Scientific Colloquium
February 14, 2018, 3:30 p.m.
**** Building 3, Goett Auditorium ****

"The Supernova of the Century: SN 1987A at 31 years" 

Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud is one of the most intensively studied objects in the universe and a landmark event of modern astronomy. A wealth of observations across the electromagnetic spectrum have confirmed longstanding theories, trashed some others, and stimulated new techniques of modeling and studying supernovae and other transient phenomena. Now approaching its 31st anniversary, SN 1987A is a young supernova remnant, a phase unobserved in any other supernova. In this talk I will summarize recent observations from gamma rays to the radio made with many space- and ground-based facilities. These data reveal new insights into the composition, geometry, and heating of the explosion ejecta, newly formed dust in the center of the debris, the ejecta's collision with circumstellar material, and the search for the compact object formed on February 23, 1987.

About the Speaker:

George Sonneborn earned a Ph.D. in astronomy at the Ohio State University in 1980. He came to GSFC in 1982 as a Resident Astronomer with the International Ultraviolet Explorer. He started the IUE observing program for SN 1987A the day it was discovered, and has been studying SN 1987A ever since. He was the Project Scientist for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (1988-2008) and is currently the Project Scientist for Operations for the James Webb Space Telescope.

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