Found 112 talks archived in Stars

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Thursday June 21, 2018
Prof. Timothy Beers
Univ. Notredame/JINA


The very metal-poor (VMP; [Fe/H] < –2.0) and extremely metal-poor (EMP; [Fe/H] < –3.0) stars provide a direct view of Galactic chemical and dynamical evolution; detailed spectroscopic studies of these objects are the best way to identify and distinguish between various scenarios for the enrichment of early star-forming gas clouds soon after the Big Bang. It has been recognized that a large fraction of VMP (15-20%) and EMP stars (30-40%) possess significant over-abundances of carbon relative to iron, [C/Fe] > +0.7. This fraction rises to at least 80% for stars with [Fe/H] < –4.0. Recent studies show that the majority of CEMP stars with [Fe/H] < –3.0 belong to the CEMP-no sub-class, characterized by the lack of strong enhancements in the neutron-capture elements (e.g., [Ba/Fe] < 0.0). The brightest EMP star in the sky, BD+44:493, with [Fe/H] = –3.8 and V = 9.1, is a CEMP-no star. It shares a common elemental-abundance signature with the recently discovered CEMP-no star having [Fe/H] < –7.8. The distinctive CEMP-no pattern has also been identified in high-z damped Lyman-alpha systems, and is common among stars in the ultra-faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies, such as SEGUE-1. These observations suggest that CEMP-no stars exhibit the nucleosynthesis products of the VERY first generation of stars. We discuss the multiple lines of evidence that support this hypothesis, and describe current efforts to identify the nature of the massive stellar progenitors that produced these signatures.

Thursday May 17, 2018
Dr. Henri M. J. Boffin
ESO, Garching


Binarity and mass transfer appear to play a key role in the shaping and, most likely, in the formation of planetary nebulae (PNe), thereby explaining the large fraction of axisymmetric morphologies. I present the binary hypothesis for PNe and its current status. Recent discoveries have led to a dramatic increase in the number of post-common envelope binary central stars of PNe, thereby allowing us to envisage statistical studies. Moreover, these binary systems let us study in detail the mass transfer episodes before and after the common envelope, and I present the evidences for mass transfer - and accretion - prior to the common envelope phase.

Thursday February 1, 2018
Dr. Savita Mathur


More than 40 years ago, Skumanich (1972) showed how rotation and magnetic activity decreased with the age of a solar-like star. While this result was based on the study of young cluster stars, later observations  of other clusters, still younger than the Sun, agreed with this “gyrochronology” relationship.

With the high-quality photometric data collected by the Kepler mission, we have the opportunity to test and study the evolution of stellar dynamics to older field stars. While for clusters, the determination of stellar ages is eased by the fact that the stars were born from the same molecular cloud, it gets trickier and less precise for field stars. This is where asteroseismology plays an important role by providing more precise ages than any other classical methods.

In this talk I will mostly focus on asteroseismic targets from solar-like stars to red giants where we could measure surface rotation, core rotation, and magnetic activity. I will show how the photometric data of Kepler is providing key information in the understanding of angular momentum transport in stars and of magnetic activity at different evolutionary stages of a star like the Sun.

Tuesday January 16, 2018
Dr. Carlos del Burgo


We employ a Bayesian method to infer stellar parameters from the PARSEC  v1.2S library of stellar evolution models and test the accuracy of these theoretical predictions. Detached eclipsing binaries are ideal for testing. We employ a compilation of 165 detached eclipsing binary systems of our galaxy and the Magellanic clouds with reliable metallicities and measurements for the mass and radius to 2 per cent precision for most of them. We complement the analysis with 107 stars that are closer than 300 pc, for which we adopted solar metallicity. The applied Bayesian analysis relies on a prior for the initial mass function and flat priors for age and metallicity, and it takes on input the effective temperature, radius, and metallicity, and their uncertainties, returning theoretical predictions for other stellar parameters of the binaries. Our research is mainly based on the comparison of dynamical masses with the theoretical predictions for the selected binary systems. We determine the precision of the models. Also, we derive distances for the binaries, which are compared with trigonometric parallaxes whenever possible. We discuss the effects of evolution and the challenges associated with the determination of theoretical stellar ages.

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).

Thursday September 29, 2016
Dr. Fabian Schneider
Univeristy of Oxford


Approximately 10 per cent of massive OBA main-sequence (MS) and pre-MS stars harbour strong, large-scale magnetic fields. At the same time, there is a dearth of magnetic stars in close binaries. A process generating strong magnetic fields only in some stars must be responsible and several channels for the formation of magnetic massive stars have been proposed. In this talk, I will present recent results on the origin and evolution of such strong surface magnetic fields. Regarding the origin, mergers of MS and pre-MS stars have been proposed to form magnetic stars and I will highlight a method to probe this hypothesis observationally. Applying this new method to two magnetic massive stars, we find that they are indeed consistent with being MS merger products. Utilising a large sample of magnetic and non-magnetic OB stars, I will show that there is a dearth of evolved magnetic stars that suggests that magnetic fields disappear over time. I will argue that this is most likely caused by decaying magnetic fields.

Upcoming talks

  • TBD
    Dr. Mahmoudreza Oshagh
    Tuesday November 10, 2020 - 12:30  (Online)
  • Galacto-archeology (TBC)
    Dr. Andrea Miglio
    Tuesday November 17, 2020 - 12:30  (Aula)

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