RASC Regular Meeting, March 8, 2021

Stellar Obituaries

RASC Regular Meeting, Monday March 8, 2021

7:00 PM, Meet and Greet

7:30 PM, Meeting begins, including guest talk, News from Space, AstroImaging Corner, and other RASC news.

FREE and open to the public.

Meeting will be hosted on Zoom using this link .

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Sharon Morsink

Stellar Obituaries

Cas A Supernova Remnant

Cas A Supernova Remnant. Imaged by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Stars have long lifespans that range from millions of years to hundreds of billions of years. But eventually all stars run out of fuel and die. When stars die, they can leave behind a white dwarf star, a neutron star, a black hole, or nothing but a bit of hot gas!
There have been a lot of discoveries in the field of stellar death in the last couple of years. In this talk I’ll introduce the main ideas behind white dwarf stars, neutron stars, black holes, and supernovae. Some of the recent observations of black holes and neutron stars include the first image of “the black hole’s shadow”, the measurements of colliding black holes and neutron stars, and observations of X-rays from binary systems containing a stellar corpse. I will provide a report on the most interesting stellar obituaries from the last couple of years, and explain what they tell us about how stars die, and how they change when they begin their new life as a black hole or neutron star.

Sharon Morsink at the 2018 Beaver Hills Star Party. Photo by Jayanne English.

Sharon Morsink is a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Alberta. Her research focus is on understanding neutron stars and black holes using theoretical computational modelling and observations of light and gravitational radiation. She teaches a variety of astrophysics and physics courses at the University of Alberta at all levels ranging from introductory astronomy courses to graduate courses. Recently she was a member of team that developed a free (non-credit) online course on black holes, available on the Coursera platform. (https://www.coursera.org/learn/black-holes-astro-101) She is in charge of the University of Alberta’s Observatory and is very involved with public outreach programming. She is also a past president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Edmonton Centre.





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