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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Science and Engineering
School of Physics and Astronomy

PI: Alexander Heger

Cosmic Explosions

These researchers are studying a wide range of astrophysical explosions and contexts. These are hydrodynamic simulations using the CASTRO code and the GADGET code. For both codes, some of the simulations will also comprise radiation transport. CASTRO contains a nuclear reaction network (implemented by this group) and GADGET includes a chemical reaction and ionization network. The scientific context of this research in 2012 comprises: pulsational pair instability supernovae (PPSN) from stars in the initial mass range 80-140 in two and three dimensions; explosion of supermassive stars in the mass range around 50,000 solar masses in three dimensions; the evolution of the first binary star in the universe, its radiation output, explosion, and mixing of its ejecta; thermonuclear explosions on the surface of accreting neutron stars (Type I X-ray bursts); superbursts and radius-expansion burst; and core collapse supernovae of low-mass supernova stars.

A new project started during this period is the simulation of lowest mass iron-core collapse supernovae. This is a unique new class of supernova based on new stellar models made for the first time in 2011. The simulations have been developed by collaborator Dr. Bernhard Müller (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Munich, Germany) used a two-dimensional hydro code with neutrino radiation transport. These explosions will exhibit a different kind of supernova than seen before and also will produce a unique abundance pattern and nucleosynthesis.

Group Members

Ke-Jung (Ken) Chen, Graduate Student
Hou Chen, Graduate Student
Laurens Keek, Research Associate
Charles McEachern, Graduate Student