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Award Abstract #1108890

On the Road to the Supernova: LBVs, Hypergiants, and SN Impostors

Division Of Astronomical Sciences
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Initial Amendment Date: July 1, 2011
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Latest Amendment Date: July 11, 2011
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Award Number: 1108890
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: James Neff
AST Division Of Astronomical Sciences
MPS Direct For Mathematical & Physical Scien
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Start Date: August 1, 2011
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End Date: July 31, 2015 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $62,096.00
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Investigator(s): John Martin jmart5@uis.edu (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407 (217)206-7409
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Program Reference Code(s): 1207
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Program Element Code(s): 1215


This award will fund a combined observational and theoretical study of luminous blue variables, which are massive stars experiencing strong mass loss and evolving to be red supergiants. They are widely believed to the progenitors of core-collapse supernovae, but many of these may not explode if the mass lost during their lifetimes is high enough. This team will conduct long-term observations of these variables in several nearby galaxies, in order to get an improved census of these objects, elucidate the mechanisms that may be responsible for giant eruptions, and to better understand the mechanism of mass loss and how stars evolve as they experience episodic (rather than steady) mass loss.

Modern supernova surveys are finding a number objects in nearby galaxies which are not true supernovae, the "supernova impostors," which may be objects like eta Carinae that shed 10-20 times the mass of our Sun in a few years. The final stages of these most massive stars are important for a valid picture of stellar astrophysics and they are increasingly significant in cosmology. They are the likely progenitors of Gamma Ray Bursters used as cosmological probes, and many of the first stars in the universe are thought to have been very massive.


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A. Pastorello, E. Cappellaro, C. Inserra, S. J. Smartt, G. Pignata, S. Benetti, S. Valenti, M. Fraser, K. Takats, S. Benitez, M. T. Botticella, J. Brimacombe, F. Bufano, F. Cellier-Holzem, M. T. Costado, G. Cupani, I. Curtis, N. Elias-Rosa, M. Ergon, J. P. "Interacting Supernovae and Supernova Impostors. SN 2009ip, is this the end?," Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), v.767, 2013, p. 1.

Roberta M. Humphreys, Kris Davidson, Skyler Grammer, Nathan Kneeland, John C.Martin, Kerstin Weis, and Birgitta Burggraf. "Luminous and Variable Stars in M31 and M33. I. The Warm Hypergiants and Post-Red Supergiant Evolution," Astrophysical Journal, v.TBD, 2013, p. TBD.

Roberta M Humphreys, Kris Davidson, Michael S Gordon, Kerstin Weis, Birgitta Burggraf, DJ Bomans, John C Martin. "The Wind of Variable C in M33," The Astrophysical Journal Letters, v.782, 2014, p. L21.

Humphreys, R.M.; Martin, J.C.; and Gordon, Michael S.. "A New Luminous Blue Variable in M31," Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, v.127, 2015, p. 347. 

Humphreys, Roberta M.; Davidson, Kris; Gordon, Michael S.; Weis, Kerstin; Burggraf, Birgitta; Bomans, D. J.; Martin, John C.. "The Wind of Variable C in M33," The Astrophysical Journal Letters, v.782, 2014, p. 21. 

Humphreys, Roberta M.; Davidson, Kris; Grammer, Skyler; Kneeland, Nathan; Martin, John C.; Weis, Kerstin; Burggraf, Birgitta. "Luminous and Variable Stars in M31 and M33. I. The Warm Hypergiants and Post-red Supergiant Evolution," The Astrophysical Journal, v.773, 2013, p. 46. 

John C Martin, Franz-Josef Hambsch, Raffaella Margutti, Thiam-Guan Tan, Ivan Curtis, Alicia Soderberg. "A Closer Look at the Fluctuations in Brightness of SN 2009ip During Its Late 2012 Eruption," Astronomical Journal, v.149, 2015, p. 9. 

Margutti, R. et al.. "A Panchromatic View of the Restless SN 2009ip Reveals the Explosive Ejection of a Massive Star Envelope," The Astrophysical Journal, v.780, 2014, p. 21. 

Pastorelllo, A., et al.. "Interacting Supernovae and Supernova Impostors: SN 2009ip, is this the End?," The Astrophysical Journal, v.767, 2013, p. 1. 


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