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Colloquium – Mukremin Kilic – A Revolution in Stellar Astrophysics, and the Remaining Challenges
February 21 @ 3:45 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: Mukremin Kilic (Professor, The University of Oklahoma)
Title: A Revolution in Stellar Astrophysics, and the Remaining Challenges
Abstract: We live in the golden age of astronomy; there are many current and upcoming ground-based and space-based facilities that enable us to peer into the universe. In this talk, I will highlight several of these facilities and the recent discoveries enabled by them. We have finally identified a large population of stellar remnants, white dwarf stars, in the solar neighborhood. We use this population to answer fundamental questions about the nature of white dwarfs, including their mass distribution, cooling physics (crystallization), and the survival of planetary systems around them. Thanks to the JWST, we can now directly image giant planets orbiting white dwarfs. With time-domain surveys like the LSST and ULTRASAT, we can study the variability of entire stellar populations. I will discuss future directions that will take advantage of these exciting observational facilities.