A strong ultraviolet pulse from a newborn type Ia supernova

Yi Cao*, S. R. Kulkarni, D. Andrew Howell, Avishay Gal-Yam, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Stefano Valenti, J. Johansson, R. Amanullah, A. Goobar, J. Sollerman, F. Taddia, Assaf Horesh, Ilan Sagiv, S. Bradley Cenko, Peter E. Nugent, Iair Arcavi, Jason Surace, P. R. Woźniak, Daniela I. Moody, Umaa D. RebbapragadaBrian D. Bue, Neil Gehrels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations

Abstract

Type Ia supernovae are destructive explosions of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs. Although they are used empirically to measure cosmological distances, the nature of their progenitors remains mysterious. One of the leading progenitor models, called the single degenerate channel, hypothesizes that a white dwarf accretes matter from a companion star and the resulting increase in its central pressure and temperature ignites thermonuclear explosion. Here we report observations with the Swift Space Telescope of strong but declining ultraviolet emission from a type Ia supernova within four days of its explosion. This emission is consistent with theoretical expectations of collision between material ejected by the supernova and a companion star, and therefore provides evidence that some type Ia supernovae arise from the single degenerate channel.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)328-331
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume521
Issue number7552
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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