Søren Meibom
Astronomer (Ph.D.)


Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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Broader scope of research: As collections of stars with the same age, distance, and chemical composition, but different masses, star clusters lay a critical observational foundation for the field of stellar astrophysics and beyond by allowing us to study the properties of stars as a function of the most fundamental stellar parameters - age and mass. Open star clusters are particularly valuable as they span a wide range in age, metallicity, richness, and distance from the galactic center. As such, open clusters are fundamental for studies of the formation and evolution of stars and their companions, are uniquely suited for studies of stellar dynamics, and provide essential tracers for galactic structure and evolution. Importantly, open clusters allow us to follow stars similar to our Sun, from the earliest stages of their lives, which are often the most active and dynamical, through more stable phases where planetary systems can be established and life may unfold, and till the end of their lives dominated by rapid and dramatic changes in their internal structure and proximate environment.

Specific studies: My research centers on high-precision (time-series) photometric, spectroscopic, and X-ray observations of single and binary stars in open clusters. My research programs make synergistic use of ground-based and space-based facilities, and targets open clusters with ages from a few million to 9 billion years of age. I am a member of the science team for NASA's Kepler mission and lead a study of 4 open clusters within Kepler's field of view (The Kepler Cluster Study). My current studies include (Principle Investigator; PI):

  • Extra-solar planets in open clusters - a Kepler search (PI)
  • The relationships between stellar rotation and stellar age and mass
    - single star angular momentum evolution and gyrochronology (PI)
  • The rotation-activity classification of cool single and binary stars (PI)
  • The rate of tidal evolution in close binary stars (PI)
  • The effect of binarity on stellar angular momentum evolution
    - beyond the reach of effective tidal interactions (PI)
  • The dynamical evolution of star clusters
  • Stellar evolution through test of stellar evolution models