Core Collapse Supernovae

 Much of my work has been centered on developing better models of the explosion mechanism of core collapse supernovae.  This is done by means of numerical radiation-hydrodynamic simulations  that are carried out on massively parallel computing platforms at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.  These simulations rely on computer programs that solve the equations of hydrodynamics and radiation transport to model the flow of the gas in the star.

 If you would like to see some movies resulting from these simulations please click on the links below.

  Here is a  QuickTime movie depicting the evolution of the entropy per baryon 
 of a post-collapse 15 solar mass star whose post-main-sequence evolution was modeled by Woosley & Weaver.  The hot material, closer to the center of the collapsed stellar core is bouyant and rises, while the colder material further out sinks.  This rising/sinking motion sets up a pattern of convection that is maintained until the gas reaches a stable configuration.

 And here is a QuickTime movie of the evolution of the electron fraction of the matter in the convective zone.
The electron fraction is the ratio of electrons to baryons (i.e. neutrons & protons) in the matter.   The electron fraction changes as electrons are captured onto protons to form neutrons.  The yellow material further out is silicon or iron which has an electron fraction of Ye=0.5 while the material at the base of the convection zone has a much lower electron fraction.  This change in chemical composition is partially the cause, along with the entropy gradient,  of the convection.

 These simulations were carried out using a highly modified version of the ZEUS-2D radiation hydrodynamics code  developed by Mike Norman and Jim Stone. The code models the flow of neutrinos through the matter by solving the equations of flux-limited diffusion and the motion of the matter by solving the Eulerian hydrodynamic equations.  These simulations are purely Newtonian but I am currently working on fully relativistic models.

 Copyright 2001 F. Douglas Swesty, all rights reserved
Doug Swesty