Physical Explanations for the Observed Diversity in Supernovae of Type Ia

Melissa Graham & Josiah Schwab (UC Berkeley) - April 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Normal Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) are a homogenous population of thermonuclear explosions of carbon-oxygen white dwarf stars. They exhibit a small range of intrinsic peak brightness, but since their luminosity is correlated with their light curve width, they can still be used as standardizable candles. Further observables are correlated with the peak luminosity, such as color and host mass. What is the physical cause of these correlations? The likely factors include the mass of synthesized Ni56, the ignition and explosion processes, progenitor characteristics such as age, metallicity, and density structure, the circumstellar environment, and binary companion type. In this talk, we will selectively explore some physical causes of the observed diversity in SN Ia with theory, models, and observations -- including the peculiar case of almost-but-not-quite twin SN Ia 2011fe and 2011by.

The seminar will be held in B-1 Hearst Field Annex.

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