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Observational Constraints on Supernova Progenitor Systems

Melissa Graham, University of Washington
Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
PAA A-102

​In this talk I will discuss the observational techniques I use to understand the progenitor systems of Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia), a powerful cosmological standard candle. The characteristics of a SN Ia explosion strongly indicates the thermonuclear detonation of a carbon-oxygen white dwarf star, but how and why it explodes, and the role of a binary companion, are not well constrained. We will explore several unique case scenarios and investigate the evidence for and against non-degenerate companion stars, such as the presence of circumstellar material and emission from the impacted secondary star. We may also delve into the reverse problem for candidate Type IIn SN 2009ip, a transient for which the progenitor system was well characterized but the true nature of the explosion remains shrouded in mystery.

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