University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, April 10th 2015
Speaker: Laura Chomiuk, Michigan State
Subject: The Progenitors of Type Ia Supernovae: Clusters from Explosion Environments and Galactic Binaries

While astronomers generally agree that Type Ia supernovae mark the complete disruption of a white dwarf star, the mechanism for destabilizing the white dwarf and driving it to this suicidal end remains a mystery. I will describe the current state of efforts to determine the progenitor systems of Type Ia supernovae, and detail our team's efforts to narrow the possibilities with sensitive measurements of the environments of nearby supernovae. Finally, I will compare what we know about Type Ia supernovae with recent observations of Milky Way binary stars, testing whether the white dwarfs in these real-world binaries may one day meet the violent end of Type Ia supernovae.

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