Interesting Thermonuclear & Core-Collapse Supernovae
Supernovae are the incredibly energetic explosions of stars at the end of their lives. Supernovae are largely responsible for creating chemical elements heavier than Iron, distributing them throughout the cosmos, and further triggering new bursts of star formation. Every element in our body and in planet Earth began its own life in the distant past inside of a star, and many of these elements came to be part of you by way of a supernova. There are two main kinds of supernovae, including thermonuclear disruptions of white dwarf stars, and core-collapse supernovae, which result from the gravitational collapse of stars more than ~8 times as massive as our sun. With my collaborators at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
and elsewhere, I have obtained near-infrared observations of dozens of supernova of all types, which contributed to larger multi-wavelength photometric and spectroscopic studies of these fascinating objects, in order to help learn about the underlying physical nature of these brilliant and cataclysmic celstial events which are so crucial to our existence.