We are currently planning an international conference in Vienna, one year after the IAU General Assembly, from August 19 to 23, 2019, with the title:
Stars and their variability, observed from space:
Celebrating the 5th anniversary of BRITE-Constellation
Stars are the most visible components of the Universe. Most of what we know of the universe comes from studying stars. To understand them is important for many problem areas in astrophysics, ranging from our local solar system with planets to the most distant galaxies. Investigating the variability of Stars provides powerful access to their structure, environment and evolution. Stars are crucial elements for understanding the history and evolution of our Universe, of all galaxies, of our local solar system and Stars host zillions of planets, which we expect to discover in the near future – and how many are habitable?
Stars represent laboratory sites for physical processes that cannot be tested experimentally on Earth. They are crucial for understanding basic physics, such as nuclear physics, particle physics, statistical physics, hydrodynamics, atomic physics and opacities, and more. We are facing the limitations in theoretician’s modelling of the basic radiation, plasma and other physics, which oversimplify (or ignore) the treatment of radiation–matter coupling, magnetic fields, dynamical processes, etc. Experience tells that once the physics is properly accounted for, our picture of how stars work frequently has to be substantially changed.
Observing Stars from satellites has significantly increased the data volume and parameter space for a realistic modelling of these most prominent objects in the Universe. Variability can now be traced down to incredibly low noise levels, thanks also to the availability of satellites. New observing capabilities have improved precision and accuracy, which in turn have uncovered new populations of stars and revealed limits in our physical understanding of their structure and evolution. In particular, BRITE-Constellation has demonstrated the unique advantage of small satellites for exploring stars which are bright (and close) enough to allow access to other fundamental techniques, like interferometry, high accurate parallaxes, direct imaging, very high spectral and temporal resolution, etc. These advantages led in 2009 to a funding of the first BRITE satellites.
Convene top scientists of relevant fields in astrophysics, discuss most recent achievements in space observations and theory, attract the young generation, and develop a strategy for the future. Demonstrate the innovative role of BRITE-Constellation for the development of a significant research potential for nanosatellites.
It is true that similar conferences have been organised also in recent years, but experience tells that progress in this field is so dramatic that timing of our planned conference will be appropriate.
Werner Weiss (Universität Wien, Institut für Astrophysik)
Email: werner.weiss(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)univie.ac.at