Volume 627, July 2019
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||16 July 2019|
16O(p,α)13N makes explosive oxygen burning sensitive to the metallicity of the progenitors of type Ia supernovae
E.T.S. Arquitectura del Vallès, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Carrer Pere Serra 1-15, 08173 Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain
Accepted: 17 June 2019
Even though the main nucleosynthetic products of type Ia supernovae belong to the iron-group, intermediate-mass alpha-nuclei (silicon, sulfur, argon, and calcium) stand out in their spectra up to several weeks past maximum brightness. Recent measurements of the abundances of calcium, argon, and sulfur in type Ia supernova remnants have been interpreted in terms of metallicity-dependent oxygen burning, in accordance with previous theoretical predictions. It is known that α-rich oxygen burning results from 16O→12C followed by efficient 12C+12C fusion reaction, as compared to oxygen consumption by 16O fusion reactions, but the precise mechanism of dependence on the progenitor metallicity has remained unidentified so far. I show that the chain 16O(p,α)13N(γ,p)12C boosts α-rich oxygen burning when the proton abundance is large, increasing the synthesis of argon and calcium with respect to sulfur and silicon. For high-metallicity progenitors, the presence of free neutrons leads to a drop in the proton abundance and the above chain is not efficient. Although the rate of 16O(p,α)13N can be found in astrophysical reaction rate libraries, its uncertainty is unconstrained. Assuming that all reaction rates other than 16O(p,α)13N retain their standard values, an increase by a factor of approximately seven of the 16O(p,α)13N rate at temperatures in the order 3−5 × 109 K is enough to explain the whole range of calcium-to-sulfur mass ratios measured in Milky Way and LMC supernova remnants. These same measurements provide a lower limit to the 16O(p,α)13N rate in the mentioned temperature range, on the order of a factor of 0.5 with respect to the rate reported in widely used literature tabulations.
Key words: nuclear reactions / nucleosynthesis / abundances / supernovae: general / white dwarfs
© ESO 2019
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