CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

The origins of thermonuclear supernova explosions

Project description

Tracing the origins of thermonuclear supernova explosions

Thousands of times more energetic than ordinary exploding stars, their visible light as bright as all of our galaxy’s stars combined, supernovas are one of the most violent events in the universe. Type Ia supernovae have been theorised to be explosions of carbon–oxygen white dwarfs, the condensed remnants of what used to be sun-like stars. However, all suggested models fail to reproduce their diverse physical characteristics and inferred ages and luminosities. The EU-funded SNeX project will construct new likely scenarios for the origin of all subtypes of thermonuclear explosions of Type Ia supernovae. The project's findings will provide critical input to understanding the evolution of the universe and the measurements of its fundamental cosmological parameters.

Objective

Type-Ia supernovae (SNe) are thought to originate from thermonuclear explosions of carbon-oxygen (CO) white-dwarfs (WDs). They play a key role in the evolution of the universe (producing most of the Iron-peak elements); and serve as critical cosmological distance-indicators. The main proposed SNe progenitors are CO-WDs accreting material from stellar companions; and mergers of two CO-WDs. However, all suggested models fail to reproduce the diverse physical characteristics of Ia-SNe; their inferred rates/ages/luminosity distrbution; and their puzzling wide sub-types diversity. Finding the origins and the evolutionary pathways of thermonuclear SNe remains one of the most important “holy grail” open questions in modern astronomy. Here we propose novel directions and potential solutions to this question, and suggest new scenarios for the origin of all sub-types of thermonucelar SNe. Supported by preliminary results, we propose that (1) the little-explored mergers of CO-WDs with hybrid He-CO WDs play a key-role in producing most types of SNe, and may provide a viable model for the origin of the majority of thermonuclear SNe, their diversity and their distrbutions; (2) neutron star-WD mergers may explain the origin of peculiar rapidly evolving SNe; (3) the channel of exploding accretion-grown massive CO-WDs never/rarely gives rise to standard Ia-SNe. We propose an end-to-end open-source-based modelling of SNe (providing easy access and reproducibiliy of our results) including stellar evolution of their progenitors; 3D hydro simulations of WD mergers; 2D (+3D) thermonuclear-hydrodynamical+radiative-transfer models (predicting detailed light-curve/spectra/compostion observables); and population synthesis studies. Our proposed science can potentially transform the field; solve the century-long puzzle of Ia-SNe and explain their origins; and provide critical input for understanding the evolution of the universe and the measurements of its fundamental cosmological parameters.

Host institution

TECHNION - ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Net EU contribution
€ 2 000 000,00
Address
SENATE BUILDING TECHNION CITY
32000 Haifa
Israel

See on map

Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 2 000 000,00

Beneficiaries (1)