Vol 15, No 11

Is the X-ray pulsating companion of HD 49798 a possible type Ia supernova progenitor?

Dong-Dong Liu, Wei-Hong Zhou, Cheng-Yuan Wu, Bo Wang


Abstract HD 49798 (a hydrogen depleted subdwarf O6 star) with its massive white dwarf (WD) companion has been suggested to be a progenitor candidate of a type Ia supernova (SN Ia). However, it is still uncertain whether the companion of HD 49798 is a carbon-oxygen (CO) WD or an oxygen-neon (ONe) WD. A CO WD will explode as an SN Ia when its mass grows and approaches the Chandrasekhar limit, but the outcome of an accreting ONe WD is likely to be a neutron star. We generated a series of Monte Carlo calculations that incorperate binary population synthesis to simulate the formation of ONe WD + He star systems. We found that there is almost no orbital period as large as HD 49798 with its WD companion in these ONe WD + He star systems based on our simulations, which means that the companion of HD 49798 might not be an ONe WD. We suggest that the companion of HD 49798 is most likely a CO WD, which can be expected to increase its mass to the Chandrasekhar limit by accreting He-rich material from HD 49798. Thus, HD 49798 and its companion may produce an SN Ia as a result of its future evolution.


Keywords binaries: close — stars: individual — stars: evolution — supernovae: general — white dwarfs

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