Project Title: High Energy Stellar Physics
Project Advisor: Dr. Jeremy J. Drake
Background: Stars exhibit a range of energetic
phenomena: hot coronae found on young protostars and stars like the Sun accretion thermal
radiation from hot white dwarfs, novae and neutron stars. These phenomena are all
characterised by plasmas that radiate copiously in the X-ray range and can be studied
with satellite observatories above the Earths atmosphere.
Scientific Questions: What heats the coronae
of stars? How do stellar outer atmospheric phenomena affect stellar and planetary
evolution - star formation itself, protoplanetary disks, angular momentum
loss through stellar winds and mass ejections, and the evolution of binary systems?
What is the nature of the outer layers of neutron stars? What is happening in
violent novae explosions?
Scientific Methodology: Our studies have
recently concentrated on X-ray observations of stars using the Chandra and XMM-Newton
observatories, and multi-dimensional photoionisation and radiative transfer models
of protoplanetarty disks. High resolution X-ray diffraction grating spectra provide
detailed information on individual objects, whereas CCD imaging spectroscopy
provides lower resolution information on larger samples of objects, such as
young pre-main sequence star clusters. Other observations compliment these
studies for example, optical high resolution spectroscopy has been used to
obtain information on elemental abundances that are of interest for probing
outer atmospheric abundance anomalies in stars. Protoplanetary disk models
are employed to investigate disk structure and ionisation under the influence
of energetic phenomena.
Other links related to this project