Computational astrophysics

Computational astrophysics is the study of the phenomena that occur in space using computer simulations. This can involve modelling processes that take place over millions of years, such as colliding galaxies or the slow destruction of a star by a black hole. This also includes understanding the high-energy phenomena that take place in stars.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    A rare type of supernova—triggered by the collapse of a rapidly rotating single star—could have provided more than 80 per cent of the r-process elements in the Universe.

    • Daniel M. Siegel
    • , Jennifer Barnes
    •  & Brian D. Metzger
    Nature 569, 241-244
  • Research |

    Simulations of early galaxy formation suggest that the dynamics of structure formation, rather than the Lyman–Werner flux, drives the formation of massive black holes in the early Universe.

    • John H. Wise
    • , John A. Regan
    • , Brian W. O’Shea
    • , Michael L. Norman
    • , Turlough P. Downes
    •  & Hao Xu
    Nature 566, 85-88
  • Research |

    A state-of-the-art magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a solar flare from emergence to eruption is able to reproduce observations at visible, UV and X-ray wavelengths, and suggests that non-thermal particles at high energy may play a less prominent role than usually assumed in flare models.

    • M. C. M. Cheung
    • , M. Rempel
    • , G. Chintzoglou
    • , F. Chen
    • , P. Testa
    • , J. Martínez-Sykora
    • , A. Sainz Dalda
    • , M. L. DeRosa
    • , A. Malanushenko
    • , V. Hansteen
    • , B. De Pontieu
    • , M. Carlsson
    • , B. Gudiksen
    •  & S. W. McIntosh
    Nature Astronomy 3, 160-166
  • Research |

    A model of optical polarization provides a framework for studying the composition and dynamical evolution of the ejecta from the kilonova explosion accompanying the gravitational-wave event GW 170817, as well as future kilonovae.

    • M. Bulla
    • , S. Covino
    • , K. Kyutoku
    • , M. Tanaka
    • , J. R. Maund
    • , F. Patat
    • , K. Toma
    • , K. Wiersema
    • , J. Bruten
    • , Z. P. Jin
    •  & V. Testa
    Nature Astronomy 3, 99-106
  • Research |

    Blue supergiant stars (BSGs) can undergo core collapse, resulting in a type II supernova explosion. Here, Tobias Fischer et al. identify a novel phase transition from nuclear matter to a quark–gluon plasma for particularly massive BSGs (>50 M) that explains their explosion.

    • Tobias Fischer
    • , Niels-Uwe F. Bastian
    • , Meng-Ru Wu
    • , Petr Baklanov
    • , Elena Sorokina
    • , Sergei Blinnikov
    • , Stefan Typel
    • , Thomas Klähn
    •  & David B. Blaschke
    Nature Astronomy 2, 980-986

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    Cosmological hydrodynamics simulations reveal the possible formation of supermassive stars within metal-free primordial gas haloes. These stars are thought to be the origin of supermassive black holes.

    • Anastasiia Novikova
  • News and Views |

    Large cosmological datasets have been probing the properties of our Universe and constraining the parameters of dark matter and dark energy with increasing precision. Deep learning techniques have shown potential to be smarter than — and greatly outperform — human-designed statistics.

    • Zoltán Haiman
    Nature Astronomy 3, 18-19
  • News and Views |

    The biggest black holes in the Universe were in place soon after the Big Bang. Explaining how they formed so rapidly is a daunting challenge, but the latest simulations give clues to how this may have occurred.

    • Lucio Mayer