GALEV evolutionary synthesis models – I. Code, input physics and web interface
galev (GALaxy EVolution) evolutionary synthesis models describe the evolution of stellar populations in general, of star clusters as well as of galaxies, both in terms of resolved stellar populations and of integrated light properties over cosmological time-scales of ≥13 Gyr from the onset of star formation shortly after the big bang until today. For galaxies, galev includes a simultaneous treatment of the chemical evolution of the gas and the spectral evolution of the stellar content, allowing for what we call a chemically consistent treatment: we use input physics (stellar evolutionary tracks, stellar yields and model atmospheres) for a large range of metallicities and consistently account for the increasing initial abundances of successive stellar generations. Here we present the latest version of the galev evolutionary synthesis models that are now interactively available at http://www.galev.org. We review the currently used input physics, and also give details on how this physics is implemented in practice. We explain how to use the interactive web interface to generate models for user-defined parameters and also give a range of applications that can be studied using galev, ranging from star clusters, undisturbed galaxies of various types E–Sd to starburst and dwarf galaxies, both in the local and the high-redshift Universe.