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Supernova Simulation Lab

3D Type I Supernova Simulations
1. What object explodes during a Type I supernova and why? How are Type Is
useful to us?
A white dwarf star member of a binary system explodes during a type 1 supernova. It
explodes because it accretes so much matter from its companion that it is tipped over
the 1.4M Chandrasekar limit and will therefore collapse inwards.
It is useful because all type 1 supernovaes have the same absolute peak luminosity
because they are fueled by precisely the same amount of mass, as defined by the
Chandrasekhar Limit. Using the distance modulus for astronomy, one can then find an
accurate distance to the explosion and thus to the host galaxya powerful tool for
2. What element is being fused rapidly during the explosion?
3. Based on the video, approximately how long does it take for the fusionpowered fireball to completely engulf and detonate the exploding object?
40-50 seconds
3D Type II Supernova Simulations
Sky & Telescope (2013):
1. What object explodes during a Type II supernova and why?
A massive star explodes during a type II supernova because as heavier elements
gradually build up at the center and the star's core surpasses the Chandrasekhar limit,
the star begins to implode/core collapse (the core heats up and becomes denser)
2. What do each of the colors in the video represent? What particles serve as
one of the primary sources of pressure that heats the gas in the simulation?
Where do all these particles come from?
Blue: outer membrane
Red: heating of the gas from the neutrinos
Neutrinos serve as the primary source of pressure that heats the gas in the simulation.
Neutrinos are produced in the sun and other stars. They are the byproduct of nuclear
fusion, which involves the merging of two protons (hydrogen atoms) to form a
deuteron, releasing a positron (antielectron) and an electron neutrino at the same
They are also formed when
High-mass stars end their lives in type II supernova explosions. As the star collapses in
on itself, forcing protons to combine with electrons, it forms neutrons and electron

3. Name and describe the instability the video highlights. How long does it take
to develop in this simulation? According to scientific consensus prior to this
simulation (and similar ones), what particles were thought to produce
sufficient pressure to prevent/overcome this instability?
Standing Accretion Shock Instability or SASI. It can be described as a hydrodynamical
effect where pressure waves inside the shock drive instability or a spectacular
sloshing behavior seen in the supernova.
In the video is takes about 30 seconds for the SASI to begin. Scientist believed that
the neutrinos would keep this from happening.
4. How long has it been since weve seen a core-collapse supernova in the
Milky Way? (Be specific. Use google. ) When we do find one, what
observational signatures will tell us whether the type of instability discussed
in question 3 is actually present in reality? (List at least 2.)
The video cites that the last time a similar supernova was seen in our galaxy,
telescopes hadnt been invented yet. Upon my research, I found that the most recent
supernova was discovered on Oct. 9, 1604 by a German astronomer Johannes Kepler.
No supernova in our galaxy has been discovered since the 1604 event.
We will know instability is present if we see the sloshing and spiraling movement
reflected in the video or through the detection of neutrinos.
5. How long would the explosion take, according to the simulation? How
long (in real time) did it take to run the simulation on supercomputers?
Does the star explode at the end of simulation?
The video cites that 1min and 24 seconds into the simulation equivocates to one
second. The video also cites that it took 4.5 months in Europe to record it. The star
does not explode at the end of the simulation.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2015):
1. What is being shown in the center and on the three panels on the right side
of the screen?
What is being plotted in the lower left corner? What do the different colors
represent? What problem can you see when you look at the full plot?
The center of the video depicts a 3 dimensional visual simulation of SASI-dominated
Explosion in Core-Collapse Supernovae. To show progress through the animation and
to give a better sense of volume of the material they use an ID curve and contour plot
to indicate current and future shock trajectory and volume. There is also an
entropy/fluid plot and a shock volume plot. In addition, They use a slice operator and a
transform operator to put the slices on the wall.
They also use a contour plot to display the three-dimensionality of the shock structure
from a fixed viewing angle. The colors represent different temperatures of the fluid. In
addition, blue represents minimum, green represents max, and red represents

2. What is different about the second version of the simulation? Now when you
look at the plot in the lower left corner, what is different and more positive
about these results compared with the plot associated with the first
In the second version the explosion is much bigger. The second version explains that
when condition is right, SASI helps the neutrino heating reenergizing the stalled shock
explosion. The plot in the lower left corner shows a gradual climb when compared to
the variable up and downs seen in the first simulation. The increments are also