Lighting the Standard Candle
Type Ia Supernovae, the thermonuclear incineration of white dwarf stars, are among the brightest stellar explosions in the universe. They produce roughly half of the iron-peak isotopes in the universe, represent an extreme endpoint of binary stellar evolution, and play a critical role in efforts to determine the equation of state of the universe. Despite this, we still lack a picture of which evolutionary channels lead to type Ia supernovae, and we do not have a complete understanding of what controls the variations in peak brightness between supernovae. In this talk, I'll highlight some of the recent discoveries about the population of type Ia supernovae, and discuss recent work aimed at understanding the influence that the progenitor white dwarf has on the outcome of the explosion.
Date: Tuesday, 17 February 2009 Time: 16:00 Where: McGill University Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, R.E. Bell Conference Room (room 103)