A Polarization Sequence for Type Ia Supernovae? [HEAP]


Early polarization observations on Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) may reveal the geometry of supernova ejecta, and then put constraints on their explosion mechanism and their progenitor model. We performed a literature search of SNe Ia with polarization measurements and determined the polarization and relative equivalent width (REW) of Si II 635.5-nm absorption feature at -5 days after the maximum light. We found that either the distribution of observed polarization degree is bimodal, i.e. the broad line SNe Ia have systematically higher polarization than all other SNe Ia, or all kind of SNe Ia share the same polarization sequence, i.e. the polarization of Si II 635.5-nm absorption feature increases with the REW. We also discussed the potential meaning of the discovery on the explosion mechanism and progenitor model of SNe Ia.

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X. Meng, J. Zhang and Z. Han
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: 4 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

How do Type Ia Supernova Nebular Spectra Depend on Explosion Properties? Insights from Systematic non-LTE Modeling [HEAP]


We present a radiative transfer code to model the nebular phase spectra of supernovae (SNe) in non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE). We apply it to a systematic study of Type Ia SNe using parameterized 1D models and show how nebular spectral features depend on key physical parameters, such as the time since explosion, total ejecta mass, kinetic energy, radial density profile, and the masses of 56Ni, intermediate mass elements (IMEs), and stable iron-group elements (IGEs). We also quantify the impact of uncertainties in atomic data inputs. Among the results of the study are: (1) The main features of SNe Ia nebular spectra are relatively insensitive to most physical parameters. Degeneracy among parameters precludes a unique determination of the ejecta properties from spectral fitting. In particular, features can be equally well fit with generic Chandrasekhar mass (M_ch), sub-M_Ch, and super-M_Ch models; (2) A sizable (~0.1 Msun) central region of stable IGEs, often claimed as evidence for M_Ch models, is not essential to fit the optical spectra and may produce an unusual flat-top [CoIII] profile; (3) The strength of [SIII] emission near 9500A can provide a useful diagnostic of explosion nucleosynthesis; (4) Substantial amounts (~0.1 Msun) of unburned C/O mixed throughout the ejecta produce [OIII] emission not seen in observations; (5) Shifts in the wavelength of line peaks, sometimes used to infer ejecta geometry, can also arise from line blending effects; (6) The steepness of the ejecta density profile affects the line shapes, with flatter slopes providing better fits to the observations of SN 2011fe, offering a constraint on explosion models; (7) Uncertainties in atomic data affect spectral line ratios by ~30%, a level similar to the effect of varying physical parameters.

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J. Botyanszki and D. Kasen
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: N/A

Modeling the effect of small-scale magnetic turbulence on the X-ray properties of Pulsar Wind Nebulae [HEAP]


Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) constitute an ideal astrophysical environment to test our current understanding of relativistic plasma processes. It is well known that magnetic fields play a crucial role in their dynamics and emission properties. At present, one of the main issues concerns the level of magnetic turbulence present in these systems, which in the absence of space resolved X-ray polarization measures cannot be directly constrained. In this work we investigate, for the first time using simulated synchrotron maps, the effect of a small scale fluctuating component of the magnetic field on the emission properties in X-ray. We illustrate how to include the effects of a turbulent component in standard emission models for PWNe, and which consequences are expected in terms of net emissivity and depolarization, showing that the X-ray surface brightness maps can provide already some rough constraints. We then apply our analysis to the Crab and Vela nebulae and, by comparing our model with Chandra and Vela data, we found that the typical energies in the turbulent component of the magnetic field are about 1.5 to 3 times the one in the ordered field.

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N. Bucciantini, R. Bandiera, B. Olmi, et. al.
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: 9 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Rapidly Rising Optical Transients from the Birth of Binary Neutron Stars [HEAP]


We study optical counterparts of a new-born pulsar in a double neutron star system like PSR J0737-3039A/B. This system is believed to eject a small amount of mass of $\mathcal{O}(0.1M_{\odot})$ at the second core-collapse supernova. We argue that the initial spin of the new-born pulsar can be determined by the orbital period at the time when the second supernova occurs. The spin angular momentum of the progenitor is expected to be similar to that of the He-burning core, which is tidally synchronized with the orbital motion, and then the second remnant may be born as a millisecond pulsar. If the dipole magnetic field strength of the nascent pulsar is comparable to that inferred from the current spin-down rate of PSR J0737-3039B, the initial spin-down luminosity is comparable to the luminosity of super-luminous supernovae. We consider thermal emission arising from the supernova ejecta driven by the relativistic wind from such a new-born pulsar. The resulting optical light curves have a rising time $\sim 10$ days and peak luminosity $\sim 10^{44}$ erg/s. The optical emission may last for a month to several months, due to the reprocessing of X-rays and UV photons via photoelectric absorption. These features are broadly consistent with those of the rapidly-rising optical transients. The high spin-down luminosity and small ejecta mass are favorable for the progenitor of the repeating fast radio burst, FRB 121102. We discuss a possible connection between newborn double pulsars and fast radio bursts.

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K. Hotokezaka, K. Kashiyama and K. Murase
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: 10 pages, 2 figures, submitted to ApJ

Retrograde Accretion Disks in High-Mass Be/X-ray Binaries [HEAP]


We have compiled a comprehensive library of all X-ray observations of Magellanic pulsars carried out by {\it XMM-Newton}, {\it Chandra}, and {\it RXTE} in the period 1997-2014. In this work, we use the data from 53 high-mass Be/X-ray binaries in the Small Magellanic Cloud to demonstrate that the distribution of spin-period derivatives vs. spin periods of spinning-down pulsars is not at all different than that of the accreting spinning-up pulsars. The inescapable conclusion is that the up and down samples were drawn from the same continuous parent population, therefore Be/X-ray pulsars that are spinning down over periods spanning 18 years are in fact accreting from retrograde disks. The presence of prograde and retrograde disks in roughly equal numbers supports a new evolutionary scenario for Be/X-ray pulsars in their spin period-period derivative diagram.

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D. Christodoulou, S. Laycock and D. Kazanas
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: To appear in MNRAS Letters

Solution of heliospheric propagation: unveiling the local interstellar spectra of cosmic ray species [HEAP]


Local interstellar spectra (LIS) for protons, helium and antiprotons are built using the most recent experimental results combined with the state-of-the-art models for propagation in the Galaxy and heliosphere. Two propagation packages, GALPROP and HelMod, are combined to provide a single framework that is run to reproduce direct measurements of cosmic ray (CR) species at different modulation levels and at both polarities of the solar magnetic field. To do so in a self-consistent way, an iterative procedure was developed, where the GALPROP LIS output is fed into HelMod that provides modulated spectra for specific time periods of selected experiments to compare with the data; the HelMod parameters optimization is performed at this stage and looped back to adjust the LIS using the new GALPROP run. The parameters were tuned with the maximum likelihood procedure using an extensive data set of proton spectra from 1997-2015. The proposed LIS accommodate both the low energy interstellar CR spectra measured by Voyager 1 and the high energy observations by BESS, Pamela, AMS-01, and AMS-02 made from the balloons and near-Earth payloads; it also accounts for Ulysses counting rate features measured out of the ecliptic plane. The found solution is in a good agreement with proton, helium, and antiproton data by AMS-02, BESS, and PAMELA in the whole energy range.

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M. Boschini, S. Torre, M. Gervasi, et. al.
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: 22 pages, 23 figures, 8 tables, and 3 machine-readable tables; ApJ, in press

A physically motivated classification of stripped-envelope supernovae [HEAP]


The classification of stripped-envelope supernovae (SE-SNe) is revisited using modern data-sets. Spectra are analysed using an empirical method to “blindly” categorise SNe according to spectral feature strength and appearance. This method makes a clear distinction between SNe that are He-rich (IIb/Ib) and He-poor (Ic) and further analysis is performed on each subgroup. For He-rich SNe the presence of H becomes the focus. The strength, velocity, and ratio between absorption and emission of H$\alpha$ is measured, along with additional analysis of He I lines, in order to categorise the SNe. The He-poor SNe are ordered according to the number of absorption features $N$ present in the spectra, which is a measure of the degree of line blending. The kinetic energy per unit mass $E_\mathrm{k}/M_\mathrm{ej}$ is strongly affected by mass at high velocity and such situations principally occur when the outer density profile of the ejecta is shallow, leading to the blending of lines. Using the results, the existing SE-SN taxonomic scheme is adapted. He-rich SNe are split into four groups, IIb, IIb(I), Ib(II), and Ib, which represent H-rich to H-poor SNe. The SNe Ic category of broad-lined Ic (Ic-BL) is abandoned in favour of quantifying the line blending via $\left<N\right>$ before peak. To better reflect the physical parameters of the explosions, the velocity of Si II at peak and the half-luminosity decay time $t_{+1/2}$ are included to give SNe Ic a designation of Ic-$\left<N\right>\left(v_\mathrm{p,SiII}/t_{+1/2}\right)$.

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S. Prentice and P. Mazzali
Mon, 24 Apr 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in MNRAS