A new mechanism for core-collapse supernova explosions

Adam S. Burrows, E. Livne, L. Dessart, C. D. Ott, J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

331 Scopus citations


In this paper we present a new mechanism for core-collapse supernova explosions that relies on acoustic power generated in the inner core as the driver. In our simulation using an 11 M progenitor, an advective-acoustic oscillation à la Foglizzo with a period of ∼25-30 ms arises ∼200 ms after bounce. Its growth saturates due to the generation of secondary shocks, and kinks in the resulting shock structure runnel and regulate subsequent accretion onto the inner core. However, this instability is not the primary agent of explosion. Rather, it is the acoustic power generated early on in the inner turbulent region stirred by the accretion plumes and, most importantly, but later on, by the excitation and sonic damping of core g-mode oscillations. An l = 1 mode with a period of ∼3 ms grows at late times to be prominent around ∼500 ms after bounce. The accreting proto-neutron star is a self-excited oscillator, "tuned" to the most easily excited core g-mode. The associated acoustic power seen in our 11 M simulation is sufficient to drive the explosion >550 ms after bounce. The angular distribution of the emitted sound is fundamentally aspherical. The sound pulses radiated from the core steepen into shock waves that merge as they propagate into the outer mantle and deposit their energy and momentum with high efficiency. The ultimate source of the acoustic power is the gravitational energy of infall, and the core oscillation acts like a transducer to convert this accretion energy into sound. An advantage of the acoustic mechanism is that acoustic power does not abate until accretion subsides, so that it is available as long as it may be needed to explode the star. This suggests a natural means by which the supernova is self-regulating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-890
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Neutrinos
  • Stars: oscillations
  • Supernovae: general


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