Prospects of direct detection of 48V gamma-rays from thermonuclear supernovae

Fiona H Panther, Ivo R Seitenzahl, Ashley J Ruiter, Thomas Siegert, Stuart Sim, Roland M Crocker

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Detection of gamma-rays emitted by radioactive isotopes synthesized in stellar explosions can give important insights into the processes that power transients such as supernovae, as well as providing a detailed census of the abundance of different isotope species relevant to the chemical evolution of the Universe. Observations of nearby supernovae have yielded observational proof that 57Co powered the late-time evolution of SN1987A’s lightcurve, and conclusive evidence that 56Ni and its daughter nuclei power the light curves of Type Ia supernovae. In this paper we describe the prospects for detecting nuclear decay lines associated with the decay of 48V, the daughter nucleus of 48Cr, which is expected to be synthesised in large quantities - MCr ∼ 1.9 × 10−2 M⊙ - in transients initiated by explosive helium burning (α-capture) of a thick helium shell. We calculate emergent gamma-ray line fluxes for a simulated explosion model of a thermonuclear explosion of carbon-oxygen white dwarf core of mass 0.45 M⊙ surrounded by a thick helium layer of mass 0.21 M⊙. We present observational limits on the presence of 48V in nearby SNe Ia 2014J using the INTEGRAL space telescope, excluding a 48Cr production on the surface of more than 0.1 M⊙. We find that the future gamma-ray mission AMEGO will have an approximately 5 per cent chance of observing 48V gamma-rays from such events during the currently-planned operational lifetime, based on our birthrate predictions of faint thermonuclear transients. We describe the conditions for a 3σ detection by the gamma-ray telescopes INTEGRAL/SPI, COSI and AMEGO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1590–1598
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date23 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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