Searching for annihilation radiation from SN 1006 with SPI on integral

E. Kalemci, S. E. Boggs, P. A. Milne, S. P. Reynolds

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17 Scopus citations


Historical Type Ia supernovae are a leading candidate as the source of positrons observed through diffuse annihilation emission in the Galaxy. However, a search for annihilation emission from individual Type Ia supernovae was not possible before the improved sensitivity of INTEGRAL. The total 511 keV annihilation flux from individual SNe Ia, as well as their contribution to the overall diffuse emission, depends critically on the escape fraction of positrons produced in 56Co decays. Late optical light curves suggest that this fraction may be as high as 5%. We have searched for positron annihilation radiation from the historical Type Ia supernova SN 1006 using the SPI instrument on INTEGRAL. We did not detect significant 511 keV line emission, with a 3 σ flux upper limit of 0.59 × 10-4 photons cm-2 s-1 for ∼1 Ms exposure time, assuming a FWHM of 2.5 keV. This upper limit corresponds to a 7.5% escape fraction, 50% higher than the expected 5% escape scenario, and rules out the possibility that Type Ia supernovae produce all of the positrons in the Galaxy (∼12% escape fraction), if the mean positron lifetime is less than 105 yr. Future observations with INTEGRAL will provide stronger limits on the escape fraction of positrons, the mean positron lifetime, and the contribution of Type Ia supernovae to the overall positron content of the Galaxy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L55-L57
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Mar 20 2006


  • Gamma rays: observations
  • ISM: individual (SN 1006)
  • Supernova remnants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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