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Abstract: Richard P. Olenick

Understanding Type Ia Supernovae Progenitors

Richard P. Olenick, Department of Physics, University of Dallas
Physics Colloquium at LeTourneau University
October 27, 2016

Cataclysmic variable stars are close binary systems consisting of a white dwarf primary and a low mass, usually red dwarf, secondary star.  The systems exhibit outbursts due to mass transfer from the secondary and have been observed historically as novae, dwarf novae, and supernovae.  Over the past decade observational data and modeling have led to a better understanding of how white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables evolve and may eventually end up a cataclysm—Type Ia supernovae.  I will discuss how observational data of dwarf novae during superoutbursts taken at the Crimean Observatory of the Sternberg Institute by University of Dallas undergraduate students combined with analysis and smoothed particle modeling has resulted in discoveries of new dwarf novae and characterization of the components star masses as well as the physics behind the accretion disc. 

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