Matching Items (31)

Interstellar Landscapes: Landscapes of Carbon and Magnesium Planets

Description

How do we visualize environments outside our solar system? I have researched two very alien planets and their compositions with the goal of finding out how those differences would affect

How do we visualize environments outside our solar system? I have researched two very alien planets and their compositions with the goal of finding out how those differences would affect the way a planet appears on its surface. The first is a planet orbiting the nearby G type star Tau Ceti. This star has Mg/Si ratio of 1.78, compared to 1.2 found on the Earth. A planet formed around this star could have a very active surface, covered in volcanoes. The other planet is a hypothetical carbon planet that could orbit the star HD 144899. This star has a C/O ratio of 0.8, compared to 0.5 in the Sun. A planet formed here might be comprised mostly of carbides, with a hydrocarbon atmosphere. It would likely be geologically dead, the main forces shaping its surface being meteorites. Both planets, due to their extremes, would likely be barren and lifeless. The results of this project are two digital paintings showcasing my vision of these planets.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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A Catalog of Stellar Evolution Profiles and the Effects of Variable Composition on Habitable Systems

Description

We present stellar evolution models for 0.5 - 1.2 M at scaled metallicities of 0.1 - 1.5 Z and O/Fe values of 0.44 - 2.28 O/Fe. The time dependent evolution

We present stellar evolution models for 0.5 - 1.2 M at scaled metallicities of 0.1 - 1.5 Z and O/Fe values of 0.44 - 2.28 O/Fe. The time dependent evolution of habitable zone boundaries are calculated for each stellar evolution track based on stellar mass, effective temperature, and luminosity parameterizations. The rate of change of stellar surface quantities and the surrounding habitable zone position are strong functions of all three quantities explored. The range of orbits that remain continuously habitable, or habitable for at least 2 Gyr, are provided. The results show that the detailed chemical characterization of exoplanet host stars and a consideration of their evolutionary history are necessary to assess the likelihood that a planet found in the instantaneous habitable zone has had sufficient time to develop a biosphere capable of producing detectable biosignatures. This model grid is designed for use by the astrobiology and exoplanet communities to efficiently characterize the time evolution of host stars and their habitable zones for planetary candidates of interest.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05-10

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Analysis of Radiation Shielding for Spacecraft

Description

The intention of this report is to use computer simulations to investigate the viability of two materials, water and polyethylene, as shielding against space radiation. First, this thesis discusses some

The intention of this report is to use computer simulations to investigate the viability of two materials, water and polyethylene, as shielding against space radiation. First, this thesis discusses some of the challenges facing future and current manned space missions as a result of galactic cosmic radiation, or GCR. The project then uses MULASSIS, a Geant4 based radiation simulation tool, to analyze the effectiveness of water and polyethylene based radiation shields against proton radiation with an initial energy of 1 GeV. This specific spectrum of radiation is selected because it a component of GCR that has been shown by previous literature to pose a significant threat to humans on board spacecraft. The analysis of each material indicated that both would have to be several meters thick to adequately protect crew against the simulated radiation over a several year mission. Additionally, an analysis of the mass of a simple spacecraft model with different shield thicknesses showed that the mass would increase significantly with internal space. Thus, using either material as a shield would be expensive as a result of the cost of lifting a large amount of mass into orbit.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Attempting to Produce Helium White Dwarfs From Low-Metallicity Solar Mass Stars

Description

I examine the effects of metallicity on solar mass stellar evolution, trying to replicate a previous result in Windhorst et.al., 2018, in which a zer metallicity solar mass star did

I examine the effects of metallicity on solar mass stellar evolution, trying to replicate a previous result in Windhorst et.al., 2018, in which a zer metallicity solar mass star did not reach the AGB, and thus may turn into a helium white dwarf. In trying to replicate this result, I used the M.E.S.A. stellar evolution code and was unable to reproduce this result. While M.E.S.A has undergone several updates since the previous result was obtained, more current evidence suggests that this may have been a one-time occurrence, as no helium white dwarfs were produced for low-metallicity models. Nonetheless, interesting results were obtained, including a lowest metallicity value for which CNO burning does not significantly contribute during the main sequence, 1 −10 Z , which produces noticeable effects on post main sequence evolution. All models are run with no rotation, one solar mass, and a series of MESA parameters kept constant, with the only exception being metallicity. Any metallicity value listed as Nd −10 is an absolute mass fraction, and Z is relative to solar metallicity, 2d*10 −2 .

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019-12

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Production of Short-Lived Radionuclides in Asymmetric Supernovae

Description

Supernovae are vital to supplying necessary elements to forming bodies in our solar systems. This project studies the creation of a subset of these necessary elements, called short-lived radionuclides (SLRs).

Supernovae are vital to supplying necessary elements to forming bodies in our solar systems. This project studies the creation of a subset of these necessary elements, called short-lived radionuclides (SLRs). SLRs are isotopes with relatively short half-lives and can serve as heat sources for forming planetary bodies, and their traces can be used to date stellar events. Computational models of asymmetric supernovae provide opportunities to study the effect of explosion geometry on the SLR yields. We are most interested in the production of \iso{Al}{26}, \iso{Fe}{60}, and \iso{Ca}{41}, whose decayed products are found in our own solar system. To study the effect of explosion asymmetries in supernovae, we use TYCHO stellar evolution code, SNSHP smooth particle hydrodynamics code for 3D explosion simulations, Burn code for nucleosythesis post-processing, and Python code written to analyze the output of the post-processing code.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Morphological perspectives on galaxy evolution since z̃1.5

Description

Galaxies represent a fundamental catalyst in the ``lifecycle'' of matter in the Universe, and the study of galaxy assembly and evolution provides unique insight into the physical processes governing the

Galaxies represent a fundamental catalyst in the ``lifecycle'' of matter in the Universe, and the study of galaxy assembly and evolution provides unique insight into the physical processes governing the transformation of matter from atoms to gas to stars. With the Hubble Space Telescope, the astrophysical community is able to study the formation and evolution of galaxies, at an unrivaled spatial resolution, over more than 90% of cosmic time. Here, I present results from two complementary studies of galaxy evolution in the local and intermediate redshift Universe which used new and archival HST images. First, I use archival broad-band HST WFPC2 optical images of local (d<63 Mpc) Seyfert-type galaxies to test the observed correlation between visually-classified host galaxy dust morphology and AGN class. Using quantitative parameters for classifying galaxy morphology, I do not measure a strong correlation between the galaxy morphology and AGN class. This result could imply that the Unified Model of AGN provides a sufficient model for the observed diversity of AGN, but this result could also indicate the quantitative techniques are insufficient for characterizing the dust morphology of local galaxies. To address the latter, I develop a new automated method using an inverse unsharp masking technique coupled to Source Extractor to detect and measure dust morphology. I measure no strong trends with dust-morphology and AGN class using this method, and conclude that the Unified Model remains sufficient to explain the diversity of AGN. Second, I use new UV-optical-near IR broad-band images obtained with the HST WFC3 in the Early Release Science (ERS) program to study the evolution of massive, early-type galaxies. These galaxies were once considered to be ``red and dead'', as a class uniformly devoid of recent star formation, but observations of these galaxies in the local Universe at UV wavelengths have revealed a significant fraction (30%) of ETGs to have recently formed a small fraction (5-10%) of their stellar mass in young stars. I extend the study of recent star formation in ETGs to intermediate-redshift 0.35<1.5 with the ERS data. Comparing the mass fraction and age of young stellar populations identified in these ETGs from two-component SED analysis with the morphology of the ETG and the frequency of companions, I find that at this redshift many ETGs are likely to have experienced a minor burst of recent star formation. The mechanisms driving this recent star formation are varied, and evidence for both minor merger driven recent star formation as well as the evolution of transitioning ETGs is identified.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Variability of elemental abundances in the local neighborhood and its effect on planetary systems

Description

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of

As the detection of planets become commonplace around our neighboring stars, scientists can now begin exploring their possible properties and habitability. Using statistical analysis I determine a true range of elemental compositions amongst local stars and how this variation could affect possible planetary systems. Through calculating and analyzing the variation in elemental abundances of nearby stars, the actual range in stellar abundances can be determined using statistical methods. This research emphasizes the diversity of stellar elemental abundances and how that could affect the environment from which planets form. An intrinsic variation has been found to exist for almost all of the elements studied by most abundance-finding groups. Specifically, this research determines abundances for a set of 458 F, G, and K stars from spectroscopic planet hunting surveys for 27 elements, including: C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Y, Zr, Mo, Ba, La, Ce, Nd, Eu, and Hf. Abundances of the elements in many known exosolar planet host stars are calculated for the purpose investigating new ways to visualize how stellar abundances could affect planetary systems, planetary formation, and mineralogy. I explore the Mg/Si and C/O ratios as well as place these abundances on ternary diagrams with Fe. Lastly, I emphasize the unusual stellar abundance of τ Ceti. τ Ceti is measured to have 5 planets of Super-Earth masses orbiting in near habitable zone distances. Spectroscopic analysis finds that the Mg/Si ratio is extremely high (~2) for this star, which could lead to alterations in planetary properties. τ Ceti's low metallicity and oxygen abundance account for a change in the location of the traditional habitable zone, which helps clarify a new definition of habitable planets.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The chemical composition of exoplanet-hosting binary star systems

Description

A significant portion of stars occur as binary systems, in which two stellar components orbit a common center of mass. As the number of known exoplanet systems continues to grow,

A significant portion of stars occur as binary systems, in which two stellar components orbit a common center of mass. As the number of known exoplanet systems continues to grow, some binary systems are now known to harbor planets around one or both stellar components. As a first look into composition of these planetary systems, I investigate the chemical compositions of 4 binary star systems, each of which is known to contain at least one planet. Stars are known to vary significantly in their composition, and their overall metallicity (represented by iron abundance, [Fe/H]) has been shown to correlate with the likelihood of hosting a planetary system. Furthermore, the detailed chemical composition of a system can give insight into the possible properties of the system's known exoplanets. Using high-resolution spectra, I quantify the abundances of up to 28 elements in each stellar component of the binary systems 16 Cyg, 83 Leo, HD 109749, and HD 195019. A direct comparison is made between each star and its binary companion to give a differential composition for each system. For each star, a comparison of elemental abundance vs. condensation temperature is made, which may be a good diagnostic of refractory-rich terrestrial planets in a system. The elemental ratios C/O and Mg/Si, crucial in determining the atmospheric composition and mineralogy of planets, are calculated and discussed for each star. Finally, the compositions and diagnostics of each binary system are discussed in terms of the known planetary and stellar parameters for each system.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Investigating the early universe with Lyman-alpha emission: galactic winds and stellar populations at z ̃ 3.1

Description

Lyman-alpha (Lyα) galaxies (LAEs) and Lyα blobs (LABs) are objects identified and studied due to their bright Lyα emission lines. This bright emission allows LAEs and LABs to be studied

Lyman-alpha (Lyα) galaxies (LAEs) and Lyα blobs (LABs) are objects identified and studied due to their bright Lyα emission lines. This bright emission allows LAEs and LABs to be studied in the distant universe, providing a glimpse into the physical processes occuring in the early universe. This dissertation presents three complementary studies of LAEs and LABs at z ~ 3.1. The two main foci of this work are (1) to understand the gas kinematics in both classes of objects and (2) to improve spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting processes to better determine the physical characteristics of LAEs. Gas kinematics in this dissertation means looking for signatures of large-scale winds. This is an exciting astrophysical endeavor, because the results can provide insight into how Lyα photons escape distant galaxies and traverse the IGM, and the results have implications for how the epoch of reionization can be studied with the Lyα line and because winds can be a signature of powerful star formation events. In the first two studies we find signatures of winds in three LAEs by measuring the velocity offset between the redshifts of [OIII] and Lyα in these galaxies. The first two LAEs presented here represent the first ever measurements of [OIII] in Lyα-selected field galaxies. The third study reports no velocity offset between [OIII] and Lyα when the methodology is transferred to a z ~ 3.1 LAB. This lack of velocity offset is an interesting result, however, as powerful outflows and star formation events, which should impart a velocity offset, have been hypothesized as power sources for LABs. In addition to understanding the kinematics of these objects, we introduce a new parameter into the SED fitting process typically used to characterize LAEs. This new parameter enables better determination of characteristics like the age, mass, metallicity, dust content and star formation history of the galaxies in our sample. These characteristics provide a snapshot of galaxies in the universe ~ 11 billion years ago and also provide insight into how these characteristics compare to galaxies at other epochs.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Evolution of intermediate redshift galaxies: physical properties and mass-metallicity relation

Description

The first part of this dissertation presents the implementation of Bayesian statistics with galaxy surface luminosity (SL) prior probabilities to improve the ac- curacy of photometric redshifts. The addition of

The first part of this dissertation presents the implementation of Bayesian statistics with galaxy surface luminosity (SL) prior probabilities to improve the ac- curacy of photometric redshifts. The addition of the SL prior probability helps break the degeneracy of spectro-photometric redshifts (SPZs) between low redshift 4000 A break galaxies and high redshift Lyman break galaxies which are mostly catas- trophic outliers. For a sample of 1138 galaxies with spectroscopic redshifts in the GOODS North and South fields at z < 1.6, the application of the surface luminosity prior reduces the fraction of galaxies with redshift deviation sigma(z) > 0.2 from 15.0% to 10.4%. The second part of this dissertation presents the study of the chemical evolution of the star-forming galaxies. The Hubble Space Telescope Probing Evolution and Reionization Spectroscopically (PEARS) grism Survey effectively selects emission line galaxies (ELGs) to mAB ~ 27. Follow-up Magellan LDSS3+IMACS spectroscopy of the HST/ACS PEARS ELGs confirms an accuracy of sigma_z = 0.006 for the HST/ACS PEARS grism redshifts. The luminosity-metallicity (L-Z) relation and the mass-metallicity (M-Z) relation of the PEARS ELGs at z ~ 0.6 are offset by ~ - 0.8 dex in metallicity for a given rest-frame B absolute magnitude and stellar mass relative to the local relations from SDSS galaxies. The offsets in both relations are ~ - 0.4 dex larger than that given by other samples at same redshifts, which are demonstrated to be due to the selection of different physical properties of the PEARS ELGs: low metallicities, very blue colors, small sizes, compact disturbed morphologies, high SSFR > 10^-9 yr^-1 , and high gas fraction. The downsizing effect, the tidal interacting induced inflow of metal-poor gas, and the SNe driven galactic winds outflows, may account for the significant offset of the PEARS galaxies in the L-Z and the M-Z relations relative to the local relations. The detection of the emission lines of ELGs down to m ~ 26 mag in the HST/ACS PEARS + HST/WCF3 ERS NIR composit grism spectra enables to extend the study of the evolution of the L-Z and M-Z relations to 0.6 < z < 2.4.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012