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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The progenitors of subluminous type Ia supernovae


We find that spectroscopically peculiar subluminous SNe Ia come from an old population. Of the thirteen subluminous SNe Ia known, nine are found in E/S0 galaxies, and the remainder are found in early-type spirals. The probability that this is a chance occurrence is only 0.1%. The finding that subluminous SNe Ia are associated with an older stellar population indicates that for a sufficiently large lookback time (already accessible in current high redshift searches) they will not be found. Due to a scarcity in old populations, hydrogen and helium main sequence stars and He red giant stars that undergo Roche lobe overflow are unlikely to be the progenitors of subluminous SNe Ia. Earlier findings that overluminous SNe Ia (DELTA m_15 (B) < 0.94) come from a young progenitor population are confirmed. The fact that subluminous SNe Ia and overluminous SNe Ia come from different progenitor populations and also have different properties is a prediction of the CO white dwarf merger progenitor scenario.

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