NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014B-0176

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Proposal Information for 2014B-0176


PI: Dina Drozdov, Clemson University, ddrozdo@g.clemson.edu
Address: Physics Department, 118 Kinard Laboratory, Clemson, SC 29631, United States

CoI: Mark Leising, Clemson University
CoI: Peter Milne, Steward Observatory

Title: Colors of Type Ia Supernovae Light Echoes

Abstract: ‚Ä©Type Ia supernovae are widely studied for their uniform properties, which make them ideal candidates for cosmological surveys. Although these exploding stars are popular astronomical targets, key fundamental questions about their nature remain, and new techniques need to be developed to investigate the progenitor system and explosion mechanism(s). Light echoes are created by light scattering off dust. The light echo follows a less-direct path than the initial explosion emission and is thus, delayed in reaching the observer. Light echoes from Type Ia supernovae are rare, with only 6 cases being discovered in the past decades. Two of those light echoes were discovered due to late- epoch monitoring of SNe Ia performed as part of this program. Light echoes impact the interpretation of late light curves. Because light echoes are ten magnitudes fainter than maximum light, the SN must be very bright at maximum to yield a detectable light echo. One-two SNe Ia are bright enough to be prime candidates for light echo searches each year. Light echo searches probe the SN surroundings, whether a light echo is detected or not. The colors of light echoes provide information as to the properties of the dust that scatters the light that comprises the light echo. Since the nature of host galaxy dust is a topic of considerable debate for SN Ia cosmology, light echoes as a probe of that dust could be a powerful tool for the treatment of extinction. If the scattering dust is in any way related to the binary system that produced the SN, then the light echo colors probe the underlying explosion mechanism.


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