From stars to nuclei
Geneva Observatory, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
We recall the basic physical principles governing the evolution of stars with some emphasis on the role played by the nuclear reactions. We argue that in general it is not possible from observations of stars to deduce constraints on the nuclear reaction rates. This is the reason why precise measurements of nuclear reaction rates are a necessity in order to make progresses in stellar physics, nucleosynthesis and chemical evolution of galaxies. There are however some stars which provides useful constraints on nuclear processes. The Wolf-Rayet stars of the WN type present at their surface CNO equilibrium patterns. There is also the particular case of the abundance of 22Ne at the surface of WC stars. The abundance of this element is a measure of the initial CNO content. Very interestingly, recent determinations of its abundance at the surface of WC stars tend to confirm that massive stars in the solar neighborhood have initial metallicities in agreement with the Asplund et al.  solar abundances.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2008