Kevin Flaherty

Williams College

Lecturer in Astronomy and Observatory Supervisor

Young stellar objects are intrinsically dynamic objects, and I am interested in the complex velocity fields surrounding these objects, as well as how they change with time. Young stellar objects are highly variable on all timescales, and much of this variability can be related to accretion onto the star, whether it is the long-term outbursts associated with FUor/EXor type events or the smaller variations seen on shorter timescales. I am interested in population-level questions: How frequently do YSOs experience large outbursts? What is the ‘typical’ accretion rate onto a YSO after accounting for variability? How does this behavior vary across the stellar population?  Despite years of study, statistics are still limited, but the expansive view of LSST will open up a new dimension in our understanding of accretion variability.

No two small colleges are alike. They often differ in the size of their department, how they structure their curriculum, the institutional support they receive, etc. As Observatory Supervisor at Williams College, having worked at Wesleyan University as a postdoc and having been a part of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (a collection of astronomy programs at small colleges in the northeast, including expansion sites Haverford and Wesleyan) for almost a decade, I have seen how these variations play out across different campuses. I am eager to share my experience across these institutions and my experience in advising research students, from summer projects for first-year students to year-long senior thesis projects, crafting a mentoring philosophy appropriate for undergraduate students, as well as working in a non-tenure track position.

Contact Kevin Flaherty