Early light curves for Type Ia supernova explosion models

1. October 2017
Synthetic light curves for various supernova explosion models in the Bessell U (upper left), B (upper right), V (lower left) and R (lower right) wavelength bands during the first 10 days after explosion. The inset shows the same curves on a logarithmic timescale. Credit: U. Nöbauer/MPA

Upcoming high-cadence transient survey programmes will produce a wealth of observational data for Type Ia supernovae. These data sets will contain numerous events detected very early in their evolution, shortly after explosion. In a recent study, a team around Ulrich Nöbauer from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, including PSO researcher Markus Kromer, used numerical simulations to calculate synthetic observables for a number of different explosion models, specifically focusing on the first few days after explosion. They show that overall the early light curve evolution is similar for most of the investigated models. Characteristic imprints are induced by radioactive material located close to the surface. However, these are very similar to the signatures expected from ejecta–CSM or ejecta–companion interaction. Apart from pure deflagration explosion models, none of the synthetic light curves exhibit the commonly assumed power-law rise. They demonstrate that this can lead to substantial errors in the determination of the time of explosion.

Publication: U. M. Noebauer, M. Kromer, S. Taubenberger, P. Baklanov, S. Blinnikov, E. Sorokina and W. Hillebrandt (2017): Early light curves for Type Ia supernova explosion models Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 472, 2787–2799.

This work was also featured as a research highlight at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.

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The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.

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