Initial Models and the Prompt Mechanism of SN II
Massive stars (M ≳ 10 – 12 M ⊙ ) become catastrophically unstable when the fuel in their central regions is exhausted. The innermost 1–2 M ⊙ of fusion ashes (iron peak elements burnt to nuclear statistical equilibrium (NSE0) is the iron core. It resembles a white dwarf star dominated by the pressure of relativistic electrons, albeit a hot one. An isolated white dwarf can not support more than the appropriate Chandrasekhar mass for its composition, but the compact core of the massive star must support the overlying burning shells. Before it evolves completely to the low-temperature white dwarf configuration it loses this ability, is overwhelmed by gravitation and collapses. It is generally agreed that a Type II supernova explosion ensues but there is no general agreement about the details of the process. In fact at present there exist no self-consistent calculations of the explosive stage which adequately explain observed explosion features.
KeywordsBurning Entropy Convection Explosive Incompressibility
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