Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Studying long-term dust formation by CCSNe is an important step toward understanding the large dust masses found in early galaxies. The amazing new discovery of approximately a solar mass of cold dust in the ejecta of SN 1987A has caused a complete re-evaluation of dust formation in core collapse supernovae (CCSNe). CCSNe form only a small amount of dust after three years, but SN 1987A has a dust mass that is several orders of magnitude larger after 25 years. A recent study of SN 2010jl by Gall et al. (2014) made the fascinating suggestion that dust is continuously forming in the ejecta of CCSNe. We would then expect that the older the SN, the more dust it should have. However, there is a wide time gap between the CCSNe that have been studied recently and SN 1987A. A new radiative transfer code, damocles, developed by our collaborators uses dust absorption and scattering to estimate the dust masses in CCSNe by modeling the emission line profiles. To survey the population for evidence of long-term dust formation, I gathered data on over 30 CCSNe using optical and infrared (IR) telescopes. Optical telescopes give me the spectra I need for modeling with damocles. I also use an older, well-established radiative transfer code, mocassin, to get dust masses for SNe by fitting their optical-IR spectral energy distributions (SEDs). As optical light passes through a dusty medium, some of the light is absorbed by the dust and reprocessed to longer wavelengths in the IR. I extracted spectra and performed photometry on the images to get the data I would fit with mocassin and damocles. I applied both models to one of the most special and complicated SNe in our sample, SN 2010jl. I also applied mocassin to two simpler SNe, SN 2007oc and SN2017eaw. I was able to get dust mass histories for all 3 SNe. My collaborators and I will continue to model these and the other SNe in this survey over the course of many years, leading to many publications.



Committee Chair

Clayton, Geoffrey