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Supernovae: origin, extremes and a future bursting with potential!

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Talk Abstract

Supernovae (SNe), stellar explosions staging the final act of a star’s life, play an important role in many astrophysical domains, for instance, stellar evolution, synthesis and distribution of almost all the elements and raw materials for both star and planet formation. The last ten years, with the advent of wide-field surveys, have opened up a new parameter space in time-domain astronomy with the surprising discovery of transients defying our understanding of how stars explode. In my talk, I will introduce you to a supernova event and its importance in astrophysics, describing all the different types of stellar explosions up to the latest discoveries that are driving the field and shaping the use of the next generations of telescopes such as the James Webb and the Vera Rubin Observatory.


Speaker Information

Dr. Cosimo Inserra is an observational astrophysicist working on cosmic explosions, called supernovae, that characterise the death of a star. His current research focuses on the brightest supernovae explosions, usually referred to as “superluminous supernovae”, and their use as high-redshift probes.

He is also interested in astronomical transients reaching their maximum light and fading soon after in a few weeks, usually referred to as Fast transients or Fast, Blue, Optical transients (FBOTs). He is also working on the implementation of machine learning techniques to transient astronomy to classify and categorise different kinds of supernovae and extreme transients.

He has been recently awarded the 2021 MERAC Prize as the Best Early Career researcher in Observational Astrophysics for the investigation of the extremes of stellar explosions, providing a pioneering contribution to their understanding and their role in astronomy and astrophysics.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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