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Paper: Space Observatory Studies of AGB Stars in Galaxies: from IRAS to JWST
Volume: 445, Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars II: Shining Examples and Common Inhabitants
Page: 555
Authors: Meixner, M.
Abstract: The precision measurements of space observatories, particularly infrared missions such as Spitzer, has spawned a renaissance in studies of AGB stars from the Milky Way, to nearby galaxies and beyond. This review summarizes the key areas in AGB star studies impacted by the space observatories of the past two decades, IRAS, ISO, Spitzer, and Akari and speculates on the future promise of the SOFIA, WISE and JWST missions. Drawing from results of IRAS, ISO and Spitzer studies, this review touches on topics such as AGB star identification in stellar populations, AGB mass-loss rate measurements, dust composition, and variability that set the stage for the future work. The past, present and future space missions can be used in combination to tackle some big questions which confront studies of both AGB stars and galaxies. What is the mass-loss return or dust and metal enrichment of galaxies by the AGB stars? How does this mass-loss return depend on the star formation history (i.e. age), metallicity and galactic environment? What is the time evolution of AGB stars and how does mass loss affect it? Improved models of stellar populations that properly include AGB stars will help our understanding of both AGB stars and galaxy evolution. What model results can we prepare now to capitalize on the present and future space observatory missions? How can we improve the period-luminosity relation of AGB stars not only to better understand AGB star physics but also to use as a distance indicator for galaxies?
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