Special MPA Colloquium

6003 1508151204

"The wonderful Lives, Deaths and after-lives of the Brightest Stars - From Stellar Twins to Gravitational Waves Sources"

  • Date: Oct 18, 2017
  • Time: 15:00 - 16:00
  • Speaker: Selma de Mink
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Location: MPA
  • Room: MPA, new seminar room E.0.11
  • Host: MPA
Understanding the roles played by massive stars over Cosmic Time as engines of feedback and chemicalenrichment intimately ties in with our drive to understand our own Cosmic History. Aside from ourcuriosity per se about the fascinating physical processes that govern their lives and deaths, this isalso of direct concern for various fields in astrophysics where models of massive stars are useddirectly or indirectly, either as input in larger simulations, to interpret observations of stellarpopulations nearby and at high redshift and to understand the formation of gravitational wavesources. Our insight in the short lives and spectacular deaths of massive stars is currently undergoing arevolution triggered by unprecedented observational surveys. For the first time these are nowallowing us to probe these elusive stars in statistically meaningful ways. The rise of robotictransient surveys are teaching us that their deaths are more diverse and exotic then we imagined.Finally, we all just witnessed the birth of a new field: gravitational wave astrophysics, opening acompletely new window onto the compact objects they leave behind. During this talk, I mainly hope toconvey some of the incredibly exciting developments in this field.The central theme in this talk will be Massive Binary Stars. A series of recent studies have shownthat the majority of massive stars will experience severe interaction with a companion star beforeending their lives. I will discuss the physical processes, implications for our understanding ofstellar populations nearby and at high redshift and the diversity of stellar transients. Finally, Iwill summarize current ideas to explain the formation of the remarkably heavy binary black holes thatLIGO detected.
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