Stellar Astrophysics Research

Stellar Astrophysics Research

The astrophysics group currently collects its data from the Kepler Space Telescope for asteroseismology, a new field dedicated to the study of oscillations originating in the interiors of stars, which behave as pressure waves (like sound waves).  The Kepler Space Telescope , launched in 2009 was designed to detect extrasolar planets.  It is also used as a laboratory for the study of variable stars, with over 200,000 stars in the Kepler Field.

 

Students and faculty analyze the data, primarily using nonlinear time series methods. We have been successful at substantially reducing the noise so that we may observe fine variations in brightness.

 

One object of note is a ZZ Lep star at the center of the planetary nebula, NGC 6826.  The variations are consistent with a binary with a low-mass star and a compact object that share a common envelope.