Analysis of Supernova Ia Progenitor Systems: White Dwarf-Main Sequence Binaries, Cataclysmic Variables, and the Symbiotic Stars LIN 358 and SMC N73

Washington, Jasmin, Astronomy, University of Virginia
Majewski, Steven, AS-Astronomy, University of Virginia

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) occur when a white dwarf (WD) in a binary becomes unstable and explodes, but the exact path to this event is unknown. One possible channel, the single degenerate scenario, is that the WD accretes mass from its companion until the WD reaches the Chandrasekhar limit (1.4 solar masses) and explodes. Another channel, the double degenerate scenario, sees a merger between two WDs that results in an explosion. A way to study the progenitor scenarios is by examining Cataclysmic Variables (CVs), a type of white dwarf-main sequence (WD-MS) binary. To tackle the study and discovery of more WD-MS binaries, the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of sources in the APOGEE-GALEX-Gaia SN Ia Progenitor Catalog are visually classified and sorted to identify these systems. The methodology used to create the catalog was found to be effective for finding WD-MS binaries. In the second part of this thesis, two sources within this catalog, the symbiotic stars LIN 358 and SMC N73, are characterized using WHACCKEY PAR (WHite dwarf And Companion Characterization of KEY PARameters), a Python SED model fitting pipeline and the custom Monte Carlo sampler The Joker. The period of LIN 358 was well constrained and was found to have a highly elliptical orbit. Follow up observations of SMC N73 would allow better characterization and could identify potential X-ray emission.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Stars: binaries: symbiotic; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
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