How supernova looks like before its death

Washington, March 19: A powerful, new three-dimensional model has provided fresh insight into the turbulent death throes of supernovas, whose final explosions outshine entire galaxies and populate the universe with elements that make life on Earth possible.

The model is the first to represent the start of a supernova collapse in three dimensions, said its developer, W. David Arnett, Regents Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Arizona, who developed the model with Casey Meakin and Nathan Smith at Arizona and Maxime Viallet of the Max-Planck Institut fur Astrophysik.

The study shows how the turbulent mixing of elements inside stars causes them to expand, contract, and spit out matter before they finally detonate.

Scientists reached these conclusions by analyzing light and radioactivity from supernovas, then creating models of physical processes that yield similar results.

Arnett’s 3-D models show a wild, turbulent interior that spits out star remnants prior to the final explosion, much the way rapidly heating a pot causes water to boil over the edge.

Arnett said that they still have the concentric circles, with the heaviest elements in the middle and the lightest elements on top, but it is if someone put a paddle in there and mixed it around. As we approach the explosion, we get flows that mix the materials together, causing the star to flop around and spit out material until we get an explosion.

Arnett’s model is based on better data and faster, more powerful computers.

The study has been published in the journal AIP Advances. (ANI)