Stars around 10 times or more massive than our Sun end their lives when they run out of light elements to convert into heavier elements thus making energy. When they run out of such nuclear fuel, the star's central regions collapse under the weight of the layers above, crushing the gas forming a neutron star which ironically releases more energy than the star produced during its entire lifetime. Such stellar deaths are seen as supernova outbursts. Our knowledge about many of the important details of just how the star explodes -- such as whether its spherical or bipolar -- are presently uncertain. Through a study of the kinematics of the expanding debris of several supernova remnants from high mass stars, we hope to clarify some of the physical processes behind such awesome stellar eruptions.
FACULTY CONTACT: Robert Fesen