Monday, 20 March 2017

Creation and Destruction in Novae

Creation and Destruction of NovaeNovae, or ‘new stars’, stand at the cross roads of stellar evolution, harbouring a middle-aged Sun-like star and an old white dwarf. They are characterized by violent explosions and are important sources of elements such as lithium. A younger companion feeds the white dwarf hydrogen-rich material until a critical pressure is reached, then a thermonuclear runaway explosion follows. The exploded material taken from the companion forms seeds for the next generation of stars. 

These nova events are observed regularly (~35 occur in our galaxy per year) and develop on timescales of hours to hundreds of days. These stellar systems repeat their explosive events anywhere from every few months to millions of years. There are several possible pathways that could lead to the formation of these systems and their futures can be found written in stone here on Earth. 

Novae produce high-energy gamma-rays right down to radio waves, with the observational ranges acting as probes for various underlying physical processes. High cadence imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry are all needed in conjunction with multi-wavelength observations to better understand these systems. For my seminar presentation, I will be providing an overview of classical novae and their wider relevance by concentrating on observational as well as modeling techniques developed during the course of my studies.

Speaker: Eamonn Harvey, Centre for Astronomy, School of Physics

Location: 203 Arts/Science Seminar Room