FRI Astronomy Stream

White Dwarf Stars

computer science, laboratory astrophysics, mathematics, physics, stellar astronomy

our research

Our Research

In our stream, we use white dwarfs and other stars to study many topics in astronomy and physics. We also conduct laboratory astrophysics experiments on the Z machine at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, NM, to study the absorption and emission of light in dense stellar plasmas. Finally, we use the stellar simulation code MESA to model the evolution and interior structure of white dwarfs and other stars.

White Dwarf Stars Research Targets

  • ages of different stellar populations
  • pulsations of stars
  • physics of convection
  • physics of crystallization in stellar interiors



Our Strategy

In our laboratory, researchers perform data reduction, programming, and plotting using Python programming language plus Astropy and assorted modules.  At the highest level, students develop the ability to organize and follow through on a research project, and they become more confident in presenting their work. They also become more proficient in writing (and debugging) software that they themselves create.

White Dwarfs researchers focus on:

  • how to reduce astronomical image data
  • performing aperture photometry
  • time series data analysis
  • using state-of-the-art stellar evolution code MESA

Our Impact

The main goals of our stream are to further our knowledge of the Universe through the study of stars and to allow students to gain the knowledge and experience that will help them succeed in their future careers. 


Our Team

Profile image of Mike Montgomery

Mike Montgomery

  • Research Scientist
  • Freshman Research Initiative
  • Astronomy
Profile image of Don Winget

Don Winget

  • Professor
  • Harlan J. Smith Centennial Professorship in Astronomy
  • Distinguished Teaching Professor
  • Astronomy


Course Credit
Research Outcomes