Constraints on the physics of type Ia supernovae from the X-ray spectrum of the tycho supernova remnant

Carles Badenes, Kazimierz J. Borkowski, John P. Hughes, Una Hwang, Eduardo Bravo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


In this paper we use high-quality X-ray observations from XMM-Newton and Chandra to gain new insights into the explosion that originated Tycho's supernova 433 yr ago. We perform a detailed comparison between the ejecta emission from the spatially integrated X-ray spectrum of the supernova remnant and current models for Type la supernova explosions. We use a grid of synthetic X-ray spectra based on hydrodynamic models of the evolution of the supernova remnant and nonequilibrium ionization calculations for the state of the shocked plasma. We find that the fundamental properties of the X-ray emission in Tycho are well reproduced by a one-dimensional delayed detonation model with a kinetic energy of ∼ 1.2 × 1051 ergs. All the other paradigms for Type la explosions that we have tested, including one-dimensional deflagrations, pulsating delayed detonations, and sub-Chandrasekhar explosions, as well as deflagration models calculated in three dimensions, fail to provide a good approximation of the observed ejecta emission. Our results require that the supernova ejecta retain some degree of chemical stratification, with Fe peak elements interior to intermediate-mass elements. This strongly suggests that a supersonic burning front (i.e., a detonation) must be involved at some stage in the physics of Type la supernova explosions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1373-1391
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jul 10 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Hydrodynamics
  • ISM: individual (SN 1572)
  • Nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances supernova remnants
  • Supernovae: general
  • X-rays: ISM


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