Young stars, to be exact, says Dr. Fakhranda Alimardanova.
They are a relatively new research topic, says the research fellow from Azerbaijan. “We still don’t know details of their formation and evolution – and we are still learning how to determine their physical properties correctly,” she says. “I like studying a new subject where I can make an important contribution.”
The astrophysics researcher from Azerbaijan chose UNCG, she explains, because it has an astronomy research direction very close to hers.
Dr. Anatoly Miroshnichenko, associate professor in UNCG’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, is collaborating on research with her. “We have a similar field of interest which is studies of stars surrounded by large amounts of material – atoms, molecules. We aim at studying physics of processes which lead to formation of this material near stars, because most stars do not show this feature. Even the Sun with all its planets and comets looks like a lone star from space – the planets are much dimmer than the star itself.”
He adds, “We should be able to write a research paper on a star whose properties have not been understood for a long time and submit it to one of the world’s highest-rank astronomical journals.” This star was a subject of their fall presentation at the North Carolina Astronomers meeting.
He has known Fakhranda’s dissertation supervisor, Dr. Nariman Izmailov of the Shamakhy Astrophysical Observatory in Azerbaijan, for many years. That tie is another thing that led her to UNCG.
She is chair of the Council of Young Scientists and Specialists of the Shamakhy Astrophysical Observatory.
She speaks Turkish, English and Russian. Her native language is Azeri, which is related to Turkish.
The Fulbright Program awards about 8,000 grants each year. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
“In addition to our joint research, Fakhranda is learning how to work with various astronomical data using a public software package developed by U.S. astronomers,” Miroshnichenko adds. “She will bring this package back to Azerbaijan to use it for analysis of data obtained at their telescopes.”
By Mike Harris