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Exploding stars and catastrophic collisions

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. David Murphy.

Supernovae (and stellar collisions) are the incredibly luminous (and not so luminous) deaths of stars that play a vital role in chemical enrichment, galaxy feedback mechanisms, and our understanding of stellar evolution. In particular, Type Ia supernovae, the explosions of white dwarfs in binary systems, are vital for constraining the cosmological parameters. In this talk, I will focus on the latest results on the progenitors and explosion mechanisms of Type Ia supernovae from the state-of-the-art transient survey, the Zwicky Transient Facility, and describe how their diversity may impact future precision measurements of dark energy. I will also highlight recent advances in the related area of stellar collisions, which are testing the boundaries of current theoretical models, as well as discuss the link to kilonovae from neutron-star mergers (with and without associated gravitational-wave detections).

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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