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High Energy Astrophysics

Magnetar-powered Superluminous Supernovae
Image Credit: Ke-Jung Chen
Magnetar-powered Superluminous Supernovae
Astrophysicist Ken Chen ran simulations on supercomputers to better understand the physical conditions that create superluminious supernova.
Sightings of a rare breed of superluminous supernovae—stellar explosions that shine 10 to 100 times brighter than normal—are perplexing astronomers. First spotted only in last decade, scientists are confounded by the extraordinary brightness of these events and their explosion mechanisms. By modeling the star in 2D we can capture detailed information about fluid instability and mixing that you don’t get in 1D simulations. These details are important to accurately depict the mechanisms that cause the event to be superluminous and explain their corresponding observational signatures such as light curves and spectra.
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