Journal Article

How old are SN Ia progenitor systems? New observational constraints on the distribution of time delays from <i>GALEX</i>

Kevin Schawinski

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 397, issue 2, pages 717-725
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15065.x
How old are SN Ia progenitor systems? New observational constraints on the distribution of time delays from GALEX

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The time delay between the formation of the progenitor systems of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) and their detonation is a vital discriminant between the various progenitor scenarios that have been proposed for them. We use Sloan Digital Sky Survey optical and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) ultraviolet observations of the early-type host galaxies of 21 nearby SNe Ia and quantify the presence or absence of any young stellar population to constrain the minimum time delay for each supernova. We find that early-type host galaxies lack ‘prompt’ SNe Ia with time delays of ≲100 Myr and that ∼70 per cent SNe Ia have minimum time delays of 275 Myr–1.25 Gyr, with a median of 650 Myr, while at least 20 per cent SNe Ia have minimum time delays of at least 1 Gyr at 95 per cent confidence and two of these four SNe Ia are likely older than 2 Gyr. The distribution of minimum time delays observed matches most closely the expectation for the single-degenerate channel with a main sequence donor. Furthermore, we do not find any evidence that subluminous SNe Ia are associated with long time delays.

Keywords: supernovae: general; galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD; ultraviolet: galaxies

Journal Article.  6208 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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