Friday, July 12, 2013

1307.3135 (Sean M. Couch et al.)

An Improved Multipole Approximation for Self-Gravity and Its Importance for Core-Collapse Supernova Simulations    [PDF]

Sean M. Couch, Carlo Graziani, Norbert Flocke
Self-gravity computation by multipole expansion is a common approach in problems such as core-collapse and Type Ia supernovae, where single large condensations of mass must be treated. The standard formulation of multipole self-gravity suffers from two significant sources of error, which we correct in the formulation presented in this article. The first source of error is due to the numerical approximation that effectively places grid cell mass at the central point of the cell, then computes the gravitational potential at that point, resulting in a convergence failure of the multipole expansion. We describe a new scheme that avoids this problem by computing gravitational potential at cell faces. The second source of error is due to sub-optimal choice of location for the expansion center, which results in angular power at high multipole $l$ values in the gravitational field, requiring a high --- and expensive --- value of multipole cutoff \lmax. By introducing a global measure of angular power in the gravitational field, we show that the optimal coordinate for the expansion is the square-density-weighted mean location. We subject our new multipole self-gravity algorithm to two rigorous test problems: MacLaurin spheroids for which exact analytic solutions are known, and core-collapse supernovae. We show that key observables of the core-collapse simulations, particularly shock expansion, proto-neutron star motion, and momentum conservation, are extremely sensitive to the accuracy of the multipole gravity, and the accuracy of their computation is greatly improved by our reformulated solver.
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