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James DerKacy

Graduate Student

James DerKacy
B.A. 2015 North Central College
M.S. 2018 University of Oklahoma
Astrophysics and Cosmology
Office: Nielsen Hall 146



As part of the SN Numerical Radiative Transfer Group (SNNRTG) here at OU, I utilize the PHOENIX code to simulate spectra of a variety of supernovae for comparison to observational data. My current focus is generating spectra to better explain the diversity of Type Ia SNe, including focuses on the ultraviolet and better understanding the root causes of the differences in optical spectra between different Branch subgroups. I've also worked on examining whether or not super-luminous supernova (SLSN) may be caused by the interaction between the supernova ejecta and circumstellar material, or by other more exotic mechanisms like magnetars. This class of supernovae are roughly 2 to 3 magnitudes brighter (or 10x more luminous) than a standard Type Ia SN at peak brightness, and their luminosity cannot currently be explained by traditional models.

Additionally, I use part of OU's time allotment on the 3.5 m telescope at Apache Point Observatory to collect optical spectra of supernovae from early times through the nebular phase for multiple projects. Through our work with the Precision Observations of Infant Supernovae Explosions (POISE) collaboration we are actively working to obtain rapid cadence, multi-wavelength photometry and spectroscopy as close to explosion as possible to answer many outstanding questions about supernova progenitors through detailed studies of the outer ejecta. With this data, we hope to be able to answer outstanding questions about the progenitors and explosion mechanics of all types of supernovae.



"Ultraviolet Line Identifications and Spectral Formation Near Max Light in Type Ia Supernova 2011fe," DerKacy, James M.; Baron, E.; Branch, David; Hoeflich, Peter; Hauschildt, Peter; Brown, Peter J.; Wang, Lifan, ApJ, 901, 86, (2020) ADS: DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abae67