No hot and luminous progenitor for Tycho's supernova

T. E. Woods, P. Ghavamian, C. Badenes, M. Gilfanov

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18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Type Ia supernovae have proven vital to our understanding of cosmology, both as standard candles and for their role in galactic chemical evolution; however, their origin remains uncertain. The canonical accretion model implies a hot and luminous progenitor that would ionize the surrounding gas out to a radius of ~10-100 pc for ~100,000 years after the explosion. Here, we report stringent upper limits on the temperature and luminosity of the progenitor of Tycho's supernova (SN 1572), determined using the remnant itself as a probe of its environment. Hot, luminous progenitors that would have produced a greater hydrogen ionization fraction than that measured at the radius of the present remnant (~3 pc) can thus be excluded. This conclusively rules out steadily nuclear-burning white dwarfs (supersoft X-ray sources), as well as disk emission from a Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf accreting approximately greater than 10-8 M · yr-1 (recurrent novae; M · is equal to one solar mass). The lack of a surrounding Strömgren sphere is consistent with the merger of a double white dwarf binary, although other more exotic scenarios may be possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-804
Number of pages5
JournalNature Astronomy
Volume1
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

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