Most stars in our galaxy move in more or less orderly orbits, but in recent decades astronomers have identified some stars that are moving considerably faster than expected; these are runaway stars. These stars are believed to have been ejected from dense star clusters by energetic processes such as the explosion of the star’s binary companion in a supernova, or the interaction of close binary systems. Both of these processes can propel stars out of clusters at immense speeds, leaving their parental cluster far behind. With state-of-the-art data from the Gaia satellite, astronomers can detect these runaway stars and identify the clusters they have been ejected from. This can provide information on the production processes that produce such stars as well as the dynamical conditions within such clusters. This project will exploit state-of-the-art Gaia data and complementary spectroscopy to study such stars and the star clusters they have been ejected from.
Please quote reference FNS 2021-19 when applying.