A case study of small-scale structure formation in three-dimensional supernova simulations

Carola I. Ellinger, Patrick Young, Christopher L. Fryer, Gabriel Rockefeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


It is suggested in observations of supernova remnants that a number of large- and small-scale structures form at various points in the explosion. Multi-dimensional modeling of core-collapse supernovae has been undertaken since SN1987A, and both simulations and observations suggest/show that Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) instabilities during the explosion is a main driver of the formation of structure in the remnants. We present a case study of structure formation in three dimensions in a 15 M supernova for different parameters. We investigate the effect of moderate asymmetries and different resolutions of the formation and morphology of the RT unstable region, and take first steps toward determining typical physical quantities (size, composition) of arising clumps. We find that in this progenitor the major RT unstable region develops at the He/OC interface for all cases considered. The RT instabilities result in clumps that are overdense by one to two orders of magnitude with respect to the ambient gas, have size scales on the level of a few percent of the remnant diameter, and are not diffused after the first ∼ 30yr of the remnant evolution, in the absence of a surrounding medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2012


  • hydrodynamics
  • instabilities
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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