Predicting polarization signatures for double-detonation and delayed-detonation models of Type Ia supernovae

M. Bulla, S. A. Sim, M. Kromer, I. R. Seitenzahl, M. Fink, F. Ciaraldi-Schoolmann, F. K. Röpke, W. Hillebrandt, R. Pakmor, A. J. Ruiter, S. Taubenberger

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Calculations of synthetic spectropolarimetry are one means to test multidimensional explosion models for Type Ia supernovae. In a recent paper, we demonstrated that the violent merger of a 1.1 and 0.9 M⊙ white dwarf binary system is too asymmetric to explain the low polarization levels commonly observed in normal Type Ia supernovae. Here, we present polarization simulations for two alternative scenarios: the sub-Chandrasekhar mass double-detonation and the Chandrasekhar mass delayed-detonation model. Specifically, we study a 2D double-detonation model and a 3D delayed-detonation model, and calculate polarization spectra for multiple observer orientations in both cases. We find modest polarization levels (<1 per cent) for both explosion models. Polarization in the continuum peaks at ∼0.1–0.3 per cent and decreases after maximum light, in excellent agreement with spectropolarimetric data of normal Type Ia supernovae. Higher degrees of polarization are found across individual spectral lines. In particular, the synthetic Si II λ6355 profiles are polarized at levels that match remarkably well the values observed in normal Type Ia supernovae, while the low degrees of polarization predicted across the O I λ7774 region are consistent with the non-detection of this feature in current data. We conclude that our models can reproduce many of the characteristics of both flux and polarization spectra for well-studied Type Ia supernovae, such as SN 2001el and SN 2012fr. However, the two models considered here cannot account for the unusually high level of polarization observed in extreme cases such as SN 2004dt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1056
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2016


  • hydrodynamics
  • polarization
  • radiative transfer
  • methods: numerical
  • supernovae: general

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