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This Week at Physics

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Event Number 2969

  Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Astronomy Colloquium
Stellar Mergers and Interactions: Yes, Virginia, Stars Do Collide.
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Alison Sills, McMaster University
Abstract:
I will discuss strong interactions between stars in a variety of
environments. Despite the vast (average) interstellar distances, stars are social creatures and tend to live in pairs, multiples, or groups. Under these circumstances, stars can, and do, modify each other's mass, radius, composition, and overall evolution through gravitational encounters ranging from wind mass transfer in a binary system to complete stellar collisions and mergers. I will show how such events can change our understanding of particular stellar systems, how they can explain the properties of many unusual objects, and how interactions could change the environment these stars live in. The emphasis for this
talk will be on the modelling of these interactions, and I will
demonstrate how a combination of stellar evolution, stellar dynamics, and hydrodynamics can bring some understanding to these complicated systems.
Host: Robert Mathieu
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