Starwinds tell tales of tomorrow

Using a combination of intricate observations and sophisticated computational methods, USQ researchers are revealing more of how stars and their planets evolve over time, and helping to guide the search for habitable planets around stars other than the Sun.

Through detailed surveys of some of the nearer stars in our Galaxy, USQ researchers are able to help discover new planets and construct images of stellar surfaces, their magnetic fields, and the resulting stellar winds that can have major impacts upon planetary evolution and habitability.

This research is helping us to deduce the early history of our Solar System and suggest the most suitable stars where orbiting planets may support life.

 

USQ astrophysics researchers at the Mt Kent Observatory.
The wealth of astronomical information gathered by researchers over the last three decades has revolutionised our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
Professor Jonti Horner

USQ’s stellar wind studies of the star Tau Boo uses data spanning over sixteen years and represents the most extensive stellar wind monitoring to date apart from our local star, the Sun. 

Working closely with international specialists around the world, USQ astrophysicists have presented their findings at Australian and international conferences as part of intense international efforts to discover and characterise the multitude of planetary systems orbiting stars beyond our solar system.

USQ’s Centre for Astrophysics is made up of a team of academics, full-time researchers, a global network of expert adjuncts, and over twenty research students, many who study externally with USQ. As a key part of USQ’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences, the Centre undertakes a range of projects in stellar astronomy and planetary systems research, that together aim to advance understanding of the shared evolution of stars and their planetary systems.

USQ’s PhD candidate, Belinda Nicholson, is using maths, science and a little bit of imagination to look for new worlds amongst the stars: 'It’s a pretty exciting way to apply maths and science.'

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