Prompt Ia supernovae are significantly delayed

Cody Raskin, Evan Scannapieco, James Rhoads, Massimo Della Valle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The time delay between the formation of a population of stars and the onset of type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) sets important limits on the masses and nature of SN Ia progenitors. Here, we use a new observational technique to measure this time delay by comparing the spatial distributions of SNe Ia to their local environments. Previous work attempted such analyses encompassing the entire host of each SN Ia, yielding inconclusive results. Our approach confines the analysis only to the relevant portions of the hosts, allowing us to show that even so-called prompt SNe Ia that trace star formation on cosmic timescales exhibit a significant delay time of 200-500 million years. This implies that either the majority of Ia companion stars have main-sequence masses less than 3 M , or that most SNe Ia arise from double white dwarf binaries. Our results are also consistent with a SNe Ia rate that traces the white dwarf formation rate, scaled by a fixed efficiency factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-78
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Stars: evolution
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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