Two-dimensional simulations of pulsational pair-instability supernovae

Ke-Jung Chen, Stan Woosley, Alexander Heger, Ann S. Almgren, Daniel Whalen

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Massive stars that end their lives with helium cores in the range of 35-65 M are known to produce repeated thermonuclear outbursts due to a recurring pair-instability. In some of these events, solar masses of material are ejected in repeated outbursts of several × 1050 erg each. Collisions between these shells can sometimes produce very luminous transients that are visible from the edge of the observable universe. Previous one-dimensional (1D) studies of these events produce thin, high-density shells as one ejection plows into another. Here, in the first multi-dimensional simulations of these collisions, we show that the development of a Rayleigh-Taylor instability truncates the growth of the high-density spike and drives mixing between the shells. The progenitor is a 110 M solar-metallicity star that was shown in earlier work to produce a superluminous supernova. The light curve of this more realistic model has a peak luminosity and duration that are similar to those of 1D models but a structure that is smoother.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014


  • early universe
  • hydrodynamics
  • instabilities
  • shock waves
  • stars: massive
  • supernovae: general


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