Latest talks

List of all the talks in the archive, sorted by date.

Thursday March 2, 2017
Dr. Daniel Angerhausen
Universität Bern


In my presentation I will give a short introduction to the science of extrasolar planets, in particular the technique of transit, eclipse and phasecurve spectro-photometry.  I will describe my various projects in this emerging field using state of the art spectroscopic and photometric instruments on the largest ground based telescopes, the 'flying telescope' SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) and the Kepler and Hubble space telescopes.

Friday February 24, 2017
Dr. Elena Moretti
Max-Planck-Institut für Physik


Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are among the most energetic transient phenomena frequently followed up by different observatories and yet several fundamental questions are still open. Fermi and MAGIC are continuing their observations of GRBs since several years, giving highest priorities to the most interesting events. This effort led to remarkable discoveries in the High Energy regime, showing potential for even more meaningful achievements in the Very High Energy (VHE) regime. Enhanced follow up strategies of MAGIC and soon to come CTA Large Size Telescopes (LST) observations create unique opportunities for the detection of GRBs at VHE. In this talk I will give an overview of the high energy GRB properties as seen by Fermi and show the potential for the first VHE detection with MAGIC and CTA LSTs.

Tuesday February 21, 2017
Dr. Nikolay Britavskiy


The identification and investigation of red supergiants (RSGs) in the Local Group and beyond are extremely important for understanding massive star evolution and mass-loss.  Star-forming dwarf irregular (dIrr) galaxies serve as ideal laboratories for investigating physics of red supergiants within the context of different metallicities of host galaxies. Also, RSGs may be used as tracers for abundance determinations and star formation history of dIrrs. I will present a systematic survey of RSGs and luminous blue variables (LBVs) in nearby dIrr galaxies with the goal to complete the census of these objects in the Local Group. Using the fact that RSGs and LBVs are bright in mid-infrared colors due to dust, we applied a technique that allows us to select dusty massive stars based on their [3.6] and [4.5] Spitzer photometry. I applied our criteria to 7 dIrr galaxies: Pegasus, Phoenix, Sextans A, Sextans B, WLM, IC 10 and IC 1613 selecting 124 point sources, which we observed with the VLT/FORS2, GTC/OSIRIS and duPont/WFCCD spectrographs. In total, we identified 28 RSGs (21 are new discoveries) and 2 new emission line objects in these galaxies. These new discoveries are statistically significant and this sample increased the number of spectroscopically confirmed RSGs in dIrrs by 50%. Moreover, for the newly identified RSGs we measured the fundamental physical parameters by fitting their observational spectral energy distributions with MARCS stellar atmosphere models. This work serves as a basis for further investigation (also in a framework of my activity in IAC) of the newly discovered dusty massive stars and their host galaxies.

Thursday February 9, 2017
Prof. Conny Aerts
KU Leuven


After a basic introduction into asteroseismology for the non-expert, we emphasize how to achieve practical applications of the technique based on uninterrupted high-precision data from space. We show how series of detected and identified oscillation modes allow to deduce details of the interior physics of stars that are impossible to unravel in any other way. We highlight the most recent findings on the interior rotation and chemical mixing of stars with a convective core and illustrate how these affect stellar evolution theory. We reveal the power of combining Gaia and asteroseismic data for stellar physics, galactic archeology, and exoplanet studies. Finally, we provide an outlook for future projects in asteroseismology to illustrate the bright future of this research domain.

Tuesday February 7, 2017
Dr. Andreas Korn
Uppsala University


I give an overview of our spectroscopic work on the old open cluster M67 and what it may tell us about the origin of the Sun, the existence of terrestrial planets around solar twins and effects that change the surface composition of stars. I will argue that much remains to be learned from studies of stars in different environments (globular clusters, open clusters, associations).

Tuesday January 31, 2017
Prof. Licia Verde


The standard cosmological model has been established  and its parameters are now measured with unprecedented precision. However, there is a big difference between modelling and understanding.  The next decade  will see the era of large surveys; a large coordinated effort of the scientific community in the field  is on-going to map the cosmos producing an  exponentially growing amount of data. This will shrink the statistical errors. But precision is not enough: accuracy is also crucial.   Systematic effects may be in the data but may also be in the model used in their interpretation.  I will present a small selection of examples where I explore  approaches to help the  transition from precision to accurate cosmology. This selection is not meant to be exhaustive or representative, it just cover some of the problems I have been working on recently.

Thursday January 26, 2017
Prof. Eric Gaidos
IfA - Hawaii


Time is one of the least explored dimensions of exoplanet research; most 
stars targeted by large surveys are middle-aged by necessity or statistics.
Yet the first few hundred million years of a planetary system are probably
the most formative and include accretion, migration, and escape of atmospheres.
While the Kepler prime field included a small number of young stars by chance, the
K2 mission is deliberately selecting some target stars by age, and previews the
potential of TESS and PLATO. The Zodical Exoplanets in Time (ZEIT) project studies
K2 systems in stellar clusters of established ages. Transiting planets as small as
Earth-size have been detected in the Upper Scorpius, Pleiades, Hyades, and Praesepe
clusters. Mysterious aperiodic signals related to circumstellar disks were found in
Upper Scorpius, these may be related to planet formation. We are also investigating
planets around evolved stars and report a Jupiter-mass planet inflated by irradiation
from its host star. Gaia distances, proper motions, and spectra can identify large numbers
of young stars for observation by the TESS and PLATO missions, enabling robust comparisons
across a range of ages to understand evolutionary trends, and select propitious targets for
follow-up by ELTs and space observatories such as JWST.

Tuesday January 17, 2017
Dr. Lee Patrick


Red supergiant stars (RSGs) are among brightest stars in the Universe. Their extreme luminosities and young ages make them excellent candidates to probe young stellar populations of external galaxies. The problem is that their spectra are typically dominated by molecular absorption features, which makes a chemical analysis almost impossible.

Using state-of-the-art stellar model atmospheres I'll discuss how a new analysis method allows us to probe the chemical evolution of external galaxies using RSGs as abundance tracers. I'll detail why near-IR multi-object spectrographs are vital to this work, highlight some of our recent results and compare these results with other abundance indicators (i.e BSGs, HII regions). Finally, I'll outline the potential of this technique on future facilities such as JWST-NIRspec and a MOS on the E-ELT.

Thursday January 12, 2017
Dr. Carlos del Burgo


This talk shows an spectrophotometric analysis of HD 209458 and 18 A type stars. We have used absolute flux spectrophotometry obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope  and Kurucz model atmospheres to ascertain the angular diameters (precision of about 1%) and effective temperatures (similar or better than 1%). The same analysis also permits the determination of other stellar parameters such as metallicity and surface gravity. The A type stars were selected from the STIS Next Generation Spectral Library because they match our criteria that their absolute fluxes in the optical are reliable to within 3 per cent by comparing their HST spectra with Kurucz theoretical models. HD 209458 harbors the first transiting planet discovered and it is one of only two systems with absolute stellar and planetary masses derived from high-resolution spectroscopy. We updated the stellar radius by combining the angular diameter with the Gaia parallax and then the planetary radius with unprecedented precision. We have also determined the stellar parameters from stellar evolution models. Finally, our results are compared with those from the literature.

Tuesday December 13, 2016
Dr. Thomas Eversberg
DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt)


During the summer of 2013, a 4-month spectroscopic campaign took place at Teide IAC 80 and other professional and amateur observatories to observe the variabilities in the wind of the Wolf-Rayet star WR 134. The spectroscopic data have been analyzed to better understand its wind and long-term periodicity, which can now be interpreted as arising from corotating interaction regions (CIRs) in the wind coming from the hidden surface of the star.

Upcoming talks

Featured talks