Found 108 talks archived in Stars

Thursday February 12, 2015
Dr. David Jones


I will report on the results of our paper published in Nature this week, outlining the discovery of a super-Chandrasekhar double-degenerate binary system at the heart of the planetary nebula Hen 2-428.  Planetary nebulae (PNe) represent the final stage in the evolution of low- and intermediate-mass stars, forming from the mass ejected by the star during its AGB evolution before being ionised by the star's, now exposed, core.  As binarity is expected to play a key role in the formation of aspherical PN morphologies, we have been intensively searching for new binary central stars in a push towards a statistical sample.  One of our newly-discovered binary systems, lying at the heart of Hen 2-428, had a further surprise to reveal, with observations and modelling showing the system to consist of twin evolved stars with a total mass greater than the Chandrasekhar limit.  The short period of the system, only 4.2 hours, means that the two stars will merge together in approximately 700 Myr, resulting in a Supernova Type Ia.  While the super-Chandrasekhar merger of two white dwarfs has long been considered a formation pathway for SN Ia, this is the first system found that is confirmed to be both massive enough and in a tight enough orbit to merge in less than a Hubble time.

Thursday January 29, 2015
Dr. France Allard
Centre de Recherche Astronomique de Lyon


Understanding the atmospheric and evolutive properties of very low mass stars, brown dwarfs, and gas giant exoplanets have been important challenges for modelers around the world since the discovery of the first brown dwarfs in the Pleiades cluster (Rebolo et al. 1995) and in the field (Nakajima et al. 1995). The early studies of brown dwarfs have provided rich insights into atmospheric physics, with discoveries ranging from cloud formation (Tsuji et al. 1996), methane bands (Oppenheimer et al. 1995) and ammonia bands (Delorme et al. 2008), to the formation of wasi-molecular KI-H2 absorption (Allard et al. 2007), and to disequilibrium chemistry (Yelle & Griffith 2001). New classical 1D models yield spectral energy distribution (SED) that match relatively well despite these complexities. These models have for instance explained the spectral transition from M to L, T and now Y brown dwarf spectral types (Allard et al. 2013). However, in presence of surface inhomogeneities revealed recently for a nearby (2 pc) brown dwarf (Crossfield et al. 2014), the SED may well fit even exactly, but the model parameters could be far from exact, e.g. with the effective temperature by several hundred kelvins too cool in the case of dusty brown dwarfs and young gas giant exoplanets! I will review the progress achieved in reproducing the spectral properties of very low mass stars, brown dwarfs and gas giant exoplanets, and review progress in modeling more accurately their atmospheres using Radiation HydroDynamical (RHD) simulations.

Thursday November 27, 2014
Dr. Melanie Godart


Massive stars shape and drive our Universe. Many issues such as their formation, their stability and the mass loss effects for example, are nowadays far for being completely understood. To improve our understanding, asteroseismology provides a powerful tool and excellent results have been obtained over the last years. Recent ground-based and space observations have shown the presence of pulsations in massive main sequence and post-main sequence stars, such as acoustic and gravity modes excited by the kappa-mechanism and even solar-like oscillations. Theoretical studies emphasized the presence of strange modes in massive models, excited by the strange mode instability mechanism. Moreover, recent theoretical analyses have shown that hot supergiants can also pulsate in oscillatory convective modes propagating in the superficial layers of these stars. I will expose here the instability domains of massive stars as well as their excitation mechanisms and present the latest results in the domain.

Thursday November 20, 2014
Dr. Santi Cassisi
INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Teramo


Since the early 50' of last century the study of Horizontal Branch stars in Galactic GCs has been of pivotal relevance since the core He-burning stage is an 'amplifier' of any evolutionary/physical process occurring during the early evolutionary stages. Thanks to the huge observational effort devoted to this issue many outstanding 'anomalies' have been discovered concerning the physical properties of GC HB stars. The situation is becoming more complex when accounting for the discovery of the Multiple Population phenomenon in Galactic GCs. We will review the main anomalies related to the HB evolutionary stage, their (when available) theoretical interpretations, and current shortcomings. We will also discuss how the discovery of the Multiple Population Phenomenon offers a new approach for interpreting many observational evidence.

Wednesday November 19, 2014
Dr. Cyril Georgy
Keele University


We will start by recalling the effects of rotation on stellar evolution and briefly explain its implementation in a stellar evolution code. We will present a set of various grids of massive stars models, and then show some recent results obtained by our new SYCLIST toolbox, which is able (among other things) to generate synthetic stellar clusters, including various physical ingredients, such as initial rotation and angle of view distributions, gravity and limb darkening, etc.

Friday October 24, 2014
Dr. Pere Blay


High Mas X-ray Binary Systems are important sources of information for many astrophysical fields of research. They are composed by a compact object (black hole or neutron star) and an early type star (usually known as the optical companion). Mass transfer from the later onto the compact companion ends up as very bright emission of high energy photons. The multi-wavelength approach becomes mandatory in order to understand these systems: a) Optical and IR bands are used to characterize the optical companion, b) Mass transfer and the local ambient matter in these systems can be traced in UV and IR bands, c) The behavior and properties of the compact companion can be inferred from X-rays/gamma-rays observations, etc. We will review how this approach helps to understand the behavior of several peculiar systems, including the discovery of optical counterparts, the estimation of compact object masses, the characterization of the ambient matter (local extinction), etc.

Tuesday October 21, 2014
Dr. Michael Bode
Astrophysics Research Institute (Univ. John Moores Liverpoool)


The Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI) was established at LJMU in 1992. Today the Institute comprises around 70 staff and research students working on topics ranging from stellar evolution to cosmology. In this talk I will give an overview and some highlights of the work undertaken in recent years on Classical and Recurrent novae by the nova group of the ARI. This involves multi-frequency observations of both Galactic novae and those in Local Group galaxies and includes topics such as the exploration of their potential links to the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae. Along the way, I will briefly describe the work of the Liverpool Telescope on La Palma, one of whose primary science drivers is the efficient and effective observation of transient objects such as these, and look forward to our plans for the development of an even larger and faster-reacting robotic telescope at ORM - currently codenamed 'LT2".

Thursday October 2, 2014
Dr. Adam Burgasser
University of California San Diego


Over the past two decades, advances in infrared instrumentation have allowed us to identify a vast and previously unseen population of low-temperature stars, brown dwarfs and free-floating extrasolar planets, collectively called ultracool dwarfs. These sources, with surface temperatures reaching below 0ºC, encompass three new spectral classes and include some of the nearest systems to the Sun. Research in this field is now concentrating on the physical characterization of the ultracool dwarf population and application to Galactic studies. In this talk, I will summarize the recent observational advances in ultracool dwarf research, including the recent discovery of the Y dwarf spectral class. I will then describe our ongoing IRTF/SpeX survey, which has measured the low-resolution, near-infrared spectra of over 1500 late M, L and T dwarfs and uncovered new subpopulations of young (5-30 Myr) brown dwarf, metal-poor halo brown dwarfs and short-period spectral binaries.

Thursday July 10, 2014
Dr. Geroges Meynet
Univ. of Geneve


In the early Universe, massive stars played a key role in the early chemical evolution of galaxies and in injecting important amount of ionising radiation in their environments. The first question that will be addressed in this seminar is the following one: can we infer some properties of the first stellar generations in the Universe by studying the surface composition of very metal poor stars in the halo of our Galaxy? The talk will focus on both the regular halo stars and the so-called Carbon Enhanced Metal Poor (CEMP) stars. The second topic that will be addressed in this talk deals with a much more recent event, the birth of the Solar System. Here the question will be: what do the presence of short lived radioactive elements in the proto-solar nebula tell us about the stellar environment of the Sun 4.56 billion years ago? The talk will focus on the discussion of the origin of 26Al and 60Fe in the proto-solar nebula.

Tuesday April 29, 2014
Dr. Sergio Simon


The application of the Fourier transform (FT) technique to high resolution spectra of OB-type stars has challenged our previous knowledge about stellar rotation in stars in the upper region of the HRD. The FT is an old and powerful tool that has being widely used in the case of cool stars, but only very recently applied to massive stars in a systematic way. In this talk I will present the results of the line-broadening characterization of ~250 Galactic OB-type stars (including dwarfs, giants and supergiants with spectral types O4-B9) from the IACOB spectroscopic database. I will show how these analyses have led to a downward revision of previously determined projected rotational velocities in these stars, and have definitely confirmed the presence of a non-negligible extra line-broadening contribution (commonly called macroturbulent broadening) in the whole OB star domain. I will also provide some notes about the importance of these findings on the evolution of massive stars and the detection of stellar oscillations along the lifetime of these important astrophysical objects.

Upcoming talks

  • Astro-African memories
    Dr. Cristina Martínez Lombilla
    Thursday January 17, 2019 - 10:30  (Aula)
  • TBD
    Beatriz Villarroel
    Thursday January 24, 2019 - 10:30  (Aula)

Featured talks