While the science of astronomy originated centuries ago, our understanding of late-evolution stars has origins in more recent decades.
The creation of NASA’s Kepler space telescope made studying such stars and their detailed set of vibrations possible.
In his paper, “K2 observations of the pulsating subdwarf B stars UY Sex and V1405 Ori,” Dr. Mike Reed studies the traits of late-evolution stars using their periodic vibrations.
About his research
Earth-bound labs cannot reproduce the conditions within late-evolution stars. Yet, by using the naturally occurring labs within stars, Reed and others in his field can understand the physical conditions inside of each star.
The stars’ inner features are of scientific interest due to their potential as clean energy sources.
“By understanding these stars, we understand the conditions of materials undergoing fusion and high-temperature, high-pressure environments,” Reed said.
Use of Kepler space telescope data has allowed Reed, his students and his colleagues to write over a dozen papers about late-evolution stars.
While the topic of their research may be familiar, studying the stars continues to spark further discoveries that increase our knowledge.
“With each new star we examine, we find new features; the sense of discovery is real in my work. That makes each new star exciting to work on,” Reed said.
Reed’s paper was recently accepted for publication by the professional journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Due to funding from NASA’s Missouri Space Grant Consortium, undergraduate students Matt Yeager and Alyssa Slayton were able to assist Reed with his research efforts.