Stellar explosions


Supernovae (SNe) are among the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. Core-collapse SNe mark the end-point in the evolution of massive stars, producing neutron stars, stellar mass black holes, and in exceptional cases, also long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). These explosions play a vital role in our understanding of stellar evolution, the synthesis of heavy elements, and through feedback processes also in galaxy evolution. Furthermore, as core-collapse SNe come from massive short-lived stars, their explosion rate directly reflects the on-going rate of star formation in their host galaxies, and thus they can also be used as probes of the cosmic star formation history which is one of the most fundamental observables in astrophysical cosmology. 

The main research interests of the group focus on observational work on core-collapse SNe and range from detailed studies of individual SNe and their progenitor stars to the use of SNe as probes of their host galaxies, extinction and star formation rates. We are also interested in theoretical modelling of GRB prompt emission as well as their afterglow properties. The group has a strong interest in the occurrence of SNe within the nuclear regions of galaxies. In particular, we have been working on high spatial resolution searches and studies of SNe within the nuclear regions of luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs). The group has also interest in detailed studies of star formation properties of LIRGs which are the most prolific SN factories and dominate the massive star formation (and thus also core-collapse SN rates) at redshifts between ~1 and ~2. We make use of observations at a wide range of wavelengths from radio, optical and infrared to X-rays. For this we use ground-based telescopes, e.g., the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of ESO and the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) as well as data from space telescopes such as the ESA Gaia, NASA Spitzer and ESA/NASA Hubble space telescopes and the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory.


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