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Physics Major Discovers New Pulsating Star

Posted on January 21, 2014.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 21, 2014 – Junior physics major Stephen Vultaggio recently presented his discovery of a new Rapidly-Pulsating Hot Subdwarf Star at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Washington, D.C.

Hot Subdwarf Stars are rare types of stars that have had their outer atmospheric layers stripped off, so astronomers and physicists can study their cores. Vultaggio says finding more of these stars allows researchers to gain greater insight into how physics operates at extreme conditions, which helps us better understand fusion energy.

He discovered the star through remote access to the robotic PROMPT telescopes in Chile, and with the assistance of Dr. Brad Barlow, assistant professor of astrophysics at HPU. Vultaggio is currently working on publishing his findings.

“This experience is truly incredible, and I don’t know if I would have received such an extraordinary opportunity if I hadn’t come to High Point University,” says Vultaggio. “At the AAS meeting, my poster attracted a lot of attention, and I got to meet some very influential astronomers as well as talk to top graduate school professors.”

“AAS meetings bring together several thousand professional astronomers each year to share recent research result and spark new collaborations. Stephen did an outstanding job representing High Point University at the most recent meeting,” says Barlow. “His research poster was well received by many astronomers who came up to talk to him, and he did an excellent job explaining his project and responding to some difficult questions.”

Vultaggio’s abstract is available by clicking here.

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