Found 132 talks archived in Stars

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.

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Dr. Nicolas Fabas


To study the extended atmosphere of evolved stars such as Mira-type variables, spectropolarimetry is an innovative tool. For many kinds of stars, it has been used to measure global magnetic fields through circular polarization and the Zeeman effect. However, linear polarization has seldom been used in the past years even though phenomena such as scattering and the Hanle effect can definitely be studied as well, as it is done in solar physics. In this presentation, I am going to describe original results coming from a spectropolarimetric survey of Mira stars with NARVAL@TBL. Such results concern spectral lines like the Balmer lines of hydrogen and calcium lines. More specifically, I will focus on linear polarization and link this polarization to the propagation of the hypersonic radiative shock wave which is typical of Miras' atmospheres. In general, these environements are very dynamical and scattering in an aspherical atmosphere and velocity gradients can induce a strong linear polarization, likely to be further affected by weak magnetic fields. This analysis is very inspired of what is already done with solar spectra. In addition to that, I am going to present exclusive results about the first detection of a surface magnetic field in a Mira star and explain how the shock wave can impact this field. This work is likely to lead to collaborations with other disciplines such as interferometry (geometry of the scattering environement and characterization of the shock) and radio-astronomy (study of the polarization of masers).

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Dr. N. Kameswara Rao
Indian Institute of Astrophysics


R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars are the more prominent group  of high luminosity hydrogen deficient stars that are rich in carbon  and helium. They also show characteristic irregular light drops of  several magnitudes (between 3 and 8 magnitudes) at unpredictable  times, caused by expulsion of self-made clouds of dust. They range in 
surface temperatures from 4500 K to  20000 K. Some of them seem to  have made even such complex molecules like fullerenes (C60) in their  circumstellar regions. Neither their evolutionary history nor the dust 
formation mechanism are well understood. Two scenarios that have been  suggested are that the present stars are a result of merger of two  white dwarfs (CO+He) or a post born-again (AGB) giant that is  surviving after a final helium shell flash. The talk would describe  the RCB properties and highlight the problems and challenges they pose 
in understanding their origins and dust production.

Tuesday March 25, 2014
Dr. Pieter Degroote
Institute for Astronomy- KU Leuven


The theory of stellar evolution is well developed over the past decades, and in particular the predictions of one dimensional numerical models have passed basic observational tests. With the advent of high precision astronomical observations, these tests can now be improved to fine tune the physics of the models. In particular, the combination of exploiting binary properties with the information obtained from asteroseismology, proves to provide a promising test framework. However, both binarity and seismology increase the complexity of the observational models and their relation to the stellar evolutionary model, and therefore require as many independent tests as possible.

Tuesday February 11, 2014
Dr. Jorge Casares


Stellar-mass black holes have all been discovered through X-ray emission, which arises from the accretion of gas from their binary companions. Currently known black holes are fed by material stripped from a low-mass star or by the wind of a massive companion. Binary evolution models also predict the existence of black holes accreting from the equatorial envelope of rapidly spinning Be-type stars. However, among the ~80 Be X-ray binaries known in the Galaxy (~150 including the Magellanic Clouds), only pulsating neutron stars have been found as companions, which is known as the missing Be/black-hole X-ray binary problem. In this talk I present the first dynamical evidence for a 3.8-6.9 Msun black hole orbiting the Be star and gamma-ray candidate MWC 656 (=AGL J2241+4454). This discovery has been allowed by the detection of a HeII emission line from an accretion disc encircling the black hole. We find the black hole is X-ray quiescent with Lx<1.6 × 10−7 times the Eddington luminosity. This implies that Be binaries with black-hole companions are difficult to detect by conventional X-ray surveys and may be more abundant than predicted by population synthesis models.


Thursday November 28, 2013
Prof. Michiel van der Klis
Astronomical Institute, University Amsterdam, the Netherlands


The matter within a few Schwarzschild radii of accreting neutron stars and black holes is moving under the influence of a strong gravitational field, and, in stellar mass compact objects, through strongly curved spacetime. The X-rays emitted in the accretion process can be used to diagnose this motion, using both spectroscopy and rapid time variability. Similarly, X-rays emitted from the surface of accreting neutron stars can be used to diagnose neutron star mass, radius and even internal structure. I discuss these ways to probe strong gravitational fields and ultradense matter from an empirical perspective and in the context of proposed future X-ray observatories, in particular, LOFT.

Wednesday November 13, 2013
Prof. Rudolf Kudritzki
Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa


The determination of chemical composition and distances of galaxies is crucial for constraining the theory of galaxy formation and evolution in a dark energy and cold dark matter dominated universe. However, the standard technique using HII regions to determine the metallicity of star forming galaxies, nearby and at high redshift, is subject to large systematic uncertainties that are poorly understood and the determinination of accurate distances using Cepheids suffers from uncertainties caused by the metallicity dependence of the period luminosity relationship and extinction and crowding corrections. Multi-object spectroscopy of blue and red supergiant stars - the brightest stars in the universe at visual and NIR wavelengths - provides an attractive alternative. I will present results accumulated over recent years for galaxies in the Local Group and beyond out to a distance of 8 Mpc and will discuss the potential of future work with TMT and E-ELT. Combining the photon collecting power of these next generation telescopes with Adaptive Optics we will be able to study individual supergiant stars in galaxies as distant as the Coma cluster. With spectroscopy of the integrated light of young very massive Star Super Clusters and simple population synthesis techniques we can reach out ten times further.

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