Northwestern Events Calendar


Colloquium: Ken Shen: A Revolution in Our Understanding of Type Ia Supernovae

When: Friday, November 8, 2019
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Technological Institute, L211, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Yassaman   (847) 491-7650

Group: Physics and Astronomy Colloquia

Category: Academic


Despite the wide-ranging role Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) play throughout astrophysics, we lack a firm theoretical understanding of how they arise.  We are fairly certain they result from the thermonuclear explosion of white dwarfs in binary star systems, but details beyond that have been debated since their discovery.  For decades, the "single-degenerate" scenario, in which an accreting white dwarf reaches the Chandrasekhar mass, had the most support.  However, spurred by recent observational and theoretical advances, researchers have put much more effort into exploring alternative progenitor channels.  In this talk, I will show why some of us were drawn to the "dynamically driven double-degenerate double-detonation" (D6) scenario, and how it makes unique predictions for surviving hypervelocity companions that were confirmed by the Gaia satellite last year.  These stars, perhaps the fastest unbound stars in the Milky Way, represent the first ever detections of SN Ia survivors and have brought the D6 scenario to the forefront of the field as the only known SN Ia progenitor scenario to succeed in nature.

Seminar Speaker:   Ken Shen, UC Berkeley

 Host: Tchekhovskoy

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, Seminar, Colloquium

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