Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Tiny Flame Shines Light on Supernovae Explosions

22.11.2011
Starting from the behavior of small flames in the laboratory, a team of researchers has gained new insights into the titanic forces that drive Type Ia supernova explosions. These stellar explosions are important tools for studying the evolution of the universe, so a better understanding of how they behave would help answer some of the fundamental questions in astronomy.

Type Ia supernovae form when a white dwarf star – the left-over cinder of a star like our Sun – accumulates so much mass from a companion star that it reignites its collapsed stellar furnace and detonates, briefly outshining all other stars in its host galaxy.

Because these stellar explosions have a characteristic brightness, astronomers use them to calculate cosmic distances. (It was by studying Type Ia supernovae that two independent research teams determined that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating, earning them the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics).

To better understand the complex conditions driving this type of supernova, the researchers performed new 3-D calculations of the turbulence that is thought to push a slow-burning flame past its limits, causing a rapid detonation – the so-called deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT). How this transition might occur is hotly debated, and these calculations provide insights into what is happening at the moment when the white dwarf star makes this spectacular transition to supernova. “Turbulence properties inferred from these simulations provides insight into the DDT process, if it occurs,” said Aaron Jackson, currently an NRC Research Associate working in the Laboratory for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. At the time of this research, Jackson was a graduate student at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York.

Jackson and his colleagues Dean Townsley from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and Alan Calder also of Stony Brook, will present their data at the American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Baltimore, Nov. 20-22, 2011.

While the deflagration-detonation transition mechanism is still not well understood, a prevailing hypothesis in the astrophysics community is that if turbulence is intense enough, DDT will occur. Extreme turbulent intensities inferred in the white dwarf from the researchers’ simulations suggest DDT is likely, but the lack of knowledge about the process allows a large range of outcomes from the explosion. Matching simulations to observed supernovae can identify likely conditions for DDT.

“There are a few options for how to simulate how they [supernovae] might work, each of which has different advantages and disadvantages,” said Townsley. “Our goal is to provide a more realistic simulation of how a given supernova scenario will perform, but that is a long-term goal and involves many different improvements that are still in progress.”

The researchers speculate that this better understanding of the physical underpinnings of the explosion mechanism will give us more confidence in using Type Ia supernovae as standard candles, and may yield more precise distance estimates.

The talk, “Turbulence and Combustion in Type Ia Supernovae,” is at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, in Room 308.

Abstract: http://absimage.aps.org/image/MWS_DFD11-2011-001839.pdf
Images and animations are here: http://www.astro.sunysb.edu/ajackson/flash.html
MORE MEETING INFORMATION
The 64th Annual DFD Meeting is hosted by the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, the University of Delaware and the George Washington University. Howard University and the U.S. Naval Academy are also participating in the organization of the meeting. It will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center, located in downtown Baltimore, Md. All meeting information, including directions to the Convention Center, is at: http://www.dfd2011.jhu.edu/index.html
USEFUL LINKS
Main Meeting Web Site: http://www.dfd2011.jhu.edu/index.html
Search Abstracts: http://meeting.aps.org/Meeting/DFD11/Content/2194
Directions and Maps: http://www.dfd2011.jhu.edu/venuemaps.html
PRESS REGISTRATION
Credentialed full-time journalists and professional freelance journalists working on assignment for major publications or media outlets are invited to attend the conference free of charge. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, please contact Charles Blue (cblue@aip.org, 301-209-3091).
SUPPORT DESK FOR REPORTERS
A media-support desk will be located in the exhibit area. Press announcements and other news will be available in the Virtual Press Room (see below).
VIRTUAL PRESS ROOM
The APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room features news releases, graphics, videos, and other information to aid in covering the meeting on site and remotely. See: http://www.aps.org/units/dfd/pressroom/index.cfm

Charles E. Blue | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.aip.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>