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Exploring metallicity-dependent rates of Type Ia supernovae and their impact on galaxy formation

Gandhi, Pratik J. and Wetzel, Andrew and Hopkins, Philip F. and Shappee, Benjamin J. and Wheeler, Coral and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André (2022) Exploring metallicity-dependent rates of Type Ia supernovae and their impact on galaxy formation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 516 (2). pp. 1941-1958. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stac2228.

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Type Ia supernovae are critical for feedback and elemental enrichment in galaxies. Recent surveys like the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernova (ASAS-SN) and the Dark Energy Survey (DES) find that the specific supernova Ia rate at z ∼ 0 may be ≲20–50× higher in lower mass galaxies than at Milky Way-mass. Independently, observations show that the close-binary fraction of solar-type Milky Way stars is higher at lower metallicity. Motivated by these observations, we use the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations to explore the impact of metallicity-dependent rate models on galaxies of M_* ~ 10⁷-10¹¹M_⊙. First, we benchmark our simulated star formation histories against observations, and show that the assumed stellar mass functions play a major role in determining the degree of tension between observations and metallicity-independent rate models, potentially causing ASAS-SN and DES observations to agree more than might appear. Models in which the supernova Ia rate increases with decreasing metallicity (∝ Z⁻⁰ᐧ⁵ ᵗᵒ ⁻¹) provide significantly better agreement with observations. Encouragingly, these rate increases (≳10× in low-mass galaxies) do not significantly impact galaxy masses and morphologies, which remain largely unaffected except for our most extreme models. We explore implications for both [Fe/H] and [α/Fe] enrichment; metallicity-dependent rate models can improve agreement with the observed stellar mass–metallicity relations in low-mass galaxies. Our results demonstrate that a range of metallicity-dependent rate models are viable for galaxy formation and motivate future work.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription article ItemDiscussion paper
Gandhi, Pratik J.0000-0003-0965-605X
Wetzel, Andrew0000-0003-0603-8942
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Shappee, Benjamin J.0000-0003-4631-1149
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Additional Information:We thank Peter Behroozi, Ivanna Escala, Shea Garrison-Kimmel, Robyn Sanderson, Dan Weisz, and Philip Wiseman for valuable discussions that improved this paper overall, as well as sharing data in some cases. We also thank the anonymous referee for the comments, especially on the nuances of the comparison to observational data, that resulted in this more complete and improved manuscript. This analysis relied on NUMPY (Harris et al. 2020), SCIPY (Virtanen et al. 2020), ASTROPY,2 a community-developed core PYTHON package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration 2013, 2018), MATPLOTLIB, a PYTHON library for publication-quality graphics (Hunter 2007), the IPYTHON package (Pérez & Granger 2007), and the publicly available package GIZMOANALYSIS (Wetzel & Garrison-Kimmel 2020, available at; as well as NASA’s Astrophysics Data System (ADS)3 and the ARXIV4 preprint service. PJG and AW received support from the NSF via CAREER award AST-2045928 and grant AST-2107772; NASA ATP grants 80NSSC18K1097 and 80NSSC20K0513; HST grants GO-14734, AR-15057, AR-15809, and GO-15902 from STScI; a Scialog Award from the Heising-Simons Foundation; and a Hellman Fellowship. AW and BJS acknowledge the Scialog Fellows program, sponsored by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, which motivated some of this work. Support for PFH was provided by NSF Research Grants 1911233 and 20009234, NSF CAREER grant 1455342, NASA grants 80NSSC18K0562, HST-AR-15800.001-A. BJS received support from NSF grants AST-1920392, AST-1911074, AST-1908952, and AST-2050710 and NASA grants HST-GO-16451, HST-GO-16498, and 80NSSC21K1788. CW acknowledges support from NSF LEAPS-MPS grant AST-2137988. CAFG received support from NSF grants AST-1715216, AST-2108230, and CAREER award AST-1652522; from NASA grant 17-ATP17-0067; from STScI through grant HST-AR-16124.001-A; and from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement through a Cottrell Scholar Award. We ran simulations and performed numerical calculations using the UC Davis computer cluster Peloton, the Caltech computer cluster Wheeler, the Northwestern computer cluster Quest; XSEDE, supported by NSF grant ACI-1548562; Blue Waters, supported by the NSF; Frontera allocations FTA/Hopkins-AST21010 and AST20016, supported by the NSF and TACC; XSEDE allocations TG-AST140023 and TG-AST140064, and NASA HEC allocations SMD-16-7561, SMD-17-1204, and SMD-16-7592; Pleiades, via the NASA HEC program through the NAS Division at Ames Research Center.
Group:TAPIR, Astronomy Department
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Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220923-941669700.9
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117126
Deposited By: Melissa Ray
Deposited On:28 Sep 2022 21:37
Last Modified:28 Sep 2022 21:37

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