Register to reply

Why should stars explode?

by nhmllr
Tags: explode, stars
Share this thread:
nhmllr
#1
Jan1-12, 08:11 PM
P: 184
Okay, so so you got two forces acting on a star. Gravity trying to compress it, and the internal pressure, caused by fusion, pushing it out. For the star's life they are at equilibrium, but the star dies when it runs out of nuclear fuel.

Then why do some stars explode? Shouldn't they all collapse?
Phys.Org News Partner Astronomy news on Phys.org
The entropy of black holes
Modified theory of dark matter
Gaia discovers its first supernova
Chronos
#2
Jan2-12, 02:53 AM
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Chronos's Avatar
P: 9,484
The collapse induces enormous temperatures the star cannot contain.
nikkkom
#3
Jan2-12, 08:54 AM
P: 622
Quote Quote by nhmllr View Post
Okay, so so you got two forces acting on a star. Gravity trying to compress it, and the internal pressure, caused by fusion, pushing it out. For the star's life they are at equilibrium, but the star dies when it runs out of nuclear fuel.

Then why do some stars explode? Shouldn't they all collapse?
During collapse (and during slow shrinkage too) temperatures and pressures inside the star rise. If at some point temperature and pressure enable a previously impossible nuclear reaction which releases a lot of energy and has a large dependence on temperature, then this may trigger a runaway burn. This is especially likely if matter is degenerate - because degenerate matter does not noticeably expand when heated. (Expansion may quench the reaction).

bm0p700f
#4
Jan2-12, 11:24 AM
P: 128
Why should stars explode?

Also as the core collapses into a neutron star or blackhole the outer layers are falling in the density rises to point where these gases see a brick wall and rebound, in addition to nuclear reactions creating heavy elements, that what I though at least
Arch2008
#5
Jan3-12, 10:18 AM
P: 181
Huge stars (with one exception) both collapse and explode. The cores of these stars have the greatest pressure and temperature. Hydrogen is fused into helium, carbon, oxygen and other elements. When the core fuses into a nickel isotope (IIRC nickel 59), the nickel quickly decays into iron. Elements lighter than iron can fuse into heavier elements and thereby release energy. Elements heavier than iron can split into lighter elements and again release energy. Iron is exceptional in that neither fusion nor fission of this element releases energy. The core has reached a dead end. The mass of the outer layers of the star are no longer held up by the release of core energy. So the outer layers collapse onto the iron core at about a quarter of the speed of light. These still contain hydrogen and other lighter elements in layers like an onion. The pressure of the collapse causes these elements to fuse at an incredible rate and the resulting explosion blows the outer layers away and crushes the core even further. You get a super nova event and the core is reduced to neutrons or a black hole.

Really unique giant stars donít collapse. The pressures at the cores of these stars are so great that anti-matter is created. A chain reaction of matter -antimatter collisions causes the starís core to erupt and the star is totally ripped apart in a hyper nova.
twofish-quant
#6
Jan3-12, 11:46 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by nhmllr View Post
Then why do some stars explode? Shouldn't they all collapse?
In some sense they all do, but what happens with core collapse supernova is that the inner parts of the star collapse which releases enough energy to blow away the outer layers. With other supernova, you have enough energy with nuclear reactions that the whole star goes kaboom.
Arch2008
#7
Jan4-12, 10:47 AM
P: 181
I don't seem to be able to edit my earlier post. Anyway, it's Nickel 56 decays to Cobalt 56 and then to Iron 56 (then kaboom).
twofish-quant
#8
Jan4-12, 10:57 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by Arch2008 View Post
I don't seem to be able to edit my earlier post. Anyway, it's Nickel 56 decays to Cobalt 56 and then to Iron 56 (then kaboom).
Nope. The kaboom happens before the nuclear reactions. What happens with core collapse supernova is that the core of the star collapses into a neutron star. This collapse releases 10^53 ergs of energy (most of which gets emitted in the form of neutrinos) and by some magic process which we don't understand, 1% of that energy gets deposited into the outer layers and that goes kaboom.

So for core collapse supernova, you do get a collapse, but the energy from that collapse generates an explosion.
Arch2008
#9
Jan4-12, 11:57 AM
P: 181
Nope, itís iron core first, then neutron core, then kaboom.

ďWithin a massive, evolved star (a) the onion-layered shells of elements undergo fusion, forming an iron core (b) that reaches Chandrasekhar-mass and starts to collapse. The inner part of the core is compressed into neutrons (c), causing infalling material to bounce (d) and form an outward-propagating shock front (red). The shock starts to stall (e), but it is re-invigorated by a process that may include neutrino interaction. The surrounding material is blasted away (f), leaving only a degenerate remnant.Ē

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova
Drakkith
#10
Jan4-12, 07:47 PM
Mentor
Drakkith's Avatar
P: 11,997
Quote Quote by Arch2008 View Post
Nope, it’s iron core first, then neutron core, then kaboom.
Incorrect. The silicon burning process that produces nickel takes approximately 5 days in a 25 solar mass star. See the table here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_II_supernova

Edit: I will say that a lower mass star burns at a slower rate and would take longer, but I don't know how to calculate the time. So I would guess that it would be possible for stars near the lower limit to survive in the silicorn burning phase for long enough for some nickel to decay into cobalt and then iron over a few months. For higher mass stars the process is too quick for much iron to accumulate.
Matt Todd
#11
Jan4-12, 07:57 PM
P: 28
Okay, so all elements from the periodic table up to and including iron are created within the cores of large stars, how are the heavier elements assembled if the star explodes at the production of iron?
Drakkith
#12
Jan4-12, 08:11 PM
Mentor
Drakkith's Avatar
P: 11,997
Quote Quote by Matt Todd View Post
Okay, so all elements from the periodic table up to and including iron are created within the cores of large stars, how are the heavier elements assembled if the star explodes at the production of iron?
The supernova process forces nickel, cobalt, iron and heavier elements to fuse together in the explosion, forming the rest of the elements.
See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova_nucleosynthesis
Arch2008
#13
Jan5-12, 07:30 AM
P: 181
So Drakkith, the Wiki is right when you quote it, but not for me.

Here's what I said from NASA:

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/sc..._overview.html
Drakkith
#14
Jan5-12, 06:51 PM
Mentor
Drakkith's Avatar
P: 11,997
Quote Quote by Arch2008 View Post
So Drakkith, the Wiki is right when you quote it, but not for me.

Here's what I said from NASA:

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/sc..._overview.html
Been doing some looking around and according to the following link, I believe the core consists of a mix of different elements and isotopes near Iron.

Basically, silicon burning in the starís core turns the products of
oxygen burning (Si, S, Ar, Ca, etc.) into the most tightly bound nuclei
(in the iron group) for a given neutron excess, η.
Following Si-burning at the middle of a 25 solar mass star:
54Fe 0.487
58Ni 0.147
56Fe 0.141
55Fe 0.071
57Co 0.044
Neutron-rich nuclei in the iron peak.
Ye = 0.4775
http://www.ucolick.org/~woosley/ay22...cture12.09.pdf

It looks to me like most of the core is 54Fe, which would be a mostly iron core. (If those numbers are a measure of the fraction of each element in the core.)


Register to reply

Related Discussions
We truly are the stuff of stars ... and stellar nurseries and supernovas and stars a Astronomy & Astrophysics 2
Why don't stars explode? What holds them together? Astronomy & Astrophysics 32
Code me the php explode function into c or c++ Computing & Technology 1
Why do Some Stars Explode ? General Physics 8
How to tell if your head is about to explode...? Biology 9