Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Weekly Space Hangout

May 14, 2022

Astronomers recently announced that, with the help of the ESO VLT, they had observed a new type of small — yet powerful — stellar explosion: a Micronova. The study, which was published in "Nature" on April 20, was led by Dr. Simone Scaringi, astronomer at Durham University in the UK. We are pleased to welcome Simone to tonight's WSH to tell us more about this exciting discovery.

Simone earned his undergraduate BSc in Mathematics with Astronomy at the University of Southampton, after which he obtained both a M.Phil and PhD also from Southampton in the Astronomy group (2010). He spent the next two years at Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, as a postdoctoral fellow before moving to KU Leuven, Belgium, in 2012 with a FWO Pegasus Marie Curie fellowship. In 2015 Simone joined the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany where he held a Humboldt fellowship.

In 2017 Simone was appointed lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and in 2018 he moved to the United States as an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, USA. Since 2020 he has been an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University.

Simone's primary research interests are accretion physics across the scales, compact objects, time-series analysis, machine learning, and Galactic photometric surveys.

You can learn more about Simone and his research by visiting his faculty website at Durham University as well as his personal website.

You can also follow him on Facebook as well as Twitter, although he admits to rarely using Twitter!

IMAGE CREDIT: This artist’s impression shows a two-star system where micronovae may occur. The blue disc swirling around the bright white dwarf in the centre of the image is made up of material, mostly hydrogen, stolen from its companion star. Towards the centre of the disc, the white dwarf uses its strong magnetic fields to funnel the hydrogen towards its poles. As the material falls on the hot surface of the star, it triggers a micronova explosion, contained by the magnetic fields at one of the white dwarf’s poles. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser, L. Calçada


The Weekly Space Hangout is a production of CosmoQuest. Want to support CosmoQuest? Here are some specific ways you can help:

Don't forget to like and subscribe! Plus we love being shared out to new people, so tweet, comment, review us... all the free things you can do to help bring science into people's lives.