Colloquium Schedule

Fall 2016

Singing Stars, Eclipsing Stars, and Other Worlds: Imminent Advances from the TESS and Gaia Missions

Keivan Stassun, Vanderbilt University and Fisk University
Wed., Sep. 21, 2016, 4:30 PM in Science Center 199

The upcoming Gaia mission will measure the trigonometric parallaxes to some 1 billion stars with an accuracy of 20 micro-arcseconds. Such precision distance measurements promise to revolutionize our understanding of many areas of stellar astrophysics. However, it is imperative that these distances be benchmarked against independent, accurate distance measurements, which eclipsing binary stars are uniquely poised to provide. The upcoming TESS mission will discover dozens of Earth-link planets around nearby Sun-like stars. However, to determine the physical properties of these "Earth 2.0" with precision requires accurate knowledge of the physical properties of the stars they orbit. The "singing" of stars induced by gas motions at their surfaces provide a powerful way of determining these properties. These exciting, upcoming discoveries represent superb examples of the application of basic physics in astronomical contexts.