Join The Orange County Astronomers for a cosmic fireworks display. Dr. Robert Quimby of the California Institute of Technology will discuss the Texas Supernova Search and two of its most remarkable observations.
Supernovae, the cosmic fireworks accompanying the catastrophic ends of some stars, have been the highly scrutinized subjects of multiple research consortia for decades. It is therefore initially surprising to learn that the most luminous and, in some sense, most obvious supernovae have only recently been found--and they were done so by one of the smallest telescopes competing in the field.
In his talk Dr. Quimby will review the Texas Supernova Search and its two most famous discoveries: SNe 2006gy and 2005ap, presenting the remarkable observations and a few of the theoretical models formulated to offer explanation. SN 2006gy is most
likely an explosion from an exceptionally massive star and it is the first observed supernova for which a pair instability trigger must be considered. 2005ap, the most luminous supernova yet identified, may be a distinctly different phenomena, one perhaps related to gamma-ray bursts. Dr. Quimby will talk about possible reasons as to why such supernovae have yet to be found by other surveys.