We present mid-infrared (5.2-15.2 mu m) spectra of the Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) 2003hv and 2005df observed with the Spitzer Space Telescope. These are the first observed mid-infrared spectra of thermonuclear supernovae, and show strong emission from fine-structure lines of Ni, Co, S, and Ar. The detection of Ni emission in SN 2005df 135 days after the explosion provides direct observational evidence of high-density nuclear burning forming a significant amount of stable Ni in a SN Ia. The SN 2005df Ar lines also exhibit a two-pronged emission profile, implying that the Ar emission deviates significantly from spherical symmetry. The spectrum of SN 2003hv also shows signs of asymmetry, exhibiting blueshifted [Co (III)], which matches the blueshift of [Fe (II)] lines in nearly coeval near-infrared spectra. Finally, local thermodynamic equilibrium abundance estimates for the yield of radioactive Ni-56 give M-56Ni approximate to 0.5 M-circle dot, for SN 2003hv, but only M-56Ni approximate to 0.13-0.22 M-circle dot for the apparently subluminous SN 2005df, supporting the notion that the luminosity of SNe Ia is primarily a function of the radioactive 56Ni yield. The observed emission-line profiles in the SN 2005df spectrum indicate a chemically stratified ejecta structure, which matches the predictions of delayed detonation (DD) models, but is entirely incompatible with current three-dimensional deflagration models. Furthermore, the degree that this layering persists to the innermost regions of the supernova is difficult to explain even in a DD scenario, where the innermost ejecta are still the product of deflagration burning. Thus, while these results are roughly consistent with a delayed detonation, it is clear that a key piece of physics is still missing from our understanding of the earliest phases of SN Ia explosions.
|Number of pages||18|
|Issue number||2 I|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Jun 2007|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science