Atomic and Molecular Astrophysics and Planetary Dynamics

Stephen Lepp and his group apply Atomic and Molecular Physics to astrophysical problems. Professor Lepp has modeled many astrophysical enviornments including: The Early Universe, Supernova (the explosion of a massive star), Interstellar Clouds, Active Galactic Nuclei (Quasars and Seyfert Galaxies) and Star Forming Regions. The models help us to understand these regions and to probe their physical conditions.

As an example, here is a recent article written for the non specialist on the discovery of the first molecular ion.

I have recently gotten involved in a collaboration with Dr. Martin to look at Orbital Dynamics. I have been using the n-body code REBOUND to calculate orbits in various astronomical systems. I have a couple papers describing the changes to librating orbits around a binary and triple star system. Below is a figure from Lepp, Martin and Childs (2021) showing the possible orbits around a binary when General Relativity is included in the calculation.