Scientists introduced the world’s first three-dimensional modeling of supernovae

Physicists from the National Laboratory at the University of Berkeley first created a three-dimensional simulation of the appearance of supernovae. At the same time, scientists for the first time simulated the complete process of this cosmic event using a supercomputer at the National Energy Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

Astronomers have discovered that such superluminal events occur when a magnetar, a rapidly rotating neutron star that has a very strong magnetic field, is in the center of a supernova. In this case, the radiation that is emitted by the magnetar enhances the brightness of the supernova. To study this process, scientists decided to conduct multidimensional modeling of this process.

At the same time, the mathematical analysis behind this modeling is necessary to analyze liquid instability and create an image of this supernova in 3D. Scientists note that such work requires large computing power, so no one has created them before.

Physicists note that the so-called liquid instability occurs around people constantly. For example, if you put a little dye in a glass of water, then the surface tension of the water will become unstable, and a heavier dye will sink to the bottom. As two fluids move past each other, the physics of this instability cannot be reflected in one dimension. To describe these processes, a second or third dimension is needed to see all the instability. On a cosmic scale, fluid instability, which leads to turbulence and mixing, plays a critical role in the formation of space objects such as galaxies, stars, and supernovae.

Supernova modeling

For this work, the researchers modeled a supernova remnant approximately 15 billion km wide with a dense magnet 10 km wide inside. In this system, the simulation shows that hydrodynamic instabilities form on two scales in the residual material. One instability occurs in a hot bubble excited by a magnetar, and another occurs when a young supernova shockwave erupts against the surrounding gas.

They also found that the magnetar can accelerate the elements of calcium and silicon that were ejected from the young supernova to speeds of 12 thousand km per second, which explains their extended emission lines in spectral observations. And the fact that even the energy of weak magnetars can accelerate elements from the iron group, which are located deep in the supernova remnant up to 5000-7000 kilometers per second, explains why iron is observed in the early stages of supernova collapse events, such as SN 1987A. This was a long-standing mystery in astrophysics.

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