Uncertainties and robustness of the ignition process in type Ia supernovae
Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität
Heidelberg, Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik,
Albert-Ueberle-Strasse 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Laboratoire de Radioastronomie, École Normale Supérieure, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB30HA, UK
Accepted: 15 December 2009
Context. It is widely accepted that the onset of the explosive carbon burning in the core of a carbon-oxygen white dwarf (CO WD) triggers the ignition of a type Ia supernova (SN Ia). The features of the ignition are among the few free parameters of the SN Ia explosion theory.
Aims. We explore the role for the ignition process of two different issues: firstly, the ignition is studied in WD models coming from different accretion histories. Secondly, we estimate how a different reaction rate for C-burning can affect the ignition.
Methods. Two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of temperature perturbations in the WD core (“bubbles”) are performed with the FLASH code. In order to evaluate the impact of the C-burning reaction rate on the WD model, the evolution code FLASH_THE_TORTOISE from Lesaffre et al. (2006, MNRAS, 368, 187) is used.
Results. In different WD models a key role is played by the different gravitational acceleration in the progenitor's core. As a consequence, the ignition is disfavored at a large distance from the WD center in models with a larger central density, resulting from the evolution of initially more massive progenitors. Changes in the C reaction rate at slightly influence the ignition density in the WD core, while the ignition temperature is almost unaffected. Recent measurements of new resonances in the C-burning reaction rate (Spillane et al. 2007, Phys. Rev. Lett., 98, 122501) do not affect the core conditions of the WD significantly.
Conclusions. This simple analysis, performed on the features of the temperature perturbations in the WD core, should be extended in the framework of the state-of-the-art numerical tools for studying the turbulent convection and ignition in the WD core. Future measurements of the C-burning reactions cross section at low energy, though certainly useful, are not expected to affect our current understanding of the ignition process dramatically.
Key words: supernovae: general / hydrodynamics / methods: numerical / nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances / white dwarfs
© ESO, 2010