Oct 18 – 22, 2021
INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy) and online
Europe/Rome timezone

Evidence for sub-Chandrasekhar Type Ia supernovae from the last major merger

Oct 21, 2021, 10:15 AM


Jason Sanders (University College London)


We investigate the contribution of sub-Chandrasekhar mass Type Ia supernovae to the chemical enrichment of the Gaia Sausage galaxy, the progenitor of a significant merger event in the early life of the Milky Way. Using a combination of data from Nissen & Schuster (2010), the 3rd GALAH data release (with 1D NLTE abundance corrections) and APOGEE data release 16, we fit analytic chemical evolution models to a 9-dimensional chemical abundance space (Fe, Mg, Si, Ca, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn) in particular focusing on the iron-peak elements, Mn and Ni. We find that low [Mn/Fe] $\sim-0.15\,\mathrm{dex}$ and low [Ni/Fe] $\sim-0.3\,\mathrm{dex}$ Type Ia yields are required to explain the observed trends beyond the [$\alpha$/Fe] knee of the Gaia \emph{Sausage} (approximately at [Fe/H] $=-1.4\,\mathrm{dex}$). Comparison to theoretical yield calculations indicates a significant contribution from sub-Chandrasekhar mass Type Ia supernovae in this system (from $\sim60\,\%$ to $100\,\%$ depending on the theoretical model with an additional $\pm10\,\%$ systematic from NLTE corrections). We compare to results from other Local Group environments including dwarf spheroidal galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way's bulge, finding the Type Ia [Mn/Fe] yield must be metallicity-dependent.
Our results suggest that sub-Chandrasekhar mass channels are a significant, perhaps even dominant, contribution to Type Ia supernovae in metal-poor systems, whilst more metal-rich systems could be explained by metallicity-dependent sub-Chandrasekhar mass yields, possibly with additional progenitor mass variation related to star formation history, or an increased contribution from Chandrasekhar mass channels at higher metallicity.

Type contributed talk

Primary author

Jason Sanders (University College London)

Presentation materials