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Title: The whisper of a whimper of a bang: 2400 d of the Type Ia SN 2011fe reveals the decay of 55Fe

We analyse new multifilter Hubble Space Telescope (HST) photometry of the normal Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) 2011fe out to ≈2400 d after maximum light, the latest observations to date of a SN Ia. We model the pseudo-bolometric light curve with a simple radioactive decay model and find energy input from both 57Co and 55Fe are needed to power the late-time luminosity. This is the first detection of 55Fe in a SN Ia. We consider potential sources of contamination such as a surviving companion star or delaying the deposition time-scale for 56Co positrons but these scenarios are ultimately disfavored. The relative isotopic abundances place direct constraints on the burning conditions experienced by the white dwarf (WD). Additionally, we place a conservative upper limit of <10−3 M⊙ on the synthesized mass of 44Ti. Only two classes of explosion models are currently consistent with all observations of SN 2011fe: (1) the delayed detonation of a low-ρc, near-MCh (1.2–1.3 M⊙) WD, or (2) a sub-MCh (1.0–1.1 M⊙) WD experiencing a thin-shell double detonation.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Medium: X Size: p. 4119-4131
["p. 4119-4131"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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