The evolution of massive stars to supernova
Dr Ben Davies, Prof Paolo Mazzali, Prof Maurizio Salaris
Stars with masses greater than 8Msun will develop massive Fe cores at the end of their lives and ultimately explode as SNe. In a dozen or so cases, fortuitous imaging data exists of the star a few years before it exploded, allowing us to compare the appearance of a star at the end of its life with theoretical predictions. These tests showed that the mass range of stars exploding was different to that expected, implying that there are missing ingredients in our theory of stellar evolution. The purpose of this PhD project is to re-run stellar evolution calculations with these ingredients added. The project will ultimately provide an extensive set of predictions for the observable properties, chemical compositions and physical structures of SN progenitors. These will be then used as the initial conditions for simulations of SN spectra and lightcurves, which will be tested against state-of-the-art observations.