Fisher Computational Astrophysics Research Group

Principal Investigator: Robert Fisher <contact/web info>

Type Ia supernovae result from the thermonuclear explosion of a carbon/oxygen white dwarf star whose mass is close to the Chandrasekhar limit -- roughly 1.4 times the mass of our sun. They are incredibly bright, outshining the combined stellar light of an entire galaxy, and visible across enormous distances in the cosmos. Yet, each Type Ia supernova event has very nearly the same intrinsic brightness regardless of where or when in the universe it exploded. Consequently, they provide us with standard candles which have enabled precision cosmological measurements of Hubble's constant and of the acceleration parameter of the universe, and have led directly to the discovery of a mysterious new type of energy, which has been termed "dark energy." Fisher research group is actively engaged in understanding both the nature of the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae and the details of their explosion mechanism. We are in an exciting time, with major advances in our understanding of Type Ia supernovae on both the observational and theoretical fronts expected in the next few years. By joining the Fisher Computational Astrophysics Group, students will have the opportunity to play a major role in these efforts. Please contact the PI directly for available opportunities.