Supernovae @UCD

Supernovae @ UCD

Our group is based in the School of Physics at University College Dublin, Ireland. We use some of the most advanced telescopes and observatories in the world to study astronomical transients. These transients include the explosions of massive stars as supernovae, the tidal disruption of stars by black holes, and most recently, events associated with the merger of neutron stars and the production of gravitational waves.


Some of the projects we are currently working on include:

Gravitational waves
Gravitational waves

With the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015, a new window was opened on the Universe. Now, as part of the ENGRAVE and EMBOSS collaborations, we are part of the global effort to find their counterparts in visible light.

Interacting supernovae
Interacting supernovae

Some massive stars will explode inside a dense shell of circumstellar material. Using observational data and theoretical models, we aim to understand how stars shed this material before they die.

SN progenitors and failed SNe

Using archival data, we pinpoint the progenitors of nearby supernovae. As part of this, we are uncovering a picture where many stars do not explode as bright supernovae, but rather collapse to black holes.

Tidal Disruption Events

Tidal Disruption Events occur when a star is torn apart by the immense gravitational field of a supermassive black hole. Among our recent results, we were part of the team that discovered the most luminous TDE seen to date.

Gap transients

Current surveys are beginning to find fainter transients that are associated with non-terminal outbursts from massive stars, or even mergers in binary systems. We work to understand these events, and their progenitors.


We are partners in the ePESSTO+ and NUTS2 projects, which are among the most world's most productive spectroscopic followup programmes for supernovae and other transients.

Meet the team


Dr. Morgan Fraser

Royal Society - Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellow

Supernovae and their progenitors. Interacting transients. Counterparts to gravitational waves and other exotica.


Emma Callis

PhD Student

Interacting transients, Type Ibn supernovae. Counterparts to gravitational waves.


Seán Brennan

PhD student

AutoPhOT (automated tools for photometry). Interacting transients.


Shane Moran

PhD student (@Univ. Turku)

Student astronomer at Nordic Optical Telescope. Type IIn supernovae.