Found 118 talks archived in Stars

Tuesday June 8, 2021
Dr. Hector Socas-Navarro


In this talk I'll present results from a recent paper in which we have developed a new analysis technique for solar spectra based on artificial neural networks. Our first test applications yielded some unexpected and interesting results. The fine-scale network of temperature enhancements in the quiet middle and upper photosphere have a reversed pattern. Hot pixels in the middle photosphere, possibly associated with small-scale magnetic elements, appear cool at higher levels (log(tau)=-3 and -4), and vice versa. We also find hot arcs on the limb side of magnetic pores, which we interpret as the first direct observational evidence of the "hot wall" effect. Hot walls are a prediction of theoretical models from the 1970s which had not been observed until now.

Tuesday May 18, 2021
Prof. ºAke Nordlund
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhaguen


(This seminar is organized by the IAU G5 commission on stellar and planetary atmospheres) 

Task-based computing is a method where computational problems are split
   into a large number of semi-independent tasks (cf.
   2018MNRAS.477..624N). The method is a general one, with application not
   limited to traditional grid-based simulations; it can be applied with
   advantages also to particle-based and hybrid simulations, which involve
   both particles and fields. The main advantages emerge when doing
   simulations of very complex and / or multi-scale systems, where the
   cost of updating is very unevenly distributed in space, with perhaps
   large volumes with very low update cost and small but important regions
   with large update costs.

   Possible applications in the context of stellar atmospheres include
   modelling that covers large scales, such as whole active regions on the
   Sun or even the entire Sun, while at the same time allows resolving
   small-scale details in the photosphere, chromosphere, and corona. In
   the context of planetary atmospheres, models of pebble-accreting hot
   primordial atmospheres that cover all scales, from the surfaces of
   Mars- and Earth-size embryos to the scale heights of the surrounding
   protoplanetary disks, have already been computed (2018MNRAS.479.5136P,
   2019MNRAS.482L.107P), and one can envision a number of applications
   where the task-based computing advantage is leveraged, for example to
   selectively do the detailed chemistry necessary to treat atmospheres
   saturated with evaporated solids, or to do complex cloud chemistry
   combined with 3-D radiative transfer.

   In the talk I will give a quick overview of the principles behind
   task-based computing, and then use both already published and still
   on-going work to illustrate how this may be used in practice. I will
   finish by discussing how these methods could be applied with great
   advantage to problems such as non-equilibrium ionization, non-LTE
   radiative transfer, and partial redistribution diagnostics of spectral

Thursday March 11, 2021
Dr. Tomer Shenar


"Classical Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars" represent a class of hot, hydrogen-depleted stars wtih powerful stellar winds and are prominent progenitors of black holes. Next to their unparalleled radiative and mechanical energy feedback, they offer unique probes of massive-star evolution at the upper-mass end. To become a classical WR star, single stars require substantial mass-loss to strip their outer, hydrogen-rich layers, implying that only very massive stars could enter the WR phase. However, mass-transfer in binaries can further aid in the stripping of stars and form Wolf-Rayet stars, or more generally helium stars, at lower masses.  Due to the decrease of mass-loss with metallicity, it has been predicted that WR stars at low metallicity tend to form in binaries. However, this has so far not been supported by observations.

In my talk, I will give an overview on our current knowledge of the properties of Wolf-Rayet populations in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds based on exhaustive spectral analyses. I will illustrate why binary formation does not necessarily dominate the evolution of WR stars at low metallicity, and highlight important discrepancies between theory and observations of WR stars. I will discuss the observed rarity of intermediate mass helium stars, and present recent reports of unique helium stars in the exotic binaries LB-1 and HR 6819.


Tuesday February 23, 2021
Dr. Athira Menon
University of Amsterdam


The majority of massive stars are born in close binary systems with orbital periods of a few days. At some point during their core-hydrogen burning phase, both members of these close binaries inevitably overflow their Roche lobes simultaneously and get bound by a common equipotential surface. The characteristics of this `contact phase’ will determine the fate of the binary system: whether the stars will merge on the main sequence or evolve further towards becoming potential gravitational-wave progenitors. Although data is available for several of these massive contact binaries in the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way, there has not been a dedicated study of these systems so far. In this talk, I will present the first set of detailed binary models covering a wide range of initial masses (20-80 Msun) and initial periods (0.6-2 days), focusing especially on the properties of the contact phase. We find that our models can approximately reproduce the period-mass ratio trend of the observed binaries although for the higher masses of our grid, our model predictions do not match with what is observed. We also find that those binary models which are in contact over nuclear timescales evolve towards equal masses before ultimately merging on the main sequence. This first study of massive contact binaries has allowed us to gain insights into the physics of massive contact systems and also provide reasonable predictions for the final fate of close massive binary stars.

Thursday January 21, 2021
Prof. Corinne Charbonnel
University of Geneva


Globular clusters (GCs) are fascinating objects nearly as old as the Universe that provide insight on a large variety of astrophysical and cosmological processes. However, their formation and their early and long-term evolution are far from being understood. In particular, the classical paradigm describing GCs as large systems of coeval stars formed out of chemically homogeneous material has been definitively swept away by recent high-precision spectroscopic and deep photometric observations. These data have provided undisputed evidence that GCs host multiple stellar populations, with very peculiar chemical properties. In this talk, I will review the properties of these multiple populations, before presenting the different scenarios that have been proposed to describe their formation. I will focus on the (many) current theoretical issues and open questions. 

Thursday November 19, 2020
Dr. Laurent Mahy
KU Leuven (Belgium)


Massive stars are often found to be in pairs. This configuration is both a blessing and a curse. From it, we can estimate their exact properties such as their masses but the interactions that result during their life considerably affect the way that the stars evolve.

Here, we provide an overview of progresses made through a number of medium and large surveys. These results provide new insights on the observed and intrinsic multiplicity properties of massive stars through a large range of masses and at different metallicities. Furthermore, to understand how the stars evolve when they are in pair and what are the effects of these interactions on the stellar properties, we undertook a large study of more than 60 massive binaries at Galactic and LMC metallicities using spectral disentangling, atmosphere modelling and light curve fitting to determine their stellar parameters, and surface abundances. This unique dataset is the largest sample of binaries composed of at least one O-type star to be studied in such a homogeneous way. It allows us to give strong observational constraints to test theoretical binary evolutionary tracks, to probe rotational and tidal mixings and mass transfer episodes.

Tuesday September 29, 2020
Dr. Felipe Murgas


The formation and evolution of planets in general is closely linked to the life of their host star. What happens to the planetary systems at the end stages of the life cycle of their star has been one of the questions that have received attention from a theoretical point of view but has had a lack of real life examples to study. Among more than 4000 known exoplanets to date only a few of these objects have been found orbiting around pulsars, but so far we have found nothing that resembles what our own solar system will be like long after the Sun leaves the main sequence.

In this talk we will discuss the recent announcement by A. Vanderburg et al. of a giant planet candidate detected by the transit method orbiting around a white dwarf. The candidate was discovered using data from the space-based NASA mission TESS and confirmed using GTC, Spitzer, and other ground-based facilities. We will talk about the role that GTC played in this discovery, the peculiarity of this candidate system, and the possibility of detecting atmospheres in rocky planets orbiting around white dwarfs.

Zoom link:
Youtube link:

Tuesday July 21, 2020
Dr. Joris Vos
University of Potsdam


Wide hot subdwarf B (sdB) binaries with main-sequence companions are outcomes of stable mass transfer from evolved red giants. The orbits of these binaries show a strong correlation between their orbital periods and mass ratios. The origins of this correlation have, so far, been lacking a conclusive explanation.
We have performed a small but statistically significant binary population synthesis study with the binary stellar evolution code MESA. We have used a standard model for binary mass loss and a standard Galactic metallicity history.  We have achieved an excellent match to the observed period - mass ratio correlation without explicitly fine-tuning any parameters. Furthermore, our models produce a good match to the observed period - metallicity correlation.
We demonstrate, for the first time, how the metallicity history of the Milky Way is imprinted in the properties of the observed post-mass transfer binaries. We show that Galactic chemical evolution is an important factor in binary population studies of interacting systems containing at least one evolved low-mass (Mi < 1.6 Msol) component. Finally, we provide an observationally supported model of mass transfer from low-mass red giants onto main-sequence stars.

Zoom link:

Thursday May 21, 2020
Dr. Ana Escorza Santos
KU Leuven


About half of the stars in our Galaxy are born in binary systems meaning that their evolution might be affected by the presence of a companion. Many aspects of binary interaction are still unknown so understanding the products that result from interacting systems is crucial to unravel the physical mechanisms involved. A prototypical example of such post-interaction binary systems in the low- and intermediate-mass regime are Barium (Ba) stars. Ba stars are main-sequence or giant stars which show an enhancement of chemical elements that should not yet be overabundant at these evolutionary stages. Currently, it is widely accepted that these chemicals were transferred from a more evolved companion during a phase of mass transfer and that this companion evolved into a cool white dwarf. Understanding the orbital properties of these systems, as well as the stellar properties of the Ba star and its polluter, is the key to the system’s interaction history.

In the last years, the synergy between Gaia data, of unprecedented quality, high-resolution spectroscopy, long-term radial-velocity monitoring programmes, and state-of-the-art stellar and binary evolution models has contributed to a better understanding of the properties of Ba stars and provided new observational constraints to theoretical studies. The new Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams of Ba stars allowed us to accurately determine their evolutionary status and their masses. Additionally, we have recently determined the orbital properties of many main-sequence Ba stars, much less studied until now than their giant counterparts, which led to a thorough comparison of the properties of the two samples. The comparison between the distributions of masses, periods and eccentricities that resulted from this analysis allowed us to investigate the evolution of Ba-star systems between these two phases. Our models show that a second stage of binary interaction, this time between the main-sequence Ba star and its white-dwarf companion, also takes place in some systems, affecting the distribution of orbits observed among Ba giants.

Zoom link:

Thursday December 12, 2019
Dr. Marc Pinsonneault
Ohio State university


Time-domain space missions have revolutionized our understanding of stellar physics and stellar populations. Virtually all evolved stars can be detected as oscillators in missions such as Kepler, K2, TESS and PLATO.  Asteroseismology, or the study of stellar oscillations, can be combined with spectroscopy to infer masses, radii and ages for very large samples of stars.  This asteroseismic data can also be used to train machine learning tools to infer ages for even larger stellar population studies, sampling a large fraction of the volume of the Milky Way galaxy. In this talk I demonstrate that asteroseismic radii are in excellent agreement with those inferred using Gaia and spectroscopic data; this demonstrates that the current asteroseismic data is precise and accurate at the 1-2% level.  Major new catalogs for Kepler and K2 data are nearing completion, and I present initial results from both. We find unexpected age patterns in stars though to be chemically old, illustrating the power of age information for Galactic archeology.  Prospects for future progress in the TESS era will also be discussed.

Upcoming talks

More upcoming talks

Recent Colloquia

Recent Talks