Imaging the Surfaces of Stars

Date: 
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 3:30pm PST
Speaker: 
John Monnier
Affiliation: 
University of Michigan
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Using long-baseline interferometry, we can beat telescope diffraction and atmospheric turbulence to  image stars and their environments with sub-milli-arcsecond resolution.  The Georgia State University CHARA Array on Mt. Wilson boasts the longest baselines of any optical/infrared array in the world and this talk will summarize the major results from Michigan Infrared Combiner, including the first resolved images of main sequence stars besides the Sun.  We can now also resolve the interacting components of close binary stars, image magnetic spots on active stars, and watch novae explode in realtime.  Taking advantage of recent breakthroughs in infrared detectors and the installation of adaptive optics on CHARA, we hope to soon image the inner regions of planet-forming disks around very young stars.  Lastly, I will introduce the Planet Formation Imager (PFI, www.planetformationimager.org) project -- a next-generation facility that could transform our understandings of planet formation and exoplanet system architecture.

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