A High-resolution Study of Presupernova Core Structure

Tuguldur Sukhbold, Stan Woosley, Alexander Heger

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The density structure surrounding the iron core of a massive star when it dies is known to have a major effect on whether or not the star explodes. Here we repeat previous surveys of presupernova evolution with some important corrections to code physics and four to 10 times better mass resolution in each star. The number of presupernova masses considered is also much larger. Over 4000 models are calculated in the range from 12 to 60 M o with varying mass loss rates. The core structure is not greatly affected by the increased spatial resolution. The qualitative patterns of compactness measures and their extrema are the same, but with the increased number of models, the scatter seen in previous studies is replaced by several localized branches. More physics-based analyses by Ertl et al. and Müller et al. show these branches with less scatter than the single-parameter characterization of O'Connor & Ott. These branches are particularly apparent for stars in the mass ranges 14-19 and 22-24 M o. The multivalued solutions are a consequence of interference between several carbon- and oxygen-burning shells during the late stages of evolution. For a relevant range of masses, whether a star explodes or not may reflect the small, almost random differences in its late evolution more than its initial mass. The large number of models allows statistically meaningful statements about the radius, luminosity, and effective temperatures of presupernova stars, their core structures, and their remnant mass distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Number of pages22
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018


  • methods: numerical
  • stars: black holes
  • stars: evolution
  • stars: interiors
  • stars: massive
  • supernovae: general

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