Joseph DeRose

Correlating Maximum Intrinsic Luminosity and Spectroscopic Features of Type Ia Supernovae

Type Ia supernovae are the thermonuclear explosions of critical mass white dwarves which have reached the Chandrasekar mass through accretion of mass from their binary companion. The near constancy of their maximum intrinsic brightness is the key to the use of these events in cosmological studies. Unfortunately, systematic errors associated with the diversity of type Ia supernovae continue to limit their usefulness as standard candles. I will use a very large spectroscopic and photometric data set gathered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) in order to identify correlations between the stretch parameter of type Ia light curves and a variety of parameters derived from type Ia blackbody spectra. Combining the correlations between photometric and spectroscopic parameters I hope to obtain a new correction to type Ia maximum intrinsic luminosity. Furthermore, I would like to apply this new correction to obtain a new value for Hubbles constant using the PTF data.

Message to Sponsor

With the gracious support of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, I am now able to spend the summer of 2013 conducting research into a field which both fascinates and challenges me constantly. I hope to perform the majority of the remaining research for my honors thesis, which I will complete by the end of the Fall 2013 semester. The chance to conduct research full time will inevitably prove invaluable for my development as a physicist as well as prepare me for the next leg of my journey as a graduate student.
  • Major: Physics, Mathematics
  • Sponsor: Pergo Fund
  • Mentor: Peter Nugent, Adjunct Professor, Senior Scientist