|| Caty Pilachowski's Research Page
Professor Catherine A. Pilachowski investigates the evolution of
stars and the chemical history of the Milky Way Galaxy from studies
of chemical composition of stars and star clusters. As stars evolve,
chemical elements are synthesized by nuclear processes in the stars'
interiors. These newly created elements appear in the stars'
outer layers, where we can observe them. Changes in the surface
composition of stars help us to understand what's going on
inside the star, and to understand the process of stellar
Professor Pilachowski also uses her data on
the compositions of stars to explore the chemical history
of the Milky Way Galaxy. Since its formation 13.8 billion
years ago, the Galaxy has been gradually enriched in the
abundance of chemical elements as these elements have been
produced in stars. Studies of the abundances of the chemical
elements in the oldest stars can reveal the nature of the first
generation of stars formed in the Galaxy, and the compositions
of old stars can also tell us about the history of the Galaxy.
Former Graduate Students: TalaWanda Monroe and Heather Jacobson
|| Globular Cluster Abundances -
Studies of abundance variations among stars in
globular clusters tell us about physical process involved
in the formation of the cluster and during stellar evolution.
The evolution of stars can be examined in detail
through changes in the abundance of elements at the
stellar surface from nucleosynthesis and mixing
inside a star. These changes tell us about the physical
conditions inside the star and about processes that
create and bring new elements to the surface.
Former Graduate Students: Christian Johnson and Maria Jose Cordero
| Infrared Spectroscopy -
Spectroscopy of Galactic disk stars and stars in open star clusters are being analyzed
to determine the abundance of fluorine as a function of metallicity.
Spectra have been obtained using Phoenix on the Kitt Peak 2.1-m telescope
to supplement older spectra from the Mayall 4-m FTS archive.
Current Graduate Students: Kristie Nault and Zachary Maas
|| Instrumentation -
A fiber-fed, high dispersion echelle spectrographs are under
construction in the Indiana University Department of Astronomy for use
on the WIYN 3.5-m telescope.
The spectrograph is designed to carry out a complete
spectroscopic survey of stars with good proper motion and/or parallax
measurements from the Hipparcos survey. For more information
about the FHiRE spectrograph, and for information
about planned community access to these spectrographs, please see the
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