AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 17 TeraScale Supernova Initiative
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[17.14] Exploring the role of Nuclear Electron Capture in Core Collapse Supernovae

W. R. Hix (ORNL/UTK), O. E. B. Messer (ORNL), A. Mezzacappa (ORNL/UTK), M. Liebendoerfer (Basel), TeraScale Supernova Initiative Collaboration

The most important nuclear interaction to the dynamics of stellar core collapse is electron capture. We have recently re-discovered that electron capture on heavy nuclei (masses larger than 60) dominates electron capture on free protons. In prior simulations of core collapse, electron capture on these nuclei has been treated in a highly parameterized fashion, if not ignored. Advances in nuclear structure theory have allowed a more realistic treatment to be developed. With this new treatment of electron capture on heavy nuclei come significant changes in the hydrodynamics of core collapse and bounce. We will further explore the impact of weak interactions with heavy nuclei on the mechanism of core collapse supernovae, focusing on the consequences across the range of supernova progenitors. We will also demonstrate the sensitivity of these effects to variations in the electron capture rates, establishing the robustness of these results.

This work was supported in part by SciDAC grants to the TeraScale Supernova Initiative from the DOE Office of Science High-Energy, Nuclear, and Advanced Scientific Computing Research Programs and by NSF grant PHY-0244783 from the Theoretical Nuclear Physics and Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics Programs. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.

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