Viscosity and rotation in core-collapse supernovae

Todd A. Thompson, Eliot Quataert, Adam S. Burrows

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We construct models of core-collapse supernovae in one spatial dimension, including rotation, angular momentum transport, and viscous dissipation employing an α-prescription. We compare the evolution of a fiducial 11 M⊙ nonrotating progenitor with its evolution when including a wide range of imposed initial rotation profiles (1.25 s < P0 < 8 s, where P0 is the initial, approximately solid-body, rotation period of the iron core). This range of P0 covers the region of parameter space from where rotation begins to modify the dynamics (P0 > 8 s) to where angular velocities at collapse approach Keplerian (P0 > 1 s). Under the assumption of strict angular momentum conservation, all models in this range leave behind neutron stars with spin periods ≤10 ms, shorter than those of most radio pulsars but similar to those expected theoretically for magnetars at birth. A fraction of the gravitational binding energy of collapse is stored in the free energy of differential rotation. This energy source may be tapped by viscous processes, providing a mechanism for energy deposition that is not strongly coupled to the mass accretion rate through the stalled supernova shock. This effect yields qualitatively new dynamics in models of supemovae. We explore several potential mechanisms for viscosity in the core-collapse environment: neutrino viscosity, turbulent viscosity caused by the magnetorotational instability (MRI), and turbulent viscosity by entropy- and composition gradient-driven convection. We argue that the MRI is the most effective. We find for rotation periods in the range P0 ≤ 5 s and a range of viscous stresses that the postbounce dynamics is significantly affected by the inclusion of this extra energy deposition mechanism; in several cases we obtain strong supernova explosions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-877
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Feb 20 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Stars: magnetic fields
  • Stars: neutron
  • Supernovae: general


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