From the Supernova to the Supernova Remnant

Abstract: Supernova remnants (SNRs) are the outcome of supernovae, cataclysmic explosions that mark the death of massive stars (core-collapse supernovae, observationally labeled type II or type Ib/c), or the “second death” of white dwarfs (thermonuclear supernovae, observationally labeled type Ia). Supernova remnants are a key link between the stars and the interstellar medium in the Galaxy. The large blast wave generated by the explosion disseminates the elements synthesized inside the star and during the explosion, that become the building blocks for new stars and planets. The powerful blast wave heats the ISM, amplifies hydrodynamic and magneto-hydrodynamic turbulence, and accelerates charged particles – SNR shocks are believed to be the main sources of “cosmic rays”, very energetic particles that pervade the Galaxy.
However the explosion mechanism of supernovae is still unclear. For core-collapse supernovae, the only successful self-consistent simulations have so far failed to reproduce the required energetics. The role of instabilities and neutrinos has not been elucidated. For thermonuclear supernovae, it is unknown whether they are produced by single-degenerate progenitors, via accretion, or by double-generate progenitors, via mergers – or a mixture of both. Yet they are routinely used as standard candles for cosmology. A very interesting question is to what extent and for how long the supernova remnant bears the signature of the initial explosion. Can we use SNRs as probes for supernova physics?
We have previously developed a code for the simulation of the morphological and spectral evolution of young supernova remnants in three dimensions, including the effects of efficient particle acceleration at the blast wave and the development of hydrodynamical instabilities (Rayleigh-Taylor) at the edge of the ejecta. We are now working in our group on bridging supernova studies and supernova remnant studies, and I will present first results for a remnant evolved from the output of a state-of-the art simulation of a thermonuclear supernova (a delayed detonation of a Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf).

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