Watching This Simulated Star Die Is Mesmerizing. . . And Good Science Too

Traditionally, we’ve done science by observing nature in person or setting up experiments in the lab. Now, a relatively new scientific technique is proving a powerful tool — simulating nature on supercomputers.

A few years ago, Caltech astrophysicists released a supercomputer simulation of a supergiant star’s core collapsing just prior to going supernova. Apart from a stunning visual, simulations like this hinted that Type II supernova explosions were asymmetrical — a guess just recently backed by empirical observation.

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