NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0163

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0163


PI: Edo Berger, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, eberger@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Kathy Roth, Gemini Observatory - North
CoI: Christopher Stubbs, Harvard University
CoI: Alicia Soderberg, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Gautham Narayan, Harvard University
CoI: Wen-fai Fong, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Ryan Foley, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Armin Rest, Harvard University
CoI: David Sand, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Title: Exotic Explosions and Eruptions: Exploring a New Transient Phase-Space with Pan-STARRS

Abstract: For over a century two classes of optical transients have been studied in detail - nova eruptions and supernova explosions, of which hundreds are known. Both classes occupy narrow ranges of luminosities around -8 and -18 mag (+/-2 mag), respectively. However, in recent years several transients have been discovered in the wide nova-SN gap and at high luminosity (M<-20mag), suggesting that a large population of new transients remains to be discovered. The origin of these events is hotly debated. They have been argued to represent massive star eruptions, deficient white dwarf thermonuclear explosions, the explosions of eta Carina-like stars, and possibly new kinds of SN mechanisms (pair-instability). The Pan-STARRS project, now in operation, provides an unprecedented opportunity to explore this sparsely-sampled phase space thanks to its depth and areal coverage. As members of the Pan-STARRS consortium we propose here TOO spectroscopy of such events to classify and characterize their origin.


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