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Can We Trust Galaxy Stellar Mass Estimates?

Walter Baade, late in his career, was asked if he would choose a career in astrophysics if he had to do it all over again. He replied yes, but only if he could be assured that the ratio of total to selective dust extinction was universally 3. Many of us might add that we would want to be assured that the stellar initial mass function (IMF) is also universal. Unfortunately, evidence is mounting that it is not. Of course, one person’s misfortune is often another person’s gain – so perhaps variations in the IMF will help generate insights into a better understanding of star and galaxy formation. I will discuss some of the mounting evidence for a non-universal IMF and some implications.

Cody Hall

Dennis Zaritsky (University of Arizona)

September 12, 2014
14:00 - 15:00