RobertFisher writes "If thermonuclear supernovae are standard candles for cosmology, as the Nobel committee emphasized in 2011, all originating from the explosion of white dwarf stars, then why are some orders of magnitude dimmer than others? Recently, a group of astrophysicists (including myself) completed a large set of supercomputer models of these supernovae to uncover some peculiar cases which fail to detonate. These supernovae duds have remarkable properties, including the fact that the white dwarf gets kicked by the explosion but survives, and will go careening through the galaxy. This kind of exploratory science is only possible with the advent of petascale computing."
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