The physics of Type Ia supernova light curves. II. Opacity and diffusion

Philip A. Pinto, Ronald G. Eastman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


We examine the nature of the opacity and radiation transport in Type Ia supernovae. The dominant opacity arises from line transitions. We discuss the nature of line opacities and diffusion in expanding media and the appropriateness of various mean and expansion opacities used in light-curve calculations. Fluorescence is shown to be the dominant physical process governing the rate at which energy escapes the supernova. We present a sample light curve that was obtained using a time-dependent solution of the radiative transport equation with a spectral resolution of 80 km s-1 and employing an LTE equation of state. The result compares favorably with light curves and spectra of typical supernovae and is used to illustrate the physics controlling the evolution of the light curve and especially the secondary maxima seen in infrared photometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-776
Number of pages20
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - Feb 20 2000


  • Distance scale
  • Radiative transfer
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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