From luminous hot stars to starburst galaxies

P S Conti, P A Crowther, C Leitherer

Cambridge Astrophysics volume 45

Luminous hot stars represent the extreme upper mass end of normal stellar evolution. Before exploding as supernovae, they live out their lives of a few million years with prodigious outputs of radiation and stellar winds, dramatically affecting both their evolution and environments.

A detailed introduction to the topic, this book connects the astrophysics of massive stars with the extremes of galaxy evolution represented by starburst phenomena. A thorough discussion of the physical and wind parameters of massive stars is presented. We also explore HII galaxies, their connection to starburst galaxies, and the contribution of starburst phenomena to galaxy evolution through superwinds.

The book concludes with the wider cosmological implications, including Population III stars, Lyman break galaxies and gamma-ray bursts, for each of which massive stars are believed to play a crucial role.

This book is ideal for graduate students and researchers in astrophysics interested in luminous hot stars and galaxy evolution.


  1. Introduction

  2. Observed properties

  3. Stellar atmospheres

  4. Stellar winds

  5. Evolution of single stars

  6. Binaries

  7. Birth of massive stars and star clusters

  8. The interstellar environment

  9. From giant HII regions to HII galaxies

  10. Starburst phenomena

  11. Cosmological implications


"It has been almost 20 years since the last comprehensive monograph on luminous hot stars and in that time advances in instrumentation, the Hubble Space Telescope, and computational power have enhanced the knowledge of these objects many fold.

Astrophysicist Conti and his co-authors bring these developments together into a cogent work suitable for both graduate students and research professionals.

Stars of these sizes and masses eject enormous amounts of matter, wind, and energy into the surrounding space, often detected as stellar bursts. These effects are far reaching and have impact on a cosmological scale. This larger view of things is rather rare among books of this calibre and a much welcomed inclusion."

– Margaret F Dominy, American Reference Books Annual


  • p. 58, Table 3.2: Units for the fourth column should be solar luminosities.

  • p. 68, Eqn 4.3: Factor of '4 pi' should be omitted from numerator.

  • p. 68, Eqn 4.4: Factor of '4 pi' should be omitted from numerator in first expression and added to denominator in second expression.

  • p. 157, Fig 7.1: Units for abscissa should be Hz (not GHz).

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