New Humboldt scholarship holder at FAU: Dr. Marylin Latour
Dr. Marylin Latour, Dr. Karl Remeis Observatory — Institute of Astronomy
The Milky Way formed around 13 billion years ago. The oldest stars from this period can still be found in the galaxy's approximately 100 globular clusters that each contain over 100,000 stars. Dr. Marylin Latour is concentrating on the hottest stars in globular clusters during her research stay at FAU. These stars have a surface temperature of up to 30,000 Kelvin, which is around five times as hot as the sun.
However, hot stars do not occur in all globular clusters, and so far only a small amount of research has been done on how and why they form. Dr. Latour has been working on these questions at FAU since December. She is studying stars in a specific globular cluster in the Centaurus constellation that contains an unusually high number of hot stars. By analysing them in detail, Dr. Latour aims to find out what the stars are made of, how they formed and what they reveal about the formation and development of globular clusters.
Two of these stars pulsate with fluctuating brightness, the reason for which is unknown. Dr. Latour is examining these stars using measurements taken in the ultraviolet spectrum, which can only be taken from space. She is using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. Evaluations of this data will help Dr. Latour to determine the exact temperature and chemical composition of each of the two stars. This information will help to explain why the brightness of the stars changes continuously.
Canadian Dr. Marylin Latour studied and completed her doctoral degree at the University of Montreal. She then came to the Institute of Astronomy at FAU as a postdoctoral researcher. She has been awarded an Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship for the following two years, during which she will be conducting her research in the working group led by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heber.