The interaction between supernova ejecta and circumstellar matter, arising from previous episodes of mass loss, provides us with a means of constraining the progenitors of supernovae. Radio observations of a number of supernovae show quasi-periodic deviations from a strict power-law decline at late times. Although several possibilities have been put forward to explain these modulations, no single explanation has proven to be entirely satisfactory. Here we suggest that Luminous blue variables undergoing S-Doradus type variations give rise to enhanced phases of mass loss that are imprinted on the immediate environment of the exploding star as a series of density enhancements. The variations in mass loss arise from changes in the ionization balance of Fe, the dominant ion that drives the wind. With this idea, we find that both the recurrence timescale of the variability and the amplitude of the modulations are in line with the observations. Our scenario thus provides a natural, single-star explanation for the observed behaviour that is, in fact, expected on theoretical grounds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science