Astrophysics studies the physics of the universe, focussing on star and galaxy formations, dark matter and dark energy.

Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology

Dr. Philip Bennett
Dr. Bennett’s research interests are in stellar astrophysics, particularly on the structure of the outer atmospheres and winds of red supergiant stars. Red supergiants (RSGs) are massive, evolved stars that lose much of their outer envelope to a dense stellar wind on an evolutionary time scale. His research is directed at understanding the driving force responsible for this mass, which remains unclear at present. He also has an interest in determining accurate fundamental stellar parameters, such as stellar masses and radii to high accuracy (~1% or so). There will be summer work available in Summer 2017 for students to work on various datasets obtained from space telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE). These particular observations use UV-bright companions of eclipsing RSG binaries to probe the line of sight through these supergiant atmospheres and winds near eclipse, and use this information to construct a spatially-resolved empirical model of the atmosphere – stellar tomography.