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Small Stars in Large Surveys - Large Surveys for Small Stars

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All stars with masses less than roughly 10 Msun will end their lives as white dwarfs: Earth-sized, burnt-out stellar embers sustained by electron degeneracy. The steep slope of the stellar initial mass function implies that the overwhelming majority of all stars born in the Galaxy will evolve, or already have evolved, into white dwarfs. The study of these stellar remnants links into a wide range of astrophysical problems, such as stellar mass loss, the galactic star formation history, the late evolution of planetary systems, or supernova type Ia progenitors. I will provide an overview of the recent progress in these research areas, predominantly driven by SDSS , and I will outline the impact that future instruments such as GAIA , 4MOST, WEAVE , or LSST will have.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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