Finding the First Cosmic Explosions

Dan Whalen (ICG Portsmouth) - August 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Primordial stars formed about 200 Myr after the Big Bang, ending the cosmic dark ages. They were the first great nucleosynthetic engines of the universe and may be the origins of the supermassive black holes (SMBHs) found in most massive galaxies today. In spite of their importance to the evolution of the early universe not much is known for certain about the properties of Pop III stars. But with the advent of JWST, Euclid, WFIRST and the ELTs it may soon be possible to directly observe their supernovae in the NIR and thus unambiguously constrain the properties of the first stars. I will present radiation hydrodynamical calculations of the light curves of the first SNe in the universe and discuss strategies for their detection. I will also describe how some high-z SNe may already have been found in surveys of galaxy cluster lenses such as CLASH and Frontier Fields. I will conclude my talk with new calculations of the evolution and collapse of supermassive primordial stars that constrain the masses of the first quasars at birth.

The seminar will be held in 131A Campbell Hall.

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