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Getting ready for the changing sky with Dr Orsola DeMarco

Friday 18th September 2015 - 8:00pm
Topic: Getting ready for the changing sky
Speaker:  Dr Orsola DeMarco
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract:  In this talk I will bring together planetary nebulae (PN) hydrodynamic simulations of binary interactions, intermediate luminosity optical transients and more in a review of the work past, present and future that's being carried out by our group. I will start the story with planetary nebulae and the realisation that by and large these nebulae are not the product of peaceful single star evolution. They are instead likely to be the result of a binary interaction. Among the many possible binary interactions, we studied the common envelope interaction which, aside from being responsible for one in five PN, is also the gateway to a staggering amount of binary phenomena, including supernova type Ia. Simulations of common envelopes are not very advanced, and we have shown recently just how much we do not understand, along with ways to improve.Aside from simulations, there are other ways to understand these interactions, and I bring observations and analytical considerations to bear on  common envelope jets, proposing them as one of the best way to understand common envelopes. It is also likely, that many binary interactions have a light signature and indeed there are outbursts that were ascribed to common envelopes interactions and mergers, such as V838 Mon or V1309 Sco. Such observations will multiply with new time-sensitive observing platforms, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.Interestingly, today we think that some nebulae, including some PN, may be the aftermath of these outbursts, observed a few hundred years down the line. Our simulations of a variety of interactions (from those with stars in eccentric orbits, to those where the companion is only a planet), attempt to explore parameter space, an exploration that will be enhanced by our new light module to model and predict lightcurves from transients.
Biography: Prof De Marco is originally from Verona in Italy, she gained her bachelors degree in Astrophysics at University College London followed by a PhD.  She then worked at the Amrican Museum of Natural History as a research fellow before moving to Macquarie University as an assocaite professor.  She is currently a Professor and ARC Future Fellow at Macquaire University.Orsola's current research interests concentrate on observational and theoretical work on close evolved binaries. In particular she works on planetary nebulae and thier central stars, and the hypothesis that they may be the result of binary interactions, rather than, as is traditionally believed, post-giant single star evolution. She coordinates an international cosortium, PlaN-B (Planetary Nebula Binaries), to test the hypothesis that most-to-all planetary nebulae come from binaries.

Event Date: 
Friday, 18 September, 2015 - 20:00
Location: 
Epping Creative Centre, 26 Stanley Road, Epping NSW

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