Seminar Series

What Powers The Brightest Supernovae?

Matt Nicholl, Queen's University Belfast

09 Dec 2014 - 15:30

In the last decade, unbiased transient surveys have discovered a number of supernovae that are 10-100 times brighter than previously known supernova types; these have been classified as "super-luminous" supernovae. The mechanism which powers their extreme luminosities is still unclear. Popular theories include spin-down of a millisecond magnetar, very high radioactive nickel masses from 'pair-instability’ explosions, and collisions between massive shells of dense material. I will review the current state of research into these rare and mysterious transients, report on observations of super-luminous supernovae from Pan-STARRS1 and PESSTO, and show how light curve modelling is slowly revealing the underlying physics.

LCO Seminar Series,
6740 Cortona Dr, Suite 102,
Goleta, CA 93117