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Cornell Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences Colloquium

Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Virtual Event

"Unraveling the Nature of Wolf-Rayet Dust Factories"

Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars are descendants of massive O-type stars that exhibit fast winds, hot photospheres, and high luminosities. For decades, a subset of carbon-rich WR (WC) stars have been known to actively form dust despite their extreme environments. Although these systems can produce copious amounts of dust, they have been commonly overlooked as significant sources of dust in the interstellar medium of galaxies in the local and early Universe due to the persisting mysteries on their dust formation, evolution, and the influence of binary companions.  In this talk, I will discuss our research program that is revisiting and resolving the dust formation in these WC dust factories and bridging mid-infrared (IR) observations from the past and present into the future. I will highlight our major results that combine a comprehensive thermal dust emission analysis of Galactic dust-forming WC stars with Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) models and show that WC binaries can be early sources and significant sources of dust at sub-solar and solar metallicities. Lastly, I will discuss on-going and future work utilizing archival ground-based mid-IR observations, new imaging and spectroscopic data from Subaru/COMICS, and planned observations in our approved Early Release Science program with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Dial-In Information

The colloquia are held every Thursday afternoon 4-5 pm. The public is welcome. To view via Zoom, please contact Monica Carpenter ( or Jason Jennings ( for the link.

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Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Monica Carpenter

Contact Phone



Ryan Lau

Speaker Affiliation

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

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