Exclusion of a luminous red giant as a companion star to the progenitor of supernova SN 2011fe

Weidong Li, Joshua S. Bloom, Philipp Podsiadlowski, Adam A. Miller, S. Bradley Cenko, Saurabh W. Jha, Mark Sullivan, D. Andrew Howell, Peter E. Nugent, Nathaniel Butler, Eran O. Ofek, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Joseph W. Richards, Alan Stockton, Hsin Yi Shih, Lars Bildsten, Michael M. Shara, Joanne Bibby, Alexei V. Filippenko, Mohan GaneshalingamJeffrey M. Silverman, S. R. Kulkarni, Nicholas M. Law, Dovi Poznanski, Robert M. Quimby, Curtis McCully, Brandon Patel, Kate Maguire, Ken J. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

219 Scopus citations

Abstract

Type Ia supernovae are thought to result from a thermonuclear explosion of an accreting white dwarf in a binary system, but little is known of the precise nature of the companion star and the physical properties of the progenitor system. There are two classes of models: double-degenerate (involving two white dwarfs in a close binary system) and single-degenerate models. In the latter, the primary white dwarf accretes material from a secondary companion until conditions are such that carbon ignites, at a mass of 1.38 times the mass of the Sun. The type Ia supernova SN 2011fe was recently detected in a nearby galaxy. Here we report an analysis of archival images of the location of SN 2011fe. The luminosity of the progenitor system (especially the companion star) is 10-100 times fainter than previous limits on other type Ia supernova progenitor systems, allowing us to rule out luminous red giants and almost all helium stars as the mass-donating companion to the exploding white dwarf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-350
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume480
Issue number7377
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Exclusion of a luminous red giant as a companion star to the progenitor of supernova SN 2011fe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Li, W., Bloom, J. S., Podsiadlowski, P., Miller, A. A., Cenko, S. B., Jha, S. W., Sullivan, M., Howell, D. A., Nugent, P. E., Butler, N., Ofek, E. O., Kasliwal, M. M., Richards, J. W., Stockton, A., Shih, H. Y., Bildsten, L., Shara, M. M., Bibby, J., Filippenko, A. V., ... Shen, K. J. (2011). Exclusion of a luminous red giant as a companion star to the progenitor of supernova SN 2011fe. Nature, 480(7377), 348-350. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10646