Multidimensional radiation hydrodynamics simulations of pulsational pair-instability supernovae

Ke-Jung Chen, Daniel Whalen, Stan E. Woosley, Weiqun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stars with masses of 80 - 130 M can encounter the pulsational pair-instability at the end of their lives, which triggers consecutive episodes of explosive burning that eject multiple massive shells. Collisions between these shells produce bright transients known as pulsational pair-instability supernovae (PPI SNe) that may explain some extreme supernovae. In this paper, we present the first 2D and 3D radiation hydrodynamics simulations of PPI SNe with the CASTRO code. Radiative cooling causes the collided shells to evolve into thin, dense structures with hot spots that can enhance the peak luminosity of the SN by factors of 2 - 3. The light curve peaks at 1.9 − 2.1 × 1043 erg s−1 for 50 days and then plateaus at 2 − 3 × 1042 erg s−1 for 200 days, depending on viewing angle. The presence of 12 C and 16O and absence of 28Si and 56 Fe in its spectra can uniquely identify this transient as a PPI SN in follow-up observations. Our models suggest that multidimensional radiation hydrodynamics is required to model the evolution and light curves of all shell-collision SNe such as Type IIne, not just PPI SNe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 21 Jul 2023


  • supernovae: general
  • stars: supernovae
  • nuclear reactions
  • radiative transfer
  • hydrodynamics
  • instabilities

Cite this