Space Science Reviews

, Volume 66, Issue 1–4, pp 417–420 | Cite as

Wolf-Rayet stars in starbursts

Effects of age and metallicity
  • G. Meynet
Structure and Evolution of Massive Stars


Let us suppose that it is possible observationally to determine the number ratio of WR to O stars in a starburst galaxy (cf. e. g. Vacca & Conti 1992) and that one can also have some information on the way the different WR subtypes are distributed (number ratios as WN/WR, WNL/WR etc ...), the question is, what can we deduce from these values on the burst of star formation which gave birth to these WR stars? Is it possible for instance to constrain the age of the burst (i.e. the time elapsed since the beginning of the burst of star formation), its intensity (i.e. the ratio of the star formation rate during the burst to that before the burst) or the metallicity of the cloud from which the stars formed? We present here models of starbursts based on the most recent models for single stars computed by the Geneva group and show that the study of the WR population in a starburst provides very useful insights on the age of the burst and on the metallicity of the star forming zone.

Key words

Stars: Wolf-Rayet Galaxies: stellar content of 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Meynet
    • 1
  1. 1.Geneva ObservatorySauvernySwitzerland

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