The March meeting will take place on:

Wednesday March 20, 2019 8:00 pm

Room C2045
Chemistry - Physics Building
Memorial University of Newfoundland


  • Speaker: Anna O'Grady - Thorne-Żytkow Objects: Observing exotic Red Supergiants with the Magellan Telescope
  • Observation Reports
  • Observing Chair: The Sky Next Month
  • Coffee

Thorne-Zytkow objects (TZOs) are a strange, hypothetical subclass of red giants or red supergiants (RSGs) that contain neutron stars inside their convective envelopes. Supergiant TZOs are formed either from a close binary system undergoing common envelope evolution after one companion has exploded as a supernova, or by an asymmetric supernova kicking a neutron star into its RSG companion. Confirming the existence, frequency, and lifetime of TZOs would provide useful constraints on binary evolution.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to identify TZOs from photometric colours alone due to their resemblance to RSGs, but one strong candidate TZO has been identified in the Small Magellanic Cloud by Levesque et al. (2014) through spectroscopic analysis. This candidate, HV2112, has very strong photometric variability and an unusual light curve. I've carried out a systematic search for HV2112-like variability in the Magellanic Clouds, identifying ~10 strong new candidate systems from amongst millions of stars. In this talk I'll present my results so far, including analysis of the pulsations, physical parameters and intrinsic nature of these sources.

I will also discuss my experience observing at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, where I observed for this project using the Magellan telescopes.

(Anna is a PhD Candidate at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto)

Parking in Lot 15B (next to the Music School) is available if the gate is up.
Otherwise use metered parking in various areas.

Please Note: Meetings normally take place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, September to June.


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