HIGH POINT, NC, October 22, 2021 – Members of the High Point University community frequently conduct, publish, and share research and creative work in a variety of ways. Below is a recap of recent research initiatives.
HPU professor and alumni discover star system that periodically disappears
Associate Professor of Astrophysics Dr Brad Barlow along with HPU alumni Kyle Corcoran and Stephen Walser recently published a peer-reviewed article on their discovery of a new total eclipse binary star system called Gaia DR2 6097540197980557440 in the Astrophysical Journal, the world’s top ranked academic astrophysics journal by Google Scholar. This particular star system consists of a hot sub-dwarf star and a red dwarf orbiting each other every three hours at a distance so close that the entire binary could fit into the interior of the sun. It is the only system of its kind to show such deep eclipses.
“This project and this article will forever hold a special place in my heart because of how this particular star was discovered,” said Barlow. “Stephen was in charge of monitoring our sequence of images from the telescope as I left the observation room for a while. When I returned Stephen was sweating balls and apologized to me that he had “lost” the star in the picture. Indeed, when I looked at the most recent images, the star was not there! But Stephen did not have lost the star. He had discovered a hot sub-dwarf total eclipse binary system, in which the primary star “disappears” every three hours when blocked by its mate. His fear quickly turned into exuberance, and to this day we still laugh at that moment.
Barlow and his team are currently studying dozens of systems like this to determine what is the lowest mass object that could strip the atmosphere of a red giant and survive the process. Their work will determine whether planets as small as Earth could survive the red giant stage of their host stars.
The research was carried out by a team of international astronomers at HPU, the University of Potsdam (Germany), Friedrich-Alexander University (Germany) and the University of Virginia.
HPU professor receives grant
Dr Brett Pexa, assistant professor in the Athletic Training Department of the Congdon School of Health Sciences at the HPU, received a grant of $ 23,000 from the NATA Research and Education Foundation.
Pexa will conduct research to determine the validity of daily single element athlete health measures. The study will recruit 100 student-athletes to perform daily measurements of athlete health, including training readiness, stress, sleep quality and fatigue. These measurements are very common to track over time, but there is little information about their accuracy, reliability, or relationship to previously established constructs. To be truly effective, Pexa said the measures need to be studied further, and this study will help fill the current knowledge gap.
“HPU students and staff will benefit from all aspects of this study,” said Pexa. “Undergraduate exercise science and graduate athletic training students will receive hands-on training in new athlete monitoring techniques and physical testing methods. HPU athletes will obtain data on their specific health and well-being to identify how this changes throughout a competitive season. Finally, HPU athletic staff will receive athlete health data to make appropriate modifications to training, prescribe interventions to mitigate injury risks, or modify plans to target specific deficits in student-athletes who may be susceptible to injury. have an impact on performance. High Point University is the perfect environment due to the emphasis on academic innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experiential learning.
HPU faculty and students participated in research for NASA
Jeff Regester, physics and astronomy instructor, and HPU student Jack Munn, senior physics student, participated in a research expedition in support of NASA. The Southwest Research Institute, based in Boulder, Colorado, sent the expedition to Spain in early October to collect astronomical observations in support of Lucy, a probe launched from Cape Canaveral on October 16. David Vestal, a student of Regester and HPU, who has been on a similar expedition previously, also attended the launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“The Lucy mission is a probe that will reveal a lot about the process of the formation of planets early in the history of our solar system,” Regester said. “The asteroids he will visit are remnants of the formation of planets. This mission answers one of the most fundamental questions one can ask: how did the Earth come into being? “
Over the next 12 years, Lucy will visit eight asteroids in the Outer Solar System. October 1 one of these asteroids, Polymele, passed directly in front of a distant star seen from Spain. The exact moment of this “occultation”, both when it occurs and how long it lasts, reveals the size, shape and reflectivity of the asteroid, and allows its orbital path to be determined with extreme precision, which are all crucial to the success of Lucy’s future flyby. Regester has conducted several of these occultation observations, using portable telescopes and fixed-site observatories, in the past and is delighted to include HPU students in this research.
You can find more information about the Lucy mission at http://lucy.swri.edu/.