Department seminars

Upcoming seminars

March 14, 2024 at 1:30 PM

Massive stars in transition phases in the near-IR

María Laura Arias

(Institute of Astrophysics of La Plata (CONICET-UNLP); Facultad de Ciencias Astronomicas y Geofisicas (FCAG); La Plata National University (UNLP), Argentina)

After leaving the main sequence, massive stars enter short-lived phases during which they shed substantial amounts of mass into their surroundings through episodic events or strong radiatively-driven winds. Consequently, these objects become embedded in dense environments, which are discernible through numerous characteristic features in their line and continuum spectra. Near-infrared observations have proven to be a powerful tool for investigating these stars. For example, CO molecular emission around 2.3 microns allows for the tracing of the structure and dynamics of the outer parts of the disks, while H recombination lines contribute to diagnosing the physical conditions of the inner disk. Similarly, the modeling of the Br alpha line can be used to study the winds and derive mass-loss rates. To contribute to the study of circumstellar material and gain insights into the nature of central objects, we are constructing a near-infrared spectroscopic database of massive stars in such transitional phases using GEMINI facilities. In this presentation, I will discuss the various possibilities offered by the near-IR region, as well as present some results from our ongoing research on the topic.

Held seminars in 2024

March 7, 2024 at 1:30 PM

Stellar Winds from B Supergiant Stars: Exploring the Delta-Slow Hydrodynamic Solution

Roberto O. J. Venero

(Institute of Astrophysics of La Plata (CONICET-UNLP); Facultad de Ciencias Astronomicas y Geofisicas (FCAG); La Plata National University (UNLP), Argentina)

The B-type supergiant stars form a heterogeneous group of objects, within which various types of peculiar stars coexist in brief and distinctly different evolutionary stages. Ordering the evolutionary sequences for these diverse stellar groups and assigning each star its respective phase poses a challenge. Nonetheless, the strong stellar winds of these stars produce observable spectral features that could serve as valuable diagnostic tools in addressing this question. In order to utilize these characteristics, it is necessary to know the structure of the wind in detail.
The fundamental hydrodynamic equations governing radiation-driven winds (m-CAK theory) predict three distinct solutions for rotating stellar winds. These solutions include the ‘fast’ solution (or classical), the ‘Omega-slow’ solution (applicable to rapidly rotating stars), and the ‘delta-slow’ solution (pertaining to winds with ionization changes). These solutions are primarily distinguished by the terminal speed achieved by the wind, with the ‘fast’ wind regime exhibiting the highest values for this parameter.
Excluding the ‘Omega-slow’ solutions due to the absence of fast rotation in B supergiants, the ‘fast’ and ‘delta-slow’ solutions are distributed in distinct domains within the classical parameter space of the radiation force (k, alpha, and delta). In this presentation, I will illustrate the distribution of these domains and, more specifically, asses the ability of the delta-slow solution in predicting the fundamental spectral characteristics observed in B supergiants.

presentation here

February 15, 2024 at 1:30 PM

Unraveling the complex nature of FS CMa stars

Nela Dvořáková

(Astronomical Institute of Charles University)

FS CMa type stars form a group of rare B type stars with extremely strong emission lines, presence of forbidden lines and strong IR excess, pointing to a complex circumstellar environment of gas and dust. They are variable on timescales of days, months or even years. Binarity was the offered explanation for some of their observed properties. However, only some FS CMa stars are proven binaries. Recently, a promising lead was uncovered in the form of a strong magnetic field found in IRAS 17449+2320. Together with unusually high space velocity, we are now pursuing a different scenario: stellar mergers. They provide a natural explanation for such strong magnetic field, the slow rotation of the FS CMa type stars as well as the presence of the dust. Supporting evidence can be found in interferometric observations of HD 50138, which cannot be explained well with a binary model. Our recent analysis of a series of N-body simulations shows that more than 50 % of mergers are B type stars and that lower to intermediate mass stars provide an especially important channel of a merger formation.

presentation here

January 25, 2024 at 1:00 PM

Multiwavelength monitoring of the High-mass X-ray binary Cygnus X-1

Maïmouna Brigitte

(Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences; Charles University)

First discovered in 1964, the high-mass X-ray binary Cygnus X-1 contains a 21.2 solar-mass black hole and a 40.6 solar-mass (B0 or O9.7 Iab-type) star – also known as HDE 226868. For over 60 years, the system has been widely studied in X-rays and optical wavelengths. I will present new results obtained from the optical monitoring of the binary, performed between March-July 2022 and April-September 2023 simultaneously with X-ray observations. The optical observations were made using the 2m-Perek telescope located in Ondrejov in the Czech Republic. We employed the new Echelle spectrograph with a typical resolution of 0.25 A per pixel. We combined in total 27 observations covering wavelengths from near UV to near IR with high spectral resolution to disentangle different emission and absorption lines. The variable profiles of Hydrogen and Helium lines are used to study the structure and kinematics of the photosphere and circumstellar matter in the system. The strong correlation between X-ray and optical emission is crucial to understand the relationship between the accretion disk and the stellar wind.

presentation here