Exploding supernovae are a phenomenon that is still not fully understood. The trouble is that the state of nuclear matter in stars cannot be reproduced on Earth. In a recent paper published in EPJ E, Yves Pomeau from the University of Arizona, USA, and his French colleagues from the CNRS provide a new model of supernovae represented as dynamical systems subject to a loss of stability, just before they explode. Because similar stability losses also occur in dynamical systems in nature, this model could be used to predict natural catastrophes before they happen. Previous studies of the creeping of soft solids, earthquakes, and sleep-wake transitions have already confirmed the validity of this approach. The authors show that the stars' loss of stability can be described in mathematical terms as a so-called dynamical saddle-node bifurcation.
This approach makes it possible to devise a universal equation describing supernovae dynamics at its onset, taking into account the initial physical conditions of stability.
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