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CIFIST - Cosmological Impact of the First STars
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CIFIST members are involved in organizing the:

IAU JD 10 "3D views on cool stellar atmospheres: theory meets observation" 

The CIFIST project

CIFIST - standing for the Cosmological Impact of the First STars - is a reseach team financed by the European Commission through a Marie Curie Excellence grant (for more information see the MC EXT Programme Handbook) within the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The CIFIST Project's main objective is to study the properties of the first generation of stars which were an important source of metals and ionizing photons, these in turn, have important bearings on the subsequent galaxy formation and evolution. The CIFIST Team is hosted by the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon. Its five  members work in close collaboration with the scientists of the Observatoire, and began their activities on September 1st 2005.

The method of choice to meet the objectives of the CIFIST project is to study the ancient stars in the Milky Way and galaxies of the Local Group. The chemical composition of such stars is the fossil record of of the galaxy as it was forged by the first generation of stars. The chemical abundance patterns in these stars pose important constraints on the properties of the first generation of stars, noticeably on their masses.

If stars of primordial chemical composition and low mass (M<MSun) were formed, they should still shine on the Main Sequence today. Although no such star has been found today, there are still good motivations to push the search to the very limits of our own Galaxy, to see if there indeed exists a critical metallicity (Z~ 2.5x10-4 ZSun) for the formation of low mass stars, as has been suggested theoretically.

The fields in which the CIFIST Team expects to make substantial advances are:
  • High resolution spectroscopy for detailed chemical analysis of the most metal poor stars
  • Accurate physical modeling of stellar atmospheres taking into account their three dimensional nature
  • Exploitation of existing or upcoming large spectroscopic Surveyes (noticeably SDSS and SEGUE) and planning of new ones

CIFIST is associated with the First Stars Team at Paris Observatory (GEPI): R. Cayrel, P. Francois, V. Hill, B. Lemasle, F. Spite and M. Spite.