Cosmic explosions: Rapporteur summary of the 10th Maryland astrophysics conference

Wheeler, J. Craig
June 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 522 Issue 1, p445
Academic Journal
This meeting covered the range of cosmic explosions from solar flares to γ-ray bursts. A common theme is the role of rotation and magnetic fields. New information from the Sun shows that a “magnetic carpet” contains most of the surface field that feeds the corona. Disk instabilities in protostellar disks may provide most of the growth of a protostar. Type Ia supernovae continue to give evidence for an accelerating Universe, and a rigorous examination is underway to characterize systematic effects that might alter the results. The binary evolution origin of Type Ia that explode as carbon/oxygen white dwarfs at nearly the Chandrasekhar limit remains a thorny problem. The discovery of the central point of X-ray emission in Cas A by CXO should give new insight into the core collapse problem in general and the nature of the still undetected compact remnant in SN 1987A in particular. jets were described from protostars to microquasars to blazars to γ-ray bursts. Polarization studies of core-collapse supernovae lead to the conclusion that core collapse is not merely asymmetric, but strongly bi-polar. To account for normal core-collapse supernovae, the explosion must be jetlike in routine circumstances, that is, in the formation of neutron stars, not only for black holes. Given the observed asymmetries, estimates of explosion energies based on spherically-symmetric models must be regarded with caution. The strong possibility that at least some γ-ray bursts arise from massive stars means that it is no longer possible to decouple models of the γ-ray burst and afterglow from considerations of the “machine.” Although it began the supernova/γ-ray burst connection, it is difficult to fit SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 into any statistical picture that incorporates the high redshift events. The implied correlation of γ-ray bursts with star formation and massive stars does not distinguish a black hole collapsar model from mo...


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