stellar population synthesis

Charlie Conroy (Princeton) came and spoke about modeling galaxy spectra as linear combinations of stellar populations. He is working towards marginalizing over unknowns and propagating errors, and then finding observations that reduce the magnitudes of the ranges for the unknowns. He shows very convincingly that stellar masses (the simplest thing you might want to get out of such a model for a galaxy) are not secure at the factor-of-two level, because of things like late stages of stellar evolution (which are brief, random, and luminous in many cases).

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