An Infrared Study of Dust in Type IIn Supernovae
Fox, Ori Dosovitz, Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia
Skrutskie, Michael, Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia
Given their high sensitivity to warm dust, infrared observations serve as important probes of supernovae and the surrounding supernova environment. Warm dust can trace progenitor mass loss rates, circumstellar interaction, and dust formation in the supernova environment, ultimately contributing to a broader understanding of stellar evolution, supernova explosion mechanics, and the origin of dust in the universe. The Type IIn supernova subclass, named for the "narrow" emission lines, tends to exhibit late-time infrared emission from warm dust more often than other subclasses. These supernovae, however, are particularly rare, consisting of only∼2-30f all corecollapse events. With only a handful of Type IIn observations at infrared wavelengths, the nature of the Type IIn environments and progenitors remain relatively unknown. This thesis presents an infrared study of Type IIn supernovae, beginning with a case study of SN 2005ip. A combination of Spitzer/IRS and IRAC, APO/TripleSpec, and FanCam data constrain the dust mass, temperature, and luminosity, identify the origin and heating mechanism of the warm dust, and characterize the progenitor system. Expanding on this work, a warm Spitzer/IRAC mission surveys the coordinates of 68 Type IIn supernovae within 250 Mpc from the past ten years. The detection of late-time emission from nine targets (>10%) nearly doubles the database of existing mid-infrared observations of Type IIn events. Pre-exisiting dust produced by massive progenitor eruptions (i.e., luminous blue variables) and heated by an infrared echo likely dominates the observed mid-infraraed flux. Finally, a characterization of the next generation of near-infrared detectors identifies several non-ideal noise sources and calibrations procedures. The resulting improvement in detector sensitivity paves the way for the next generation of transient observations as they trend towards cooler objects and higher redshifts.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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