Jeno Sokoloski

Columbia University, Postdoctoral Researcher

Fountains from Exploding Stars

What happens when a star explodes? At the end of their lives, stars can experience different kinds of explosions. Some eruptions take place on the surface of white-dwarf stars. Others can destroy a star completely or leave only a relic neutron star or black hole. Since the stars that give rise to these explosions are spherical, one might expect the explosions to also be spherical. Observations, however, show that instead many stellar explosions launch narrow jets of material that can accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light. To understand these observations, it helps to think of stars not as fixed and constant lights, but rather as spinning tops.