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Ordinary Meeting: "Curious and Curiouser - the Case of the Spotty Stars"

Speaker: Donna Burton, ASNSW/ANU

Abstract: Magnetic and temperature spots on the surface of the Sun can be easily observed and studied. Other stars are too far away and can only be partially resolved even with the most powerful telescopes. However, high-resolution stellar spectra contain sufficient information to detect and map stellar surface inhomogeneities using Doppler imaging, a well-established method for probing the stellar magnetic dynamos responsible for the generation of magnetic fields and activity cycles. Dark surface spot features on rapidly rotating stars cause "bumps" in their spectral line profiles. Doppler Imaging inverts a time series of these "bumps" to produce a map of the surface spot features on a star.

Biography: Donna has always been in love with the sky and have been a passionate amateur astronomer for many years. Currently a post-graduate student at the University of Southern Queensland, Donna works at Siding Spring Observatory as an Operations Support Officer for the Australian National University (ANU), where she is involved in outreach, telescope system support and training observers how to use the 2.3m telescope. As well as working in one of the world's most respected observatories, Donna is also a flying instructor and the Australian National Co-Ordinator for the international group "Astronomers Without Borders". She have worked at the UK Schmidt Telescope as an observer and on the Siding Spring Near Earth Object Survey and became the first Australian woman to discover a comet in 2006 and another in 2007. Her Primary Astronomical Interests are Comet Hunting, Variable Stars, Sidewalk Astronomy, Extra-Solar Planets and "Spotty Stars".

Event Date: 
Friday, 3 August, 2012 - 20:00
Location: 
Epping Creative Centre, 26 Stanley Road, Epping NSW

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