The Top 12 of 2012

7. A New Treatment of Mass Loss and Rotation for Stellar Evolution

Why it is important: Stellar models which can reproduce the properties of the lowest and highest-mass stars are critical for measuring the composition and evolution of galaxies (see #9), identifying the progenitors of supernovae (see #2), and characterizing planet-hosting stars (see #3).

 This paper presents a new suite of stellar evolution models incorporating stellar rotation. The resulting evolutionary tracks for stars of different masses are shown in the above HR diagram. These models accurately reproduce observed quantities, such as the color and luminosity of red giants, as well as stellar surface abundances. A new treatment of mass loss in supergiants also has important implications for massive star evolution, including the minimum mass for which a star will end its life as a supernova. (Figure 3 of Ekström et al.)

Next: (#6) Dark Matter Haloes: Now, Theoretically More Concentrated!

Previous: (#8) Gravitational Lenses as a Cosmic Bathroom Scale: Weighing the Dark Matter in Galaxy Clusters with Hubble

About Betsy Mills

I am a 22nd-grader at UCLA, working with Mark Morris and spending the year at the MPIA in Heidelberg finishing my thesis. I like molecules in space, radio telescopes, the extreme center of our galaxy, getting to look at things no-one else has ever seen before, solving puzzles, and finding creative ways to survive graduate school


  1. Hi Betsy:

    Just a note– it looks like the arXiv link that you have on the first page of this article does not link to the title you provide.

    The link looks like it goes here:

    “How supernova feedback turns dark matter cusps into cores”

    instead of here:

    “Keck Spectroscopy of Faint 3<z<8 Lyman Break Galaxies:- Evidence for a Declining Fraction of Emission Line Sources In the Redshift Range 6<z<8"


    • Ah, actually the links are just switched–


      • Thanks Dave! The links are now fixed.

  2. Fascinating articles! But counting citations seriously distorts what astronomy is about. Because most young astronomers today work in observational cosmology, 10/12 papers are on that topic, the most glamorous frontier. But 10/12 of the most significant new papers of 2012 (selected some other way) paint a certainly much broader canvas, and reflect the amazing scope of astronomical research!
    Only the search for new planets (another glamour topic) and new calculations of the evolution of rotating stars in the HR diagram (a classic issue in stellar astronomy) penetrated the top twelve. So much more was missing!
    Nonetheless, an interesting citation poll.

    • Yes, I had the mass-to-light ratio section entirely backward; this is now corrected (and consistent with the linked astrobite). Thank you!!


Leave a Reply