The nebular spectra of SN 2012aw and constraints on stellar nucleosynthesis from oxygen emission lines

A. Jerkstrand*, S. J. Smartt, M. Fraser, C. Fransson, J. Sollerman, F. Taddia, R. Kotak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)
277 Downloads (Pure)


We present nebular-phase optical and near-infrared spectroscopy of the Type IIP supernova SN 2012aw combined with non-local thermodynamic equilibrium radiative transfer calculations applied to ejecta from stellar evolution/explosion models. Our spectral synthesis models generally show good agreement with the ejecta from a MZAMS = 15 Mprogenitor star. The emission lines of oxygen, sodium, and magnesium are all consistent with the nucleosynthesis in a progenitor in the 14-18 M range.We also demonstrate how the evolution of the oxygen cooling lines of [O I] λ5577, [O I] λ6300, and [O I] λ6364 can be used to constrain the mass of oxygen in the non-molecularly cooled ashes to < 1 M, independent of the mixing in the ejecta. This constraint implies that any progenitor model of initial mass greater than 20 M would be difficult to reconcile with the observed line strengths. A stellar progenitor of around MZAMS = 15 M can consistently explain the directly measured luminosity of the progenitor star, the observed nebular spectra, and the inferred pre-supernova mass-loss rate.We conclude that there is still no convincing example of a Type IIP supernova showing the nucleosynthesis products expected from an MZAMS > 20 M progenitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3694-3703
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date03 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2014


  • Radiative transfer
  • Stars: evolution
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual: SN 2012aw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'The nebular spectra of SN 2012aw and constraints on stellar nucleosynthesis from oxygen emission lines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this