Project C

From birth to death: the multiple faces of accretion

Anna Pala, Carlo Manara & Nicola Gentile Fusillo

(email advisors)

Stars come to life accreting mass from their surroundings. Yet, accretion bears death when entire stars are devoured by a nearby compact object. Come to study accretion from birth to death of stars!

When stars are born, they acquire their mass in a phase of accretion from the surrounding molecular cloud and, later, protoplanetary disk. While accretion is the driver of star formation, it also plays a crucial role in the final phases of the life of some stars. Particularly, those that have a nearby companion might experience subsequent phases of accretion after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel and have become white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. In these systems, the accretion phase often ends dramatically, leading to the tremendously powerful Supernova explosions.

Although accretion plays a major role in the formation, evolution and final fates of a large variety of celestial objects, there is yet no unified theory describing this powerful mechanism.

In this project, you will study different accreting systems, particularly young stellar objects and accreting white dwarfs. By combining the exquisite spectroscopy obtained with the largest telescope in the world, VLT, and the accurate photometry from ESA Gaia space mission, you will unveil the detailed structure of the flowing material, watching live how matter is accreted on two different classes of objects. This study will provide a deep insight into the physics of the accretion process, shedding light on the path toward a unified accretion theory.

#spectroscopy  #photometry  #VLT  #GaiaEDR3  #GaiaMission  #accretion  #protoplanetarydisk  #blackhole  #neutronstar  #whitedwarf  #modelling

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