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Colloquium speaker

Mukremin Kilic

Title: Gravitational Waves and Supernova Explosions from Merging White Dwarfs

Astronomy Spring Colloquia March 6, 2012 Tuesday, 4:30pm-5:30pm, Peyton Hall auditorium:

The identity of Type Ia Supernovae (SNe) Progenitors is one of the key open
questions in astrophysics. Mergers of binary white dwarf stars are one of the
proposed channels for the formation of SNe Ia. Short period binary white dwarfs
may merge within a Hubble time due to gravitational wave radiation. We
have begun a targeted survey to find merging white dwarf systems, and our first
results have quintupled the number of known merger systems. Our sample includes
tidally distorted and eclipsing systems with orbital periods as short as 12 minutes and
with merger times less than 1 Myr.  These systems are among the strongest known
gravitational wave sources. I will discuss the characteristics of this sample and potential links
to Type Ia and underluminous supernovae.