Numerical simulations of the random angular momentum in convection - II. Delayed explosions of red supergiants following 'failed' supernovae

Andrea Antoni, Eliot Quataert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


When collapse of the iron core in a massive red or yellow supergiant does not lead to an energetic supernova, a significant fraction of the convective hydrogen envelope will fall in towards the black hole formed from the collapsing core. The random velocity field in the convective envelope results in finite specific angular momentum in each infalling shell. Using 3D hydrodynamical simulations, we follow the infall of this material to small radii, resolving the circularization radii of the flow. We show that infall of the convective envelope leads to nearly complete envelope ejection in a ≳1048 erg explosion with outflow speeds of ≳200 km s-1. The light curve of such an explosion would show a characteristic, red plateau as the ejecta cools and a hydrogen recombination front recedes through the expanding ejecta. Adopting supernova IIp scalings, the event would have a plateau luminosity of ≳1040 erg s-1 and a duration of several hundreds of days. These events would appear quite similar to luminous red novae with red or yellow supergiant progenitors; some luminous red novae may, in fact, be signposts of black hole formation. The mechanism studied here produces more energetic explosions than the weak shock generated from radiation of neutrino energy during the protoneutron star phase. Because we cannot simulate all the way to the horizon, our results are likely lower limits on the energy and luminosity of transients produced during the collapse of a red or yellow supergiant to form a black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1245
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • black hole physics
  • convection
  • stars: massive
  • supernovae: general


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