Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

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

Physics Ph.D. student Matt Shultz works to debunk the theory behind massive stars

magnetosphere

photo: Peter Townsend

Matt Shultz, a PhD student, supervised by Prof. Gregg Wade from the Queen's Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy, is researching magnetic, massive stars, and has uncovered questions concerning the behaviour of plasma within their magnetospheres.

 Matt states:

All massive stars have winds: supersonic outflows of plasma driven by the stars’ intense radiation. When you put this plasma inside a magnetic field you get a stellar magnetosphere. Since the 1980s, theoretical models have generally found that the plasma should escape the magnetosphere in sporadic, violent eruptions called centrifugal breakout events, triggered when the density of plasma grows beyond the ability of the magnetic field to contain. However, no evidence of this dramatic process has yet been observed, so the community has increasingly been calling that narrative into question.

For more information on Matt Shultz's research please visit:
Queen's Gazette Story

Matt is presenting his research at the Canadian Astronomical Society Conference at McMaster University in June 2015.