NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014B-0319

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Proposal Information for 2014B-0319


PI: Dan Milisavljevic, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, dmilisav@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Raffaella Margutti, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Kyle Crabtree, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Jonathan Foster, Yale University
CoI: Robert Fesen, Dartmouth College
CoI: Jerod Parrent, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Maria Drout, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Atish Kamble, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Brad Cenko, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Jeffrey Silverman, University of Texas at Austin
CoI: Alex Filippenko, UC Berkeley (Astronomy)
CoI: Paolo Mazzali, MPA-Garching
CoI: Keiichi Maeda, Kyoto University
CoI: Howie Marion, University of Texas at Austin
CoI: Alicia Soderberg, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Title: A Search For Time-Varying Diffuse Interstellar Bands in Moderate Resolution Supernova Spectra

Abstract: One of the longest standing problems in optical and infrared astronomy is the unknown nature of the diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). The DIBs represent some 500 narrow absorption lines with central wavelengths that do not correspond with the spectral lines of any known ion or molecule and yet -- embarrassingly -- may be associated with a large reservoir of organic material in our Galaxy. Our group recently discovered unusually strong DIB absorption features in optical spectra of the broad-lined Type Ic supernova SN 2012ap that exhibited changes in equivalent width over short (30 days) timescales. These never-before-seen changes implied that the supernova was interacting with a nearby source of the DIBs and that the source was potentially associated with mass loss of the progenitor star. Moreover, additional examples of weak time-varying DIB features observed in archival low resolution spectra suggest that a wide variety of supernovae may also exhibit these changes but at levels that are more difficult to detect. We propose a ToO Gemini N+S GMOS program that will obtain moderate resolution spectra with high signal to noise ratios of nearby Type Ibc supernovae to robustly measure the ubiquity of this DIB time-variability phenomenon. These observations will reveal unique information about the mass-loss environment of Type Ibc progenitor systems and provide new constraints on the properties of DIB carriers.


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