Stellar forensics with the supernova-GRB connection - Ludwig Biermann Award Lecture 2010

M. Modjaz

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


    Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and type Ib/c supernovae (SNe Ib/c) are amongst nature's most magnificent explosions. While GRBs launch relativistic jets, SNe Ib/c are core-collapse explosions whose progenitors have been stripped of their hydrogen and helium envelopes. Yet for over a decade, one of the key outstanding questions is what conditions lead to each kind of explosion in massive stars. Determining the fates of massive stars is not only a vibrant topic in itself, but also impacts using GRBs as star formation indicators over distances up to 13 billion light-years and for mapping the chemical enrichment history of the universe. This article reviews a number of comprehensive observational studies that probe the progenitor environments, their metallicities and the explosion geometries of SN with and without GRBs, as well as the emerging field of SN environmental studies. Furthermore, it discusses SN2008D/XRT 080109 which was discovered serendipitously with the Swift satellite via its X-ray emission from shock breakout and which generated great interest amongst both observers and theorists while illustrating a novel technique for stellar forensics. The article concludes with an outlook on how the most promising venues of research - with the many existing and upcoming large-scale surveys such as PTF and LSST - will shed new light on the diverse deaths of massive stars

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)434-447
    Number of pages14
    JournalAstronomische Nachrichten
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Jun 2011


    • Gamma-rays: bursts
    • Supernovae: general

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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