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The Impact of Metallicity on the Rate of Type Ia Supernovae

Kistler, Matthew D. and Stanek, K. Z. and Kochanek, Christopher S. and Prieto, José L. and Thompson, Todd A. (2013) The Impact of Metallicity on the Rate of Type Ia Supernovae. Astrophysical Journal, 770 (2). Art. No. 88. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/770/2/88.

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The metallicity of a star strongly affects both its evolution and the properties of the stellar remnant that results from its demise. It is generally accepted that stars with initial masses below ~8 M_☉ leave behind white dwarfs and that some sub-population of these lead to Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). However, it is often tacitly assumed that metallicity has no effect on the rate of SNe Ia. We propose that a consequence of the effects of metallicity is to significantly increase the SN Ia rate in lower-metallicity galaxies, in contrast to previous expectations. This is because lower-metallicity stars leave behind higher-mass white dwarfs, which should be easier to bring to explosion. We first model SN Ia rates in relation to galaxy masses and ages alone, finding that the elevation in the rate of SNe Ia in lower-mass galaxies measured by Lick Observatory SN Search is readily explained. However, we then see that models incorporating this effect of metallicity agree just as well. Using the same parameters to estimate the cosmic SN Ia rate, we again find good agreement with data up to z ≈ 2. We suggest that this degeneracy warrants more detailed examination of host galaxy metallicities. We discuss additional implications, including for hosts of high-z SNe Ia, the SN Ia delay time distribution, super-Chandrasekhar SNe, and cosmology.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kochanek, Christopher S.0000-0001-6017-2961
Prieto, José L.0000-0003-1072-2712
Additional Information:© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 August 3; accepted 2013 April 30; published 2013 May 28. We thank John Beacom, Jonathan Bird, Shunsaku Horiuchi, Rubab Khan, Marc Pinsonneault, and Hasan Yuksel for helpful discussions, Weidong Li for providing us with the data in Figure 1, and the referee for helpful comments. M.D.K. acknowledges support provided by NASA through the Einstein Fellowship Program, grant PF0-110074. K.Z.S., C.S.K. and T.A.T. are supported in part by NSF grant AST-0908816. J.L.P. acknowledges support from NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant HF-51261.01-A awarded by the STScI, which is operated by AURA, Inc. for NASA, under contract NAS 5-26555. T.A.T. is supported in part by an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Einstein FellowshipPF0-110074
NASA Hubble FellowshipHF-51261.01-A
NASANAS 5-26555
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:binaries: close; supernovae: general; white dwarfs
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130723-150039543
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Official Citation:The Impact of Metallicity on the Rate of Type Ia Supernovae Matthew D. Kistler, K. Z. Stanek, Christopher S. Kochanek, José L. Prieto, and Todd A. Thompson doi:10.1088/0004-637X/770/2/88
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:39541
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:23 Jul 2013 22:44
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:45

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