Journal Article

The progenitors of Type Ia supernovae with long delay times

Bo Wang, Xiang-Dong Li and Zhan-Wen Han

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 4, pages 2729-2738
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The progenitors of Type Ia supernovae with long delay times

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The nature of the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) is still unclear. In this paper, by considering the effect of the instability of accretion disc on the evolution of white dwarf (WD) binaries, we performed binary evolution calculations for about 2400 close WD binaries, in which a carbon–oxygen WD accretes material from a main-sequence (MS) star or a slightly evolved subgiant star (WD + MS channel), or a red-giant star (WD + RG channel) to increase its mass to the Chandrasekhar (Ch) mass limit. According to these calculations, we mapped out the initial parameters for SNe Ia in the orbital period–secondary mass (log PiMi2) plane for various WD masses for these two channels, respectively. We confirm that WDs in the WD + MS channel with a mass as low as 0.61 M can accrete efficiently and reach the Ch limit, while the lowest WD mass for the WD + RG channel is 1.0 M. We have implemented these results in a binary population synthesis study to obtain the SN Ia birthrates and the evolution of SN Ia birthrates with time for both a constant star formation rate and a single starburst. We find that the Galactic SN Ia birthrate from the WD + MS channel is ∼1.8 × 10−3 yr−1 according to our standard model, which is higher than the previous results. However, similar to the previous studies, the birthrate from the WD + RG channel is still low (∼3 × 10−5 yr−1). We also find that about one-third of SNe Ia from the WD + MS channel and all SNe Ia from the WD + RG channel can contribute to the old populations (≳1 Gyr) of SN Ia progenitors.

Keywords: binaries: close; stars: evolution; supernovae: general; white dwarfs

Journal Article.  7216 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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