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All Images

Press Release 06-023
Sound Waves Rock a Star to Death

New model explains sound before sight

Back to article | Note about images

Reverberating sound waves are about to tear this simulated star apart.

This cutaway view shows the inner regions of a simulated star, some 25 times more massive than the Sun, during the first split-second of its detonation as a supernova. The collapse of unstable matter in the innermost core (purple dot) has just caused an explosive release of energy, and the resulting turmoil in the surrounding layers is producing violent oscillations: sound waves that will soon tear the star apart. Green represent high "entropy," or heat content, of the material. Brown represents low entropy.

Credit: Adam Burrows, University of Arizona

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