Professor F. Douglas Swesty
Department of Physics and Astronomy
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, December 7, 2007

Merging White Dwarf Stars

White dwarf stars are the end of the evolutionary line for normal stars of about one solar mass. Many times such stars are formed in binary systems where one star is in orbit around another. But what happens when the orbits of these stars decay and the two stars violently merge? Does a supernova occur? Is an extreme star formed?

In the next of the popular series Astronomy Open Night, Prof. Swesty will discuss how binary white dwarf systems are formed, why their orbits decay, and what happens when they merge.

Prof. Swesty has been associated with astronomy at Stony Brook for nineteen years, initially as a graduate student and then, after 5 years at the University of Illinois, returning as a faculty member. His research is on Neutron stars, how they form and how they behave in close binary systems. He lives with his family in E. Setauket.