Project Aims

Massive stars are the cosmic engines which drive the evolution of galaxies throughout the history of the universe. This project will undertake a detailed investigation of the effects of stellar winds, ionising radiation, and the final stellar explosions on the interstellar medium. Building on our experience in simultaneously modelling the evolution of static rotating massive stars and their circumstellar medium, we will for the first time advance such studies to the more realistic situations of moving stars, and high pressure and inhomogeneous external media.

In a second step, we will initiate supernova explosions into these pre-calculated environments whose properties emerge from the corresponding pre-supernova evolution. We will then calculate the observable and dynamical consequences of interactions of supernovae with their surrounding medium for the most frequent realistic situations. Our models will be compared to observations of runaway star bow shocks and wakes, nebulae around massive stars within stellar clusters, sizes and shapes of wind-driven shells in different environments, and supernovae and supernova remnants. They will quantify the energy, momentum, ionising photon luminosity, and chemical elements delivered by massive stars, which are essential ingredients for understanding the evolution of the interstellar medium.

Simulations of the bow shock around the red supergiant star Betelgeuse (Mohamed et al. 2012), used as a cover image by Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Bow shock of a red supergiant with an initial mass of 20Mo moving at 70 km/s (Meyer et al, 2014, Monthly Notices of the RAS, 444, 2754)