AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 79. Star Clusters
Oral, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Jefferson East

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[79.03] Star Clusters as Type Ia Supernova Factories

M. Shara, J. Hurley (American Museum of Natural History)

We find a remarkably enhanced production rate in star clusters (relative to the field) of very short period, massive double-degenerate stars. These results are based on N-body simulations performed with the new GRAPE-6 special purpose hardware and are important in identifying and characterizing the progenitors of type Ia supernovae.

The high incidence of very close double degenerates is the result of dynamical encounters between (mostly) primordial binaries and other cluster stars. Orbital hardening rapidly drives these double degenerate binaries to periods under 10 hours. Gravitational radiation emission and mergers producing supra-Chandrasekhar objects follow in less than a Hubble time. Stellar dynamics may be the most important effect in calculating SNIa rates in various stellar populations.

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