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The type Ia supernova SNLS-03D3bb from a super-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf star

Howell, D. Andrew and Sullivan, Mark and Nugent, Peter E. and Ellis, Richard S. and Conley, Alexander J. and Le Borgne, Damien and Carlberg, Raymond G. and Guy, Julien and Balam, David and Basa, Stephane and Fouchez, Dominique and Hook, Isobel M. and Hsiao, Eric Y. and Neill, James D. and Pain, Reynald and Perrett, Kathryn M. and Pritchet, Christopher J. (2006) The type Ia supernova SNLS-03D3bb from a super-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf star. Nature, 443 (7109). pp. 308-311. ISSN 0028-0836.

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The accelerating expansion of the Universe, and the need for dark energy, were inferred from observations of type Ia supernovae. There is a consensus that type Ia supernovae are thermonuclear explosions that destroy carbon–oxygen white dwarf stars that have accreted matter from a companion star, although the nature of this companion remains uncertain. These supernovae are thought to be reliable distance indicators because they have a standard amount of fuel and a uniform trigger: they are predicted to explode when the mass of the white dwarf nears the Chandrasekhar mass of 1.4 solar masses (M_☉). Here we show that the high-redshift supernova SNLS-03D3bb has an exceptionally high luminosity and low kinetic energy that both imply a super-Chandrasekhar-mass progenitor. Super-Chandrasekhar-mass supernovae should occur preferentially in a young stellar population, so this may provide an explanation for the observed trend that overluminous type Ia supernovae occur only in 'young' environments. As this supernova does not obey the relations that allow type Ia supernovae to be calibrated as standard candles, and as no counterparts have been found at low redshift, future cosmology studies will have to consider possible contamination from such events.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Information ReadCube access
Howell, D. Andrew0000-0003-4253-656X
Sullivan, Mark0000-0001-9053-4820
Nugent, Peter E.0000-0002-3389-0586
Ellis, Richard S.0000-0001-7782-7071
Hook, Isobel M.0000-0002-2960-978X
Neill, James D.0000-0002-0466-1119
Additional Information:© 2006 Nature Publishing Group. Received 7 April; accepted 18 July 2006. SNLS relies on observations with MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). We used data products from the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre as part of the CFHT Legacy Survey. Some data were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory. We acknowledge support from NSERC, NERSC, CIAR, CNRS/IN2P3, CNRS/INSU, CEA and the DOE.
Group:Space Astrophysics Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)UNSPECIFIED
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:7109
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150408-073732428
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Official Citation:The type Ia supernova SNLS-03D3bb from a super-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf star p308 D. Andrew Howell, Mark Sullivan, Peter E. Nugent, Richard S. Ellis, Alexander J. Conley, Damien Le Borgne, Raymond G. Carlberg, Julien Guy, David Balam, Stephane Basa, Dominique Fouchez, Isobel M. Hook, Eric Y. Hsiao, James D. Neill, Reynald Pain, Kathryn M. Perrett and Christopher J. Pritchet doi:10.1038/nature05103
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:56454
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:08 Apr 2015 22:54
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 22:15

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