Astronomy Colloquium / Spring 2008

February 27

Dr. Alicia Soderberg

Princeton

A Unique View of the GRB-SN Connection through Radio and X-ray Observations

Throughout history, observational supernova studies have focused almost exclusively on their strong optical emission powered by the radioactive decay of Nickel. Yet many of the leading breakthroughs in our understanding of supernovae and their progenitors have been enabled by observations at other wavelengths. In particular, radio and X-ray observations of young supernovae traces the properties of the very fastest ejecta. These observations lead to direct constraints on the temperature of the shock-heated material, the density of the circumstellar environment, and the velocity and kinetic energy of the fastest ejecta. As I will discuss, these observations can distinguish GRB-SNe from ordinary core-collapse SNe, and have the potential to reveal the illusive nature of their progenitors (single vs. binary). Finally, I will present an exciting new result, a serendipitous discovery, stemming from our Swift/XRT follow-up of nearby supernovae.