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JU astronomers will investigate red giants

JU astronomers will investigate red giants

Pulsating red giants are the main focus of the project which will be conducted by Dr Michał Pawlak, a researcher currently based at the Charles University in Prague who decided to pursue his further academic career at the JU Astronomical Observatory. The project will be funded by the Sonatina grant awarded by the National Research Centre.

Dr Pawlak’s project, entitled Unravelling the puzzle of long secondary periods red giants, will be realised in collaboration with a team led by Dr Laurent Eyer from the University of Geneva. ‘There are many types of stars that are classified as variables. Those stars change their brightness in a time-scale that is short from the astronomical point of view. One of the types of such stars are pulsating red giants, also known as long period variables. These objects show periodic, regular or semi-regular variation of brightness caused by the pulsation of the star. However, some of these objects also show an additional, longer variability cycle, known as the long secondary period. Its origin still remains unknown, and cannot be explained by classic models of pulsations. The aim of this project is to investigate the different hypotheses on the mechanism behind the long secondary periods using the data from large sky surveys, both ground and space-based’ reads the project’s abstract.

Dr Michał Pawlak has graduated in astronomy from the University of Warsaw, where he received his PhD. In 2017–2020, he completed his post-doctoral internship at Charles University in Prague. He also participated in study visits at the University of Geneva and Ohio State University. He has worked on several astronomical projects, including OGLE, ASAS-SN and Gaia. He specialises in observational astronomy and variable star research. He is the author and co-author of over 100 papers published in scientific journals.

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