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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Type Ia supernova bolometric light curves and ejected mass estimates from the nearby supernova factory


We present a sample of normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) from the Nearby Supernova Factory data set with spectrophotometry at sufficiently late phases to estimate the ejected mass using the bolometric light curve.Wemeasure 56 Ni masses from the peak bolometric luminosity, then compare the luminosity in the 56Co-decay tail to the expected rate of radioactive energy release from ejecta of a given mass. We infer the ejected mass in a Bayesian context using a semi-analytic model of the ejecta, incorporating constraints from contemporary numerical models as priors on the density structure and distribution of 56Ni throughout the ejecta. We find a strong correlation between ejected mass and light-curve decline rate, and consequently 56Ni mass, with ejected masses in our data ranging from 0.9 to 1.4 M⊙. Most fast-declining (SALT2 x1 < -1) normal SNe Ia have significantly sub-Chandrasekhar ejected masses in our fiducial analysis. © 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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