Asymmetric Supernova Remnants May Mark Black Holes | Simulation

Through simulations of twisting magnetic fields around collapsing cores of massive stars, Caltech astrophysicists study the previously puzzling appearance of certain double-lobed remnant nebulae. Such fields may contribute to black hole formation.

When an immense star explodes as a supernova, its guts literally spill across space. This is due, in part, to magnetically induced pressure. Magnetic field lines cross as they twist, winding up in a phenomenon called “kink instability” where forces inside grow larger than outside. As the cataclysm continues, tornadoes of super-magnetized plasma lash the expanding shock as it propagates front out into space.

Supernova explosions with crinkled magnetic fields distorting and shunting the expanding jets structures may be more likely to spawn a black hole. The marker of such explosions are  wide, asymmetrical two-lobed expanding nebulae.

credit : SXS / Philipp Moesta / Sherwood Richers / Caltech /
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