The death of a supernova is one of the most incredible and destructive events in the entire universe, with the power to create planets and alter the shape of entire galaxies.

No human being has ever had the opportunity to witness a supernova in person, however, an exciting new simulation is now giving scientists a more detailed look at what such an event might be like. 

As the first ever 3D simulation capable of representing the beginnings of a supernova collapse, scientists are understandably excited about how this technology could further their understanding of these incredible stellar explosions. 

"It would have taken 40 years to run these models on the supercomputers I used in the 1970s. They were feeble compared with my smartphone," exclaimed University of Arizona Regents Professor of Astrophysics W. David Arnett in a statement. 

Simulation delivers new understandings of supernovas 

The new simulation is already offering fascinating new insight into how supernovae come to be.

Because supernovae are very active and volatile, they have previously been simply too large and complex for even the most advanced supercomputers to accurately replicate the physical processes behind this event

As a result, scientists have been forced to simplify these models to just one or two dimensions. The resulting simulations, while impressive, do not offer a complete view of the supernova, and researchers have therefore been required to make assumptions about what is going on in the third dimension.

According to Mr Arnett, his simulation shows the interior of a supernova as being far more wild and volatile than previous models, which tended to present the various phases of a supernova death as smoothly progressing from one stage to another.

"Instead of going gently into that dark night, it is fighting. It is sputtering and spitting off material. This can take a year or two. There are small precursor events, several peaks, and then the big explosion," said Mr Arnett.

A full report on the new simulation is available in the latest edition of the journal AIP Advances.

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