Noam Soker - Technion, Israel

Noam Soker
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Noam Soker
Technion, Israel

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Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (40)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (19)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (7)
Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (2)
Physics - General Physics (1)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By Noam Soker

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel

We suggest that stars whose angular momentum (J) does not increase by a companion, star or planet, along their post-main sequence evolution have much lower mass loss rates along their giant branches. Their classification to a separate group can bring insight on their late evolution stages. We term these J isolated stars, or Jsolated stars. Read More

I propose a scenario where the majority of the progenitors of type IIb supernovae (SNe IIb) lose most of their hydrogen-rich envelope during a grazing envelope evolution (GEE). In the GEE the orbital radius of the binary system is about equal to the radius of the giant star, and the more compact companion accretes mass through an accretion disk. The accretion disk is assumed to launch two opposite jets that efficiently remove gas from the envelope along the orbit of the companion. Read More

We show that the blue and UV excess emission at the first few days of some type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) can be accounted for in the double degenerate (DD) scenario by the collision of the SN ejecta with circumstellar matter that was blown by the accretion disk formed during the merger process of the two white dwarfs (WDs). We assume that in cases of excess early light the disk blows the circumstellar matter, that we term disk-originated matter (DOM), hours to days before explosion. To perform our analysis we first provide a model-based definition for early excess light, replacing the definition of excess light relative to a power-law fit to the rising luminosity. Read More

In the meeting SN 1987A 30 years later, I presented my minority view that the majority (or even all) of core collapse supernovae (CCSNe) are driven by jets rather than by neutrinos, and that the majority of type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) reach their explosion via the core degenerate scenario. New simulations presented at the meeting did not achieve an explosion of CCSNe. I critically examine other arguments that where presented in support of the neutrino-driven model, and present counter arguments that support the jet-driven explosion mechanism. Read More

I compare to each other what I consider to be the two most promising scenarios to explode core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe). Both explosion scenarios are based on the negative jet feedback mechanism (JFM). In the first, termed the jittering jets scenario, a collapsing core of a single star progenitor can launch jets. Read More

We conduct three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of two opposite jets launched obliquely to the orbital plane around an asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star and within its dense wind, and demonstrate the formation of a `messy' planetary nebula (PN), namely, a PN lacking any type of symmetry (highly irregular). In building the initial conditions we assume that a tight binary system orbits the AGB star, and that the orbital plane of the tight binary system is inclined to the orbital plane of the binary system and the AGB star (the triple system plane). We further assume that the accreted mass on to the tight binary system forms an accretion disk around one of the stars, and that the plane of the disk is tilted to the orbital plane of the triple system. Read More

Under the assumption that jets explode core collapse supernovae in a negative jet feedback mechanism (JFM), I show that rapidly rotating neutron stars are likely to be formed when the explosion is very energetic. Under the assumption that an accretion disk or an accretion belt around the just-formed neutron star launch jets and that the accreted gas spins-up the just-formed neutron star, I derive a crude relation between the energy that is stored in the spinning neutron star and the explosion energy. This relation reads Espin/Eexp~(Eexp/1e52erg). Read More

We compare the morphology of the core collapse supernova remnant (CCSNR) W49B with the morphology of many planetary nebulae (PNe), and deduce the orientation of the jets that shaped this CCSNR and estimate their energy. We find morphological features that are shared by some PNe and by the CCSNR W49B. In PNe these features, such as a barrel-shaped main body, are thought to be shaped by jets. Read More

We propose that in a small fraction of intermediate luminosity optical transients (ILOTs) powered by a strongly interacting binary system, the ejected mass in the equatorial plane can block the central source from our line of sight. We can therefore observe only radiation that is reprocessed by polar outflow, much as in type~II active galactic nuclei (AGN). An ejection of $M_{\rm ej,e}=10^{-4} ~\rm{M_\odot} ~ (1 ~\rm{M_\odot})$ at 30 degrees from the equatorial plane and at a velocity of $v_{\rm e} = 100 ~\rm{km~s^{-1}}$ will block the central source in the NIR for about 5 years (500 years). Read More

I suggest that the main process that amplifies magnetic fields in cooling flows in clusters and group of galaxies is a jet-driven dynamo (JEDD). The main processes that are behind the JEDD is the turbulence that is formed by the many vortices formed in the inflation processes of bubbles, and the large scale shear formed by the propagating jet. It is sufficient that a strong turbulence exits in the vicinity of the jets and bubbles, just where the shear is large. Read More

We study the morphologies of core collapse supernova remnants (CCSNRs) and find that about third of CCSNRs in our sample have two opposite `ears' protruding from their main shell. We assume that the ears are formed by jets, and argue that these properties are compatible with the expectation from the explosion jet feedback mechanism (JFM). Based on previous studies of ears in CCSNRs and the similarity of some ears to those found in planetary nebulae, we assume that the ears are inflated by jets that are launched during the explosion, or a short time after it. Read More

We construct a scenario where the outburst of the young-stellar-object ASASSN-15qi is an intermediate luminosity optical transient (ILOT). In this scenario a sub-Jupiter young planet was tidally destructed on to a young main-sequence star. The system is young, therefore the radius of the planet is larger than its final value, and consequently its density is smaller. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel

We compare the velocity dispersion of the intracluster medium (ICM) of the Perseus cluster of galaxies as observed by the Hitomi X-ray telescope to our three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of jet-inflated bubbles in cluster cooling flows, and conclude that the observations support the mixing-heating mechanism of the ICM. In the mixing-heating mechanism the ICM is heated by mixing of hot bubble gas with the ICM. This mixing is caused by vortices that are formed during the inflation process of the bubble. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel, 3Technion, Israel

We present the first three-dimensional gas-dynamical simulations of the grazing envelope evolution (GEE) of stars, with the goal of exploring the basic flow properties and the role of jets at the onset of the GEE. In the simulated runs, a secondary main-sequence star grazes the envelope of the primary asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star. The orbit is circular at the radius of the AGB primary star on its equator. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel

We examine the images of hundreds of planetary nebulae (PNe) and find that for about one in six PNe the morphology is too `messy' to be accounted for by models of stellar binary interaction. We speculate that interacting triple stellar systems shaped these PNe. In this preliminary study we qualitatively classify PNe by one of four categories. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel

We propose a speculative scenario where dynamo amplification of magnetic fields in the core convective shells of massive stars, tens of years to hours before they explode, leads to envelope expansion and enhanced mass loss rate, resulting in pre-explosion outbursts (PEOs). The convective luminosity in the burning shells of carbon, neon, oxygen, and then silicon, are very high. Based on the behavior of active main sequence stars we speculate that the convective shells can trigger magnetic activity with a power of about 0. Read More

We propose that two recent intermediate luminosity optical transients (ILOTs), M31LRN 2015 and SN 2015bh (SNHunt 275; PTF 13efv) can be accounted for with a stellar binary model involving mass transfer that leads to the launching of jets. We inspect observations of the ILOT M31LRN 2015 and conclude that it cannot be explained by the onset of a common envelope evolution (CEE). Instead we conjecture that a $M \simeq 1 - 3 ~\rm{M_\odot}$ main sequence star accreted $\simeq 0. Read More


We show that a fast wind that expands into a bipolar nebula composed of two opposite jet-inflated bubbles can form a pair of bipolar rings around giant stars. Our model assumes three mass loss episodes: a spherical slow and dense shell, two opposite jets, and a spherical fast wind. We use the FLASH hydrodynamical code in three-dimensions to simulate the flow, and obtain the structure of the nebula. Read More

I review the influence jets and the bubbles they inflate might have on their ambient gas as they operate through a negative jet feedback mechanism (JFM). I discuss astrophysical systems where jets are observed to influence the ambient gas, in many cases by inflating large, hot, and low-density bubbles, and systems where the operation of the JFM is still a theoretical suggestion. The first group includes cooling flows in galaxies and clusters of galaxies, star-forming galaxies, young stellar objects, and bipolar planetary nebulae. Read More

We analyse the scatter in the correlation between super-massive black hole (SMBH) mass and bulge stellar mass of the host galaxy, and infer that it cannot be accounted for by mergers alone. The merger-only scenario, where small galaxies merge to establish a proportionality relation between the SMBH and bulge masses, leads to a scatter around the linear proportionality line that increases with the square root of the SMBH (or bulge) mass. By examining a sample of 103 galaxies we find that the intrinsic scatter increases more rapidly than expected from the merger-only scenario. Read More

I question models for powering super energetic supernovae (SESNe) with a magnetar central engine that do not include jets that are expected to be launched by the magnetar progenitor. I show that under reasonable assumptions the outflow that is expected during the formation of a magnetar can carry an amount of energy that does not fall much below, and even surpasses, the energy that is stored in the newly born spinning neutron star (NS). The rapidly spinning NS and the strong magnetic fields attributed to magnetars require that the accreted mass onto the newly born NS possesses high specific angular momentum and strong magnetic fields. Read More

By comparing photon diffusion time with gas outflow time, I argue that a large fraction of the energy carried by the jets during the grazing envelope evolution (GEE) might end in radiation, hence leading to an intermediate luminosity optical transient (ILOT). In the GEE a companion orbiting near the outskirts of the larger primary star accretes mass through an accretion disk, and launches jets that efficiently remove the envelope gas from the vicinity of the secondary star. In cases of high mass accretion rates onto the stellar companion the energy carried by the jets surpass the recombination energy from the ejected mass, and when the primary star is a giant this energy surpasses also the gravitational binding energy of the binary system. Read More


We propose that sub-Keplerian accretion belts around stars might launch jets. The sub-Keplerian inflow does not form a rotationally supported accretion disk, but it rather reaches the accreting object from a wide solid angle. The basic ingredients of the flow are a turbulent region where the accretion belt interacts with the accreting object via a shear layer, and two avoidance regions on the poles where the accretion rate is very low. Read More

We suggest that in the rare case of an Intermediate-Luminosity Optical Transient (ILOTs) event, evaporation of extra-solar Kuiper belt objects (ExtraKBOs) at distances of d ~ 500 - 10000AU from the ILOT can be detected. If the ILOT lasts for 1 month to a few years, enough dust might be ejected from the ExtraKBOs for the IR emission to be detected. Because of the large distance of the ExtraKBOs, tens of years will pass before the ILOT wind disperses the dust. Read More

We suggest that the energetic radiation from core-collapse super-energetic supernovae (SESNe) is due to a long lasting accretion process onto the newly born neutron star (NS), resulting from an inefficient operation of the jet-feedback mechanism. The jets that are launched by the accreting NS or black hole (BH) maintain their axis due to a rapidly rotating pre-collapse core, and do not manage to eject core material from near the equatorial plane. The jets are able to eject material from the core along the polar directions, and reduce the gravity near the equatorial plane. Read More


I suggest that stars introduce mass and density scales that lead to `naturalness' in the Universe. Namely, two ratios of order unity. (1) The combination of the stellar mass scale, M*, with the Planck mass, MPl, and the Chandrasekhar mass leads to a ratio of order unity that reads NPl*=MPl/[(M*)(mp)^2]^{1/3}=0. Read More

I propose that some irregular `messy' planetary nebulae owe their morphologies to triple-stellar evolution where tight binary systems evolve inside and/or on the outskirts the envelope of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. In some cases the tight binary system can survive, in other it is destroyed. The tight binary system might breakup with one star leaving the system. Read More


We show that recent observations of He I and N II lines of $\eta$ Carinae may provide support for an orbital orientation where the secondary star is closest to us at periastron passages. This conclusion is valid both for the commonly assumed masses of the two stars, and for the higher stellar masses model where the very massive evolved primary star mass is $M_1=170 M_\odot$ and its hot secondary star mass is $M_2 = 80 M_\odot$. The later model better explains the change in the orbital period assuming that the ninetieth century Great Eruption was powered by accretion onto the secondary star. Read More

I review the roles of jet-inflated bubbles in determining the evolution of different astrophysical objects. I discuss astrophysical systems where jets are known to inflate bubbles (cooling flow [CF] clusters; young galaxies; intermediate luminosity optical transients [ILOTs]; bipolar planetary nebulae [PNe]), and systems that are speculated to have jet-inflated bubbles (core collapse supernovae [CCSNe]; common envelope evolution [CEE]; grazing envelope evolution [GEE]). The jets in many of these cases act through a negative jet feedback mechanism (JFM). Read More

We show that the standing accretion shock instability (SASI) that has been used to ease the shock revival in core collapse supernovae (CCSNe) neutrino-driven explosion models, might play a much more decisive role in supplying the stochastic angular momentum required to trigger an explosion with jittering jets. We find that if the kinetic energy associated with the transverse (non radial) motion of the SASI is larger than about ten percent of the energy associated with the energy of the accreted gas, then the stochastic angular momentum can reach about five percent of the Keplerian specific angular momentum around the newly born neutron star. Such an accretion flow leaves an open conical region along the poles with an average opening angle of about 5 degrees. Read More

We follow the premise that most intermediate luminosity optical transients (ILOTs) are powered by rapid mass accretion onto a main sequence star, and study the effects of jets launched by an accretion disk. The disk is formed due to large specific angular momentum of the accreted mass. The two opposite jets might expel some of the mass from the reservoir of gas that feeds the disk, and therefore reduces and shortens the mass accretion process. Read More

We find significant fluctuations of angular momentum within the convective helium shell of a pre-collapse massive star - a core-collapse supernova progenitor - which may facilitate the formation of accretion disks and jets that can explode the star. The convective flow in our model of an evolved M_ZAMS=15Msun star, computed with the sub-sonic hydrodynamic solver MAESTRO, contains entire shells with net angular momentum in different directions. This phenomenon may have important implications for the late evolutionary stages of massive stars, and for the dynamics of core-collapse. Read More

Using 2D numerical hydrodynamical simulations of type Ia supernova remnants (SNR Ia) we show that iron clumps few times denser than the rest of the SN ejecta might form protrusions in an otherwise spherical SNR. Such protrusions exist in some SNR Ia, e.g. Read More

We use recent X-ray observations of the intracluster medium (ICM) of the galaxy group NGC 5813 to confront theoretical studies of ICM thermal evolution with the newly derived ICM properties. We argue that the ICM of the cooling flow galaxy group NGC 5813 is more likely to be heated by mixing of post-shock jets' gas residing in hot bubbles with the ICM, than by shocks or turbulent-heating. Shocks thermalize only a small fraction of their energy in the inner regions of the cooling flow; in order to adequately heat the inner part of the ICM, they would overheat the outer regions by a large factor, leading to its ejection from the group. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel

We examine the heating of the intra-cluster medium (ICM) of cooling flow clusters of galaxies by jet-inflated bubbles and conclude that mixing of hot bubble gas with the ICM is more important than turbulent heating and shock heating. We use the PLUTO hydrodynamical code in full 3D to properly account for the inflation of the bubbles and to the multiple vortices induced by the jets and bubbles. The vortices mix some hot shocked jet gas with the ICM. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel, 3Technion, Israel

Energetic outflows from main sequence stars accreting mass at very high rates might account for the powering of some eruptive objects, such as merging main sequence stars, major eruptions of luminous blue variables, e.g., the Great Eruption of Eta Carinae, and other intermediate luminosity optical transients (ILOTs; Red Novae; Red Transients). Read More

We critically discuss the recent observations of the binary system at the center of the bipolar planetary nebula Henize 2-428. We find that the proposed explanation of two equal-mass degenerate objects with a total mass larger than the Chandrasekhar limiting mass that supposedly will merge in less than a Hubble time, possibly leading to a SN~Ia, is controversial. This hypothesis relies on the assumption that the variability of the He II 5412A spectral line is due to two absorption components. Read More

We suggest that tidal destruction of Earth-like and icy planets near a white dwarf (WD) might lead to the formation of one or more low-mass - Earth-like and lighter - planets in tight orbits around the WD. The formation of the new WD planetary system starts with a tidal break-up of the parent planet to planetesimals near the tidal radius of about 1Rsun. Internal stress forces keep the planetesimal from further tidal break-up when their radius is less than about 100km. Read More

Affiliations: 1Technion, Israel, 2Technion, Israel, 3Technion, Israel, 4Technion, Israel

We suggest that clumpy-dense outflowing equatorial rings around evolved giant stars, such as in supernova 1987A and the Necklace planetary nebula, are formed by bipolar jets that compress gas toward the equatorial plane. The jets are launched from an accretion disk around a stellar companion. Using the FLASH hydrodynamics numerical code we perform 3D numerical simulations, and show that bipolar jets expanding into a dense spherical shell can compress gas toward the equatorial plane and lead to the formation of an expanding equatorial ring. Read More

I show that the circumstellar matter (CSM) of the type Ia supernova 2014J is too massive and its momentum too large to be accounted for by any but the core-degenerate (CD) scenario for type Ia supernovae. Assuming the absorbing gas is of CSM origin, the several shells responsible of the absorption potassium lines are accounted for by a mass loss episode from a massive asymptotic giant branch star during a common envelope phase with a white dwarf companion. The time-varying potassium lines can be accounted for by ionization of neutral potassium and the Na-from-dust absorption (NaDA) model. Read More

We propose a scenario for the formation of the pulsar with two white dwarfs (WDs) triple system PSR J0337+1715. In our scenario a close binary system is tidally and frictionally destroyed inside the envelope of a massive star that later goes through an accretion induced collapse (AIC) and forms the neutron star (NS). The proposed scenario includes a new ingredient of a binary system that breaks-up inside a common envelope. Read More

We show that turbulence in core collapse supernovae (CCSNe) which has been shown recently to ease shock revival might also lead to the formation of intermittent thick accretion disks, or accretion belts, around the newly born neutron star (NS). The accretion morphology is such that two low density funnels are formed along the polar directions. The disks then are likely to launch jets with a varying axis direction, i. Read More

I suggest a spiral-in process by which a stellar companion graze the envelope of a giant star while both the orbital separation and the giant radius shrink simultaneously, and a close binary system is formed. The binary system might be viewed as evolving in a constant state of `just entering a common envelope (CE) phase'. In cases where this process takes place it can be an alternative to the CE evolution where the secondary star is immerses in the giant's envelope. Read More

We examine binary systems where the more massive star, the primary, explodes as a core collapse supernova (CCSN) the secondary star is already a giant that intercepts a large fraction of the ejecta. The ejecta might pollute the secondary star with newly synthesized elements such as calcium. We use Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) to calculate the evolution of such SN-polluted giant (SNPG) binaries. Read More

We conduct numerical simulations of the interacting ejecta from an exploding CO white dwarf (WD) with a He WD donor in the double-detonation scenario for Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), and study the possibility of exploding the companion WD. We also study the long time imprint of the collision on the supernova remnant. When the donor He WD has a low mass, M_WD = 0. Read More

Using three independent directions we estimate that the fraction of type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) exploding inside planetary nebulae (PNe), termed SNIPs,is at least ~20%. Our three directions are as follows. (i) Taking the variable sodium absorption lines in some SN Ia to originate in a massive circumstellar matter (CSM), as has been claimed recently, we use the results of Sternberg et al. Read More

We suggest that the main outcome of energy leakage carried by waves from the core to the envelope of pre-collapse massive stars is envelope expansion rather than major mass ejection. We show that the propagating waves add to the pressure in the envelope at radii smaller than the radius where the convection driven by the waves becomes supersonic, the driven radius. The extra wave pressure and wave energy dissipation lead to envelope expansion. Read More

We follow the mass expelled during the WD-WD merger process in a particular case of the Double-Degenerate (DD) scenario for Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), and find that the interaction of the SN ejecta with the resulting wind affects the early (first day) light curve in a way that may be in conflict with some SN Ia observations, if the detonation occurs shortly after the merger (i.e., $10^3~{\rm sec} \lesssim t_{\rm exp} \lesssim 1~{\rm day}$). Read More

Using 3D numerical hydrodynamical simulations we show that a type Ia supernova (SN Ia) explosion inside a planetary nebula (PN) can explain the observed shape of the G1.9+0.3 supernova remnant (SNR) and its X-ray morphology. Read More

We propose that the sodium responsible for the variable NaI D absorption lines in some type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) originate mainly from dust residing at ~1 pc from the supernovae. In this Na-from-dust absorption (NaDA) model the process by which the SN Ia peak luminosity releases sodium from dust at 1 pc from the SN is similar to the processes by which solar radiation releases sodium from cometary dust when comets approach a distance of 1 AU from the Sun. The dust grains are not sublimated but rather stay intact, and release sodium by photon-stimulated desorption (PSD; or photo-sputtering). Read More