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Fritz Roepke (HITS, Germany)

Models and simulations for Type Ia supernovae
When May 24, 2018 from 02:30 PM to 03:30 PM
  • Colloquium
Where SH Lecture Hall
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Type Ia supernovae are among the most prominent cosmic explosions. Their extreme brightness and correlations between observable properties make them suitable distance indicators for surveying the geometry of the Universe. At the same time, these explosions are prolific sources of iron group elements and shape the chemical structure of their host galaxies. Despite their significance for various astrophysical processes, however, the mechanism of Type Ia supernovae remains enigmatic. A fundamental handicap for model building is the unknown nature of the progenitor system. Several distinct scenarios are currently discussed involving explosions of Chandrasekhar-mass and sub-Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf stars. These can be tested in numerical simulations, provided that uncertainties in the physical explosion mechanism and numerical approximations can be controlled. Because of the pronounced multi-scale multi-physics character of the explosion process, this is a very demanding task. Nonetheless, significant progress was possible with multidimensional hydrodynamic explosion simulations, that provide the basis for the prediction of observables. I will review the involved challenges, describe possible approaches to formulating models and implementing them in numerical schemes, and give examples for simulations of thermonuclear supernova explosions in different scenarios. Finally, I will discuss achievements and shortcomings of current multidimensional models and outline paths to validate them based on comparison with various observational data.