Cal Poly Pomona

Physics and Astronomy Seminar

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Pre-Supernova Evolution of Massive Stars

Nathan Smith

Steward Observatory and Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona*

Eruptive massive stars have enjoyed renewed interest in recent years for three reasons:

  1. we have learned that sudden eruptions rather than steady winds dominate the total mass lost during a star's lifetime,
  2. these eruptions make up many of the transient sources fainter than supernovae that will be discovered in increasing numbers in coming years, and
  3. eruptive massive stars are the likely progenitors of the most luminous supernovae known, giving us a potential window to the deaths of massive stars in the early universe.

I will discuss some recent developments in the study of the latest stages of massive star evolution leading up to the final supernova, and I will also discuss recent observational work on supernova explosions where the supernova blast wave is crashing into the circumstellar material that was surrounding the star just before it exploded.

Connecting these two, we are trying to understand the unstable behavior of some massive stars leading up to the final explosion.

I will also briefly highlight some of the ways we are using telescopes at Steward Observatory to study these unusual supernovae.

Refreshments at 10:50 AM. Seminar begins at 11:00 AM.
Building 8, Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014

*This talk is sponsored by the California-Arizona Minority Partnership for Astronomy Research and Education (CAMPARE)
Last modified on January 4, 2012
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