A Caltech Library Service

Partial stellar explosions – ejected mass and minimal energy

Linial, Itai and Fuller, Jim and Sari, Re’em (2021) Partial stellar explosions – ejected mass and minimal energy. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 501 (3). pp. 4266-4275. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa3969.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Many massive stars appear to undergo enhanced mass-loss during late stages of their evolution. In some cases, the ejected mass likely originates from non-terminal explosive outbursts, rather than continuous winds. Here we study the dependence of the ejecta mass, m_(ej), on the energy budget E of an explosion deep within the star, using both analytical arguments and numerical hydrodynamics simulations. Focusing on polytropic stellar models, we find that for explosion energies smaller than the stellar binding energy, the ejected mass scales as m_(ej) ∝ E^ε_m⁠, where ε_m = 2.4–3.0 depending on the polytropic index. The loss of energy due to shock breakout emission near the stellar edge leads to the existence of a minimal mass-shedding explosion energy, corresponding to a minimal ejecta mass. For a wide range of progenitors, from Wolf–Rayet stars to red supergiants (RSGs), we find a similar limiting energy of E_(min) ≈ 10⁴⁶−10⁴⁷ erg⁠, almost independent of the stellar radius. The corresponding minimal ejecta mass varies considerably across different progenitors, ranging from ∼10⁻⁸ M⊙ in compact stars, up to ∼10⁻² M⊙ in RSGs. We discuss implications of our results for pre-supernova outbursts driven by wave heating, and complications caused by the non-constant opacity and adiabatic index of realistic stars.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Fuller, Jim0000-0002-4544-0750
Sari, Re’em0000-0002-1084-3656
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 December 17. Received 2020 December 16; in original form 2020 October 5. Published: 04 January 2021. IL thanks support from the Adams Fellowship. This research was partially supported by an ISF grant. JF acknowledges support from an Innovator Grant from The Rose Hills Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation through grant FG-2018-10515. Data Availability: The data underlying this paper will be shared on reasonable request to the corresponding author.
Group:TAPIR, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Hebrew UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Israel Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Rose Hills FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationFG-2018-10515
Subject Keywords:hydrodynamics – shock waves – stars: mass-loss
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211001-172904264
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Itai Linial, Jim Fuller, Re’em Sari, Partial stellar explosions – ejected mass and minimal energy, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 501, Issue 3, March 2021, Pages 4266–4275,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111151
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Oct 2021 20:28
Last Modified:04 Oct 2021 21:03

Repository Staff Only: item control page