Research

If you are interested in pursueing an undergraduate research project or your PhD thesis related to one of the topics above at ESO Vitacura, please contact me. ESO PhD studentships are offered twice per year with application deadline June 15 and Novmber 15. Collaborations with institutes in all ESO member states are possible and welcome. There is also the possibility to have short term internships at ESO.

Love in the sky

Human beings do not like to be alone : they prefer to live in couple. The same holds true for stars ! It indeed appears that at least 2 stars out of 3 are members of a binary system, i.e. they are gravitationally bound to a companion. And as is true for humans, life in couple is not always a quiet story. Stars in binary systems will indeed sometime interact and exchange matter. Although this may in some cases lead to very dramatic situations, e.g. the receiving star exploding as a nova or a supernova, in general, the effects will be more subtles.

For example, astronomers have discovered a class of stars that present some chemical peculiarities impossible to explain by standard stellar evolution theory. Further research has shown that these peculiar stars are all member of a binary system. We therefore developped a theoretical model explaining the existence of these peculiar stars as the result of mass exchange between the two components of the system. Although this scenario appears very promising, we need to assert it more quantitatively. This is done by performing three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the mass transfer process.

Thus, using a numerical code, we resolve the hydrodynamic equations corresponding to an idealized view of the binary system. And hope to understand, with computers, how stars live in couple.

Workshops Organisation