Thermonuclear explosions of rapidly differentially rotating white dwarfs

15. August 2018
Temporal evolution of the explosion for one of the models of Fink et al. 2018.

In an upcoming publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics, an international team of researchers, including PSO scientists Markus Kromer and Friedrich Röpke, studied thermonuclear explosions of rapidly differentially rotating white dwarfs. Such systems have been proposed to explain the observed sub-class of “superluminous” Type Ia supernovae. The paper presents three-dimensional hydrodynamics and radiative transfer simulations for different explosion mechanisms in various differentially rotating carbon-oxygen white dwarfs close to their respective limit of stability. The results are inconsistent with any known subclass of Type Ia supernovae, including “superluminous” Type Ia supernovae. Implications of these findings for the explosion mechanism and for the existence of differentially rotating white dwarfs as supernova progenitors are discussed.

M. Fink, M. Kromer, W. Hillebrandt, F.K. Röpke, R. Pakmor, I.R. Seitenzahl and S.A. Sim (2018): Thermonuclear explosions of rapidly differentially rotating white dwarfs: candidates for superluminous Type Ia supernovae? A&A, Accepted: 17 July 2018. Full text available at

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The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.

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