PDA

View Full Version : Pair Instability Supanova



Sticks
2010-Aug-07, 09:53 PM
The BBC's The Sky at Night (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00szxxh#synopsis) this week mentioned the Monster Star or R136a in the Tarantula nebula.

In the discussion with Sir Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott and Dr Richard Parker they mentioned Pair Instability Supanova (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_instability_supernova) which is, to quote Wikipedia


a runaway thermonuclear explosion which blows the star completely apart without leaving a black hole remnant behind.[

It was suggested that this would help create the really heavy elements and distribute them.

Q How accepted is this in the mainstream? In the Sky at Night programme, to me the discussion came across that this was some new theory, which I took to mean that it was still controversial.

Cougar
2010-Aug-08, 12:35 AM
Q How accepted is this in the mainstream? In the Sky at Night programme, to me the discussion came across that this was some new theory, which I took to mean that it was still controversial.

Well, the wiki article cites to an interesting-looking 10-year-old paper (http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0007176v1) by a few guys from Santa Cruz that I haven't heard much controversy about. Of course, I hadn't heard much about pair-production instability supernovas either. :doh: Apparently electron-positron production only occurs with hugely massive early stars that are largely 'uncontaminated' with elements heavier than helium. But it seems these huge stars would typically collapse to a black hole, as the paper mentions, so I don't know if it's a particular initial mass that results in the star blowing completely apart without leaving a black hole remnant, or what.

mugaliens
2010-Aug-08, 04:38 AM
My gut reaction is that denser elements stand a much greater chance of forming pre-system clumbs than lighter matter, so... I think they may be on to something.