Category: thermal runaway

These Are The 6 Different Ways To Make A Super…

These Are The 6 Different Ways To Make A Supernova

“Yet, if you cross a certain mass threshold, you overcome that quantum barrier, and that triggers a runaway fusion reaction, destroying the white dwarfs and leading to a different class of supernova: a thermal runaway supernova.

So, we’ve got core collapse supernovae and thermal runaway supernovae. Does that mean that there are only two classes?

Hardly. There’s more than one way to make both a thermal runaway and a core collapse supernova, and each mechanism or method has properties that are wholly unique to it. Here are the six ways to make a supernova, starting with the least-massive trigger and going up from there.”

So, you’ve got a star, and you want to trigger a supernova with it? Great! Every star that ever gets made in the Universe has the possibility of going supernova. If your star is born with more than about 8 solar masses, it’s practically an inevitability that a supernova will ensue, and that it will be a core-collapse supernova at that. But there are four independent ways to make that happen, and only one of them is the conventional way you probably think about it. If your star has less than 8 solar masses, though, it ends its life in a white dwarf, but that’s not necessarily the end. White dwarfs can gain enough mass, through two different known mechanisms, to someday go supernova as well.

There are six different ways to make a supernova, and each one is spectacular. Which one is your favorite?