Date of Award

8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member

Dr. Dieter Hartmann, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Máté Ádámkovics

Committee Member

Dr. Joan Marler

Abstract

Observations over the past two decades indicate that some gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are associated with core-collapse supernovae (SNe). We explore the connection between nature's two biggest explosions by reviewing their photometric properties and standard models. Using three small telescopes (1-m class) belonging to the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) consortium, we observed four events and present our findings here. These events include a connected GRB-SN (GRB 171205A/SN 2017iuk), an orphan afterglow (AT 2018cow), a burst with a faint afterglow (GRB 180620A), and a burst with no afterglow (GRB 180514). We performed photometric measurements of these events and compared our data with data of other observers. To further explore the GRB-SN con- nection, we considered cosmological effects such as luminosity distance, time dilation, and K-corrections. These were applied to photometric data of SN 1998bw, the GRB-SN that confirmed the relation between the two phenomena. This template was compared to data of GRB 980326 to determine the burst's redshift, an exercise that has been performed pre- viously in other studies. We also modeled the light curve of SN 2017iuk using the template as well as predicted when a supernova may have emerged from AT 2018cow. We established an upper limit of R ~ 21 when observing on SARA, which constrains GRB observations to those at redshifts of z 0.22. Lastly, we propose a simple outline for using 1-m class telescopes to observe gamma-ray bursts and supernovae.

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