November 14,2012
The role of metallicity in cosmic explosions
Nathan Sanders, Harvard Graduate Student

Abstract: Measurements of gas phase metallicity are needed to test theoretical models for supernova progenitor stars. These measurements are traditionally made via optical spectroscopy of nebular emission lines, but these observations are very expensive for supernovae, which are often found in distant host galaxies. A common, cheaper way to estimate metallicity is by exploiting an empirical relation the universe has provided to us between galaxy brightness and metallicity. Unfortunately, the correlation between these properties is poor, and suffers from systematic dependencies on other variables (biases). I will describe a new empirical relation that is even more exploitative of the kindness of the universe, providing a more precise and unbiased estimate of galaxy metallicity based on a single optical color.

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