Keck and european southern observatory very large telescope view of the symmetry of the ejecta of the XRF/SN 2006aj

Paolo A. Mazzali, Ryan J. Foley, Jinsong Deng, Ferdinando Patat, Elena Pian, Dietrich Baade, Joshua S. Bloom, Alexei V. Filippenko, Daniel A. Perley, Stefano Valenti, Lifan Wang, Koji Kawabata, Keiichi Maeda, Ken Ichi Nomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nebular-phase spectra of SN 2006aj, discovered in coincidence with XRF 060218, were obtained with Keck in 2006 July and VLT in 2006 September. At the latter epoch spectropolarimetry was also attempted, yielding a polarization upper limit of ∼2%. The spectra show strong [OI] and Mg I] emission lines, as expected in Type Ic supernovae, but weak Ca n lines. The [ Fe II] lines that were strong in SN 1998bw are much weaker in SN 2006aj, consistent with its lower luminosity. The outer velocity of the line-emitting region is ∼8000 km s-1 in July and ∼7400 km s-1 in September, consistent with the relatively low expansion kinetic energy of SN 2006aj. All lines have similar width, and their profiles indicate that no major asymmetries are present in the ejecta at velocities below v < 8000 km s-1, except perhaps in the innermost part. The spectra were modeled with a non-LTE code. The mass of 56Ni required to power the emission is ∼0.20 M? , confirming earlier results based on the light curve. The oxygen mass is ∼1.5 M, again much less than in SN 1998bw, but ∼0.7 M larger than the value derived from the early-time modeling. The ejected mass below 8000 km s-1 is ∼2 M, confirming that SN 2006aj was only about twice as massive and energetic as the normal Type Ic SN 19941. The presence of a dense inner core, containing ∼ 1 M of mostly oxygen and carbon, is inferred, as in all broad-lined SNe Ic. This core, which may be disklike, is too deep to influence the early light curve and too small to affect the late polarization spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-898
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 2006aj)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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