Stellar Population Synthesis

Maurizio Salaris

  • Project Description:This main goal of this project is to introduce the students to Colour-Magnitude-Diagrams of stellar populations with different star formation histories, and how these CMDs relate to the mass distribution and evolutionary status of the target stars. Students will be given access to an online webtool (SYNTHETIC_MAN) at the BaSTI webpage ( to determine synthetic CMDs of stellar populations with varying Star Formation Histories. The BaSTI website will also allow students to download isochrones for simple (single age, single initial chemical composition) stellar populations of varying ages and initial chemical compositions. A preliminary analysis of some sample isochrones will provide the basis to understand the behaviour of synthetic CMDs of complex stellar systems. At the end of the project an 'unknown' synthetic CMD will be provided, and the students, on the basis of their experience with the project simulations, should be able to infer, in qualitative terms, its underlying Star Formation History.

  • Recommended Reading: A basic knowledge of CMDs and isochrones would be desirable. Students may wish to read Sections 9.1, 9.2.1, 9.3.1, of 'Evolution of stars and stellar populations', M. Salaris and S. Cassisi, Wiley, to get acquainted with the concept of isochrone. A brief description of the synthetic CMD webtool is in Cordier et al. 2007, ApJ, 133, 468

  • Software: students are free to use their preferred software to display the results of the simulations. The SYNTHETIC_MAN webtool is available online at

  • Data: Everything will be available on the BaSTI website, plus the mistery CMD will be provided at the School
Topic revision: r3 - 07 Mar 2012, MaurizioSalaris
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