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Jay Cross
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Attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Astronomy Papers That Caught Fred's Eye In Today's arXiv
 
"Eye-catching" papers submitted to Astro-archives today (Friday)

Topics selected include: Nova as lighthouses, Dark Matter, Supernova variance, Liquid Mirror Telescopes.

Beacons In the Dark: Using Novae and Supernovae to Detect Dwarf Galaxies in the Local Universe http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.04015 This is a simple thought and I find myself asking: Why didn't I think of this before? Supernova can explode with as much light as a tenth of a visible galaxy; but there is no reason that these events should not occur in very small dwarf galaxies that are normally undetectable. We don't always find the galaxy associated with supernova events, so 'galaxy-less Nova can be markers for dwarf galaxies and other clusters of 'lost baryons'.

Improved Limits on Sterile Neutrino Dark Matter using Full-Sky Fermi-GBM Data http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.04027 There are three 'great races' in telescope science today: The search for population III galaxies, the search for gravitational waves, and the search for the origin of what we call 'Dark Matter'. One of the most viable candidates for dark matter is the 'sterile neutrino'; a mass-balancing product of the 'Big Bang' nuclear synthesis. 'Improved' limits means: No, we cannot as yet explain Dark Matter.

Statistical studies of supernova environments http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.04043 One of the outstanding questions in astrophysics is how do stars involved in supernova events vary over cosmic time. It is important, because if we do not understand the evolution of stars that supernova, we cannot use them as definitive standard candles. (A firework high in copper does not burn with the same brilliance or magnitude as a firework rich in magnesium. Until these questions are answered, there will always be a footnote in the use of supernovae as part of the cosmic distance ladder.

Validation of observations obtained with a liquid mirror telescope by comparison with Sloan Digital Sky Survey observations http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.04242 I had to swallow hard when I read this one: Mercury is such a bad environmental actor that we have almost eliminated it from our catalogue of manufacturing metals. (Even in dentistry, mercury is being replaced.) So it is unusual to see mercury based liquid mirrors cropping up: They are so much cheaper than their glass cousins and apparently, just as reliable.
Abstract: We propose that luminous transients, including novae and supernovae, can be used to detect the faintest galaxies in the universe. Beyond a few Mpc, dwarf galaxies with stellar masses $<10^6 M_{\odot}$ will likely be too faint and/or too low in surface brightness to be directly detected ...
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Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 68 papers today (Wednesday), not counting replacements.

Topics: Ultra-diffuse Galaxies in Coma, New Carbon Star, Titan's Dunes, Stellar Merger Remnant

Ultra-diffuse Galaxies in Coma http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03320 Large sparsely populated Ultra-diffuse Galaxies (UDGs) are hard to observe, because they are about six magnitudes dimmer than the more familiar brighter galaxies. his team reports spectroscopic confirmation that one of the recently reported population of UDGs in the Coma Cluster is real, and tells what some of its properties are (e.g. radius 14,000 light years). More work needs to be done to try and determine he mass and distribution of its dark matter halo and other important clues of its formation and history.

New Carbon Star http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03349 Stars in the mass range that will eventually become white dwarfs go through a phase in which they either have excessive amounts of Carbon, or Oxygen absorption lines in their spectrum. There are several models for how this might happen, but so far, we've never seen a star change from normal Carbon levels to these elevated levels. SOFIA was used to look at the planetary nebula BD+30 3639, and has found evidence that the Oxygen was in a disk around the star (rather than in the atmosphere), and that the Carbon was produced from a dredging-up event about a thousand years ago.

Titan's Dunes http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03404 This story was in the popular press yesterday. Here's the paper.

Stellar Merger Remnant http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03421 V1309 Sco was seen erupting in 2008. For a while it looked a lot like V838 Mon (of the famous Hubble-imaged light echo). By 2012 it started to be spectrally more like another famous transient (V4332 Sgr). This paper looks at these events as though they were stellar mergers (brown or red dwarf merging with a larger star), wit suggestions for further explorations of the chemical peculiarities presented.
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Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 87 papers today (Tuesday), not counting replacements.

Topics: z~2 Star Forming Rates, Dark Energy Camera, TeV Binary

z~2 Star Forming Rates http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02782 he MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) has been used to study dust attenuation for 1.4<z<2.6 to try and better characterize the light that is blocked from getting out of the galaxies seen from that era. Their result for red light (at the source, Near IR for us) was about 20% lower attenuation than a previous similar study (Calzetti), meaning more of the light gets through to us ... meaning that there are fewer and smaller stars being formed than the previous studies suggested. However for the Hydrogen Alpha (Ultra violet) the most active galaxies were producing more dust than previous models expected, and the star forming rate is greater than previous models suggested.

Dark Energy Camera http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02900 This paper is abut the technical details of a wide-angle low-noise 570 megapixel imager on a 4-meter telescope in Chile. Its purpose is to find and observe many distant supernovae, and it is hoped that from this it will be possible to map and characterize dark energy better than has been done so far. See: http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03039 for details on the first year of another Dark Energy Survey (OzDES).

TeV Binary http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03067 One type of source for TeV gamma rays in the sky is binaries in which a compact object (neutron star, or black hole) interacts with the environment around a massive neighbor. HESS J0632+057 is such a source, observed by HESS. The primary is a B(e) star (spectral class B, but with extra emission lines). The compact object orbits in a highly elliptical 315 day orbit, and apparently goes through, or otherwise interacts with the emission disk around the B(e) primary. This paper looks at what is known about this system, and speculates about models than can explain it.
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Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 54 papers today (Monday), not counting replacements.

Topics: History of Massive Stars, Looking for MSPs at the GC, Merging Black Holes?, Gomez's Hamburger with VLT

History of Massive Stars http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02483 The MASSIVE Survey II has looked at the spectra of massive stars in large "early type" galaxies out to wider radii than previous surveys to look st the age and metalicity of these stars to compare them to the core stars to help determine whether the cores formed earlier, or whether all star formation was basically at the same time ... and finds little difference and only subtle gradients, as you might expect from either simultaneous formations, or very heavy population mixing from galaxy mergers.

Looking for MSPs at the GC http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02492 Millisecond Pulsars (MSPs) should be fairly abundant near the Galactic Center (GC), but we don't see any. MSPs are typically old neutron stars that are accreting material from a close neighbor. We probably don't see any because of some form of scattering time-blurring the 1.5 to 20 milliseconds signal. Seeing these pulsars would be helpful for: estimating their contribution to the gamma ray signal from the center, seeing the history of the core, and potentially getting fairly precise maps of the mass distribution in the center. This paper looks at the equipment requirements that would be needed for measuring this signal in the face of two type of scattering, and suggests that in the worst case the SKA should be able to detect them at 25 GHz.

Merging Black Holes? http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02681 Inside the brightest galaxy of cluster RBS 797 is an odd radio source. This team has looked at the source in detail and believes that it is two active SMBHs orbiting about 250 light years apart, and behaving as you might expect after a galactic merger. The actual merging of the SMBHs won't be seen for a very long time, but having another example of this kind of object to study helps fill in some gaps.

Gomez's Hamburger with VLT http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02735 Gomez's Hamburger is a dusty edge-on look at a planet-forming disk around a new spectral class-A star (bright and massive). In the Hamburger, there is a cold spot about 350 AU (more than ten times as far as Neptune from the Sun) that appears for be a protoplanet forming. More work with newer instruments might give us more constraining details.
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Astronomy Papers That Caught Fred's Eye In Today's arXiv
 
"Eye-catching" papers submitted to Astro-archives today (Friday).

Topics selected include: Extinction laws, perytons, primal magnetic fields, spinning dust

Diversity in extinction laws of Type Ia supernovae measured between 0.2 and 2μm http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02101 Supernova type Ia are the best standard candles we have for cosmic distance scaling. This and other recent papers point out the difficulty we have with even these best-of cosmic tools. Fortunately, underestimating the dust extinction produces errors that actually increase the rate of acceleration of the expansion when dust is properly corrected. Unfortunately, the corrects for dust and even a hint of a selection effect forces the 'acceleration' beyond reason: Some fundamental assumptions may be wrong.

Identifying the source of perytons at the Parkes radio telescope http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02165 Sometimes, when you are studying the radio sky, microwave technology is your worst nemesis. This paper explains how microwave oven leaks can and cannot mirror stellar events; and visa versa.

The origin, evolution and signatures of primordial magnetic fields http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02311 This is an invited review of the effect of magnetic fields during inflation and through the radiation era.

Searching for the Culprit of Anomalous Microwave Emission: An AKARI PAHrange Analysis of Probable Electric Dipole Emitting Regions http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02348 If you have lived long enough, you have seen 'spinning dust' emerge as a major player in assessing Cosmic background radiation. This is one ATM idea that hopped on the mainstream train and never fell off.
Abstract: We present ultraviolet (UV) observations of six nearby Type~Ia supernovae (SNe~Ia) obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, three of which were also observed in the near-IR (NIR) with Wide-Field Camera~3. UV observations with the Swift satellite, as well as ground-based optical and ...
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Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 53 papers today (Wednesday), not counting replacements.

Topics: Euclid Side MIssions, Date of Moon Creation, ONe WD SN?

Euclid Side Missions http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01384 The ESA will launch Euclid about 2020, and it will be placed in an an orbit near L2. It is primarily aimed at getting very precise redshifts of 10 billion objects in the sky to be used for more accurately characterizing the effects of Dark Energy... however there are other things that it will observe, either on purpose, or as a junk data during its six years of collecting the intended stuff. This includes about 1000 KBOs, including smaller dimmer ones than have previously been observed. It also includes astroseismology observations, better parallaxes than Gaia (but not for the whole sky), Microlensing events looking at the galactic bulge, and several other such desirable bits of data. The paper makes man comparisons to the upcoming WFIRST mission.

Date of Moon Creation http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01421 Some say the Moon forming event happened as early as 30 million years after the condensation of the first solids in the solar system. Others say between 50 to 100 million years after. This paper looks at the Tungstun 182/184 isotope ratios from the Moon and from the Earth's Mantle to determine how much of the Hafnium 182 (9 million year half-life) had decayed into Tantalum and then quickly into Tungstun when the Moon creation event occurred, and they find with high certainty that the event happened between 60 and 130 million years after the first condensation.

ONe WD SN? http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01461 If a Carbon-Oxygen white dwarf (CO WD) accretes enough Helium, it should become a type 1a supernova (SN). Something I didn't know before now is that Oxygen-Neon white dwarfs (ONe WD) (the result of a more massive star becoming a white dwarf) will likely turn into a neutron star when it accretes enough Helium. This will not look like a type 1a supernova. This paper looks at what we know about HD 49798 such an accreting white dwarf, and concludes it is probably a CO WD, and will eventually be a Type 1a SN.
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Astronomy Papers That Caught Fred's Eye In Today's arXiv

These are the Thursday papers.
 
"Eye-catching" papers submitted to Astro-archives today

 Selected papers include: Millisecond Pulsars, the Square Kilometer Array, Binary pulsars as gravitational wave detectors

Einstein@Home Discovery of a PALFA Millisecond Pulsar in an Eccentric Binary Orbit http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03684 Millisecond pulsars are thought to be neutron stars that acquired tremendous rotational energy as the parent star collapsed and gained both mass and rotational velocity from in-falling debris. Einstein at home discoveries are always fun; and this one is special: a fast pulsar who's orbit is too eccentric to fit into expected formation scenarios. New options are being weighed; and so far, there is no need to resort to "dark electromagnetic fields" to explain the observations.

EMBRACE@Nancay: An Ultra Wide Field of View Prototype for the SKA http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03854
I like this paper because it provides both an overview of radio telescoping and phased array circuitry; and an introduction to the 'next generation' of telescopes, including the square kilometer array. ( 9.5 mb download)

European Pulsar Timing Array Limits On An Isotropic Stochastic Gravitational-Wave Background http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03692 Binary pulsars should broadcast broad gravitational waves, which also means that the pulse of nearby pulsars should be effected by gravitational wave compression, screwing up the timing. This paper looks at scenarios which severely constrain the parameter-space for gravitational waves, and both concludes that current detection limits are too tight. but also places constraints on how much gravitation waves are affecting nearby pulsars.
Abstract: We report the discovery of the millisecond pulsar (MSP) PSR J1950+2414 ($P=4.3$ ms) in a binary system with an eccentric ($e=0.08$) orbit in Pulsar ALFA survey observations with the Arecibo telescope. Its companion star has a median mass of 0.3 $M_\odot$ and is most likely a white ...
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Astronomy  - 
 
Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 68 papers today (Wednesday), not counting replacements.

Topics: Ultra-diffuse Galaxies in Coma, New Carbon Star, Titan's Dunes, Stellar Merger Remnant

Ultra-diffuse Galaxies in Coma http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03320 Large sparsely populated Ultra-diffuse Galaxies (UDGs) are hard to observe, because they are about six magnitudes dimmer than the more familiar brighter galaxies. his team reports spectroscopic confirmation that one of the recently reported population of UDGs in the Coma Cluster is real, and tells what some of its properties are (e.g. radius 14,000 light years). More work needs to be done to try and determine he mass and distribution of its dark matter halo and other important clues of its formation and history.

New Carbon Star http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03349 Stars in the mass range that will eventually become white dwarfs go through a phase in which they either have excessive amounts of Carbon, or Oxygen absorption lines in their spectrum. There are several models for how this might happen, but so far, we've never seen a star change from normal Carbon levels to these elevated levels. SOFIA was used to look at the planetary nebula BD+30 3639, and has found evidence that the Oxygen was in a disk around the star (rather than in the atmosphere), and that the Carbon was produced from a dredging-up event about a thousand years ago.

Titan's Dunes http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03404 This story was in the popular press yesterday. Here's the paper.

Stellar Merger Remnant http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03421 V1309 Sco was seen erupting in 2008. For a while it looked a lot like V838 Mon (of the famous Hubble-imaged light echo). By 2012 it started to be spectrally more like another famous transient (V4332 Sgr). This paper looks at these events as though they were stellar mergers (brown or red dwarf merging with a larger star), wit suggestions for further explorations of the chemical peculiarities presented.
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Astronomy  - 
 
Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 87 papers today (Tuesday), not counting replacements.

Topics: z~2 Star Forming Rates, Dark Energy Camera, TeV Binary

z~2 Star Forming Rates http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02782 he MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) has been used to study dust attenuation for 1.4<z<2.6 to try and better characterize the light that is blocked from getting out of the galaxies seen from that era. Their result for red light (at the source, Near IR for us) was about 20% lower attenuation than a previous similar study (Calzetti), meaning more of the light gets through to us ... meaning that there are fewer and smaller stars being formed than the previous studies suggested. However for the Hydrogen Alpha (Ultra violet) the most active galaxies were producing more dust than previous models expected, and the star forming rate is greater than previous models suggested.

Dark Energy Camera http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02900 This paper is abut the technical details of a wide-angle low-noise 570 megapixel imager on a 4-meter telescope in Chile. Its purpose is to find and observe many distant supernovae, and it is hoped that from this it will be possible to map and characterize dark energy better than has been done so far. See: http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03039 for details on the first year of another Dark Energy Survey (OzDES).

TeV Binary http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.03067 One type of source for TeV gamma rays in the sky is binaries in which a compact object (neutron star, or black hole) interacts with the environment around a massive neighbor. HESS J0632+057 is such a source, observed by HESS. The primary is a B(e) star (spectral class B, but with extra emission lines). The compact object orbits in a highly elliptical 315 day orbit, and apparently goes through, or otherwise interacts with the emission disk around the B(e) primary. This paper looks at what is known about this system, and speculates about models than can explain it.
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Astronomy  - 
 
Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 54 papers today (Monday), not counting replacements.

Topics: History of Massive Stars, Looking for MSPs at the GC, Merging Black Holes?, Gomez's Hamburger with VLT

History of Massive Stars http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02483 The MASSIVE Survey II has looked at the spectra of massive stars in large "early type" galaxies out to wider radii than previous surveys to look st the age and metalicity of these stars to compare them to the core stars to help determine whether the cores formed earlier, or whether all star formation was basically at the same time ... and finds little difference and only subtle gradients, as you might expect from either simultaneous formations, or very heavy population mixing from galaxy mergers.

Looking for MSPs at the GC http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02492 Millisecond Pulsars (MSPs) should be fairly abundant near the Galactic Center (GC), but we don't see any. MSPs are typically old neutron stars that are accreting material from a close neighbor. We probably don't see any because of some form of scattering time-blurring the 1.5 to 20 milliseconds signal. Seeing these pulsars would be helpful for: estimating their contribution to the gamma ray signal from the center, seeing the history of the core, and potentially getting fairly precise maps of the mass distribution in the center. This paper looks at the equipment requirements that would be needed for measuring this signal in the face of two type of scattering, and suggests that in the worst case the SKA should be able to detect them at 25 GHz.

Merging Black Holes? http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02681 Inside the brightest galaxy of cluster RBS 797 is an odd radio source. This team has looked at the source in detail and believes that it is two active SMBHs orbiting about 250 light years apart, and behaving as you might expect after a galactic merger. The actual merging of the SMBHs won't be seen for a very long time, but having another example of this kind of object to study helps fill in some gaps.

Gomez's Hamburger with VLT http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02735 Gomez's Hamburger is a dusty edge-on look at a planet-forming disk around a new spectral class-A star (bright and massive). In the Hamburger, there is a cold spot about 350 AU (more than ten times as far as Neptune from the Sun) that appears for be a protoplanet forming. More work with newer instruments might give us more constraining details.
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Astronomy Papers That Caught Fred's Eye In Today's arXiv
 
"Eye-catching" papers submitted to Astro-Archives today (Thursday)

 Selected topics include Pop III stars, Quasars, CANDELS galaxies, Low Redshift Gamma Ray Bursts

Evidence for PopIII-like stellar populations in the most luminous Lyman-α emitters at the epoch of re-ionisation: spectroscopic confirmation http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01734 Population III stars are a theoretical place holder for a cosmological paradox: The most distant galaxies we find have the same general levels of iron and other heavy metals that we find in local space, even though in the 'Big Bang' theory, there should not have been any heavy metal in the earliest synthesis. To get around these, a population of quickly aging stars and galaxies have been proposed. These 'fast breeders' or termed 'Population III stars', although a better name might have been "Population^-1 stars"; or just 'dawn stars'. In any case; we haven't seen a new paper making this type of claim for a while. The James Webb telescope will tell us a lot about the z=6 stellar world; and it will be interesting to see if this is a trend or just another odd pair of outliers.


Discovery of Eight z ~ 6 Quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Overlap Regions http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01741 Or maybe we will not have to wait for James Webb. Finding this many deeply redshifted galaxies in this short of a time span means they have put together a search program that identifies these deep regions rather quickly. It shouldn't take long to figure or if they are dominated by 'dawn stars'; or just garden variety galaxies.

Astrophysics of Galaxies Beyond Spheroids and Discs: Classifications of CANDELS Galaxy Structure at 1.4 < z < 2 via Principal Component Analysis http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01751 Principle Component Analysis (PCA) is a good analytical step to get us beyond more subjective classification schemes, but one must also be careful to assure that the components selected are real, and not artifacts caused by a faulty theoretical base or selection bias. It is my opinion that PCA is only a valid technic when the varies components are known to exist and well quantified as discrete signals; or when very strong rational are found for patterns observed: The spectroscopic world is teaming with aliases.

An unexpectedly low-redshift excess of Swift gamma-ray burst rate http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01812 If you have been reading this thread for any length of time, you should know what low redshift excesses usually mean: Selection effects! Either the survey is more magnitude limited than the authors think, or something is attenuating the distant sample more that expected. This paper is eye catching, because neither explanation seems to fit gamma ray data: It is all over the place.
Abstract: Faint Lyman-$\alpha$ (Ly$\alpha$) emitters become increasingly rarer towards the re-ionisation epoch (z~6-7). However, observations from a very large (~5deg$^2$) Ly$\alpha$ survey at z=6.6 (Matthee et al. 2015) show that this is not the case for the most luminous emitters.
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Astronomy  - 
 
Astronomy Papers That Caught My Eye In Today's arXiv

There are 53 papers today (Wednesday), not counting replacements.

Topics: Euclid Side MIssions, Date of Moon Creation, ONe WD SN?

Euclid Side Missions http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01384 The ESA will launch Euclid about 2020, and it will be placed in an an orbit near L2. It is primarily aimed at getting very precise redshifts of 10 billion objects in the sky to be used for more accurately characterizing the effects of Dark Energy... however there are other things that it will observe, either on purpose, or as a junk data during its six years of collecting the intended stuff. This includes about 1000 KBOs, including smaller dimmer ones than have previously been observed. It also includes astroseismology observations, better parallaxes than Gaia (but not for the whole sky), Microlensing events looking at the galactic bulge, and several other such desirable bits of data. The paper makes man comparisons to the upcoming WFIRST mission.

Date of Moon Creation http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01421 Some say the Moon forming event happened as early as 30 million years after the condensation of the first solids in the solar system. Others say between 50 to 100 million years after. This paper looks at the Tungstun 182/184 isotope ratios from the Moon and from the Earth's Mantle to determine how much of the Hafnium 182 (9 million year half-life) had decayed into Tantalum and then quickly into Tungstun when the Moon creation event occurred, and they find with high certainty that the event happened between 60 and 130 million years after the first condensation.

ONe WD SN? http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01461 If a Carbon-Oxygen white dwarf (CO WD) accretes enough Helium, it should become a type 1a supernova (SN). Something I didn't know before now is that Oxygen-Neon white dwarfs (ONe WD) (the result of a more massive star becoming a white dwarf) will likely turn into a neutron star when it accretes enough Helium. This will not look like a type 1a supernova. This paper looks at what we know about HD 49798 such an accreting white dwarf, and concludes it is probably a CO WD, and will eventually be a Type 1a SN.
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Publicly, I post a lot of astronomy stuff. I also post about politics, my life, the future, and links to my photo journal to people in specific circles.

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It seems impolite for me to say all the great stuff I've been lucky enough to do.
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I've gone by "antoniseb" on the web, and in the Society for Creative Anachronism, I'm called "Anton of Winteroak"