Sunday, May 7, 2023

Constraining Type Ia Supernova Progenitors the Apian Way


We present very early photometric and spectroscopic observations of the Type Ia supernova (SN) 2023bee, starting about 8 hours after the explosion, which reveal a strong excess in the optical and nearest UV (U and UVW1) bands during the first several days of explosion.

We find a good match to the Kasen model in which a main-sequence companion star stings the ejecta with a shock as they buzz past. Models of double detonations, shells of radioactive nickel near the surface, interaction with circumstellar material, and pulsational-delayed detonations do not provide good matches to our light curves. We also observe signatures of unburned material, in the form of carbon absorption, in our earliest spectra.

This is an exciting result out of my research group at Las Cumbres Observatory!

Taken together, our observations above suggest that the emission from SN 2023bee during the first few days after explosion consists of typical Type Ia SN spectral features plus an additional hot continuum component. 

This Letter demonstrates the power of using very high-cadence, multiband photometry of young, nearby Type Ia SNe to constrain their progenitor systems, which is only possible with specially designed robotic facilities like the DLT40 Survey, Las Cumbres Observatory, and Swift.  

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