A Villanova University professor whose work with NASA’s Kepler mission has provided revolutionary new data on binary stars has been awarded a two-year, $449,000 grant from NASA to support his research.
Andrej Prsa is a world-renowned leader in the field of stellar astrophysics. The grant will support his project, “Sub-1 percent accuracy in fundamental stellar parameters of low-mass stars in triply eclipsing systems.”
Binary stars are systems of gravitationally “attached” stars and provide the only way to make precise determination of fundamental stellar properties such as mass, luminosity, and radius. The latter is critical to many branches of astrophysics, from studying the life cycles of stars to determining distances throughout the universe.
“Binary stars are one of the most important objects in our universe because they allow us to determine masses of their components, a measurement that is otherwise near-impossible,” Dr. Prsa said.
“This grant reflects the high esteem in which NASA holds Dr. Prsa’s research and longtime involvement with the Kepler mission,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, the Dean of Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It also presents wonderful research opportunities for his students.”