Double-detonation sub-Chandrasekhar supernovae: Synthetic observables for minimum helium shell mass models

M. Kromer, S.A. Sim, M. Fink, F.K. Röpke, I.R. Seitenzahl, W. Hillebrandt

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204 Citations (Scopus)


In the double-detonation scenario for Type Ia supernovae, it is suggested that a detonation initiates in a shell of helium-rich material accreted from a companion star by a sub-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf. This shell detonation drives a shock front into the carbon-oxygen white dwarf that triggers a secondary detonation in the core. The core detonation results in a complete disruption of the white dwarf. Earlier studies concluded that this scenario has difficulties in accounting for the observed properties of Type Ia supernovae since the explosion ejecta are surrounded by the products of explosive helium burning in the shell. Recently, however, it was proposed that detonations might be possible for much less massive helium shells than previously assumed (Bildsten et al.). Moreover, it was shown that even detonations of these minimum helium shell masses robustly trigger detonations of the carbon-oxygen core (Fink et al.). Therefore, it is possible that the impact of the helium layer on observables is less than previously thought. Here, we present time-dependent multi-wavelength radiative transfer calculations for models with minimum helium shell mass and derive synthetic observables for both the optical and ? -ray spectral regions. These differ strongly from those found in earlier simulations of sub-Chandrasekhar-mass explosions in which more massive helium shells were considered. Our models predict light curves that cover both the range of brightnesses and the rise and decline times of observed Type Ia supernovae. However, their colors and spectra do not match the observations. In particular, their B - V colors are generally too red. We show that this discrepancy is mainly due to the composition of the burning products of the helium shell of the Fink et al. models which contain significant amounts of titanium and chromium. Using a toy model, we also show that the burning products of the helium shell depend crucially on its initial composition. This leads us to conclude that good agreement between sub-Chandrasekhar-mass explosions and observed Type Ia supernovae may still be feasible but further study of the shell properties is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1082
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2010


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