The Unification of Asymmetry Signatures of Type Ia Supernovae

Justyn R. Maund, Peter Höflich, Ferninando Patat, J. Craig Wheeler, Paula Zelaya, Dietrich Baade, Lifan Wang, Alejandro Clocchiatti, Jason Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
170 Downloads (Pure)


We present a compilation of the geometry measures acquired using optical and IR spectroscopy and optical spectropolarimetry to probe the explosion geometry of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). Polarization measurements are sensitive to asymmetries in the plane of the sky, whereas line profiles in nebular phase spectra are expected to trace asymmetries perpendicular to the plane of the sky. The combination of these two measures can overcome their respective projection effects, completely probing the structures of these events. For nine normal SNe Ia, we find that the polarization of Si II ?6355 at 5 days before maximum (p Si II ) is well correlated with its velocity evolution (\dot{v}_Si II), implying that \dot{v}_Si II is predominantly due to the asymmetry of the SNe. We find only a weak correlation between the polarization of Si II and the reported velocities (v neb) for peak emission of optical Fe II and Ni II lines in nebular spectra. Our sample is biased, with polarization measurements being only available for normal SNe that subsequently exhibited positive (i.e., redshifted) v neb. In unison these indicators are consistent with an explosion in which the outer layers are dominated by a spherical oxygen layer, mixed with an asymmetric distribution of intermediate-mass elements. The combination of spectroscopic and spectropolarimetric indicators suggests a single geometric configuration for normal SNe Ia, with some of the diversity of observed properties arising from orientation effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L167-L171
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Early online date01 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

The research of J.C.W. is supported in part by NSF grant AST-0707769. A.C., J.Q., and P.Z. thank the support of Basal CATA PFB 06/09, FONDAP No. 15010003, and P06-045-F (ICM/MIDEPLAN/Chile). P.A.H. was supported by NSF grants 0703902 and 0708855.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Unification of Asymmetry Signatures of Type Ia Supernovae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this