Found 25 talks width keyword science

Tuesday May 24, 2022
Prof. Kfir Blum
Weizmann Institute


Gravitational dynamical friction affecting the orbits of globular clusters (GCs) was studied extensively as a possible formation mechanism for nuclear star clusters in galaxies. In well-known examples that showcase this phenomenon, like the Milky Way and M31 galaxies, the medium which affects the dynamical friction is dominated by bulge stars. In comparison, the case for dynamical friction in dark matter-dominated systems is much less clear. A puzzling example is the Fornax dwarf galaxy, where the observed positions of GCs have long been suspected to pose a challenge for dark matter, dynamical friction theory, or both. We search for additional systems that are dark matter-dominated and contain a rich population of GCs, offering a test of the mechanism. A possible example is the ultra diffuse galaxy NGC5846-UDG1: we show that GC photometry in this galaxy provide evidence for the imprint of dynamical friction, visible via mass segregation. If confirmed by future analyses of more GC-rich UDG systems, these observations could provide a novel perspective on the nature of dark matter.

Tuesday May 10, 2022
Dr. Alessia Ritacco


The search for the primordial B-modes polarization in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation,
carrying the signature of the primordial gravitational waves from the inflation epoch, motivated a significant
technological progress enabling the next generation of CMB instruments (e.g. CMB-S4, LiteBIRD)
to reach an unprecedented sensitivity. However, such a challenging detection demands a very high control
of the instrumental systematics and CMB foreground emissions.
Among those, the galactic dust polarized emission spectral dependence, not yet fully
characterized, could leave a high level of uncertainty in the cosmological polarization data
producing an ambiguous detection of the CMB B-modes.
Characterizing the dust spectral energy distribution (SED) spatial variations became one of
the most critical issues in the quest for primordial B-modes.
In the work that I will present we have used the release of the Planck satellite HFI data
obtained with the software Sroll2 (Delouis+2019, A&A 629, A38), in order to characterize
and compare the SEDs for polarization and total intensity.
The mean SEDs for dust polarization and total intensity from 353 to 100 GHz are confirmed
to be remarkably close. However, the data show evidence for spatial variations of the
polarization SED. These variations are correlated with variations of dust temperature
measured on total intensity data but the correlation is tight only in the Galactic plane.
At higher latitudes, by considering 90% of useful sky fraction and less, the amplitude of the dust
emission residuals in polarization suggests that an additional contribution, coming from
variations of the polarization angle, becomes dominant. Current models, which extrapolate
the SED spatial variations from total intensity to polarization, would be therefore grossly
simplifying and underestimating the foreground signal to CMB polarization.

Tuesday January 25, 2022
Drs. Sarah Martell
Australian National University


The field of Galactic archaeology has been very active in recent years, with a major influx of data from the Gaia satellite and large spectroscopic surveys. The major science questions in the field include Galactic structure and dynamics, the accretion history of the Milky Way, chemical tagging, and age-abundance relations. I will give an overview of GALAH as a large spectroscopic survey, and describe how it is complementary to other ongoing and future survey projects. I will also discuss recent science highlights from the GALAH team and compelling questions for future work.

Thursday December 2, 2021
Prof. Roberto Maiolino
Kavli Cambridge


In the local universe most of the stellar mass is in passive galaxies, where star formation is
absent or at very low levels. Understanding what are the mechanisms that have been
responsible for quenching star formation in galaxies, and transforming them into passive,
quiescent systems, is one of the main observational and theoretical challenges of extragalactic
astrophysics. I will give a brief overview of the several possible quenching causes and physical
processes that have been proposed so far, ranging from feedback from black hole accretion and
starburst activity, to effects associated with the large scale environment in which galaxies live.
Although most of these mechanisms and causes play a role in different classes of galaxies and
at different epochs, multi-band observations are providing growing evidences that just a few of
them play the key, dominant role.
I will conclude by providing prospects for further investigating these aspects and tackling open
questions with the next generation of observing facilities.

Tuesday November 23, 2021
Dr. Eva Villaver


Planetary systems have been found systematically orbiting main sequence stars and red giants. But the detection of planets per se during the white dwarf phase has been more elusive with only 3 systems.  We have, however, ample indirect evidence  of the existence of planetary debris around these systems in the form of material acreted onto the white dwarf, disks and even planetesimals. In this talk, I will review how we can put the pieces together: how we can reconcile what we see in white dwarfs with what we can infer regarding the evolution of planetary systems from the main sequence phase.


Tuesday July 20, 2021
Dr. Sergey Yurchenko
University College of London


The ExoMol project ( provides comprehensive spectroscopic data (line lists) for the study of atmospheres of exoplanets and other hot bodies.  These line lists serve as input for models of radiative transport through hot atmospheres and are useful for a variety of terrestrial applications. The basic form of the database is extensive line lists; these are supplemented with partition functions, state lifetimes, cooling functions, Landé g-factors, temperature-dependent cross sections, opacities, k-coefficients and pressure broadening parameters. Currently containing 80 molecules and 190 isotopologues totaling over 700 billion transitions, the database covers infrared, visible and UV wavelengths. The field of the HR spectroscopy of exoplanets is growing extremely fast and urgently demands molecular data of high precision. Failure to detect molecules in atmospheres of exoplanets is often attributed to the lack of the underlying quality of
the line positions.  These developments have led us to begin a systematic attempt to improve the accuracy of the line positions for the line lists contained in the database. Our new ExoMolHD project aims to provide comprehensive line lists to facilitate their use in characterization of exoplanets using high resolution Doppler shift spectroscopy. Progress on this objective will be presented.

Thursday May 20, 2021
Dr. Guillaume Thomas


At present, our understanding of the formation history of the MW is limited due to the complexity of observing the imprints of accretion events and of reproducing them in numerical simulations. Moreover, though being the only galaxy, in which the Galactic potential can be probed in detail, the distribution of mass in the MW, and hence of the dark matter, is poorly constraint, especially at large distances. In addition, the MW is not isolated, and it has recently been suggested that the infall of the LMC can induce a perturbation in the stellar and dark matter distribution of the MW. As a consequence, the details of the formation history of our Galaxy are still unknown, such as the number of accretion events, the mass of the accreted galaxies, and the epoch of these events. Yet this information is crucial to understand our environment and to constrain the theoretical models and simulations that try to reproduce it.

One of the major challenges of the field is that a tremendous number of multi-aspect (astrometric, photometric and spectroscopic) observations at significant depth is required to study the morphology, the kinematics and the chemistry of the outskirts of our Galaxy, where are located the signatures of these events. Hopefully, the advent of recent and incoming complementary large surveys, such as the European Gaia mission, UNIONS (Ultraviolet Near Infrared Optical Northern Survey), Pristine, Pan-STARRS (PS), WEAVE or LSST (Legacy Survey of Space and Time), is offering a new global point of view on our Galaxy’s halo, allowing us to precisely probe the Galactic potential our the MW, and to retrace itsaccretion history.

In this talk I will present recent works that have been conducted to better catarerized our Galaxy and its history with some of the existing surveys mentioned above. In addition, I will present the major improvement that will bring this new generation of large, multi-aspect surveys, to study both our Galactic history, as well as the fundamental nature of the dark matter.

Tuesday May 4, 2021
Prof. Lyndsay Fletcher
University of Glasgow / University of Oslo


A solar flare involves the conversion of magnetic energy stored in the coronal magnetic field into the kinetic energy of thermal and non-thermal particles, mass motion, and radiation. How this happens remains a central question in solar physics. A particular long-standing puzzle is how such a high fraction of the stored magnetic energy - up to a half - arrives in the kinetic energy of accelerated non-thermal particles. In this talk I will present an observational overview of solar flares with an emphasis on accelerated particles, discuss some ideas and constraints on particle acceleration, and present some new observations of the possible role of plasma turbulence in the acceleration process.


Thursday April 29, 2021
Prof. Steen Hansen
COpenhagenUNi / DARK cosmology center


The expansion of the Universe is in an accelerated phase. This
acceleration was first estabilished by observations of SuperNovae, and
has since been confirmed through a range of independent observations.

The physical cause of this acceleration is coined Dark Energy, and
most observations indicate that Einsteins cosmological constant
provides a very good fit. In that case, approximately 70% of the
energy of the Universe presently consists of this cosmological

I will in this talk address the possibility that there may exist other
possible causes of the observed acceleration. In particular will I
discuss a concrete model, inspired by the well-known Lorentz force in
electromagnetism, where Dark Matter causes the acceleration.  With a
fairly simple numerical simulation we find that the model appears
consistent with all observations.

In such a model, where Dark Matter properties causes the acceleration
of the Universe, there is no need for a cosmological constant.

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.

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