Department of Astronomy & Physics
Congratulations to Mitchell Young who successfully defended his M.Sc. thesis entitled NLTE 1.5D Modelling of Red Giant Stars on 21 August 2013. Mitch investigated how the inferred properties of bright old red giant stars depend on whether computer models of their atmospheres take into account variation in temperature across their surfaces and realistic treatment of how the gas absorbs light. Mitch found that estimates of the red giant's "surface" temperature using standard methods can be as much as 500 Kelvin (K) higher than the true average temperature of the star's surface. This represents an important step forward in our ability to accurately characterize these stars, and to use them as probes of Galactic structure and history. Mitch mastered the use of sophisticated computer modelling, and developed important tools for simulating realistically observable stellar quantities.