My research interests focus on stellar astrophysics. This includes studying how stars evolution though stellar pulsation. I am also interested in characterizing stars through their spectra and through their intensities.
Know your star, know your planet
One of the great advances in astronomy came through the discovery of planets orbiting other stars. In the next decades, astronomers will be seeking Earth-like planets and habitable planets by characterizing their atmospheres and searching for biomarkers like ozone. However, we discover these exoplanets indirectly the spectra of the star or through minuscule dips of light when the planet passes in from of the star. Either way, we need to be able to understand the star much better. My work uses stellar atmosphere models to compute the radiation distribution from stars and apply those state-of-the-art models to observations. I use these models to better characterize the host star properties and as such, better understand the planet.
Synthetic stellar spectra and radiation are one of the most used tools in astronomy – from modeling galaxy populations to understanding the chemical fingerprints of stars. Much of synthetic spectra work is based on stellar atmospheres codes that model the outer layers of stars. Today, these models are considered a great success of computational astronomy, there is a need to include more realistic physics and to compute new grids of models for the era of big data in astrophysics. To this end, I work with the SAtlas code that is based on the Kurucz Atlas code.
Cepheid variable stars are ideal laboratories for stellar evolution and structure thanks to their pulsation that is linked to the physical structure of the star. In particular, I am interested in studying these stars using the changes in the pulsation periods of these stars that are a direct measurement of stellar evolution. We use these measurements to compare with stellar evolution models and test different physical phenomena such as mass loss and rotation to gain new insights.