Astrophysical Sciences’ Guðmundur Stefánsson Studies the Blue Ring Nebula to Gain Insight into Binary Star Mergers

Monday, Nov 23, 2020
by Department of Astrophysical Sciences

An article featured on Princeton University’s news page describes the work of Guðmundur Stefánsson, the Henry Russell Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. He is part of a team of researchers reporting observations on the mysterious Blue Ring Nebula, an unusual object composed of a ring of hydrogen with a star living at its center. Using ground-based spectroscopic observations and stellar evolution models, the team studied properties of the nebula enabling them to have direct observation of a suggested stellar merger occurring thousands of years ago. This appears to be the first time that scientists were able to have an unobstructed view of the early stages of a star system merger and its central stellar remnant.  

Guðmundur Stefánsson is an astrophysicist whose research focuses on developing and using next-generation instruments to better detect and characterize planets orbiting nearby stars, with a particular focus on planets orbiting low-mass stars. His most recent work is published in the online journal Nature.

The Princeton University news article can be read here.