Analysis of the early-time optical spectra of SN 2011fe in M101

Jerod T. Parrent, D. Andrew Howell, Brian C. Friesen, Rollin C. Thomas, Robert A. Fesen, Dan Milisavljevic, Federica B. Bianco, Benjamin Dilday, Peter E. Nugent, Edward A. Baron, I. Arcavi, S. Ben-Ami, David Bersier, Lars Bildsten, Joshua S. Bloom, Y. Cao, S. Bradley Cenko, Alexei V. Filippenko, Avishay Gal-Yam, Mansi M. KasliwalN. Konidaris, S. R. Kulkarni, Nicholas M. Law, D. Levitan, K. Maguire, Paolo A. Mazzali, Eran O. Ofek, Y. Pan, D. Polishook, Dovi Poznanski, Robert M. Quimby, Jeffrey M. Silverman, A. Sternberg, Mark Sullivan, Emma S. Walker, Dong Xu, C. Buton, R. Pereira

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83 Citations (Scopus)


The nearby Type Ia supernova SN 2011fe in M101 (cz=241 km s^-1) provides a unique opportunity to study the early evolution of a "normal" Type Ia supernova, its compositional structure, and its elusive progenitor system. We present 18 high signal-to-noise spectra of SN 2011fe during its first month beginning 1.2 days post-explosion and with an average cadence of 1.8 days. This gives a clear picture of how various line-forming species are distributed within the outer layers of the ejecta, including that of unburned material (C+O). We follow the evolution of C II absorption features until they diminish near maximum light, showing overlapping regions of burned and unburned material between ejection velocities of 10,000 and 16,000 km s^-1. This supports the notion that incomplete burning, in addition to progenitor scenarios, is a relevant source of spectroscopic diversity among SNe Ia. The observed evolution of the highly Doppler-shifted O I 7774 absorption features detected within five days post-explosion indicate the presence of O I with expansion velocities from 11,500 to 21,000 km s^-1. The fact that some O I is present above C II suggests that SN 2011fe may have had an appreciable amount of unburned oxygen within the outer layers of the ejecta.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL26
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Early online date31 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2012


  • color figures
  • general
  • individual
  • online-only material
  • sn 2011fe
  • supernovae


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