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Natalie Gosnell Publishes Paper, Receives NASA Grant

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Colorado Faculty Assistant Professor of Physics Natalie Gosnell. Picture Credit score: Colorado Faculty

January 22, 2019 – A paper co-authored by Colorado Faculty Assistant Professor of Physics Natalie Gosnell ’08 was highlighted just lately in AAS Nova, which options current papers from the American Astronomical Society journals, which comprise the premier journals in astrophysics. Moreover, Gosnell, who graduated cum laude from CC with a level in physics, just lately was awarded a $10,900 grant from NASA.

The article, “Can Blue Stragglers Be Used to Tell Time?”, notes that as stars age, they steadily lose angular momentum and spin extra slowly. The method happens so predictably for regular, solar-type stars that they are often handled as cosmic clocks utilizing a method known as “gyrochronology.” Within the article, Gosnell and her co-authors study whether or not the identical technique may be utilized to an uncommon kind of main-sequence star known as blue stragglers, affectionately known as “oddball objects (that) have managed to loiter gone their time by gaining mass — both by siphoning it from a binary companion star or by consuming one other star altogether by means of a collision.”

The $10,900 grant Gosnell acquired will proceed to help her work on a two-year mission known as “Clusters with K2: Systematics from Membership and Binarity,” and brings federal help so far for her mission to $47,000.

The NASA grant is along with telescope time awarded on the WIYN three.5m telescope at Kitt Peak Nationwide Observatory in Arizona. Gosnell’s staff gathers spectra of lots of of stars in two totally different open clusters with the purpose of figuring out which stars are members of the cluster, reasonably than sitting in entrance of or behind the cluster, and which stars are in binary programs.

Says Gosnell, “We predict that the variety of binary stars in a cluster will affect the formation of exoplanets. So, earlier than we examine the exoplanets discovered in numerous clusters we first must know if the clusters have totally different binary populations.”

Gosnell acquired her Ph.D. in astronomy with a minor in physics from the College of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014, after receiving an M.S. in astronomy in 2010. Beforehand she was the W. J. McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow on the College of Texas at Austin and joined the CC school in 2017.


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