AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 27 Asymmetries in Type Ia Supernovae
Topical Session, Tuesday, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, May 31, 2005, 102 B

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[27.06] Asymmetric Type Ia Supernovae from Detonating Failed Deflagrations

T. Plewa (Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes, U. Chicago), D. Kasen (JHU), E. F. Brown (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, Michigan State U.)

Despite four decades of vigorous research and substantial progress made in studying thermonuclear supernovae, the origins and nature of these objects remain a mystery. From a modeler's point of view, Type Ia supernovae are one of the most demanding and complex supercomputer applications. The final stages of their lives involve the slow evolution under conditions close to a hydrostatic equilibrium followed by a strongly dynamical phase with the possible transition from a subsonic to supersonic mode of thermonuclear combustion. The explosion dynamics involve instabilities on scales from centimeters to hundreds of kilometers, and are accompanied by thermonuclear reactions releasing sufficient energy to unbind the white dwarf.

Numerical models of thermonuclear supernovae must also include realistic initial conditions, an element that may prove crucial in our quest to explain the nature of those fascinating objects. We are presently studying the incineration of a massive white dwarf following the mild ignition of a thermonuclear flame close to the stellar center. In this scenario, the initial off-center deflagration only consumes a small amount of the stellar fuel and fails to unbind the star. This deflagration does, however, expand the stellar material and accelerates the outer layers of the white dwarf. These flows interact and then trigger a detonation. The overall evolution resembles that of the previously discussed gravitationally confined detonation model and shares many of its properties. The present numerical model features a revised energy delivery scheme resulting in a weaker deflagration, longer evolutionary timescales, and stronger preexpansion of the stellar material.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tomek@flash.uchicago.edu

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