Piecing together massive star evolution one binary at a time.

Massive stars explode as supernovae and leave remnants that merge to produce gravitational waves. This is an accurate, if incomplete, picture of massive stars which exists among the astronomical community. The missing piece of this narrative is what evolutionary path leads to these significant events. The main reason for the exclusion of such information is largely because there is a great deal of uncertainty. What leads up to a supernova or even whether a star will explode at all is a matter of debate. One thing which is known, however, is that binarity is almost ubiquitous in massive stars and plays a significant role in their evolution. While the study of these binary stars is essential, it is also fraught with challenges such as small sample size, short lifetimes, and interactions between components. This talk will discuss how we deal with those challenges as well as the new and interesting physics which can be learned, one system at a time.

7 Nov 2017
215 Sharp Lab
Dr. Bert Pablo, American Association of Varible Star Observers, University of Montreal