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This 2-dimensional image is a snapshot from a radiation magnetohydrodynamic (RMHD) simulation of a supernova core collapse, bounce, and explosion. When the supernova rotates rapidly, magnetic stress (the colored lines) within the core causes it to explode as a bipolar jet.
In this figure, the magnetic lines of force are colored red. They denote high-entropy regions near the explosion shock wave. The flux lines (colored blue) reside in the lower-entropy inner core at lower velocities, and some of this material will not be ejected.
Among other things, this simulation research suggests that even when the supernova rotates slightly, or slowly, the resulting supernova explosion may be followed by a weak, but still discernable, MHD jet explosion, but that if core rotation is rapid a prodigiously-energetic asymmetrical jet explosion is likely. The multi-dimensional, multi-group, rapidly rotating RMHD simulations from this research should lead to more realistic simulations revealing additional information about the role, if any, of magnetic fields in supernova collapse.
Support for this work comes from the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program of the Department of Energy (DOE) under grant number DE-FG02-08ER41544 and from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant number AST-0504947
Image credit: Adam Burrows/Princeton University