Dr. Catherine Lovekin, assistant professor of astronomy at Mount Allison University, joined us in studios to talk about the Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower and the Introduction to the Night Sky event she’ll be hosting this Saturday, 26 July, at 8:30pm at the Campbell Carriage Factory in Middle Sackville. She talked about sungrazing comets and the mechanics of a meteor shower. We also asked her about her comet-like trajectory into astronomy, the work she’s done on star evolution, and the pertinence of astronomy as a science.

 

intronightsky

Michael: What are the coolest things happening in space?

Dr. Lovekin: I think my favourite astronomical object is what are called a Luminous Blue Variables.

Michael: Luminous Blue Variables?

Dr. Lovekin: These are stars that are very bright, they’re luminous; they’re very hot, which makes them appear very blue in colour; and they’re variable, or they change over time. So, Luminous Blue Variables. We’re not the most creative with names. But these particular objects are very interesting because we don’t understand them at all. They’re very massive stars and they don’t show up in our evolution sequences. When we try to model the evolution of these stars, they don’t happen! They’re stars that become unstable for reasons that we don’t fully understand, and they eject tons of material….