Megan M. Kiminki

(formerly Megan M. Bagley)

A picture of teddy-bear cholla. Cactus in bloom in northwest Tucson. Hubble Space Telescope image of the HH 666 protostellar jet. Observing at the Magellan Telescopes. The Magellan telescopes in Chile. Saguaro in Sabino Canyon.

Astronomy Research

While at the University of Arizona, I studied how massive stars affect their surroundings. My PhD dissertation focused on the Carina Nebula, a giant star-forming region that is home to some of the most extreme stars in the Milky Way.

Check out some of my research highlights below or get the details from my publications.

Multiple Eruptions of Eta Carinae

Animated GIF showing motion of Eta Carinae's outer ejecta
	     over 21 years.

The very massive star Eta Carinae erupted spectacularly in the 1840s, and nobody quite yet knows why. Through careful alignment and analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images, my collaborators and I measured blobs of gas hurtling outward from Eta Carinae at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour. We learned that over the last thousand years, Eta Carinae has erupted not just once, but three times!

Read more about our results in Physics Today or our UANews press release.

The dark clouds in this GIF were ejected from Eta Carinae in the mid-thirteenth century. Data are from Kiminki et al. (2016).

Massive Stars Across W3

For my Master's thesis, I identified and characterized massive stars in W3, a bright star-forming region on the edge of the Heart Nebula. I also developed an algorithm for subtracting spatially variable background contamination from stellar spectra.

Positions of O- and B-type stars in the W3 region.

Massive and intermediate-mass stars in W3, compared to molecular CO emission. Figure is from Kiminki et al. (2015).