What are the differences between galaxies born and raised in regions of space that were either crowded or sparse, and how did these differences affect the end of the cosmic dark ages?
Prof. Shapiro's group studies the first billion years of cosmic time when the first galaxies and stars were born, the last window of cosmic time accessible to direct observation. To test current theory, they use supercomputers to simulate the formation of galaxies and large-scale structure in the expanding universe. When these galaxies formed stars, starlight escaped into the surrounding gas, heating and ionizing it. This "feedback" impacted future galaxy and star formation and left observable imprints on the universe which astronomers are just now beginning to detect. Students will help make new discoveries with the most advanced simulations in the world, performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT.
Credit Options: PHY 101L/AST 210K or CS 378 or AST375K Lab Meeting Times: M & W 2–3 PM
What can white dwarfs tell us about exotic processes in stars?
Students in this stream will make astronomical observations of pulsating white dwarf stars and those in close binary systems. They will analyze the data and participate in building theoretical models through which we will explore physical processes in stars (e.g., convection, crystallization, and diffusion) as well as various relativistic effects (gravitational radiation, doppler beaming). In addition they will perform numerical experiments to study how pulsations allow us to “see beneath the surface” of these stars. Go here for stream video.