Annual review of astronomy and astrophysics vol:41 pages:391-427
In this contribution, a review is presented on the ample data obtained on post-AGB stars, both on the central stars and their circumstellar material. The fast evolutionary phase: is characterized by a rapid change in the properties of the objects, but the variety is so large that there is yet no clear consensus on how the detailed studies of individual objects are linked together by evolutionary channels. The absence of strong molecular veiling in the photospheres of the central stars, together with a spread in intrinsic metallicity make post-AGB stars very useful in constraining AGB chemical evolutionary models. We discuss the surprisingly wide variety of chemical signatures observed. The onset in the creation process of the panoply of structures and shapes observed in. planetary nebulae occurs during the short post-AGB evolution, but the physical nature of the processes involved is still badly understood. In the rapidly growing field of circumstellar mineralogy, post-AGB stars have their story to tell and also the molecular envelope changes significantly due to dilution and hardening of the stellar radiation. The real-time evolution of some objects suffering a late thermal flash is reviewed and their possible link to other hydrogen-deficient objects is discussed. Any review on stellar evolution has a section on binaries and this contribution is no exception because binaries make up a significant fraction of the post-AGB stars known to date.