Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Imaging the Dynamic Atmospheres of Dying Stars

Presented by Lynn Matthews, MIT

Apart from the Sun, even the nearest stars within our Galaxy typically appear to us as mere pinpoints of light. However, increasingly powerful observational facilities and techniques are now providing glimpses of the dynamic surfaces and outflows of certain nearby stars. In this talk, I will describe how observations that are able resolve the complex atmospheric physics of stars in space, time, and frequency are helping to reveal new insights into how stars live and die. As one illustration, I will discuss spatially resolved radio and ultraviolet observations of the red supergiant Betelgeuse that have unveiled clues on the origin of the star's recent dramatic "great dimming". I will also present results from an ongoing program that is using observations from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), coupled with new advances in radio imaging techniques, to explore the evolving radio surfaces of a larger sample of evolved giants. I will conclude with a brief discussion of the exciting prospects for advances in stellar astrophysics that will come from new and upgraded radio wavelength facilities in the coming decade.

Via Zoom. Contact the department for password

3:30 pm, Friday, December 3, 2021
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