What Triggers a Supernova Explosion During a Star's Core Collapse?

In summary, when a star's core collapses due to the inability to sustain nuclear fusion against its own gravity pressure, it triggers an enormous shock wave that blows off the outer layers of the star. This leaves behind a core fragment, typically a neutron star, and the remaining material is released into space. The Chandrasekhar limit, which is the mass needed to become a supernova, determines whether the star will form a neutron star or a black hole as a remnant. If the core exceeds this limit, it will go supernova, while a smaller core will result in a planetary nebula and a white dwarf. The Chandrasekhar limit only applies to the degenerate core of the star and does not necessarily determine its fate.
  • #1
humk
1
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So at some point nuclear fusion in a star becomes unable to sustain the core against its own gravity pressure, then the core collapses and the surface explodes in supernova explosion. What actually happens when the core collapse that makes the surface explode, and why would the core not explode as well?
 
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  • #2
Studies suggest core collapse triggers an enormous shock wave that blows off the outer layers of the star. A core fragment is all that remains [typically a neutron star]. This fragment can be 'kicked' at surprising speeds in some cases, probably due to asymmetry in the supernova explosion. While progenitor stars are very massive, the surviving core fragment is typically only a little over one solar mass. The remaining material is released into space.
 
  • #3
The Chandrasekhar limit is the mass needed to become a Supernova either a Neutron Star or a Black Hole as a remnant.

Mass = 1.39*(Mass of the Sun)* ( 2.765 × 10^30 kg)

Under that limit a Planetary Nebula will form resulting in a White Dwarf.
 
  • #4
White dwarfs are produced by stars that are not massive enough to evolve into core collapse supernova. It is believed core collapse supernova progenitors must be at least 8 solar masses.
 
  • #5
Philosophaie said:
The Chandrasekhar limit is the mass needed to become a Supernova either a Neutron Star or a Black Hole as a remnant.

Mass = 1.39*(Mass of the Sun)* ( 2.765 × 10^30 kg)

Under that limit a Planetary Nebula will form resulting in a White Dwarf.

The Chandrasekhar limit only applies to the degenerate core of the star. A star with a core which grows more massive than the Chandrasekhar limit will go supernova and produce a neutron star. A progenitor star whose core will become more massive than 1.4 solar masses is about, as Chronos suggested, 8 solar masses total.
 
  • #6
The core need not reach the Chandrasekhar limit to become a core collapse candidate, that is merely an upper limit. It need only be massive enough to initiate carbon fusion. Most neutron stars are below the Chandrasekhar mass limit. A few behemoths do, however, exist. They remain a scientific curiosity.
 
  • #7
humk said:
So at some point nuclear fusion in a star becomes unable to sustain the core against its own gravity pressure, then the core collapses and the surface explodes in supernova explosion. What actually happens when the core collapse that makes the surface explode, and why would the core not explode as well?

I recommend a marvelous article by Hans Bethe and Gerald Brown called http://www.cenbg.in2p3.fr/heberge/EcoleJoliotCurie/coursannee/transparents/SN%20-%20Bethe%20e%20Brown.pdf. It will help you understand what happens both in the core and in the surrounding exterior. Great reading.

http://www.cenbg.in2p3.fr/heberge/EcoleJoliotCurie/coursannee/transparents/SN%20-%20Bethe%20e%20Brown.pdf
 

Related to What Triggers a Supernova Explosion During a Star's Core Collapse?

1. What causes a supernova core collapse?

A supernova core collapse occurs when a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel and can no longer sustain its own weight. The core of the star then collapses under its own gravity, causing an explosion.

2. How long does a supernova core collapse last?

A supernova core collapse typically lasts only a few seconds, but the resulting explosion can continue for weeks or even months.

3. Can a supernova core collapse be predicted?

Unfortunately, we currently do not have the technology to predict when a supernova core collapse will occur. However, we can observe and study the characteristics of different stars to estimate the likelihood of a core collapse.

4. What is the aftermath of a supernova core collapse?

The aftermath of a supernova core collapse is a supernova remnant, which is a cloud of gas and debris that expands outward from the explosion. This remnant can eventually form new stars and planets.

5. Is Earth at risk from a nearby supernova core collapse?

It is highly unlikely that a supernova core collapse would occur close enough to Earth to pose a threat. The nearest known supernova candidate, Betelgeuse, is approximately 600 light-years away from Earth.

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