Seminar Series

The Explosion Geometry of Red Supergiant Stars

Douglas Leonard, San Diego State University

23 Jul 2015 - 15:30

From progenitor studies, type II-Plateau supernovae (SNe II-P) have been decisively and uniquely determined to arise from isolated red supergiant (RSG) stars, establishing the most homogeneous --- and well understood --- progenitor class of any type of core-collapse supernova. The physical process by which these stars explode, however, remains a mystery. A fundamental clue to the nature of the explosion mechanism is explosion geometry: In short, are supernovae round? Because young supernova atmospheres are electron-scattering dominated, their net linear polarization provides a direct probe of early-time supernova geometry, with higher degrees of polarization generally indicating greater departures from spherical symmetry.  In this presentation I will describe the ongoing work being carried out on RSG explosion geometry by the SuperNova SpectroPOLarimetry project (SNSPOL), with a particular focus on SN 2013ej -- an SN II-P that exhibited remarkably high polarization just days after the explosion, and for which twelve epochs of spectropolarimetry trace an intriguing tale about its geometry deep into the nebular phase.

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