Source of the post
Far from being trivial, isn't this how most elements beyond Iron get produced?
Actually no, most elements above atomic number 40 came from colliding neutron stars rather than exploding stars.
But what I mean about it not being trivial is the question of how does the star explode?
Most people know that they do, and are familiar with the common explanation for how it happens. But if you do a naive (or even a very sophisticated) application of physics to explain how it works, you will conclude that the shockwave would stall before reaching the surface. How a star actually explodes was an astrophysics mystery for many decades.
What we're finding with the latest high resolution 3D supercomputer simulations is that the physics happening is a lot more complex (and very fascinating), and it turns out that turbulence and huge deviations from spherical symmetry are important, in addition to the momentum transported by the neutrinos (which we suspected, but it wasn't enough), and the structure of the star itself.
Ah, I thought that higher atomic number elements (like gold, silver, platinum, even uranium and beyond) get produced in supernova explosions and thats how we happened to have these on our planet (because the cloud from which our sun originated was the result of a supernova explosion?)
That's a very interesting link, neutrinos and the geometry of the star seem to be vital in transporting the energy to the surface.
Secondary question- since there are different types of supernova explosions and even hypernovae, what's the determining factor in the type of explosion that will happen? Also, are there cases where stars are on the brink of exploding but never explode or explosions that never actually reach the surface? Whats the final result of that? Does the interior collapse and the outer part of the star becomes like a "ghost shell" that expands outwards and eventually fades from view as it expands?