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|Title:||Spectroscopy and Photometry of Scattered Light Echoes from Supernovae|
|Advisor:||Welch, Douglas L.|
Sutherland, Peter G.
|Department:||Physics and Astronomy|
|Keywords:||light echo;supernovae;SN 1987A;Cas A;time-domain astronomy;Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy;Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy|
|Abstract:||<p>We present an observational protocol to observe and interpret asymmetries in stellar explosions using scattered light echoes. Spectroscopy of multiple light echoes are used to observe single astronomical sources from multiple viewing angles, allowing for direct observations of explosion asymmetries, when they exist. We present asymmetry detections for two famous historical supernovae: the ~25-year-old SN 1987A and the ~330-year-old Cassiopeia A. In both supernovae we find asymmetries in the first few hundred days of the explosion that appear to be correlated with the geometry of Fe-rich material in the remnant states.</p> <p>Spectroscopy of SN 1987A light echoes reveals a variation in the Hα line profile as a function of echo azimuth, with maximum asymmetry at position angles 16◦ and 186◦, in agreement with the major-axis of the elongated remnant ejecta. We interpret our asymmetry detection as evidence for a two-sided distribution of high-velocity 56Ni in the first few hundred days of SN 1987A, with the most dominant asymmetry redshifted in the south. For Cassiopeia A, we find evidence for a ~4000 km/s velocity excess in the first hundred days of the explosion, roughly aligned with an Fe-rich outflow in the supernova remnant and approximately opposite in direction to the motion of the compact object.</p> <p>Core-collapse supernovae have not yet been successfully modelled despite decades of progress in input physics and computing capability. Despite the significance of thermonuclear Type Ia supernovae to cosmology, the progenitor systems and explosion details also remain unclear. Both observational and theoretical work suggest that non-spherical effects are not only common in supernovae, but may in fact aid in generating successful explosions. In addition to offering a new technique for observing supernova asymmetries, spectroscopy of scattered light echoes allows a direct causal connection to be made between stellar explosions and their observed remnant states.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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