Modeling Stellar Collapse and Explosion: Evolving Progenitor Stars to Supernova Remnants

Modeling Stellar Collapse and Explosion: Evolving Progenitor Stars to Supernova Remnants

Supernovae are among the brightest and most violent explosive events in the Universe. They are not only the birth sites of neutron stars and black holes; they also produce and disseminate heavy chemical elements up to iron and possibly even nuclear species heavier than iron, which could be forged during the explosion. Understanding the explosion mechanism of massive stars is therefore of fundamental importance to better define the role of supernovae in the cosmic cycle of matter.

Neutrinos are thought to be responsible for triggering the supernova explosions of the majority of massive stars.  These elementary particles are radiated in huge numbers by the hot, newly formed neutron star. Their energy is far enough to power a supernova even if only one  percent of them gets reabsorbed behind the blast wave of the explosion. Because of the complexity and non-linear nature of the involved processes -- non-radial hydrodynamic instabilities and highly complicated neutrino reactions must be described with high accuracy -- numerical simulations play  a crucial role to explore and consolidate this explosion mechanism through neutrino heating.  Only very recently the increasing power of modern supercomputers has made it possible to perform supernova simulations in all three spatial dimensions, i.e., without any artificial constraints of the  symmetry. A new level of realism in such simulations has thus been reached and brings us closer to the solution of a longstanding but still unsettled problem in stellar astrophysics.

Asymmetries in simulation and observation: Comparison of a 3D core-collapse supernova model (a) with the 330-year-old supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (b) in our Galaxy. The observed asymmetries in the remnant phase can be traced back to the earliest phases of the explosion (Credit: a) Nicolay J. Hammer, H.-T. Janka, E. Müller (MPA), Markus Rampp (RZG), b) NASA/CXC/SAO).

Much hope rests on a next supernova in our Milky Way, whose neutrinos and gravitational waves could be measured in large experimental facilities on Earth, thus allowing for a direct  glimpse into the very heart of the explosion and the processes that play a role there. But also a number of young and well observed supernova remnants in our Galactic neighborhood offer the possibility to gain information of the first moments of  the explosion, although in a much more indirect way.  Kinetic energy, mass, chemical composition, and circumstellar environment of the remnant reflect basic properties of the supernova and of its stellar progenitor, while velocity and spin of the neutron star as well as asymmetries of the ejected gas carry imprints of the hydrodynamic instabilities that have supported the initiation of the anisotropic blast wave.

This ERC-funded project (ERC-AdG No. 341157-COCO2CASA) has the goal to study the stellar death from convective shell burning during the final stages of the progenitor, through core collapse, explosion, and long-time evolution of the outburst towards the remnant stage of the supernova by three-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling. Special focus will be directed to the remnants of Crab, Cassiopeia A and Supernova 1987A, whose detailed observations reveal a wealth of information that can be linked back to the earliest stages of the explosion and thus could provide clues on the explosion mechanism. The sophisticated 3D explosion modeling will be performed with all relevant microphysics and will also yield state-of-the-art predictions of neutrino and gravitational-wave signals from stellar collapse and explosion.

The ERC-funded project is subdivided into three main research topics. More information and recent results can be found via the following links:

1) 3D progenitor modeling

2) 3D explosion modeling

3) 3D long-time supernova and remnant modeling

Topical workshop sponsored by the ERC project

Workshop on the Progenitor-Supernova-Remnant Connection (July 24-28, 2017, Ringberg Castle)

Data Archive

The Garching Core-Collapse Supernova Archive


This project receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement ERC-AdG 341157-COCO2CASA.


Physical Sciences and Engineering
  → PE9 Universe Sciences
       → PE9_6 Stars and stellar systems

Computer Time Grants

Online Project Reports

Towards Resolving the Turbulent Cascade in Self-Consistent 3D Core-Collapse Supernova Simulations

Longtime 3D Supernova Simulations for Establishing the Progenitor-Remnant Connection

Features on Project in Science Journals

Nature, 2018 How to blow up a star

Physik Journal, 2018 Zündende Neutrinos

Max Planck Research, 2017 Frantic Finish

Bild der Wissenschaft, 2015 Warum Supernovae explodieren


Refereed Journals

Glas, Robert, Janka, H.-Thomas, Melson, Tobias, Stockinger, Georg, & Just, Oliver 2018, ArXiv e-prints Effects of LESA in Three-Dimensional Supernova Simulations with Multi-Dimensional and Ray-by-Ray-plus Neutrino Transport

Glas, Robert, Just, Oliver, Janka, H.-Thomas, & Obergaulinger, Martin 2018, ArXiv e-prints Three-Dimensional Core-Collapse Supernova Simulations with Multi-Dimensional Neutrino Transport Compared to the Ray-by-Ray-plus Approximation

O'Connor, Evan, Bollig, Robert, Burrows, Adam, et al. 2018, Journal of Physics G Global Comparison of Core-Collapse Supernova Simulations in Spherical Symmetry

Just, Oliver, Bollig, Robert, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Obergaulinger, Martin, Glas, Robert, & Nagataki, Shigehiro 2018, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Core-collapse supernova simulations in one and two dimensions: comparison of codes and approximations

Alp, Dennis, Larsson, Josefin, Fransson, Claes, Gabler, M., Wongwathanarat, Annop, & Janka, H.-Thomas 2018, The Astrophysical Journal X-ray Absorption in Young Core-Collapse Supernova Remnants

Alp, Dennis, Larsson, Josefin, Fransson, Claes, Indebetouw, Remy, Jerkstrand, Anders, et al. 2018, The Astrophysical Journal The 30-Year Search for the Compact Object in SN 1987A

Obergaulinger, M., Just, O., & Aloy, M. A. 2018, Journal of Physics G Core collapse with magnetic fields and rotation

Almanstötter, Marius, Melson, Tobias, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Müller, Ewald 2018, The Astrophysical Journal Parallelized Solution Method of the Three-dimensional Gravitational Potential on the Yin–Yang Grid

Ardevol-Pulpillo, Ricard, Janka, H.-Thomas, Just, Oliver, & Bauswein, Andreas 2018, ArXiv e-prints Improved Leakage-Equilibration-Absorption Scheme (ILEAS) for Neutrino Physics in Compact Object Mergers

Walk, Laurie, Tamborra, Irene, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Summa, Alexander 2018, ArXiv e-prints Identifying rotating core-collapse supernovae with a neutrino gyroscope

Gabler, Michael, Cerdá-Durán, Pablo, Stergioulas, Nikolaos, Font, José A., & Müller, Ewald 2018, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Constraining properties of high-density matter in neutron stars with magneto-elastic oscillations

Horiuchi, Shunsaku, Sumiyoshi, Kohsuke, Nakamura, Ko, Fischer, Tobias, Summa, Alexander, Takiwaki, Tomoya, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Kotake, Kei 2018, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Diffuse Supernova Neutrino Background from extensive core-collapse simulations of 8-100 solar-mass progenitors

Katsuda, Satoru, Morii, Mikio, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Wongwathanarat, Annop, et al. 2018, The Astrophysical Journal Intermediate-Mass-Elements in Young Supernova Remnants Reveal Neutron Star Kicks by Asymmetric Explosions

Gessner, Alexandra & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2018, ArXiv e-prints Hydrodynamical Neutron-star Kicks in Electron-capture Supernovae and Implications for the CRAB Supernova

Pumpe, Daniel, Gabler, Michael, Steininger, Theo, & Enßlin, Torsten A. 2018, Astronomy and Astrophysics Search for quasi-periodic signals in magnetar giant flares

Wanajo, Shinya, Müller, Bernhard, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Heger, Alexander 2018, The Astrophysical Journal Nucleosynthesis in the Innermost Ejecta of Neutrino-Driven Supernova Explosions in Two Dimensions

Summa, Alexander, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Melson, Tobias, & Marek, Andreas 2018, The Astrophysical Journal Rotation-supported Neutrino-driven Supernova Explosions in Three Dimensions and the Critical Luminosity Condition

Bollig, R., Janka, H.-Th., Lohs, A., Martinez-Pinedo, G., Horowitz, C. J., & Melson, T. 2017, Physical Review Letters Muon Creation in Supernova Matter Facilitates Neutrino-driven Explosions

Wu, Meng-Ru, Tamborra, Irene, Just, Oliver, & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2017, Physical Review D Imprints of neutrino-pair flavor conversions on nucleosynthesis in ejecta from neutron-star merger remnants

Bauswein, Andreas, Just, Oliver, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Stergioulas, Nikolaos 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Neutron-star Radius Constraints from GW170817 and Future Detections

Gabler, M., Cerdá-Durán, P., Mate, A., Stergioulas, N., Font, J. A., & Müller, E. 2017, Astronomische Nachrichten Magneto-elastic oscillations modulating the emission of magnetars

Müller, Bernhard, Melson, Tobias, Heger, Alexander, & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Supernova simulations from a 3D progenitor model - Impact of perturbations and evolution of explosion properties

Guilet, Jerome, Bauswein, Andreas, Just, Oliver, & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Magnetorotational instability in neutron star mergers: impact of neutrinos

Cristini, Andrea, Meakin, Casey, Hirschi, Raphael, Arnett, David, Georgy, Cyril, & Viallet, Maxime 2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 3D Hydrodynamic Simulations of Carbon Burning in Massive Stars

Maund, Justyn R., Crowther, Paul A., Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Langer, Norbert 2017, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A Bridging the gap: from massive stars to supernovae

Tauris, T. M., Kramer, M., Freire, P. C. C., Wex, N., Janka, H.-T., et al. 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Formation of Double Neutron Star Systems

Utrobin, V. P., Wongwathanarat, A., Janka, H.-Th., & Müller, E. 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Light-curve Analysis of Ordinary Type IIP Supernovae Based on Neutrino-driven Explosion Simulations in Three Dimensions

Andresen, Haakon, Mueller, Bernhard, Mueller, Ewald, & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2017, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Gravitational Wave Signals from 3D Neutrino Hydrodynamics Simulations of Core-Collapse Supernovae

Abellán, F. J., Indebetouw, R., Marcaide, J. M., Gabler, M., et al. 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Very Deep inside the SN 1987A Core Ejecta: Molecular Structures Seen in 3D

Wongwathanarat, A., Janka, H.-Th., Mueller, E., Pllumbi, E., & Wanajo, S. 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Production and Distribution of 44Ti and 56Ni in a Three-dimensional Supernova Model Resembling Cassiopeia A

Tamborra, Irene, Huedepohl, Lorenz, Raffelt, Georg, & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Flavor-dependent neutrino angular distribution in core-collapse supernovae

Janka, Hans-Thomas 2017, The Astrophysical Journal Neutron Star Kicks by the Gravitational Tug-boat Mechanism in Asymmetric Supernova Explosions: Progenitor and Explosion Dependence

Janka, H.-Th. 2017, Chapter in Handbook of Supernovae, Springer Neutrino-driven Explosions

Janka, H.-Th. 2017, Chapter in Handbook of Supernovae, Springer Neutrino Emission from Supernovae

Müller, Bernhard, Viallet, Maxime, Heger, Alexander, & Janka, Hans-Thomas 2016, The Astrophysical Journal The Last Minutes of Oxygen Shell Burning in a Massive Star

Bartl, A., Bollig, R., Janka, H.-T., & Schwenk, A. 2016, Physical Review D Impact of nucleon-nucleon bremsstrahlung rates beyond one-pion exchange

Janka, Hans-Thomas, Melson, Tobias, & Summa, Alexander 2016, Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science Physics of Core-Collapse Supernovae in Three Dimensions: A Sneak Preview

Pratt, J., Baraffe, I., Goffrey, T., Geroux, C., Viallet, M., et al. 2016, Astronomy and Astrophysics Spherical-shell boundaries for two-dimensional compressible convection in a star

Gabler, Michael, Cerdá-Durán, Pablo, Stergioulas, Nikolaos, Font, José A., & Müller, Ewald 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Coherent magneto-elastic oscillations in superfluid magnetars

Summa, Alexander, Hanke, Florian, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Melson, Tobias, Marek, Andreas, & Müller, Bernhard 2016, The Astrophysical Journal Progenitor-dependent Explosion Dynamics in Self-consistent, Axisymmetric Simulations of Neutrino-driven Core-collapse Supernovae

Prat, V., Guilet, J., Viallet, M., & Müller, E. 2016, Astronomy and Astrophysics Shear mixing in stellar radiative zones. II. Robustness of numerical simulations

Gabler, M., Janka, H.-T., & Wongwathanara, A. 2016, Supernova Remnants: An Odyssey in Space after Stellar Death The first few months of a supernova remnant

Terada, Y., Maeda, K., Fukazawa, Y., Bamba, A., Ueda, Y., Katsuda, S., Enoto, T., Takahashi, T., Tamagawa, T., Röpke, F. K., Summa, A., & Diehl, R. 2016, The Astrophysical Journal Measurements of the Soft Gamma-Ray Emission from SN2014J with Suzaku

Miller Bertolami, M. M., Viallet, M., Prat, V., Barsukow, W., & Weiss, A. 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society On the relevance of bubbles and potential flows for stellar convection

Sukhbold, Tuguldur, Ertl, T., Woosley, S. E., Brown, Justin M., & Janka, H.-T. 2016, The Astrophysical Journal Core-collapse Supernovae from 9 to 120 Solar Masses Based on Neutrino-powered Explosions

Geroux, C., Baraffe, I., Viallet, M., Goffrey, T., Pratt, J., Constantino, T., Folini, D., Popov, M. V., & Walder, R. 2016, Astronomy and Astrophysics Multi-dimensional structure of accreting young stars

Cristini, A., Meakin, C., Hirschi, R., Arnett, D., Georgy, C., & Viallet, M. 2016, Physica Scripta Linking 1D evolutionary to 3D hydrodynamical simulations of massive stars

Ertl, T., Janka, H.-Th., Woosley, S. E., Sukhbold, T., & Ugliano, M. 2016, The Astrophysical Journal A Two-parameter Criterion for Classifying the Explodability of Massive Stars by the Neutrino-driven Mechanism

Viallet, M., Goffrey, T., Baraffe, I., Folini, D., Geroux, C., Popov, M. V., Pratt, J., & Walder, R. 2016, Astronomy and Astrophysics A Jacobian-free Newton-Krylov method for time-implicit multidimensional hydrodynamics. Physics-based preconditioning for sound waves and thermal diffusion

Mirizzi, A., Tamborra, I., Janka, H.-Th., Saviano, N., Scholberg, K., Bollig, R., Hüdepohl, L., & Chakraborty, S. 2016, Nuovo Cimento Rivista Serie Supernova neutrinos: production, oscillations and detection

Just, O., Obergaulinger, M., & Janka, H.-T. 2015, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society A new multidimensional, energy-dependent two-moment transport code for neutrino-hydrodynamics

Utrobin, V. P., Wongwathanarat, A., Janka, H.-Th., & Müller, E. 2015, Astronomy and Astrophysics Supernova 1987A: neutrino-driven explosions in three dimensions and light curves

Arnett, W. David, Meakin, Casey, Viallet, Maxime, Campbell, Simon W., Lattanzio, John C., & Mocák, Miroslav 2015, The Astrophysical Journal Beyond Mixing-length Theory: A Step Toward 321D

Melson, Tobias, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Bollig, Robert, Hanke, Florian, Marek, Andreas, & Müller, Bernhard 2015, The Astrophysical Journal Neutrino-driven Explosion of a 20 Solar-mass Star in Three Dimensions Enabled by Strange-quark Contributions to Neutrino-Nucleon Scattering

Viallet, M., Meakin, C., Prat, V., & Arnett, D. 2015, Astronomy and Astrophysics Toward a consistent use of overshooting parametrizations in 1D stellar evolution codes

Wongwathanarat, A., Müller, E., & Janka, H.-Th. 2015, Astronomy and Astrophysics Three-dimensional simulations of core-collapse supernovae: from shock revival to shock breakout

Melson, Tobias, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Marek, Andreas 2015, The Astrophysical Journal Neutrino-driven Supernova of a Low-mass Iron-core Progenitor Boosted by Three-dimensional Turbulent Convection

Obergaulinger, M., Janka, H.-Th., & Aloy, M. A. 2014, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Magnetic field amplification and magnetically supported explosions of collapsing, non-rotating stellar cores

Gabler, Michael, Cerdá-Durán, Pablo, Stergioulas, Nikolaos, Font, José A., & Müller, Ewald 2014, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Modulating the magnetosphere of magnetars by internal magneto-elastic oscillations

Tamborra, Irene, Hanke, Florian, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Müller, Bernhard, Raffelt, Georg G., & Marek, Andreas 2014, The Astrophysical Journal Self-sustained Asymmetry of Lepton-number Emission: A New Phenomenon during the Supernova Shock-accretion Phase in Three Dimensions

Tamborra, Irene, Raffelt, Georg, Hanke, Florian, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Müller, Bernhard 2014, Physical Review D Neutrino emission characteristics and detection opportunities based on three-dimensional supernova simulations

Conference Proceedings

Cristini, A., Meakin, C., Hirschi, R., Arnett, D., Georgy, C., & Viallet, M. 2017, IAU Symposium: Supernova 1987A: 30 years later The First 3D Simulations of Carbon Burning in a Massive Star

Gabler, Michael, Janka, Hans-Thomas, & Wongwathanarat, Annop 2017, IAU Symposium: Supernova 1987A: 30 years later The infancy of supernova remnants: evolving a supernova into its remnant in 3D

Guilet, Jérôme, Müller, Ewald, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Rembiasz, Tomasz, Obergaulinger, Martin, Cerdá-Durán, Pablo, & Aloy, Miguel-Angel 2017, IAU Symposium: Supernova 1987A: 30 years later How to form a millisecond magnetar? Magnetic field amplification in protoneutron stars

Janka, Hans-Thomas, Gabler, Michael, & Wongwathanarat, Annop 2017, IAU Symposium: Supernova 1987A: 30 years later Spatial distribution of radionuclides in 3D models of SN 1987A and Cas A

Wongwathanarat, Annop 2017, IAU Symposium: Supernova 1987A: 30 years later Linking three-dimensional core-collapse supernova simulations with observations

Müller, B., Wanajo, S., Janka, H.-Th., Heger, A., Gay, D., & Sim, S. A. 2017, Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana Simulations of electron capture and low-mass iron core supernovae

Jerkstrand, A., Ertl, T., Janka, H.-T., & Müller, E. 2017, Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana Supernovae from the 8-10 Msun range: the first spectral models for the emission-line phase

Melson, Tobias, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Summa, Alexander, Bollig, Robert, Marek, Andreas, & Müller, Bernhard 2017, IAU Symposium: The Lives and Death-Throes of Massive Stars Exploring the explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae in three dimensions

Summa, Alexander, Janka, Hans-Thomas, Hanke, Florian, Melson, Tobias, Marek, Andreas, & Müller, Bernhard 2017, IAU Symposium: The Lives and Death-Throes of Massive Stars Exploring the physics of core-collapse supernovae with multidimensional simulations: from axisymmetry to three dimensions

Obergaulinger, M., Janka, H.-T., & Aloy, M. A. 2015, Numerical Modeling of Space Plasma Flows ASTRONUM-2014 Magnetic Field Amplification in Non-Rotating Stellar Core Collapse

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