Core-collapse supernovae: reflections and directions

Hans-Thomas Janka, Florian Hanke, Lorenz Huedepohl, Andreas Marek, Bernhard Johannes Mueller, Martin Obergaulinger

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Core-collapse supernovae are among the most fascinating phenomena in astrophysics and provide a formidable challenge for theoretical investigation. They mark the spectacular end of the lives of massive stars and, in an explosive eruption, release as much energy as the sun produces during its whole life. A better understanding of the astrophysical role of supernovae as birth sites of neutron stars, black holes, and heavy chemical elements, and more reliable predictions of the observable signals from stellar death events are tightly linked to the solution of the long-standing puzzle of how collapsing stars achieve explosion. In this article our current knowledge of the processes that contribute to the success of the explosion mechanism is concisely reviewed. After a short overview of the sequence of stages of stellar core-collapse events, the general properties of progenitor-dependent neutrino emission will be briefly described. Applying sophisticated neutrino transport in axisymmetric (2D) simulations with general relativity as well as in simulations with an approximate treatment of relativistic effects, we can find successful neutrino-driven explosions for a growing set of progenitor stars. The first results of three-dimensional (3D) models have been obtained, and magnetohydrodynamic simulations demonstrate that strong initial magnetic fields in the pre-collapse core can foster the onset of neutrino-powered supernova explosions even in nonrotating stars. These results are discussed in the context of the present controversy about the value of 2D simulations for exploring the supernova mechanism in realistic 3D environments, and they are interpreted against the background of the current disagreement on the question of whether the standing accretion shock instability (SASI) or neutrino-driven convection is the crucial agency that supports the onset of the explosion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number01A309
Number of pages33
JournalProgress of Theoretical and Experimental Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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