Stellar explosions and giant outbursts from massive stars like Eta Carina constitute highly energetic events where radiation constitutes a critical dynamical ingredient as well as a fundamental probe of the event, opening to our eyes the Universe at large.
We propose to adapt, improve, and apply our radiation hydrodynamics and radiative transfer codes to model such astrophysical phenomena. Capitalizing on our former studies, we will model the spectra, light curves, and the polarization signatures of supernova (SN) explosions,
interacting supernovae, as well as the giant outbursts of Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs). Our results will provide constraints on pre-SN massive star evolution and mass loss; stellar explosion mechanisms, energetics, and morphology; the identity of SN progenitors; the connection between SN explosions and SN impostors like LBVs; and finally, cosmology through the use of SNe for distance determinations in the Universe.
Some specific projects we will address are 1) Type II Plateau SNe and the Expanding Photosphere Method; 2) Type Ia SNe and the width-luminosity relation; 3) Type Ib/c SNe and the connection to X-ray-flashes/Gamma-ray-bursts; 4) interacting SNe such as the extremely luminous SN 2006gy or the low-mass SN 2008S; 5) shock breakout; 6) the potential explosive origin of LBV giant outbursts.
The multidisciplinary aspects of this proposal cover the nature and origin of stellar explosions and mass loss, which represent key questions of modern astrophysics. Our theoretical results will be confronted to observations, and will also motivate new programs on 8m-class telescopes. Based on an ongoing collaboration with researchers in the US (Hillier, Owocki) and in Israel (Livne), this proposal will assist with the reintegration of the
applicant in Europe, and strengthen theoretical research on SN and massive stars in France.
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