Maude Fortin-Archambault

MSc student, Université de Montréal

Maude completed her undergraduate studies at Université de Montréal in physics in the spring of 2017 with the astrophysics option. During the summer of 2016, she completed an internship under the supervision of Patrick Dufour in the studies of white dwarf stars. She worked on the creation of the Montreal White Dwarf Database, an interactive database for white dwarf stars. She also learned how to analyze the spectra of DZ white dwarfs by fitting the metal lines present in the optical and ultraviolet domains and then determined the chemical composition of the atmosphere of 4 different stars.

In the summer of 2017, she started working on her M. Sc. at Université de Montréal under the supervision of Patrick Dufour. Her research project consists in the analysis of the circumstellar absorption features seen in the spectra of the white dwarf star WD 1145+017. This star is of spectral type DZ, which means that its atmosphere contains metals, in other words elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, which form the typical chemical composition of white dwarf atmospheres. Those traces of metals come from a body, planet or asteroid, previously orbiting the star. It is thought that the objects orbit was disturbed in a way that brought it inside the tidal radius of the star, this disintegrated it into gas and dust and formed a disk, which was then accreted onto the white dwarf’s surface. For the first time, the disintegration phase was observed around the white dwarf star WD 1145+017. An array of observations taken with telescopes such as KECK and HST seem to be showing the presence of an accretion disk around the star. The spectra show broad and asymmetrical absorption features that vary with time. The goal of her project is to reproduce those features with a model of the accretion disk. This will then help us learn more about the body which was originally orbiting the star and how it was disintegrated.


Patrick Dufour


Phone : 514-343-6111 x 2798
Email : maude@ASTRO.UMontreal.CA
Office : Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, B-415