Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Yoomee Zeng L&S Math & Physical Sciences

An Unusual Ellipsoidal Variable Star with X-Ray Emission

After stars die, they live long lives as stellar remnants: black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs. Our knowledge of these “compact objects” is limited, especially for those in binary systems with other stars. Diving into the studies of distant stars in the cosmos is essential to helping us understand how stars live and die in our own galaxy and catching a glimpse of the future our home is headed. My research aims to specifically focus on the characterization of an unusual ellipsoidal variable (ELL) binary star system: ASASSN-V J175037.30-213015.4 (J17 hereafter). Our system is special due to the fact that it holds a hard X-ray spectrum, which raises the question of whether J17 could be a host to a compact object. The initial phase of this project is to collect photometric data through various telescopes. A large phase of this project will be working with PHOEBE, a modeling software that is used to analyze observed data (light curves and radial velocities) and produce the best-fitting model for binary star systems.

Message To Sponsor

I am truly grateful for your support in a project in that I am passionate about. I plan to make the most out of this fellowship and hopefully give to the astrophysics community as well. With your help, I believe I can grow my research skills for my future academic endeavors. I cannot express my gratitude enough - thank you again for this opportunity.
Major: Astrophysics
Mentor: Tharindu Jayasinghe
Sponsor: Zara Fund
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