Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Completing the Census of Nearby Stars: A New Proper Motion Survey of the Northern Sky

Sebastien Lepine
Research Fellow, American Museum of Natural History

Friday, October 10, 2003
12:30 PM @ Stirling C

Abstract:

The census of stars residing within 25 parsecs of the Sun, a volume known as the "Solar Neighborhood", is of fundamental importance to astrophysics. It is used to determine the different types of stars that exist in the Universe, estimate their total and relative numbers, and study them from the smallest distance. Unfortunately, the census of the Solar Neighborhood is still largely incomplete. I will explain why nearby stars are so difficult to find, and discuss the different techniques (parallax, photometry, proper motions) used to search for them. As part of a recent effort in completing the census of the Solar Neighborhood (the NASA-NSF NStars program), I have been conducting a major survey of the northern sky, aimed at finding some of the 1,000+ nearby stars still unaccounted for. I will describe how the survey works, and present exciting first results which indicate that the census of the nearby stars may now be close to completion.

Dr. Lepine is a candidate for the Astrophysics position in the Physics Department.

Refreshments will be available after the talk.