Re-accretion of wind and supernova matter onto a central black hole

Advisor: Richard Wünsch (AI CAS)

Funding: basic scholarship; additional funding may be available depending on grant applications that will be submitted in spring 2021



Project is co-advised by Sergio Martínez González (INAOE, Mexico).

Stellar winds from massive stars lead to the formation of wind-blown bubbles composed of a cavity filled with wind matter and a dense and thin shell of swept-up interstellar matter (Weaver et al., 1977). The size of the bubble is determined by both, the energetics of the stellar wind and the pressure associated to the interstellar medium. After a massive star that ends its life as a core-collapse supernova (ccSN), a blast wave (BW) collides with the encompassing swept-up shell. The BW is typically unable to traverse the shell and thus the supernova remnant is confined to roughly the size of the wind-blown bubble (Tenorio-Tagle et al., 1990; Haid et al., 2016; Martinez-González et al., 2019). Not only that, but ccSNe leave behind either a neutron star, or a stellar mass black hole (BH). However, progenitors with masses above ~80 Solar masses end their lives as pair-instability supernovae, where the whole star is obliterated and thus stellar-mass BHs with masses in the interval 50-130 Solar masses were thought unlikely to exist_(e.g. Belczynski et al., 2016, Barack, L. et al. 2019). However, LIGO/VIRGO detections of gravitational waves originating from the coalescence of BHs with inferred masses falling in that interval (LIGO & Virgo Collaborations, 2020], Phys. Rev.Lett.125(2020), 101102), have challenged our understanding of stellar-mass BH formation and evolution.

The aim of this work is to investigate if the BHs left behind after the explosion of progenitors with masses close to ~80 Solar masses are able to efficiently re-accrete the wind and supernova matter within highly-pressurized wind-blown bubbles, and form black holes with masses in excess of 50 Solar masses. The student will use publicly available hydrodynamic code Flash (Fryxell et al., 2000) and home-grown modules that follow the evolution of wind-blown bubbles and supernova remnants (Wünsch et al., 2017), and calculate the gravitational potential associated to the gas and the central stellar-mass BH (Wünsch et al., 2018).

Figure description: Left: Chandra X-ray Observatory view of the Tycho's supernova remnant (SN 1572). Righ: Simulation of the early phase of the supernova remnant from Martinez-Gonzalez et al. (2019).


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