David Chamulak

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

The Effect of Ne-22 on the Thermonuclear Processes in White Dwarf Supernovae


Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are among the most luminous events in the universe. A single SN Ia at maximum light is as bright as its host galaxy. This property along with the ability to calibrate their light curves has made SNe Ia the premier standard candle for measuring cosmological distances. SNe Ia have recently been found to fall into two populations, a "prompt", and a "tardy" type. The "prompt" type supernovae have been observed to be on average brighter then their "tardy" relatives. It is currently unknown what causes the dispersion in the brightness of SNe Ia, but one idea could be the composition of the progenitor star. Ne-22 is the third most abundant nuclide behind O-16 and C-12 in the progenitor star and its abundance tracks with that of the other heavy elements in the progenitor. Over the lifetime of the universe the abundance of heavy elements has changed. If Ne-22 has a significant effect on SNe Ia brightness then it should show a systematic effect over cosmological distances. In this talk I will discuss what effect the presence of Ne-22 has on the processes of simmering and flame propagation in SNe Ia and how that relates to the luminosity of the explosion.


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