Astronomy Colloquium for 2024-03-13

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Wednesday 13-Mar-2024
Time: 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)
Location: ATL 2400
Speaker: Dr. Kishalay De (MIT)
Title: Uncovering dust enshrouded cataclysms toward a census of stellar and black hole evolution

Multiplicity is ubiquitous in stars and the remnants they leave behind. While eruptive mass transfer has profound impacts on their long term evolution, the resulting processes are commonly enshrouded in dust produced by mass outflows, preventing direct observational constraints at optical/X-ray/UV bands. In pursuit of a complete census of the role of accretion outbursts in stellar and black hole evolution, I will present the WISE Transients Project (WTP) -- aimed at complete characterization of the variable mid-infrared sky that identified millions of new infrared variables in 15 years of data from the NEOWISE survey. I will highlight recent and ongoing work from the dataset revealing i) a missed population of dusty stellar mergers in our Galactic backyard, ii) new insights into the fiery fates of close planetary worlds, iii) the birth of black holes from dusty eruptions of stripped stars and iv) the growth of supermassive black holes via tidal captures of stars in Galactic nuclei. I will end with an overview of the exciting upcoming decade of infrared surveys that is poised to finally reveal a complete roadmap of stellar and black hole evolution.

In-person colloquia are usually preceded by espresso and ice cream at 1:45 pm outside room PSC 1150 and are followed by an informal reception at 5:15 pm in that room. Anyone interested in talking with the speaker, or being added to the colloquium announcement email list, should contact the colloquium organizer Dr. Leslie Sage. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students. Anyone asking a question during a talk is asked to raise their hand and be acknowledged before speaking. Contact Dr. Leslie Sage for details.

Colloquium Organizer: Dr. Leslie Sage


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

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