Evla observations constrain the environment and progenitor system of typeIa supernova 2011fe

Laura Chomiuk*, Alicia M. Soderberg, Maxwell Moe, Roger A. Chevalier, Michael P. Rupen, Carles Badenes, Raffaella Margutti, Claes Fransson, Wen Fai Fong, Jason A. Dittmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


We report unique Expanded Very Large Array observations of SN2011fe representing the most sensitive radio study of a TypeIa supernova to date. Our data place direct constraints on the density of the surrounding medium at radii 1015-1016cm, implying an upper limit on the mass loss rate from the progenitor system of (assuming a wind speed of 100kms-1) or expansion into a uniform medium with density n CSM ≲ 6cm -3. Drawing from the observed properties of non-conservative mass transfer among accreting white dwarfs, we use these limits on the density of the immediate environs to exclude a phase space of possible progenitor systems for SN2011fe. We rule out a symbiotic progenitor system and also a system characterized by high accretion rate onto the white dwarf that is expected to give rise to optically thick accretion winds. Assuming that a small fraction, 1%, of the mass accreted is lost from the progenitor system, we also eliminate much of the potential progenitor parameter space for white dwarfs hosting recurrent novae or undergoing stable nuclear burning. Therefore, we rule out much of the parameter space associated with popular single degenerate progenitor models for SN2011fe, leaving a limited phase space largely inhabited by some double degenerate systems, as well as exotic single degenerates with a sufficient time delay between mass accretion and SN explosion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2012


  • binaries: general
  • circumstellar matter
  • novae, cataclysmic variables
  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual (SN 2011fe)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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