October 6, 2021
White Dwarf Stars from the Inside Out
We’ll take a look at white dwarf stars, the dim, dense remnants of 97% of stars. They are marvelous, and we can learn a lot from them: their surfaces can be a window into the planetary chemistry of worlds beyond our solar system; some of them rattle with the constant rhythm of stellar earthquakes, allowing us to use the tools of seismology to probe their depths; and, deep inside, their cores slowly solidify into carbon/oxygen crystals. Making sense of our observations of white dwarfs requires accurate models of them. Because of the extreme temperatures and densities involved, these models are hard to test—but not impossible. We’ll talk about how, using the world’s most powerful x-ray source, we recreate the conditions of a white dwarf atmosphere so we can study a little piece of outer space inside the lab.
Bart Dunlap is a postdoctoral fellow in the Astronomy department at the University of Texas at Austin. He is based in Albuquerque, NM as part of a collaboration with Sandia National Labs to study white dwarf atmospheres in the lab. He received his Ph.D. in Physics & Astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied white dwarfs in the sky, primarily using the SOAR telescope in the Chilean Andes.
Our October Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 6th starting at 7:00 pm and this month will only be conducted in a Zoom session with Zoom login details sent out to all CAS membership.
Members and Guests are Welcome!
Organizer – Steve Layman