School of Physical and Chemical Sciences Te Kura Matū Seminar Series

The Frontier of Cosmic Cataclysms


Ryan Ridden-Harper


Space Telescope Science Institute

Time & Place

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:00:31 NZDT in Room 225, Ernest Rutherford Room

All are welcome


The short time domain (< 1 day) is the frontier of transient astronomy. In this frontier, new phenomena are waiting to be discovered that may hold the answers to crucial questions, particularly for progenitors of extreme explosions e.g., supernovae, gravitational waves/kilonovae, and GRBs. I will present projects that explore the frontier of transient astronomy: GLUV, a high cadence UV survey telescope system designed to detect supernovae progenitors; and the systematic searches of Kepler/K2 and TESS high cadence data through the Background Survey for undiscovered transients. These projects push the bounds of time domain transient astronomy, giving insights into the nature of supernovae progenitors and providing strong constraints on the rates of exotic rapid transients.


All Welcome


After receiving an honours in mathematical physics in 2015 Ryan began a PhD in astrophysics at the Australian National University in 2016. The focus of his PhD was on searching for rapid explosions observed serendipitously by the Kepler Space Telescope. This work has recently made the front page of news sites around the world, with the unexpected discovery of a new "vampire star". Shortly after completing his PhD in 2019, Ryan began a postdoc at the Space Telescope Science Institute, where he continues to search for rapid explosions with Kepler and TESS, alongside projects to understand the systems that produce supernovae, and discover faint light echos of past cataclysms in our galaxy.