Susan Mullally's Talk - "Kepler’s Heartbeat Stars: When Binary Stars Get Funky" on 16 August 2016
August 11, 2016
16 August 2016, Tuesday, 7:45 PM, Presidio Observation Post, Building 211
"Kepler’s Heartbeat Stars: When Binary Stars Get Funky"
Susan Mullally, PhD, SETI Institute, NASA Ames
Using the continuous, high-precision photometry available from the Kepler spacecraft, the Kepler team discovered a type of eccentric binary star named heartbeat stars. In these systems, the two stars come close enough to each other to cause large, periodic changes in the tidal deformation and mutual irradiation of the stars. Additionally, these tidal forces are known to cause the stars in some of these systems to continually ‘ring’ at shorter periods. Currently, we have discovered more than 150 of these in the Kepler data and have been taking extensive follow-up spectroscopy to model and understand these systems.
Dr. Mullally will present an overview of these systems and discuss how these systems are allowing us to explore the physics of stellar tidal dissipation
Susan Mullally received her PhD from University of N. Carolina, Department of Physics. She currently pursues scientific inquiries on planets and variable stars, using both the Kepler Space Telescope and Kepler 2 photometric data. Her research also uses Kepler data to observe and characterize tidally induced orbital parameters of binary star systems.