Astrophiz 82: Dr Ashley Ruiter – Supernova scientist
Today we are speaking with Dr Ashley Ruiter, ARC Future Fellow and senior lecturer in the School of Science at UNSW Canberra, Australia. She specializes in Type Ia supernovae and other transient phenomena from stars, in particular their origin, evolution history, and birth rates. Basically she researches anything that erupts, explodes, or merges, and also make predictions about which of these sources may be seen with gravitational waves using LISA. Dr Ruiter is currently looking for graduates to work under her supervision. Prospective PhDs can find out about this opportunity at TinyUrl-Dot-Com/ashleyastro
In ‘What’s Up Doc’ for astrophotographers and observers, Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave tells us what to look out for in the morning and evening skies. In ‘Ian’s Tangent’ he introduces us to a great citizen science project ‘Globe at Night’ which involves us measuring light pollution with our eyes and an app.
In the News:
.1. Via NASA.gov — NASA’s Fermi Satellite Clocks ‘Cannonball’ Pulsar Speeding Through Space
Astronomers found a pulsar hurtling through space at nearly 2.5 million miles an hour — so fast it could travel the distance between Earth and the Moon in just 6 minutes. The discovery was made using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).
Pulsars are superdense, rapidly spinning neutron stars left behind when a massive star explodes. This one, dubbed PSR J0002+6216 (J0002 for short), sports a radio-emitting tail pointing directly toward the expanding debris of a recent supernova explosion.
“Thanks to its narrow dart-like tail and a fortuitous viewing angle, we can trace this pulsar straight back to its birthplace,” said Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico. “Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions are able to ‘kick’ neutron stars to such high speed.”
.2. Via Nature Letters
In a paper titled ‘Massive white-dwarf merger product before final collapse’, Dr Vasilii Gvaramadze and Dr Götz Gräfener report observations of a hot star with a spectrum dominated by emission lines, which is located at the centre of a circular mid-infrared nebula. The widths of the emission lines imply that wind material leaves the star with an outflow velocity of 16,000 kilometres per second (that’s almost six million KPH)
.3. The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is appealing to members of the public interested in astronomy to climb onboard one of the biggest scientific projects of the next 10 years, AstroQuest (just google AstroQuest)
Volunteers are needed to study images of far-off galaxies and figure out which light is coming from which galaxy as part of the citizen science project.
.4. Our next episode is from early career researcher Tommy Marshman, who used this podcast to find his astrophysics supervisor for his CAASTRO pulsar research for his Masters degree. So stay tuned into Astrophiz.