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Stars of 8–10 M⊙ form a strongly electron-degenerate oxygen–neon–magnesium core which is more massive than ∼1.1 M⊙, and become super-Asymptotic Giant Branch stars. The oxygen–neon–magnesium core increases its mass through H and He shell burning. The core contracts accordingly and the central density increases. In the high density core, electron capture takes place and further boosts the core contraction. When electron capture on 20Ne starts, it induces oxygen–neon deflagration. It remains a theoretical question whether neutron star can be formed after the deflagration has started. If the star collapses, the following explosion is known as an electron capture supernova. In this article, we give a brief overview on the development of idea in the presupernova evolution and the hydrodynamics behaviour of electron capture supernovae. Using standard stellar evolutionary models that show rather high ignition density, we show that the collapse can occur in a wide range of model parameter. However, future study remains important. We also review the possible observables of electron capture supernovae and discuss their applications to the light curve model for the Crab supernova 1054.
Getting a better understanding of the evolution and nucleosynthetic yields of the most metal-poor stars (Z ≲ 10−5) is critical because they are part of the big picture of the history of the primitive universe. Yet many of the remaining unknowns of stellar evolution lie in the birth, life, and death of these objects. We review stellar evolution of intermediate-mass Z ≤ 10−5 models existing in the literature, with a particular focus on the problem of their final fates. We emphasise the importance of the mixing episodes between the stellar envelope and the nuclearly processed core, which occur after stars exhaust their central He (second dredge-up and dredge-out episodes). The depth and efficiency of these episodes are critical to determine the mass limits for the formation of electron-capture SNe. Our knowledge of these phenomena is not complete because they are strongly affected by the choice of input physics. These uncertainties affect stars in all mass and metallicity ranges. However, difficulties in calibration pose additional challenges in the case of the most metal-poor stars. We also consider the alternative SN I1/2 channel to form SNe out of the most metal-poor intermediate-mass objects. In this case, it is critical to understand the thermally pulsing Asymptotic Giant Branch evolution until the late stages. Efficient second dredge-up and, later, third dredge-up episodes could be able to pollute stellar envelopes enough for the stars to undergo thermal pulses in a way very similar to that of higher initial Z objects. Inefficient second and/or third dredge-up may leave an almost pristine envelope, unable to sustain strong stellar winds. This may allow the H-exhausted core to grow to the Chandrasekhar mass before the envelope is completely lost, and thus let the star explode as an SN I1/2. After reviewing the information available on these two possible channels for the formation of SNe, we discuss existing nucleosynthetic yields of stars of metallicity Z ≤ 10−5 and present an example of nucleosynthetic calculations for a thermally pulsing Super-Asymptotic Giant Branch star of Z = 10−5. We compare theoretical predictions with observations of the lowest [Fe/H] objects detected. The review closes by discussing current open questions as well as possible fruitful avenues for future research.
We review the lives, deaths and nucleosynthetic signatures of intermediate-mass stars in the range ≈6–12 M⊙, which form super-AGB stars near the end of their lives. The critical mass boundaries both between different types of massive white dwarfs (CO, CO–Ne, ONe), and between white dwarfs and supernovae, are examined along with the relative fraction of super-AGB stars that end life either as an ONe white dwarf or as a neutron star (or an ONeFe white dwarf), after undergoing an electron capture supernova event. The contribution of the other potential single-star channel to electron-capture supernovae, that of the failed massive stars, is also discussed. The factors that influence these different final fates and mass limits, such as composition, rotation, the efficiency of convection, the nuclear reaction rates, mass-loss rates, and third dredge-up efficiency, are described. We stress the importance of the binary evolution channels for producing electron-capture supernovae. Recent nucleosynthesis calculations and elemental yield results are discussed and a new set of s-process heavy element yields is presented. The contribution of super-AGB star nucleosynthesis is assessed within a Galactic perspective, and the (super-)AGB scenario is considered in the context of the multiple stellar populations seen in globular clusters. A brief summary of recent works on dust production is included. Last, we conclude with a discussion of the observational constraints and potential future advances for study into these stars on the low mass/high mass star boundary.
Models of neutrino-driven core-collapse supernova explosions have matured considerably in recent years. Explosions of low-mass progenitors can routinely be simulated in 1D, 2D, and 3D. Nucleosynthesis calculations indicate that these supernovae could be contributors of some lighter neutron-rich elements beyond iron. The explosion mechanism of more massive stars remains under investigation, although first 3D models of neutrino-driven explosions employing multi-group neutrino transport have become available. Together with earlier 2D models and more simplified 3D simulations, these have elucidated the interplay between neutrino heating and hydrodynamic instabilities in the post-shock region that is essential for shock revival. However, some physical ingredients may still need to be added/improved before simulations can robustly explain supernova explosions over a wide range of progenitors. Solutions recently suggested in the literature include uncertainties in the neutrino rates, rotation, and seed perturbations from convective shell burning. We review the implications of 3D simulations of shell burning in supernova progenitors for the ‘perturbations-aided neutrino-driven mechanism,’ whose efficacy is illustrated by the first successful multi-group neutrino hydrodynamics simulation of an 18 solar mass progenitor with 3D initial conditions. We conclude with speculations about the impact of 3D effects on the structure of massive stars through convective boundary mixing.