Scientific Rationale

The study of globular clusters has fundamental ramifications for a variety of research areas in astronomy including star formation, stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis, stellar dynamics, galaxy formation and evolution. New observational studies continue to raise questions and challenges concerning all the aspects of the astrophysics of globular clusters and clearly illustrate the close link among all the physical processes affecting the formation and evolution of these stellar systems and their possible connection with other star clusters such as nuclear star clusters and young massive clusters. In order to answer these questions and leverage our understanding of globular clusters to make progress in the many related research areas, it is essential to foster communication among astronomers working on all the different areas relevant to the astrophysics of globular clusters.

This colourful view of the globular cluster NGC 6362 was captured by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. This brilliant ball of ancient stars lies in the southern constellation of Ara (The Altar).Credit: ESO

The proposed Symposium will provide a unique opportunity to gather astronomers with a broad variety of expertise for a comprehensive discussion of all the aspects of the study of stellar clusters.
Recent results such as the first detection of gravitational waves and the key role dense star clusters may play in the formation of gravitational wave sources, the data release of Gaia data in 2018 shedding new light on the clusters’ internal kinematics, the numerous new HST and ground based spectroscopic observations which continue to reveal an increasingly complex picture of star clusters’ stellar populations are a few examples showing a IAU Symposium on the proposed topics is very timely.