Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Physics and Astronomy


Doug Welch



Committee Member

Christine Wilson, Laura Parker


A deep, wide-field survey was conducted to hunt for the light echo systems associated with SN 1054 (Crab) and SN 1181 as an initial step to acquiring spectra and the prospect of extracting lightcurves of these historical, core-collapse supernovae. Images were acquired by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope’s MegaCam during the 2011A and 2011B semesters for fields adjacent to SN 1054 and SN 1181, respectively. A total of 367 Sloan g’ fields for the Crab and 195 Sloan r’ fields for SN 1181 were imaged twice, with a minimum of one month separation.

Examination of 13,880 and 11,052 difference images for the Crab and SN 1181, respectively, revealed no light echoes with surface brightnesses brighter than 24.0 mag/arcsec2 (the threshold for being able to acquire useful spectra). Based on our non-detections and assuming similar dust properties to nearby (detected) supernova light echo systems (Tycho and Cas A), we conclude it is unlikely that either SN was a Type II-L outburst but cannot provide constraints on other sub-types.

We further examined the known light echo locations for Tycho and Cas A and found a statistically-significant correlation between CO brightness temperature and the presence of scattering dust. However, the spacing of grid points in existing CO surveys is too sparse to be useful even a few degrees away from the galactic plane. We have yet to identify a search strategy based on survey data which is superior than random field placement.

McMaster University Library

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