Astrophysics Seminar: Mia de los Reyes, Caltech Astronomy


Location: 184 Nieuwland Science Hall (View on map )

Using Galactic Archaeology to Probe the Physics of Type Ia Supernovae

Mia de los Reyes
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Caltech Astronomy

Although it is generally well-accepted that Type Ia supernovae (SNe) are the thermonuclear explosions of white dwarfs, the dominant physical mechanism behind these explosions is still uncertain. Using galactic archaeology, we can distinguish among different Type Ia SN models by measuring the nucleosynthetic products of these supernovae in Local Group dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs).

In this talk, I will discuss observational constraints on the masses of Type Ia progenitors, set by the abundances of iron-peak elements such as manganese. I will also describe a new method to measure the Type Ia delay-time distribution (DTD) in an individual dSph using galactic archaeology. To our knowledge, this is the first measurement of a time-resolved Type Ia DTD in an individual galaxy. As part of this method, I also recover new measurements of the star formation histories of ancient dSphs, based entirely on spectroscopic stellar abundances.

Hosted by Prof. Evan Kirby

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