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Pair-Instability Supernovae: What might they look like?

28 Oct 2014, 14:19 UTC
Pair-Instability Supernovae: What might they look like?
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How do the most massive stars explode? A new model of massive stars predicts new observational evidence.

Title: Pulsation of red supergiant pair-instability supernova progenitors leading to extreme mass loss
Authors: T. Moriya and N. Langer
First Author’s Institution: University of Bonn, Germany
Publication Status: Accepted into Astronomy & Astrophysics

What happens to the most massive stars?
Really large stars eventually collapse because there is not enough radiation pressure to prevent the outer layers from falling in gravitationally. These stars then explode as Type II supernovae. Even more massive stars, between about 130 and 250 solar masses, are thought to lead to a pair-instability supernovae (PISN). In these stars, electron-positron pairs are created in the core. This leads the star to become dynamically unstable and leads to the collapse then explosion of these stars. This recent Astrobite has a more thorough explanation of the physics of PISN. These types of supernovae should be extremely luminous, much more than other Type II supernovae. At least, this is theoretical prediction: a pair-instability supernova has never been observed, though there have been a few candidates.
There have been previous models of PISN that show these stars evolve onto the Red-SuperGiant Branch before collapsing. ...

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