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Journal Article

The intrinsic stochasticity of the 56Ni distribution of single-degenerate near-Chandrasekhar-mass SN Ia


Byrohl,  Chris
Computational Structure Formation, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Byrohl, C., Fisher, R., & Townsley, D. (2019). The intrinsic stochasticity of the 56Ni distribution of single-degenerate near-Chandrasekhar-mass SN Ia. The Astrophysical Journal, 878(1): 67. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab1f73.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-4A86-2
Although Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarfs (WDs) accreting mass from non-degenerate stellar companions through the single-degenerate channel have reigned for decades as the leading explanation of SNe Ia, a comprehensive theoretical explanation has not yet emerged to explain the expected properties of the canonical near-Chandrasekhar-mass WD model. A simmering phase within the convective core of the WD leads to the ignition of one or more flame bubbles scattered across the core. Consequently, near-Chandrasekhar-mass single-degenerate SNe Ia are inherently stochastic and are expected to lead to a range of outcomes, from subluminous SN 2002cx-like events to overluminous SN 1991T-like events. However, all of the prior simulations of the single-degenerate channel carried through the detonation phase have set the ignition points as free parameters. In this work, for the first time, we place a single ignition point as predicted by ab initio models of the convective phase leading up to ignition and follow through the detonation phase in fully three-dimensional simulations. Single-degenerates in this framework are characteristically overluminous. Using a statistical approach, we determine the 56Ni mass distribution arising from stochastic ignition. While there is a total spread of 0.2 M ⊙ for detonating models, the distribution is strongly left-skewed and with a narrow standard deviation of 0.03 M ⊙. Conversely, if single-degenerates are not overluminous but primarily yield normal or failed events, then our models require fine-tuning of the ignition parameters, or otherwise require revised physics or WD models. We also discuss the implications of our findings for the modeling of single-degenerate SNe Ia.