Scientific Rationale

Several years of observations using the VLT Interferometer have  allowed us to gain new unprecedented insights into different stages of  stellar evolution from star formation to late stages using the combination of high spatial resolution and moderate spectral resolution.  Examples are disks around young stars, debris disks, stellar atmospheres, and the circumstellar environment of evolved stars.  Now, the upcoming dual-feed facility PRIMA of the VLTI is about to  enable astrometric measurements with one goal being the detection and characterization of planets around stars. In the immediate future, ALMA will provide complimentary observations of  stars with similar angular resolution compared to the VLTI, but at sub-mm wavelengths. ALMA will observe, for instance, molecules in the cool environments of  forming and evolved stars,  and radii of radio photospheres.

In this workshop, we intend to focus on solar-mass stars, and to follow their evolution through the HR diagram in the light of the new interferometric observations that have become available. This mass range is of particular interest given recent advances in planet detection, observation and theory of stellar atmospheres and abundances, and persistent questions on stellar winds for these objects. A broad perspective from stellar birth to death will illuminate  some of the achievements and challenges of stellar evolution. Relevant contributions for neighboring mass ranges (approximately 0.2 to 5 solar masses) will be included as well, in particular for stages where interferometric observations of solar-mass stars are currently sparse.

The aim is to present the unique results made available by interferometry, merge them with observations obtained with other techniques as well as with theoretical models, and discuss their impact on the details of the evolution of Sun-like stars. Interferometry experts and non-interferometrists alike are welcome to attend the workshop and to bring together their different perspectives.

Finally, the workshop will  give the opportunity to discuss the prospects with 2nd generation VLTI instruments and with ALMA.

Main science topics include

  • Young stellar objects
  • Main sequence stars & planets
  • RGB & AGB stars
  • Post-AGB stars and PNe
  • Stellar evolution and stellar atmospheres