SN 1993J: A type IIb supernova

S. E. Woosley, Ronald G. Eastman, Thomas A. Weaver, Philip A. Pinto

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The evolution of the bright Type II supernova discovered last year in M81, SN 1993J, is consistent with that expected for the explosion of a star which on the main sequence had a mass of 13-16 M but which, owing to mass exchange with a binary companion (a initially ∼3-5 AU, depending upon the actual presupernova radius and the masses of the two stars) lost almost all of its hydrogen-rich envelope during late helium burning. At the time of explosion, the helium core mass was 4.0 ± 0.5 M and the hydrogen envelope, 0.20 ± 0.05 M⊙. The envelope was helium and nitrogen-rich (carbon-deficient) and the radius of the star, 4 ± 1 × 1013 cm. The luminosity of the presupernova star was 3 ± 1 × 1038 ergs s-1, with the companion star contributing an additional ∼ 1038 ergs s-1. The star may have been a pulsating variable at the time of the explosion. For an explosion energy near 1051 ergs (KE at infinity) and an assumed distance of 3.3 Mpc, a mass of 56Ni in the range 0.07 ± 0.01 M was produced and ejected. This prescription gives a light curve which compares favorably with the bolometric observations. Color photometry is more restrictive and requires a model in which the hydrogen-envelope mass is low and the mixing of hydrogen inward has been small, but in which appreciable 56Ni has been mixed outward into the helium and heavy-element core. It is possible to obtain good agreement with B and V light curves during the first 50 days, but later photometry, especially in bands other than B and V, will require a non-LTE spectral calculation for comparison. Based upon our model, we predict a flux of ∼10-5 (3.3 Mpc/D)2 photons cm-2 s-1 in the 847 kcV line of 56Co at peak during 1993 August. It may be easier to detect the Comptonized continuum which peaks at a few times 10-4 photons s-1 cm-2 MeV-1 at 40 keV a few months after the explosion (though neither of these signals were, or should have been, detected by the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory). The presupernova star was filling its Roche lobe at the time of the explosion and thus its envelope was highly deformed (about 3:2). The companion star is presently embedded in the supernova, but should become visible at age 3 yr (perhaps earlier in the ultraviolet) when the supernova has faded below 1038 ergs s-1. Indeed, if "kicks" have not played an important role, it is still bound to the neutron star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-318
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1994


  • Galaxies: individual (M81)
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 1993J)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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