Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

An asymptotic-giant-branch star in the progenitor system of a type Ia supernova

Abstract

Stars that explode as supernovae come in two main classes. A type Ia supernova is recognized by the absence of hydrogen and the presence of elements such as silicon and sulphur in its spectrum; this class of supernova is thought to produce the majority of iron-peak elements in the Universe. They are also used as precise ‘standard candles’ to measure the distances to galaxies. While there is general agreement that a type Ia supernova is produced by an exploding white dwarf star1, no progenitor system has ever been directly observed. Significant effort has gone into searching for circumstellar material to help discriminate between the possible kinds of progenitor systems2, but no such material has hitherto been found associated with a type Ia supernova3. Here we report the presence of strong hydrogen emission associated with the type Ia supernova SN2002ic, indicating the presence of large amounts of circumstellar material. We infer from this that the progenitor system contained a massive asymptotic-giant-branch star that lost several solar masses of hydrogen-rich gas before the supernova explosion.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Spectroscopic evolution of SN2002ic.
Figure 2: Decomposition and evolution of the Hα profiles.
Figure 3: Spectral analysis of SN2002ic.
Figure 4: Photometric analysis of SN2002ic.
Figure 5: Spectroscopic comparison between SN2002ic and SN1997cy.

References

  1. 1

    Livio, M. in Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts (eds Livio, M., Panagia, N. & Sahu, K.) 334–335 (STScI Symp. Vol. 13, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2001)

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Lentz, E. J., Baron, E., Hauschildt, P. H. & Branch, D. Detectability of hydrogen mixing in type Ia supernova premaximum spectra. Astrophys. J. 580, 374–379 (2002)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Cumming, R. J., Lundqvist, P., Smith, L. J., Pettini, M. & King, D. Circumstellar Hα from SN 1994D and future type Ia supernovae: an observational test of progenitor models. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 283, 1355–1360 (1996)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Wood-Vasey, W. M. et al. Supernova 2002ic. IAU Circ. No. 8019 (2002)

  5. 5

    Phillips, M. M. et al. SN 1991T: Further evidence of the heterogeneous nature of type Ia supernovae. Astron. J. 103, 1632–1637 (1992)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Li, W. et al. A high intrinsic peculiarity rate among type Ia supernovae. Astrophys. J. 546, 734–743 (2001)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Schlegel, E. M. A new subclass of type II supernovae? Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 244, 269–271 (1990)

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Chugai, N. N. The origin of supernovae with dense winds. Astron. Rep. 41, 672–681 (1997a)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Chugai, N. N. Supernovae in dense winds. Astrophys. Space Sci. 252, 225–236 (1997b)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Hamuy, M. in Core Collapse of Massive Stars (ed. Fryer, C. L.) (Kluwer, Dordrecht, in the press); preprint at 〈http://xxx.lanl.gov/astro-ph/0301006〉 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Hamuy, M. et al. Optical and infrared spectroscopy of SN 1999ee and SN 1999ex. Astron. J. 124, 417–429 (2002)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Germany, L. M., Reiss, D. J., Sadler, E. M., Schmidt, B. P. & Stubbs, C. W. SN 1997cy/GRB 970514: A new piece in the gamma-ray burst puzzle? Astrophys. J. 533, 320–328 (2000)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Turatto, M. et al. The properties of supernova 1997cy associated with GRB 970514. Astrophys. J. 534, L57–L61 (2000)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Turatto, M. et al. The type II supernova 1988Z in MCG + 03-28-022: Increasing evidence of interaction of supernova ejecta with a circumstellar ring. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 262, 128–140 (1993)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Arnett, D. Supernovae and Nucleosynthesis (Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 1996)

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Aretxaga, I. et al. SN 1988Z: Spectro-photometric catalogue and energy estimates. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 309, 343–354 (1999)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Suntzeff, N. B. in Supernovae and Supernova Remnants (eds McCray, R. & Wang, Z.) 41 (IAU Colloq. 145, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1996)

    Book  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Strolger, L.-G. et al. The type Ia supernova 1999aw: A probable SN 1999aa-like event in a low luminosity host galaxy. Astron. J. 124, 2905–2919 (2002)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Weidemann, V. Revision of the initial-to-final mass relation. Astron. Astrophys. 363, 647–656 (2000)

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Iben, I. & Renzini, A. Asymptotic giant branch evolution and beyond. Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 21, 271–342 (1983)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Henry, R. B. C. & Worthey, G. The distribution of heavy elements in spiral and elliptical galaxies. Publ. Astron. Soc. Pacif. 111, 919–945 (1999)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Schlegel, D. J., Finkbeiner, D. P. & Davis, M. Maps of dust infrared emission for use in estimation of reddening and cosmic microwave background radiation foregrounds. Astrophys. J. 500, 525–553 (1998)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Hamuy, M., Phillips, M. M., Wells, L. A. & Maza, J. K corrections for type Ia supernovae. Publ. Astron. Soc. Pacif. 105, 787–793 (1993)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Phillips, M. M. et al. The reddening-free decline rate versus luminosity relationship for type Ia supernovae. Astron. J. 118, 1766–1776 (1999)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Stritzinger, M. et al. Optical photometry of the type Ia SN 1999ee and the type Ib/c SN 1999ex in IC 5179. Astron. J. 124, 2100–2117 (2002)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Hamuy, M. et al. The morphology of type Ia supernovae light curves. Astron. J. 112, 2438–2447 (1996)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

All the co-authors participated in gathering the observations of the supernova. M.H. noticed the presence of hydrogen emission. M.M.P. noticed spectroscopic and photometric peculiarities and put forward the idea that these could be understood as due to SN/CSM interaction. N.B.S. provided the arguments about the progenitor types. M.H., M.M.P. and N.B.S. co-wrote this Letter. M.H. is a Hubble Fellow.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mario Hamuy.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

41586_2003_BFnature01854_MOESM1_ESM.jpg

Supplementary Figure 1: Direct image of SN 2002ic. V-band CCD image of SN 2002ic taken on 2002 Dec. 9 UT with the Las Campanas Observatory Swope 1-m telescope. The horizontal bar corresponds to 1 arc min. North is up and East to the left. (JPG 9 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hamuy, M., Phillips, M., Suntzeff, N. et al. An asymptotic-giant-branch star in the progenitor system of a type Ia supernova. Nature 424, 651–654 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01854

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing