Mikayla and I worked on project to characterize a heavily spotted eclipsing binary using TESS light curves and IGRINS spectra. Measuring the masses and radii of both stars, Mikayla found that the radii are inflated compared to standard stellar evolution models. Models including stellar magnetic fields performed the best, but still produce different ages when comparing the best fit in the mass-radius and temperature-luminosity spaces. Her work is part of a larger program seeking to understand how magnetic fields affect the internal structures of stars and our measurements of stellar fundamental parameters.
This work was part of the TAURUS summer research program in 2021. The Research Note that Mikayla led can be found here.
Mikayla is now a graduate student in the Astronomy Department at UC Santa Cruz!
Shannon and I worked together while she was an undergraduate at UT-Austin. Her work focused on finding and characterizing young binary systems that host disk material. Part of this effort entailed calibrating the Gaia RUWE statistic for disk-bearing stars. For ‘‘old’’, field-age systems, the Gaia RUWE has been shown to reveal the presence of unresolved binaries if the value is > 1.4. Shannon’s work found that disk material alone can inflate the RUWE value, meaning that a more conservative value of 2.5 is appropriate when searching for binaries in disk-bearing systems.
The Research Note that Shannon led can be found here.
Shannon is now a graduate student in the Astronomy Department at UNC Chapel Hill!
Catlett’s project focused on characterizing the properties of accretion in the IGRINS YSO sample. Catlett measured the equivalent width, asymmetry, and full-width at half-maximum of the Brackett-gamma emission line for 165 objects. They compared these properties to the near-infrared spectral slope, which probes the strength of dust emission in the protoplanetary disks. Other than a loose correlation between the equivalent width and the spectral slope (more accretion in systems with larger disks), their findings pointed to a relative disconnect between the properties of accretion and the larger disk environment.
This work was part of the UT REU program in 2019. The Research Note that Catlett led can be found here. Their work was also included in a peer-reviewed publication led by a UT graduate student (Kidder et al. 2021).
Catlett is now a Software Engineer at the Green Bank Observatory!
Also working with the IGRINS YSO sample, Miguel sought to characterize the density and temperature of magnetospheric accretion flows. Measuring Brackett-series line ratios across the IGRINS bandpass, Miguel was able to compare his results to plasma models, constraining the density and temperature to ∼103–108 cm−3 and ∼500–13,000 K, respectively. Although this was not the tightest constraint, the results generally agree with magnetospheric accretion models. And importantly, this result found better agreement with theory than a previous study using the same approach at low-resolution.
This work was part of the TAURUS summer research program in 2019. The Research Note that Miguel led can be found here. His work was also included in a peer-reviewed publication led by a UT graduate student (Kidder et al. 2021).
Miguel is now a Data Scientist for Dell Technologies!