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Variable Sodium Absorption in a Low-extinction Type Ia Supernova
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2009 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 702, 1157-1170 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent observations have revealed that some Type Ia supernovae exhibit narrow, time-variable Na I D absorption features. The origin of the absorbing material is controversial, but it may suggest the presence of circumstellar gas in the progenitor system prior to the explosion, with significant implications for the nature of the supernova (SN) progenitors. We present the third detection of such variable absorption, based on six epochs of high-resolution spectroscopy of the Type Ia supernova SN 2007le from the Keck I Telescope and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. The data span a time frame of approximately three months, from 5 days before maximum light to 90 days after maximum. We find that one component of the Na I D absorption lines strengthened significantly with time, indicating a total column density increase of ~2.5 × 1012 cm-2. The data limit the typical timescale for the variability to be more than 2 days but less than 10 days. The changes appear to be most prominent after maximum light rather than at earlier times when the ultraviolet flux from the SN peaks. As with SN 2006X, we detect no change in the Ca II H and K absorption lines over the same time period, rendering line-of-sight effects improbable and suggesting a circumstellar origin for the absorbing material. Unlike the previous two supernovae exhibiting variable absorption, SN 2007le is not highly reddened (E B - V = 0.27 mag), also pointing toward circumstellar rather than interstellar absorption. Photoionization calculations show that the data are consistent with a dense (107 cm-3) cloud or clouds of gas located ~0.1 pc (3 × 1017 cm) from the explosion. These results broadly support the single-degenerate scenario previously proposed to explain the variable absorption, with mass loss from a nondegenerate companion star responsible for providing the circumstellar gas. We also present possible evidence for narrow Hα emission associated with the SN, which will require deep imaging and spectroscopy at late times to confirm. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Based in part on observations obtained with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, which is a joint project of the University of Texas at Austin, the Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 702, 1157-1170 p.
Keyword [en]
circumstellar matter, supernovae: general, supernovae: individual: SN 1999cl SN 2006X SN 2007le
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31036DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/702/2/1157ISI: 000269245000031ISBN: 0004-637XOAI: diva2:274816
Available from: 2009-11-02 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2011-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Sauer, Daniel N.
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