Progenitors of electron-capture supernovae

Samuel Jones, Raphael Hirschi, Falk Herwig, Bill Paxton, Francis Timmes, Ken'Ichi Nomoto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


We investigate the lowest mass stars that produce Type-II supernovae, motivated by recent results showing that a large fraction of type-II supernova progenitors for which there are direct detections display unexpectedly low luminosity (for a review see e.g. Smartt 2009). There are three potential evolutionary channels leading to this fate. Alongside the standard 'massive star' Fe-core collapse scenario we investigate the likelihood of electron capture supernovae (EC-SNe) from super-AGB (S-AGB) stars in their thermal pulse phase, from failed massive stars for which neon burning and other advanced burning stages fail to prevent the star from contracting to the critical densities required to initiate rapid electron-capture reactions and thus the star's collapse. We find it indeed possible that both of these relatively exotic evolutionary channels may be realised but it is currently unclear for what proportion of stars. Ultimately, the supernova light curves, explosion energies, remnant properties (see e.g. Knigge et al. 2011) and ejecta composition are the quantities desired to establish the role that these stars at the lower edge of the massive star mass range play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDeath of Massive Stars
Subtitle of host publicationSupernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts
EditorsPeter W. A. San Antonio, Nobuyuki Kawai, Elena Pian
Number of pages2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • stars: evolution
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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