Gustavo Medina Toledo (Chile)
gustavo.medina @ uni-heidelberg.de
Unveiling the Milky Way’s History Using Young & Old Population Variable Stars
The main objective of my research project is to use two different types of pulsating variable stars to improve our current understanding of the Milky Way. In particular, I will study Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars, which are known young/old variables (respectively) that exhibit period-luminosity relations that make them precise distance indicators in the local universe. These stars, in spite of being archetypes of different stellar populations, represent key tracers of the recent star formation and assembly history of the Milky Way.
For the first part of my thesis I will analyze Cepheids in open clusters using large databases from different sky surveys, including recently released data from the unparalleled Gaia telescope. This work will permit a highly accurate calibration of their period-(color)-age relation, since it will make use of the proper and space motions that Gaia provides to precisely determine, in the first place, the membership of these stars to their host clusters.
The second part of this project consists of a novel study of the spectral features of distant RR Lyrae stars in the poorly understood outer halo of the Milky Way. With this, I will determine their kinematic properties and chemical compositions to explore in an unprecedented manner their origin and connection with substructures, to unravel the assembly history of the Galaxy.
Supervisor: Eva Grebel (ARI)