MIT Astrophysics Colloquium 11/21/2023 — Anna Ho: Finding Relativistic Stellar Explosions As Fast Optical Transients

Tuesday November 21, 2023 4:00 pm

20220819GH – CORNELL UNIV A&S – New faculty and one current professor

Title: Finding Relativistic Stellar Explosions as Fast Optical Transients

For the last half-century, relativistic outflows accompanying the final collapse of massive stars have predominantly been detected via high-energy emission, as long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Yet, it has long been hypothesized that GRBs are the tip of the iceberg of relativistic stellar explosions, because the conditions required to produce and detect a GRB are contrived. I will present results from a search for relativistic stellar explosions using optical time-domain surveys. The emerging zoo includes afterglows at cosmological distances with no detected GRB, supernovae with luminous X-ray and radio emission, and a mysterious class of “fast blue optical transients” with minute-timescale optical flares at supernova-like luminosities. An understanding of the origin of these events and their relation to GRBs will be enabled by upcoming time-domain surveys in other bands, including X-ray, UV, and submillimeter.

Host: Kishalay De

via Zoom


  • Anna Ho, Cornell University

Event Contact

Nayanika Yellepeddi