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Astrophysics Research Centre

School of Mathematics and Physics


Contact me : anders.jerkstrand@astro.su.se or anders@mpa-garching.mpg.de


My research is focussed on computational modelling of supernova light curves and spectra. In particular, I am interested in trying to answer questions about stellar nucleosynthesis and the origin of the elements. Apart from hydrogen and helium, all elements in the Universe are created by the stars and are dispersed into the ISM through stellar winds and supernova and kilonova explosions. In the nebular phase, supernovae display to us all the interior material of the exploded star; the only chance we have to see what a star is actually made of. This window of opportunity lasts between about 3 months and 2 years after explosion, after which most SNe become too faint or begin complex circumstellar interaction.

Only recently are we beginning to obtain good samples of supernova data in this phase, and models sophisticated enough to analyze what the physical conditions and chemical composition of the ejecta are. I use mainly the SUMO code (see Jerkstrand+2011 and Jerkstrand+2012, as well as my thesis) that I built during my PhD thesis, and have further developed during my postdocs, to compute models and use these to analyze observations. A summary of the nebular-phase modelling projects I've been involved in can be found here.

I also do research in the field of superluminous supernovae, trying to understand the physical origin of a recently discovered class of extremely luminous supernovae that emit of order 10^51 erg of energy instead of the usual ~10^49 erg. Suggested origins for this energy include pair instability explosions, fast neutron star spin-down, and interaction with massive circumstellar shells. My work here has included generalizing homologous models originally developed for radioactivity to work for SLSNe with arbitrary power sources, including calibrations to achieve accurate results also for the non-homologous case, and emission line diagnostics. A summary of the work by me and collaborators can be found here. Most recently, line analysis of SLSNe showed that their origin appears to be truly massive stars.

I currently work at MPA Garching developing new modelling techniques for state-of-the-art neutrino- driven 3D explosions. This holds promise to find an answer to how SNe explode, which in turn will inform us about the behaviour of matter at the highest densities in the Universe. At the same time it will bring modelling accuracy to a level where we can start to determine abundances to better than factor 2 for a variety of elements, and for the first time build up an understanding for the origin of the elements based on direct source analysis.

A wonderful new window on the Universe, and in particular on the origin of the heaviest elements, recently opened up with the first kilonova detection, AT2017gfo. Modelling of the complex spectra of these transients will allow us to diagnose properties of (mergin) neutron stars and black holes, equation of state of neutron-star matter, and where the r-process elements such as gold come from.

A list of other projects Ive been involved in (various topics including CSM emission line modelling, nuclear burning simulations, atomic data, SN 1987A) can be found here.

Published Models

Developed semi-analytic methods



Atomic data sources for spectral modelling


users/ajerkstrand/start.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/09 13:38 by ajerkstrand

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