SN2014J gamma rays from the 56Ni decay chain

Roland Diehl, Thomas Siegert, Wolfgang Hillebrandt, Martin Krause, Jochen Greiner, Keiichi Maeda, Friedrich K. Röpke, Stuart A. Sim, Wei Wang, Xiaoling Zhang

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Context. The detection and measurement of gamma-ray lines from the decaychain of 56Ni provides unique information about the explosionin supernovae. SN2014J at 3.3 Mpc is a sufficiently-nearby supernova oftype Ia so that such measurements have been feasible with the gamma-rayspectrometer SPI on ESA's INTEGRAL gamma-ray observatory.

Aims:The 56Ni freshly produced in the supernova is understood topower the optical light curve, because it emits gamma rays upon itsradioactive decay first to 56Co and then to 56Fe.Gamma-ray lines from 56Co decay are expected to becomedirectly visible through the white dwarf material several weeks afterthe explosion, as they progressively penetrate the overlying material ofthe supernova envelope, which is diluted as it expands. The lines areexpected to be Doppler-shifted or broadened from the kinematics of the56Ni ejecta. We aim to exploit high-resolution gamma-rayspectroscopy with the SPI spectrometer on INTEGRAL toward constrainingthe 56Ni distribution and kinematics in this supernova.

Methods: We use the observations with the SPI spectrometer onINTEGRAL, together with an improved instrumental background method.

Results: We detect the two main lines from 56Co decay at847 and 1238 keV, which are significantly Doppler-broadened, and atintensities (3.65 ± 1.21) × 10-4 and (2.27± 0.69) × 10-4 ph cm-2s-1, respectively, at their brightness maximum. We measuretheir rise toward a maximum after about 60-100 days and a declinethereafter. The intensity ratio of the two lines is found to beconsistent with expectations from 56Co decay (0.62 ±0.28 at brightness maximum, the expected ratio is 0.68). We find thatthe broad lines seen in the late, gamma-ray transparent phase are notrepresentative of the early gamma-ray emission, and notice instead thatthe emission spectrum is complex and irregular until the supernova isfully transparent to gamma rays, with progressive uncovering of the bulkof 56Ni. We infer that the explosion morphology is notspherically symmetric, both in the distribution of 56Ni andin the unburnt material which occults the 56Co emission.After we compare light curves from different plausible models, theresulting 56Ni mass is determined to be 0.49 ± 0.09M⊙.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA72
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date28 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2015


  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual: SN2014J
  • stars:
  • abundances
  • binaries: close
  • gamma rays: general
  • gamma rays:
  • stars

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