skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: HEAD-ON COLLISIONS OF WHITE DWARFS IN TRIPLE SYSTEMS COULD EXPLAIN TYPE Ia SUPERNOVAE

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), thermonuclear explosions of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs (CO-WDs), are currently the best cosmological ''standard candles'', but the triggering mechanism of the explosion is unknown. It was recently shown that the rate of head-on collisions of typical field CO-WDs in triple systems may be comparable to the SNe Ia rate. Here we provide evidence supporting a scenario in which the majority of SNe Ia are the result of such head-on collisions of CO-WDs. In this case, the nuclear detonation is due to a well understood shock ignition, devoid of commonly introduced free parameters such as the deflagration velocity or transition to detonation criteria. By using two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations with a fully resolved ignition process, we show that zero-impact-parameter collisions of typical CO-WDs with masses 0.5-1 M {sub ☉} result in explosions that synthesize {sup 56}Ni masses in the range of ∼0.1-1 M {sub ☉}, spanning the wide distribution of yields observed for the majority of SNe Ia. All collision models yield the same late-time (≳ 60 days since explosion) bolometric light curve when normalized by {sup 56}Ni masses (to better than 30%), in agreement with observations. The calculated widths of the {sup 56}Ni-mass-weighted line-of-sight velocity distributions aremore » correlated with the calculated {sup 56}Ni yield, agreeing with the observed correlation. The strong correlation, shown here for the first time, between {sup 56}Ni yield and total mass of the colliding CO-WDs (insensitive to their mass ratio), is suggestive as the source for the continuous distribution of observed SN Ia features, possibly including the Philips relation.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540 (United States)
  2. Racah Institute of Physics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364107
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 778; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; BOLOMETERS; CARBON; CARBON MONOXIDE; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CORRELATIONS; COSMOLOGY; DIAGRAMS; HYDRODYNAMICS; IMPACT PARAMETER; NICKEL 56; NUCLEOSYNTHESIS; OXYGEN; SUPERNOVAE; THERMONUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; TWO-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; VISIBLE RADIATION; WHITE DWARF STARS