Type Ia Supernovae

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have many astrophysical and cosmological applications. They are the source of metal enrichment, used as a standard candles, and help to determine the acceleration rate of the universe. Despite their astronomical importance, SNe Ia are not well understood. Not only are there many different sub-types of SNe Ia, but there are many more proposed models for their progenitor systems and explosion methods beyond the initial model of a carbon-oxygen white dwarf that accretes mass and then explodes when it exceeds the Chandrasekhar mass.

My work at the Institute for Astronomy with Professor Ben Shappee and Dr. Chris Ashall focused on investigating a pair of sub-luminous SNe Ia in NGC 5490. The literature is undecided if sub-luminous SNe Ia are reliable distance indicators, so comparing two sub-luminous SNe Ia in the same host galaxy can provide important insights into sub-luminous SNe Ia and current methods to derive distances using them.

SNe Ia Publication:

Hoogendam et al. 2022

Globular Clusters

Globular clusters are systems consisting of hundreds of thousands to millions of stars gravitationally bound together to form one system. They were once viewed as the archetype of a coeval, chemically homogeneous stellar population; however, in recent decades, more observations have revealed the existence of two or more stellar populations in globular clusters distinguished by elemental differences presumably arising from differing stellar formation and/or evolutionary paths. My work focuses on distinguishing these multiple populations using photometry rather than spectroscopy, the ability of small (0.4 m) telescopes to be able to photometrically distinguish multiple populations, and using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test in determining the significance of the cumulative radial distributions of these populations.

Globular Cluster Publications:

Smolinski et al. 2020

Hoogendam & Smolinski 2021