Searching for swept-up hydrogen and helium in the late-time spectra of 11 nearby Type Ia supernovae

K. Maguire, S. Taubenberger, M. Sullivan, P. A. Mazzali

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The direct detection of a stellar system that explodes as a Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) has not yet been successful. Various indirect methods have been used to investigate SN Ia progenitor systems but none have produced conclusive results. A prediction of single-degenerate models is that H- (or He-) rich material from the envelope of the companion star should be swept up by the SN ejecta in the explosion. Seven SNe Ia have been analysed to date looking for signs of H-rich material in their late-time spectra and none were detected. We present results from new late-time spectra of 11 SNe Ia obtained at the Very Large Telescope using XShooter and FORS2. We present the tentative detection of Hα emission for SN 2013ct, corresponding to ∼0.007 M of stripped/ablated companion star material (under the assumptions of the spectral modelling). This mass is significantly lower than expected for single-degenerate scenarios, suggesting that >0.1 M of H-rich is present but not observed. We do not detect Hα emission in the other 10 SNe Ia. This brings the total sample of normal SNe Ia with non-detections (<0.001–0.058 M) of H-rich material to 17 events. The simplest explanation for these non-detections is that these objects did not result from the explosion of a CO white dwarf accreting matter from a H-rich companion star via Roche lobe overflow or symbiotic channels. However, further spectral modelling is needed to confirm this. We also find no evidence of He-emission features, but models with He-rich companion stars are not available to place mass limits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3254-3265
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date22 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2016


  • line: profiles
  • supernovae: general


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