Journal Article

Pair-instability supernovae via collision runaway in young dense star clusters

Tony Pan, Abraham Loeb and Daniel Kasen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 423, issue 3, pages 2203-2208
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Pair-instability supernovae via collision runaway in young dense star clusters

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Stars with helium cores between ∼64 and 133 M are theoretically predicted to die as pair-instability supernovae. This requires very massive progenitors, which are theoretically prohibited for Pop II/I stars within the Galactic stellar mass limit due to mass-loss via line-driven winds. However, the runaway collision of stars in a dense, young star cluster could create a merged star with sufficient mass to end its life as a pair-instability supernova, even with enhanced mass-loss at non-zero metallicity. We show that the predicted rate from this mechanism is consistent with the inferred volumetric rate of roughly ∼2 × 10−9 Mpc−3 yr−1 of the two observed pair-instability supernovae, SN 2007bi and PTF 10nmn, neither of which has metal-free host galaxies. Contrary to prior literature, only pair-instability supernovae at low redshifts z < 2 will be observable with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. We estimate that the telescope will observe ∼102 such events per year that originate from the collisional runaway mergers in clusters.

Keywords: supernovae: general; galaxies: star clusters: general

Journal Article.  4731 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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