The College of Liberal Arts' University Forum lecture series presents Supernova 1987A: Thirty Years Later a talk by Stephen H. Lepp, professor and chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UNLV.
A supernova is the explosive end to a massive star. On February 24, 1987, a supernova was discovered in the southern hemisphere, It was the first supernova visible with the naked eye since Kepler’s in 1604, and since the invention of the telescope. For the first time, the full breadth of modern scientific instruments were used to study a bright supernova and this lead to a number of new discoveries. It was the first supernova of many, including the first observed in all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, the first with neutrinos and molecules detected, and the first with direct detection of dust formation to name a few. We will review supernova observations throughout history, give an overview of the birth, life, and death of a massive star, and the difference types of supernova. We will present selected research on Supernova 1987A, and finally give an update on recent supernova research and how supernova are used to study the universe.