually, infrequent outbursts originating from collisions of stellar remnants in the densest central regions of the Galaxy will remain the only source of emission. More... »

PAGES

711-718

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1134/1.1320496

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1134/1.1320496

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1007004368


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