SCYON Abstract

Received on November 23 2017

Not-so-simple stellar populations in nearby, resolved massive star clusters

AuthorsR. de Grijs (1,2) and C. Li (3)
Affiliation(1) Peking University, China; (2) International Space Science Institute--Beijing, China; (3) Macquarie University, Australia
Accepted byPhysica Scripta (invited review article)


Around the turn of the last century, star clusters of all kinds were considered "simple" stellar populations. Over the past decade, this situation has changed dramatically. At the same time, star clusters are among the brightest stellar population components and, as such, they are visible out to much greater distances than individual stars, even the brightest, so that understanding the intricacies of star cluster composition and their evolution is imperative for understanding stellar populations and the evolution of galaxies as a whole. In this review of where the field has moved to in recent years, we place particular emphasis on the properties and importance of binary systems, the effects of rapid stellar rotation, and the presence of multiple populations in Magellanic Cloud star clusters across the full age range. Our most recent results imply a reverse paradigm shift, back to the old simple stellar population picture for at least some intermediate-age (∼1-3 Gyr old) star clusters, opening up exciting avenues for future research efforts.