Revealing the Identity of Type Ia Supernovae

by · Jul 19, 2016 · 424 views ·

Type Ia supernovae are famous for the role they play in determining the accelerating expansion of the Universe, which led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. In addition, they spread their nuclear burning ashes throughout galaxies, over time producing a large fraction of the heavy elements in the Universe. However, while we are fairly confident that Type Ia supernovae are the thermonuclear explosions of white dwarfs in binary stellar systems, the debate rages as to the precise nature of their companions and how the explosions are ignited. In this talk, Ken Shen, PhD, UCB Astronomy Dept, reviews our basic understanding of Type Ia supernovae and shows how recent advances are giving us hope that we will soon uncover the fundamental nature of these cosmos.

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