Join us at the Crow’s Nest Preserve for our monthly club meeting.
Dr. Veronique Petit will be our Guest Speaker.
Massive stars, which can have up to one hundred times the mass of our own Sun, are the powerhouses of our Galaxy. They shape their surroundings though their intense radiation and winds, trigger the formation of new generations of stars, and produce almost all of the heavy chemical elements in the Universe through nuclear reactions in their cores. Understanding the life-cycle of these stars is thus of great importance to astrophysics, even more so since the recent detection of gravitational waves, which originate from the coalescence and merger of black holes and neutron stars formed when massive stars die. These waves, now detected by the 2017 Nobel prize-winning LIGO experiment, are revolutionizing the field of stellar astrophysics by providing much-needed observational constraints on the endpoint of massive star evolution. Dr. Petit will discuss the most important factors dictating the evolution of massive stars, including an important factor has only been recently recognized and is a subject of intense research at UD: the presence of a surface magnetic field. These surface magnetic fields have the potential to dramatically alter the life-cycle, and ultimate fate, of a massive star.