University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, December 4th 2015
2:30 pm:
Speaker: Amit Kashi, MIfA
Subject: Supernova Impostors - The Giant Eruptions of Very Massive Stars

The "supernova impostors" resemble the appearance of a true supernova, but
rather than a terminal explosion of a star, the impostors appear to be massive stars that have undergone a giant eruption and survived. Several of these have energetics comparable to true supernovae, and may be analogous to the Great Eruption of the massive star Eta Carinae in the 1800s.
I discuss observed characteristics of SN impostors and what is presently known and unknown about them. I present new numerical simulations following the recovery of the star from a giant eruption. The numerical results show that the eruption is a runaway event that causes huge mass loss from the star. The simulated star develops inner pulsations that further drive stellar wind with strong mass loss, as observed in erupting objects of that kind. It takes the star a few centuries to recover from the eruption and return to equilibrium.

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