Artificial supernova

  • #1
FtlIsAwesome
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I've occasionally seen the idea of a "starkiller".

[fiction]
The first I saw it was in the game Star Trek Bridge Commander where a special craft fires a beam into a star to make it go supernova. But it doesn't elaborate on how.

In Andromeda (haven't seen it, only read about it) they destroy stars by reversing their gravity. This I believe would be much more powerful than a normal supernova.
[/fiction]

I'm wondering if there's a way to artificially cause a star to go supernova, or make it puff out in a planetary nebula, which I like to call a "subnova".

The only things that I can think of is colliding a neutron star at it, or do something similar to what Andromeda does.

At first I thought a massive nuclear/antimatter explosion would work, but that would need to be incredibly huge and it would only result in a subnova at best. I want the main source of the explosion to be from the star itself; I want to accelerate the fusion in the star.


PS Its late I'll add more tomorrow.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
780
3
I've occasionally seen the idea of a "starkiller".

[fiction]
The first I saw it was in the game Star Trek Bridge Commander where a special craft fires a beam into a star to make it go supernova. But it doesn't elaborate on how.

In Andromeda (haven't seen it, only read about it) they destroy stars by reversing their gravity. This I believe would be much more powerful than a normal supernova.
[/fiction]

I'm wondering if there's a way to artificially cause a star to go supernova, or make it puff out in a planetary nebula, which I like to call a "subnova".

The only things that I can think of is colliding a neutron star at it, or do something similar to what Andromeda does.

At first I thought a massive nuclear/antimatter explosion would work, but that would need to be incredibly huge and it would only result in a subnova at best. I want the main source of the explosion to be from the star itself; I want to accelerate the fusion in the star.


PS Its late I'll add more tomorrow.
There's two kinds of supernova that typically occur, plus some rarer sub-types. First is Core-Collapse, in which gravitational energy is the main producer of energy. Second type, the Ia, involves a white dwarf nearing the Chandrasekhar limit, but then igniting the C/O fusion reaction explosively. This is the more destructive type as the whole star is disrupted. Core-collapse events produce a neutron star or black hole and release 99% of their energy as neutrinos.

I have no idea how gravity would be reversed, but the sudden release of gravitational pressure on a star would cause it to disrupt, though I doubt it would be as spectacular as a core-collapse or detonation. Gravitational collapse energy either powers a supernova or triggers it. To get a stellar mass to undergo collapse is a somewhat trickier proposition. Smashing a white dwarf into a Sun-like star is about the only way to do it. A neutron star collision will disrupt the star, but accretion onto the neutron star is limited, us the overall energy release is more protracted.
 
  • #3
780
3
I've occasionally seen the idea of a "starkiller".

[fiction]
The first I saw it was in the game Star Trek Bridge Commander where a special craft fires a beam into a star to make it go supernova. But it doesn't elaborate on how.

In Andromeda (haven't seen it, only read about it) they destroy stars by reversing their gravity. This I believe would be much more powerful than a normal supernova.
[/fiction]

I'm wondering if there's a way to artificially cause a star to go supernova, or make it puff out in a planetary nebula, which I like to call a "subnova".

The only things that I can think of is colliding a neutron star at it, or do something similar to what Andromeda does.

At first I thought a massive nuclear/antimatter explosion would work, but that would need to be incredibly huge and it would only result in a subnova at best. I want the main source of the explosion to be from the star itself; I want to accelerate the fusion in the star.


PS Its late I'll add more tomorrow.
There's two kinds of supernova that typically occur, plus some rarer sub-types. First is Core-Collapse, in which gravitational energy is the main producer of energy. Second type, the Ia, involves a white dwarf nearing the Chandrasekhar limit, but then igniting the C/O fusion reaction explosively. This is the more destructive type as the whole star is disrupted. Core-collapse events produce a neutron star or black hole and release 99% of their energy as neutrinos.

I have no idea how gravity would be reversed, but the sudden release of gravitational pressure on a star would cause it to disrupt, though I doubt it would be as spectacular as a core-collapse or detonation. Gravitational collapse energy either powers a supernova or triggers it. To get a stellar mass to undergo collapse is a somewhat trickier proposition. Smashing a white dwarf into a Sun-like star is about the only way to do it. A neutron star collision will disrupt the star, but accretion onto the neutron star is limited, thus the overall energy release is more protracted.
 
  • #4
Ken G
Gold Member
4,438
333
That's right-- reversing gravity would make a much less powerful supernova, because you'd only get the ejecta up to the escape speed from the star, which is about 1000 km/s at most. Supernovae ejecta go at least 10 times that fast or more, because they first fall into the deep gravitational well (for the core-collapse kind-- as said above, the type Ia use thermonuclear fusion instead, and again are stronger than reversing gravity), and a fraction of that gas gets "bounced" back out into space at the much higher kinetic energies associated with falling into that well (somehow the energy gets channeled into a fraction of the mass, which gets ejected).
 
  • #5
FtlIsAwesome
Gold Member
191
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Could a mini black hole work?

Fire mini black hole into star, star is compressed onto it, then black hole evaporates releasing the gravitational pressure.

Causing a star to puff out in a nebula will put all the planets into darkness, but the inhabitants can possibly evacuate afterwards or even build a "lightbulb satellite".
So a supernova would guarantee that any planets, at least close ones, are destroyed or damaged to the point they are no longer habitable.

Now, one question is if someone has this capability, why not use against the planets themselves? A possible explanation is that it only affects stars and/or large masses, though I can't think of an exact reason why.
 
  • #6
780
3
Could a mini black hole work?

Fire mini black hole into star, star is compressed onto it, then black hole evaporates releasing the gravitational pressure.

Causing a star to puff out in a nebula will put all the planets into darkness, but the inhabitants can possibly evacuate afterwards or even build a "lightbulb satellite".
So a supernova would guarantee that any planets, at least close ones, are destroyed or damaged to the point they are no longer habitable.

Now, one question is if someone has this capability, why not use against the planets themselves? A possible explanation is that it only affects stars and/or large masses, though I can't think of an exact reason why.
Mini-black holes in the plural might supply enough energy, but their energy output would make them damned hard to handle.

In "Intelligent Life in the Universe" Sagan & Shklovsky mention detonating stars via firing a gamma-ray laser at it long enough to create a fusion hot-spot on its core. The idea came from a paper by Geoffrey Burbidge & Fred Hoyle.
 
  • #7
FtlIsAwesome
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The idea came from a paper by Geoffrey Burbidge & Fred Hoyle.
I believe that is the B2FH paper. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C2%B2FH" [Broken].
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #8
FtlIsAwesome
Gold Member
191
0
[fiction]
In an SG1 episode they drop a gate into a star to remove some of its mass. This causes it to go supernova.

Completely unrelated to the discussion, but I'm mad how they ruined it with cheesy sfx.
[/fiction]

I am skeptical of this idea. Take away part of the matter of a star, or more specifically take away matter from the center of a star. Would this actually work?
 
  • #9
780
3
[fiction]
In an SG1 episode they drop a gate into a star to remove some of its mass. This causes it to go supernova.

Completely unrelated to the discussion, but I'm mad how they ruined it with cheesy sfx.
[/fiction]

I am skeptical of this idea. Take away part of the matter of a star, or more specifically take away matter from the center of a star. Would this actually work?
Short answer: No.

Gravitational collapse would require more mass, not less. A hot spot on a white dwarf close to the Chandrasekhar Mass *might* cause a thermonuclear detonation. In theory a gamma-ray beam might be sufficient to do so, which might be what Burbidge was thinking of. The paper seems to be whichever one he suggested Supernova Chain-Reactions in Galactic Cores - famously popularized in fiction by Larry Niven as a Beowulf Schaeffer story.
 
  • #10
Well i like these posts.....im a layman...so it would depend on the size of the star. See not all stars go supernova. the mass off the star in proportion to its size kinda dictates how bigga bang it will make. this is due to the gravity it can produce from the elements it can make during its collapse. Your theory would depend on the star...You see stars dont just collapse one time....A Collapse of a star happens over several phases. To fire a weapon into a new star might accelerate its collapse phase by a million years...or worse a billion...so in summary you would need to know what elements the star is made from.....And how your gonna fire a weapon at it.....Stars are big!!! Fun topic though!!!
 
  • #11
FtlIsAwesome
Gold Member
191
0
so it would depend on the size of the star. See not all stars go supernova. the mass off the star in proportion to its size kinda dictates how bigga bang it will make.
Yes, large stars go supernova while stars like our sun will puff out in a nebula. Thus artificially inducing a supernova in a low mass star, if possible, will be quite different from inducing one in a massive star.

Also, I would like to consider artificially causing a nebula from a low mass star. Preferably, I'd like this to be due to a "failed" attempt at causing an artificial supernova, but I'll take what I can get.
Fun topic though!!!
:biggrin:




Some relevant Wikipedia pages:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova" [Broken]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_nebula" [Broken]
 
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  • #12
Vanadium 50
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Thread closed. Crackpottery removed.
 

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