The final moments in the life of stars

Prof. Dr. Andreja Gomboc (Faculty of Mathematics and Physics University of Ljubljana).

Ancient peoples believed that the starry sky is unchanging and eternal. Nowadays we know that stars are being born, evolve and die. But while formation and evolution of stars occur on timescales much longer than human timescales, the final stages of some stars are very brief. Modern wide-field surveys of the sky are daily detecting new, transient astronomical sources of radiation, among which the most powerful ones are connected with stellar deaths: supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, and tidal disruptions of stars in vicinity of massive black holes. All of them get their violent power from gravitational energy and require expertise in various research areas from stellar evolution and dynamics in galaxies to general relativity and high-energy physics to understand them.