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This simulation represents 6,000 seconds of evolution

The background is a colored slice through the star, showing the mean molecular weight from a one dimensional model. The yellow ring that is marked as the Peak in 1/mu is the region of low mean molecular weights that 1D codes allow, but 3D codes know is unstable. At the center, a red contour is shown marking the shell of intense hydrogen burning (again it is N¹³).

The 1D model is mapped into Djehuty, and allowed to evolve. As it does so, a tiny bit of He³ burns and lowers the mean molecular weight even more.

Here, the contour is set to appear when the weight of a region had dropped just a tiny amount. Initially you see a thin relatively smooth "cloud deck" form. Just at the end you see it become more irregular as processed material rises, and heavier (higher mean molecular weight material) falls creating the appearance of holes in the deck.

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Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.