This project will support a theoretical investigation into thermonuclear explosions on white dwarfs that are experiencing mass transfer from a nearby companion. This transfer of combustible fuel gives rise to explosive phenomena that is easily detectable in distant galaxies by the current and future optical surveys. Using the latest computational tools and techniques, this group will study outcomes from the transfer of helium onto white dwarfs and investigate the effects of gravity and acoustic waves on the creation and propagation of explosions.
White dwarfs are the dominant product of stellar evolution, forming at the rate of about one per year in a typical galaxy, but it requires special circumstances for two of them to end their lives in a binary with a short orbital period and the details of the explosion are not well understood. The project is expected to have many implications for the study of stellar populations, stellar evolution, and cosmology, particularly in the upcoming era of massive surveys to detect gravity waves, short-period binaries, and peculiar supernovae. Computational techniques from this project will be made freely available to the astrophysical community, and this group will continue ongoing efforts in science education and research training.