North Carolina Astronomers' Meeting (NCAM)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Featured Speaker - Saturday Morning: Don Winget, University of Texas at Austin

A Close-up Look at White Dwarf Stars: From Kiloparsecs to Centimeters

White dwarf stars, dubbed "Impossible Stars" by Eddington, are the simplest stars with the simplest surface chemical compositions known.   We will examine the potential offered by the white dwarf stars in the context of both astrophysics and fundamental physics. This potential includes studying cosmochronology--establishing the age and evolutionary history of our galaxy and an independent lower limit on the age of the universe, constraining the properties of axions and WIMPS in the context of dark matter models, constraining dark energy by establishing the properties of the massive progenitors of type Ia supernovae, studying nucleosynthesis from their internal composition structure, and crystallization in dense Coulomb plasmas, among many others.

Realizing this tremendous scientific potential depends on the determination of two boundary conditions for each star: the surface gravity and effective temperature.  To do this, we must establish the photospheric plasma conditions, density and temperature, using observations of the stellar absorption spectra.  Our understanding of line broadening appears to be an obstacle, at present. We will discuss the evidence for past theoretical inadequacies in line broadening theory and the hope for recent and future calculations.

We will discuss how the experiments underway on the Z-facility at Sandia National Laboratories --where we can create macroscopic uniform plasmas under white dwarf photospheric conditions-will provide the benchmarks for improving our understanding of line broadening under white dwarf photospheric plasma conditions.  These experiments will guide future theory and improve our understanding of the white dwarf stars and all we can learn from them.


Dr. Winget will also give a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 4 Oct 2013, in the auditorium of the Koury Hospitality Careers Building at GTCC.   Read about Dr. Winget's research hereD. Winget ADS Publications List.


Meeting Registration

As usual, there is no registration fee for the NCA meeting. We will have a sign-in table in the Koury Building.

We would like to get a reasonably accurate head count for the meeting, so that we can let the site committee know how much food/drink to order for break refreshments. Please let us know beforehand by registering through the Online Registration Form if you are planning on coming. Registrations for presentations should be completed by Monday, 30 September 2013 - DEADLINE PASSED. If you plan to come but NOT to present, we would still like for you to register beforehand - you can do this up until the 5th of October.

Directions and Maps To The Meeting
The meeting is held in the Koury Hospitality Careers Building on the Jamestown campus of GTCC.

Local Lodging There are plenty of hotels around the area, use this resource to find accommodations if you plan to stay overnight.

Abstract Submission If you would like to present an oral or display presentation at the NCA meeting, please fill out and submit the Online Registration Form by Monday, 30 September 2013 - DEADLINE PASSED - NO MORE SUBMISSIONS. (You can still submit the form if you plan to attend without presenting.)

Display Presentations There will be room for approximately 20 posters to be displayed. The available space is approximately 44 in. x 44 in.  Access to power and tables will be limited, but there is local wireless access.

Oral Presentations The proposed plan is for standard oral presentations to be 10 minutes, though this could change, depending on the number of submissions.  A podium/microphone/computer/projector will be provided for oral presentations.  A wireless microphone is also provided. Wireless internet access will be available in the presentation space.

Registration Forms are submitted to Tom English (336-334-4822, ext 50023).
You should receive confirmation of receipt within a day of submission - if not, call or e-mail to verify.

Special Sessions
The annual business meeting of the North Carolina Section of the International Dark Sky Association will be held during the lunch break.  NCAM also acts as a Regional Teaching Exchange for an ASTRO 101 discussion/presentation session (Part of the NASA Center for Astronomy Education) during the afternoon.  Anyone who currently teaches introductory college astronomy, or who expects to teach in the future, is encouraged to attend. (If you have ideas for the discussion, contact Tom English.)  You can register officially with the CAE for this session here.

Saturday Lunch Options include a variety of nearby restaurants.  We also plan to offer on-site pre-ordered box lunch options from Jerusalem Market again this year. You will have the opportunity to indicate your lunch preference on your registration form and bring payment to the registration table the morning of the event. On-site orders MUST be verified and paid for before 10 a.m.  All sandwiches from Jerusalem Market are served on thin, lavash bread with chips, brine pickle, and olive on the side. Lettuce and tomato are added to all sandwiches.  This year's lunch options are:

  • $7: Falafel (Falafel Patties with hummos and tahini sauce.)
  • $8: Turkey (Oven roasted turkey breast with black pepper and provolone cheese.)
  • $9: The Turk (Soujuk, a spicy, dried beef sausage, sliced thin with provolone cheese melted on top.  Served with baba ghanouj and yogurt cucumber sauce on the sandwich.)

Tentative Meeting Agenda (subject to change)

8:45 a.m.          Conference Opens
Refreshments are available throughout the day in the display area.  Several display presentations will be posted in this area throughout the day

9:20 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

9:30 a.m. Invited Speaker - Don Winget, University of Texas - Austin,
Talk Title TBA

10:30 a.m. Break - visit the posters in the display area

11:00 a.m. Contributed Oral Session I

12:15 p.m. Lunch - visit the posters in the display area or attend the NCIDA Meeting

Afternoon Schedule to be determined - will include Contributed Oral Session II and CAE Regional Teaching Exchange