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Parshati Patel - Stellar Dreams. London, ON, CA

Parshati Patel

Science Communication | Stellar Dreams

London, ON, CANADA

An astrophysicist turned science communicator, space educator, author and space artist with a passion to bring space to the public!





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Dr. Parshati Patel is an astrophysicist turned science communicator, space educator, author and artist.

Originally from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, Parshati moved to Canada in 2006 to pursue Astronomy and graduated in Hons. BSc in Astronomy & Physics from the University of Toronto in 2010. She received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Astronomy and Planetary Science and Exploration under the supervision of Dr. Aaron Sigut & Dr. John Landstreet from Western University. For her Ph.D., Parshati studied young, massive stars and the disks surrounding them. She has completed professional certification in Public Relations and Communications, Project Management as well as certification in Digital Communications and Innovation from Western University’s School of Continuing Studies. Parshati is a Certified Agile Project Manager.

Parshati developed a passion for STEM education and outreach and transitioned into the field of Science Communication. For over a decade, Parshati has shared her passion for space, fostering awareness among the masses, particularly youth. She accomplishes this by spearheading award winning space outreach initiatives, organizing educational public events, delivering invited talks and contributing regularly to the media both in-person and online.

Previously, she has worked as Educational Outreach and Communications Specialist at the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration at Western University and as a Program Designer and Education Advisor with the Youth STEM Initiatives team at the Canadian Space Agency (through the InterChange Canada program).

Dr. Patel is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at Western University. Parshati has conducted research in the Faculty of Education to understand and gauge the engagement of the participants as well as their outlook on STEM careers and interest in STEM fields.

In addition to consulting for science books, she also recently authored a children’s book called ‘My Books of Stars and Planets’. Parshati often talks about her experience as a woman of colour venturing into the field of astronomy and barriers she had to overcome as an international student in the hopes to help others.

She has co-founded Women of Color in STEAMM Canada in 2018. She co-founded Professional Managerial Association’s BIPOC Network in 2020 and co-chaired it until 2023. She is also currently on the Board of Advisors for SEDS-Canada and Zenith Pathways.

Industry Expertise (4)

Training and Development



Program Development

Areas of Expertise (11)

Sci Art

STEM Education



Planetary Science

Circumstellar Disks

Massive Stars

Science Communication

Education and Outreach

Public Engagement in Science

Women of Color in STEM

Accomplishments (5)

Professional Award of Excellence (professional)


The Junior Astronauts Camp core team won the Canadian Space Agency’s 2021 Award of Excellence. Parshati was Deputy Project Manager for the Junior Astronauts Camp project and was responsible for overall planning of the camp, working with the experts to develop the camp activities, develop camp processes and protocols, and lead the team throughout the planning and facilitation of the camp.

Woman of Influence (professional)


Parshati was awarded the ‘Women of Influence’ award in May 2021 for her outstanding contributions to the field of space and science communications as a Gujarati in Canada. Parshati was born and brought up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, before she moved to Canada.

Award of Excellence - Operations (professional)


Parshati proposed and led the Western University’s Space Explorers Program at the historic David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, in partnership with The Town of Richmond Hill. The town of Richmond Hill and the partner organizations (including Western University) were awarded for unique programs, activities and events at David Dunlap Observatory in March 2019 by Parks and Recreation Ontario.

Gujarat Gaurav (Pride of Gujarat) Award - Female (professional)


Parshati was awarded the Gujarat Gaurav (Pride of Gujarat) award in the Female category by Gujarat Public Affairs Council of Canada for outstanding contributions to Outreach and Research as a Gujarati in Canada in May 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Social Media Prize by IAU (professional)


Parshati was awarded a Social Media prize (a certificate and a telescope) by International Astronomical Union for outstanding contributions for popularizing the events on social media during the 100 Hours of Astronomy Campaign in January 2019. Parshati talked to various universities, organizations and members of the public during the 100 Hours of Astronomy Campaign.

Education (8)

University of Toronto: B.Sc. (Hons.), Astronomy and Physics 2010

Western University: M. Sc., Astronomy (Planetary Science) 2012

Western University: Ph. D., Astronomy (Planetary Science and Exploration) 2016

Western University: Certificate, Project Management 2023

Western University: Certificate, Innovative Thinking 2021

Western University: Certificate, Digital Communications 2021

Western University: Professional Certificate, Communications and Public Relations 2021

Western University: Master the Entrepreneur Skillset, Entrepreneurship/ Entrepreneurial Studies 2020

Grade: Certificate of Achievement The Master the Entrepreneur Skillset is a 6-Week Virtual Masterclass Powered by Western Entrepreneurship and Ivey Business School to help Western alumni, students, faculty and staff restart economies and create jobs.

Languages (3)

  • English
  • Hindi
  • Gujarati

Media Appearances (6)

Live Fast, Black Hole Young

CHRW Radio  radio


Dr. Parshati Patel was invited to talk to Western University's radio station, CHRW's Gradcast, about her research work and outreach efforts at Western.

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Bringing the universe to the community

Western News  print


Western News talked to Dr. Patel about being engaged in the outreach efforts at the Cronyn Observatory.

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Annual meteor shower will be even more active than usual this year

Woodstock Sentinel Review  print


Woodstock Sentinel Review talks to Dr. Parshati Patel about the upcoming Perseid meteor shower.

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The 1054 Supernova: A New Star in the Sky

Step Back History- YouTube Channel  online


The Step Back History channel on YouTube collaborated with Dr. Patel to bring the story of Supernova of 1054 AD.

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Women in Science & Exploration- Google Hangout

Exploring by the Seat of your Pants  online


Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants celebrated International Day of Women in Science and Exploration with a full day of Google Hangouts with leading women in science and exploration on February 10th. The day consisted of 27, 30 minute Google Hangouts spread out over 8 hours! Dr. Parshati Patel was one of the 27 women who were invited to take part in the celebrations.

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100 Voices for Canadian Science Communication

Science Borealis  online


Dr. Parshati Patel was amongst the 100 science communicators featured in 'Reflections: 100 Voices for Canadian Science Communication'. This is an ambitious project designed to provide a broad view of the Canadian science communication landscape, open a conversation around Canadian science communication, and deepen readers’ appreciation of the importance of delivering accurate and engaging scientific information.

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Articles (3)

The Correlation between Hα Emission and Visual Magnitude during Long-term Variations in Classical Be Stars

The Astrophysical Journal


Hα equivalent widths and UBV magnitudes are calculated for Be star disk models that grow in size and/or density with time. We show that these simple models are consistent with the known Be star classes of positive and inverse correlations between long-term variations in Hα and V magnitude as identified by Harmanec. We support the conclusion of Harmanec that the distinction is controlled by the inclination of the disk to the line of sight. We demonstrate that the strength of these correlations, particularly those of an inverse correlation where the system becomes fainter as the Hα emission strength grows, is strongly influenced by the scale height of the inner Be star disk and the extent of the gravitational darkening of the central B star due to rapid rotation. This dependence may allow coordinated spectroscopic and photometric observations to better constrain these poorly known Be star parameters.

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Photoionization Models of the Inner Gaseous Disk of the Herbig Be Star BD+65 1637

The Astrophysical Journal


We attempt to constrain the physical properties of the inner, gaseous disk of the Herbig Be star BD+65 1637 using non-LTE, circumstellar disk codes and observed spectra (3700-10500 Å) from the ESPaDOnS instrument on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. The photoionizing radiation of the central star is assumed to be the sole source of input energy for the disk. We model optical and near-infrared emission lines that are thought to form in this region using standard techniques that have been successful in modeling the spectra of classical Be stars. By comparing synthetic line profiles of hydrogen, helium, iron, and calcium with the observed line profiles, we try to constrain the geometry, density structure, and kinematics of the gaseous disk. Reasonable matches have been found for all line profiles individually; however, no disk density model based on a single power law for the equatorial density was able to simultaneously fit all of the observed emission lines. Among the emission lines, the metal lines, especially the Ca ii IR triplet, seem to require higher disk densities than the other lines. Excluding the Ca ii lines, a model in which the equatorial disk density falls as 10-10 (R*/R)3 g cm-3 seen at an inclination of 45° for a 50 R* disk provides reasonable matches to the overall line shapes and strengths. The Ca ii lines seem to require a shallower drop-off as 10-10 (R*/R)2 g cm-3 to match their strength. More complex disk density models are likely required to refine the match to the BD+65 1637 spectrum.

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Photoionization Models for the Inner Gaseous Disks of Herbig Be Stars: Evidence Against Magnetospheric Accretion?

The Astrophysical Journal


We investigate the physical properties of the inner gaseous disks of the three, hot, Herbig B2e stars, HD 76534, HD 114981 and HD 216629, by modelling CFHT-ESPaDOns spectra using non-LTE radiative transfer codes. We assume that the emission lines are produced in a circumstellar disk heated solely by the photospheric radiation from the central star in order to test if the optical and near-IR emission lines can be reproduced without invoking magnetospheric accretion. The inner gaseous disk density was assumed to follow a simple power-law in the equatorial plane, and we searched for models that could reproduce observed lines of HI (Hα and Hβ), HeI, CaII and FeII. For the three stars, good matches were found for all emission line profiles individually; however, no density model based on a single power-law was able to reproduce all of the observed emission lines. Among the single power-law models, the one with the gas density varying as ~10^{-10}(R*/R)^3 g/cm^3 in the equatorial plane of a 25R* (0.78 AU) disk did the best overall job of representing the optical emission lines of the three stars. This model implies a mass for the Hα-emitting portion of the inner gaseous disk of ~10^{-9} M*. We conclude that the optical emission line spectra of these HBe stars can be qualitatively reproduced by a ~1 AU, geometrically thin, circumstellar disk of negligible mass compared to the central star in Keplerian rotation and radiative equilibrium.

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