Special Astronomy & Astrophysics Seminar: Pandemonium in the Planetary Graveyard!
Jay Farihi, University College London
One of biggest surprises in astrophysics is the now overwhelming evidence for planetary systems orbiting white dwarf stars, including evidence for water, transiting systems, and possibly exomoons. In contrast to the idea of white dwarfs as stellar graveyards or end points, this picture suggests that planets and perhaps life can persist or be reforged across cosmic time. In this talk I will give an overview of this field of research, and give my unique perspective as one who was fortunate enough to witness the inception and key developments along the way. I'll present work that demonstrates white dwarfs are orbited by material that often resembles the terrestrial bodies of the solar system, and show they are dynamically rejuvenated and often changing in real time. I will highlight some of my team's major contributions, including the discovery of transits in the habitable zone of a white dwarf.
Seminar Organizer: Dr. Iair Arcavi