Comprehensive observations of the bright and energetic Type Iax SN 2012Z: Interpretation as a Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf explosion ∗

M. D. Stritzinger, S. Valenti, P. Hoeflich, E. Baron, M. M. Phillips, F. Taddia, R. J. Foley, E. Y. Hsiao, S. W. Jha, C. McCully, V. Pandya, J. D. Simon, S. Benetti, P. J. Brown, C. R. Burns, A. Campillay, C. Contreras, F. Förster, S. Holmbo, G. H. MarionN. Morrell, G. Pignata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present ultraviolet through near-infrared (NIR) broadband photometry, and visual-wavelength and NIR spectroscopy of the Type Iax supernova (SN) 2012Z. The data set consists of both early- and late-time observations, including the first late phase NIR spectrum obtained for a spectroscopically classified SN Iax. Simple model calculations of its bolometric light curve suggest SN 2012Z produced ∼0.3 M of 56Ni, ejected about a Chandrasekhar mass of material, and had an explosion energy of ∼1051 erg, making it one of the brightest (MB = -18.3 mag) and most energetic SN Iax yet observed. The late phase (+269d) NIRspectrum of SN 2012Z is found to broadly resemble similar epoch spectra of normal SNe Ia; however, like other SNe Iax, corresponding visual-wavelength spectra differ substantially from all supernova types. Constraints from the distribution of intermediate mass elements, e.g., silicon and magnesium, indicate that the outer ejecta did not experience significant mixing during or after burning, and the late phase NIR line profiles suggests most of the 56Ni is produced during high density burning. The various observational properties of SN 2012Z are found to be consistent with the theoretical expectations of a Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf progenitor that experiences a pulsational delayed detonation, which produced several tenths of a solar mass of 56Ni during the deflagration burning phase and little (or no) 56Ni during the detonation phase. Within this scenario only a moderate amount of Rayleigh-Taylor mixing occurs both during the deflagration and fallback phase of the pulsation, and the layered structure of the intermediate mass elements is a product of the subsequent denotation phase. The fact that the SNe Iax population does not follow a tight brightness-decline relation similar to SNe Ia can then be understood in the framework of variable amounts of mixing during pulsational rebound and variable amounts of 56Ni production during the early subsonic phase of expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA2
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual: SN 2005hk
  • Supernovae: individual: SN 2012Z

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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