Young Solar Analogs: What was the Sun like as an adolescent?

ORION meets on the third Wednesday of every month.  Our meeting will be held at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge, TN in the Goff Building, room 104 (just off of the lobby).  We gather at 7:00 with the program beginning at approximately 7:15 p.m.  You do not have to be a scientist to attend, or even a member of ORION.  The program is free and open to the public.   

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday October 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.   Dave McCallister will be our speaker.


The Young Solar Analogs project is a long term spectroscopic and photometric monitoring campaign designed to yield a better understanding of how a star’s early activity affects a young solar system.  By carefully examining the light from these young, small stars, long term trends in their magnetic activity cycles can be  monitored.  The faster rotations of these younger stars fuel increased magnetic activity, resulting in far ultraviolet and x-ray emissions.  So in a time that early Earth life was trying to find its foothold, the Sun would have been a very inhospitable host.  This presentation will describe the basic ideas and motivation behind the project, data collection and reduction methods used, early results and future directions in which the research team is looking.


McCallister ProfileDave McCallister is a graduate student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, pursuing a Master’s degree in Astrophysics. He has over a decade of experience in education and public outreach, in both formal classroom roles and informal settings like planetariums and star parties. He has been interested in science since he was seven, when his grandfather pointed his telescope toward a crescent Venus in the dark West Virginia skies. He taught high school physics in northern Kentucky for several years before moving to Knoxville with his wife Sarah. He has a B.A. in Physics from Northern Kentucky University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Thomas More College. Dave is an Astronomy Ambassador designated by the American Astronomical Society, and has been awarded the Wayne Kincaid Award and the Robert W. Lide Citation by the UT Physics and Astronomy Department for service to the astronomy laboratory and outreach programs. When not huddled up with a telescope under a dark sky, he enjoys baseball, visiting his nieces and nephews, and travelling with his understanding and lovely wife.