Metallicity Differences in Type Ia Supernova Progenitors Inferred From Ultraviolet Spectra
Foley, Ryan J.
Kirshner, Robert P.
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CitationFoley, Ryan J., and Robert P. Kirshner. 2013. “METALLICITY DIFFERENCES IN TYPE Ia SUPERNOVA PROGENITORS INFERRED FROM ULTRAVIOLET SPECTRA.” The Astrophysical Journal 769 (1): L1. https://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/769/1/l1.
AbstractTwo "twin" Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), SNe 2011by and 2011fe, have extremely similar optical light-curve shapes, colors, and spectra, yet have different ultraviolet (UV) continua as measured in Hubble Space Telescope spectra and measurably different peak luminosities. We attribute the difference in the UV continua to significantly different progenitor metallicities. This is the first robust detection of different metallicities for SN Ia progenitors. Theoretical reasoning suggests that differences in metallicity also lead to differences in luminosity. SNe Ia with higher progenitor metallicities have lower Ni-56 yields and lower luminosities for the same light-curve shape. SNe 2011by and 2011fe have different peak luminosities (Delta M-V approximate to 0.6 mag), which correspond to different Ni-56 yields: M-11fe(Ni-56)/M-11by(Ni-56) = 1.7(-0.5)(+ 0.7). From theoretical models that account for different neutron-to-proton ratios in progenitors, the differences in Ni-56 yields for SNe 2011by and 2011fe imply that their progenitor stars were above and below solar metallicity, respectively. Although we can distinguish progenitor metallicities in a qualitative way from UV data, the quantitative interpretation in terms of abundances is limited by the present state of theoretical models.
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