Journal Article

A search for the progenitors of two Type Ia Supernovae in NGC 1316

Dan Maoz and Filippo Mannucci

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 388, issue 1, pages 421-428
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13403.x
A search for the progenitors of two Type Ia Supernovae in NGC 1316

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Recent evidence of a young progenitor population for many Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) raises the possibility that evolved intermediate-mass progenitor stars may be detected in pre-explosion images. NGC 1316, a radio galaxy in the Fornax cluster, is a prolific producer of SNe Ia, with four detected since 1980. We analyse Hubble Space Telescope (HST) pre-explosion images of the sites of two of the SNe Ia that exploded in this galaxy, SN2006dd (a normal Type Ia) and SN2006mr (likely a subluminous, 1991bg-like, SN Ia). Astrometric positions are obtained from optical and near-infrared ground-based images of the events. We find no candidate point sources at either location, and set upper limits on the flux in B, V and I from any such progenitors. We also estimate the amount of extinction that could be present, based on analysis of the surface-brightness inhomogeneities in the HST images themselves. At the distance of NGC 1316, the limits correspond to absolute magnitudes of ∼−5.5, −5.4 and −6.0 mag in MB, MV and MI, respectively. Comparison to stellar evolution models argues against the presence at the supernova sites, 3 yr prior to the explosion, of normal stars with initial masses ≳6 M at the tip of their asymptotic-giant branch (AGB) evolution, young post-AGB stars that had initial masses ≳4 M and post-red giant stars of initial masses ≳9 M.

Keywords: supernovae: general; supernovae: individual: SN2006dd; supernovae: individual: SN2006mr; galaxies: individual: NGC 1316

Journal Article.  5594 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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