AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 6 X-ray and Gamma Ray Space Missions and Technology
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[6.10] Instrument Requirements for Type Ia Supernova Gamma-Ray Studies

M. Leising (Clemson University), P. Milne (U. of Arizona), J. Lara, L. The (Clemson University)

Thermonuclear supernovae are widely used as distance indicators, which yields profound implications, yet details of their progenitor systems and explosion physics remain elusive. It has been argued for thirty-five years that these thoroughly radioactive objects can be understood through detailed gamma-ray line studies, but despite twenty years of gamma-ray instruments in orbit, no Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) has been detected in gamma-ray lines.

Still the great promise of gamma-ray studies of SN Ia remains, but the instrument requirements, especially on line sensitivity, are substantial. Finally, a second-generation gamma-ray spectrometer, known now as the Advanced Compton Telescope, is being planned. Considering current SN Ia models of various types, including deflagrations, delayed detonations, and sub-Chandrasekhar-mass detonations, we outline the gamma-ray instrument requirements, especially line flux sensitivity and energy resolution, needed to discriminate among the possible models. We consider realistic SN Ia rates and distributions in space, plausible observing intervals and durations, and the information available from both gamma-ray photometry and spectroscopy. For example, we find that a wide-field compton telescope with energy resolution E/\Delta E= 100 in a scanning mode would require broad line sensitivity of 7\times10-7 cm-2 s-1 at 847 keV to distinguish deflagration models from delayed detonation models at the rate of one per year.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.