Sydney Menne



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Aims. Data from astronomical catalogs are plotted as spatial distributions of stars and supernovae throughout the Milky Way galaxy and the universe. I examined correlations seen between the luminosity classes of stars, types of supernovae, and selection effects observed in the data.

Methods. Data was gathered from three catalogs; the Gliese Catalog of Nearby Stars, the Tycho-2 Catalog, and the Open Supernova Catalog. Graphs and diagrams were created to visualize the distributions of the stellar luminosity classes and supernova types at different radial distances from the Sun. Trendlines were fit through the data to examine extrapolated predictions.

Results/Conclusions. Documenting stars within 25 pc, the Gliese Catalog categorizes 82% as luminosity class V. Upon classifying all 117,955 stars in the Tycho-2 Catalog reaching 100,000 pc, only 67% were main-sequence (luminosity class V), indicating a brightness selection effect due to the larger radial distance. Tycho-2 documents 7,050 pre-supernova stars (luminosity class I and II) within 24 kpc (the distance to the far edge of the Milky Way). 6,849 of those stars are within 10 kpc, the distance range considered for the DUNE Project to detect Type II supernova neutrinos. The Open Supernova catalog is used to plot distributions of Type II and Type Ia supernovae on a scale beyond our galaxy. The data show that the quantities of both types initially increase linearly with distance, then drop in number as distance continues to increase. This is due to a brightness selection effect as more distant supernovae become harder to accurately detect.

Big Picture. Improving the accuracy of predicting future supernovae by using stellar data and data from observed supernovae can help improve the detection of neutrinos produced in these supernovae. Better detection allows for more complete observations and a deeper understanding of neutrinos, which may unveil the mystery of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, a long unanswered question in physics involving the origin of the universe and why it is the way it is today.

Course: This research was not conducted as part of a course, but I did some of it through the North Dakota NASA Space Grant Consortium, and some through my research as a part of both the McNair program and the US MASTER program.

Publication Date


Document Type



Supernova, Stars, Distributions, HR Diagram


Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physics


Presented at the Winter 2020 Virtual UNDergraduate Showcase, Grand Forks, ND, December 10, 2020.

Supernovae Distributions and their Relationships to Classes of Stars