Christine Black

PhD Student in Physics and Astronomy

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have been instrumental in building our knowledge of the universe, from standard candles on cosmological scales to iron enrichment of the ISM on a local scale.  As more large supernova surveys scan for transient events, it has become evident that several Ia subclasses exist, each exhibiting unique features in addition to the standard characteristics.  These subclasses include Branch normal, superluminous (SN 1991T-like), subluminous (SN 1991bg-like), and the poorly understood, narrow-featured Iax (SN 2002cx-like).

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For my thesis, I am working with Robert Fesen to investigate the late-time, nebular phase (~70+ days post-max) spectral evolution of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) of all SN Ia sub-types.  I’ve already taken multi-epoch high-dispersion, late-time spectra at the MDM observatory of the recent SN ASASSN-14lp, which have revealed several narrow emission features not noted in the literature.  The study of both broad and narrow features in nebular spectra of SNe Ia has the potential to provide insights into the interior distribution of Ni-Co-Fe rich ejecta.

My thesis will also include the examination of line identifications as well as the nature of both broad and narrow emission features in all SNe Ia sub-types at nebular epochs.  I obtained multi-epoch spectra of several SN Ia, including the normal ASASSN-14lp and the peculiar Iax SN2014dt, and will continue to collect spectra of SNe Ia over the next couple years.  Data for this project will come primarily from the MDM observatory and the South African Large Telescope (SALT), and I have been also awarded time on the Kitt Peak 4m.

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Personal Website
Education: 
B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics with an interdisciplinary degree in Physics and a minor in Music, University of Michigan
B.Sc. Honours in Physics with a concentration in optical Astronomy, University of Tasmania, Australia