Hi, I'm Conor and I am a PDRA in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick, working under the guidance of Elizabeth Stanway. I completed my PhD at Trinity College DublinLink opens in a new window and Armagh Observatory and PlanetariumLink opens in a new window in early 2020.
Presently my research focuses on the role that non-Solar scaled elemental abundances have on our interpretation of stellar populations. In the era of JWST, where we will see distant galaxies in unprecedented detail, the use of Solar-scaled abundance patterns is a weakness in theoretical models, as there is already significant observational evidence that low metallicity environments have a higher alpha-to-iron ratio than the local Universe. Using BPASS, I am trying to quantify the importance of using appropriate stellar models and stellar spectra and the uncertainties that are introduced when we change our model assumptions.
My PhD research developed our understanding of the evolution of hot, low-mass stars, such as hot subdwarfs, with a focus on the role played by atomic diffusion processes. My thesis is accessible hereLink opens in a new window on the TCD research repository. The science chapters of my thesis have also been published in peer-reviewed publications, which you can find listed below.
- Byrne, C.M., Stanway, E.R., Eldridge, J.J., McSwiney, L. & Townsend, O.T. (2022). The dependence of theoretical synthetic spectra on alpha-enhancement in young, binary stellar populations, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 512, 5329-5338.
- Byrne, C.M., Stanway, E.R. & Eldridge, J.J. (2021). Binary evolution pathways of Blue Large-Amplitude PulsatorsLink opens in a new window. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 507, 621-631.
- Byrne, C.M. & Jeffery, C.S. (2020). Pulsation in faint blue starsLink opens in a new window. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 492, 232–244.
- Byrne, C.M. & Jeffery, C.S. (2018). Post-common envelope binary stars, radiative levitation, and blue large-amplitude pulsatorsLink opens in a new window. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 481, 3810–3820.
- Byrne, C.M., Jeffery, C.S., Tout, C.A. & Hu, H. (2018). The effects of diffusion in hot subdwarf progenitors from the common envelope channelLink opens in a new window. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 475, 4728–4738.
- Bailey, M., Byrne, C., Nežič, R., Asher, D. & Finnegan, J. (2019). Historical Observations of STEVELink opens in a new window. The Observatory, 138, 227-245.
- Byrne, C.M. & Jeffery, C.S. (2018). Post-common envelope binary stars: Radiative Levitation and Blue Large-Amplitude PulsatorsLink opens in a new window. Proceedings of the Physics of Oscillating Stars Conference in honour of Professor Hiromoto Shibahashi, Banyuls-sur-mer, France, 2-7 September 2018.
- Byrne, C.M., Jeffery, C.S., Tout, C.A. & Hu, H. (2017). Diffusion in hot subdwarf progenitors from the common envelope channelLink opens in a new window. Open Astronomy, 26, 1, 214-218, Special issue, proceedings of 8th Meeting on Hot Subdwarfs and Related Objects, Krakow, Poland, 9-14 July 2017.
During my time in Armagh, I was involved in a number of outreach activities. These included giving public talks at Observing Nights, leading tours of the historic Observatory building, providing interviews to local press (in both English and Irish), participating in science workshops for children, writing articles for the Planetarium's blog, AstronotesLink opens in a new window, and being a guest on the new Armagh Observatory and Planetarium podcast, Intergalactic CraicLink opens in a new window. I am always interested in talking and engaging with members of the public to discuss astronomy and science.
Outside of astrophysics, I enjoy a number of other activities in my free time. These include hiking, reading and quizzing. I also have an unhealthy obsession with the weather, having spent a number of years as a deputy Meteorological Observer in Armagh, which has the longest daily climate series anywhere in the UK or Ireland.