A team of researchers from the University of Berkeley used a supercomputer to produce a 10 millisecond simulation of a hypernovae - a catastrophic event wherein a massive star collapses into a neutron star.
Through the simulation, the scientists were able to show that when a star reaches the end of its life and collapses, gigantic magnetic fields are created, then the rotating star and the magnetic field spins faster and faster, forming a dynamo that increasing the rotation of the magnetic field a billion times than that of Earth, making the star burst off gamma rays visible across the universe.
"A dynamo is a way of taking the small-scale magnetic structures inside a massive star and converting them into larger and larger magnetic structures needed to produce hypernovae and long gamma-ray bursts," said Philipp Mösta, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow and first author of the paper, according to Berkeley News.
"People had believed this process could work out. Now we actually show it," Mösta adds.
Mösta and his team owe a great deal of the discovery through the simulation using Blue Waters - one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world found in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For this particular simulation alone, it required 130,000 computer cores to operate in parallel for two weeks straight.
Mösta is now working on creating a simulation that can go beyond 10 milliseconds in order to further understand what happens after the death of a star.
The study is published in the journal Nature.