William Raphael Hix

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge

Core Collapse Supernovae: Understanding the Deaths of Massive Stars

Core collapse supernovae are among the most energetic events in the universe, emitting 1046 J of energy, mostly in the form of neutrinos. Observationally categorized as Type II or Ib/c supernovae, these explosions mark the end of the life of a massive star and the formation of a neutron star or black hole. They play a preeminent role in the cosmic origin of the elements and serve as a principle heating mechanism for the interstellar medium. Numerical simulations of the textbook neutrino-reheating mechanism for core collapse supernovae frequently fail to match the most fundamental observable property, an explosion with roughly 1044 J of kinetic energy. Weaknesses in the current generation of models include inadequate tracking of the neutrino distribution, failure to fully account for the multi-dimensional nature of the hydrodynamic flows, and/or incomplete nuclear and neutrino physics. I will discuss recent efforts to reduce each of these limitations, with emphasis on our recent efforts to improve the treatment of the interactions between leptons and nuclei.

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