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Research

My research is at the intersection of light curve analysis and studying planets, dust and debris as it relates to the formation of planetary systems. I approach the problem from two sides: modeling the interactions of the material in the forming planetary system and studying unusual light curve variations to understand the possible dynamical interaction underlying the variations.

My main projects currently:

1) I am working on the star KIC 8462852 (a.k.a. Tabby's star) and looking in depth at the cometary explanation to the dips. I found that while comet swarms can fit the unusual dips, the fit requires a large number of objects and rare events such as the break up of a Ceres sized object to explain. So Tabby's star is still quite an interesting and mysterious object.

2) Related to my work with Tabby's star, I am modeling evaporating planets and how the comet-like dust trails from the ultra short period rocky planets interact with the star. This dust holds clues to the composition of the interiors of rocky planets.

3) I am studying young "dipper" stars which are stars that display drops in observed flux in their light curves, typically lasting for a few days. These dips are very likely due to dust in the inner region of the accretion disk and reveals information about accretion processes of young stars. For low mass star, we are likely observing the dusty accretion stream as they cross our view of the star. However, for intermediate mass stars, the streams are too hot for dust to survive so other structures in the disk must be the cause of the dips.

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  30k v. 2 Oct 31, 2016, 12:47 PM Eva Bodman
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  May 20, 2016, 7:33 AM Eva Bodman