Estimating the age of the universe by spectral analysis of type 1a supernovae and the Doppler formula

Main Article Content

Will Tepe Megan Lamkin


By Will Tepe, physics, finance, business analytics

Advisor: Megan Lamkin

Presentation ID: AM_D32

Abstract: Elementary means of estimating cosmological parameters are an essential foundation in conceptual understanding of more intricate and accurate astrophysical predictions. Using Fourier analysis, i broke down telescope and satellite data into usable spectra. An overview of quantum mechanics and atomic properties allowed for conclusions to be drawn about said spectra, including temperature and elemental composition. Spectral emission lines due to hydrogen had the most significant presence, followed by helium. These emission lines were distinct but slightly displaced, due to the Doppler effect. I calculated the doppler effect for each supernova based on the emission lines, which then allowed me to calculate distance and radial velocity, which is only feasible with type 1a supernovae due to the set luminosity. Linear regression centered at the origin and through points yielded a slope with units of radial velocity/distance, which simplifies to 1/t. This known in cosmology as the Hubble constant, and the inverse is the age of the universe. My estimate was accurate to about 20%, which is well within an acceptable margin of error for cosmology.

Article Details

AM Poster Session -- Great Hall -- D: New Frontiers