On the progenitor system of the type Iax supernova 2014dt in M61

Ryan J. Foley, Schuyler D. Van Dyk, Saurabh W. Jha, Kelsey I. Clubb, Alexei V. Filippenko, Jon C. Mauerhan, Adam A. Miller, Nathan Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present pre-explosion and post-explosion Hubble Space Telescope images of the Type Iax supernova (SN Iax) 2014dt in M61. After astrometrically aligning these images, we do not detect any stellar sources at the position of the SN in the pre-explosion images to relatively deep limits (3σ limits of MF438W > -5.0 mag and MF814W > -5.9 mag). These limits are similar to the luminosity of SN 2012Z's progenitor system (MF435W = -5.43 ± 0.15 and MF814W = -5.24 ± 0.16 mag), the only probable detected progenitor system in pre-explosion images of a SN Iax, and indeed, of any white-dwarf supernova. SN 2014dt is consistent with having a C/O white-dwarf primary/helium-star companion progenitor system, as was suggested for SN 2012Z, although perhaps with a slightly smaller or hotter donor. The data are also consistent with SN 2014dt having a low-mass red giant or main-sequence star companion. The data rule out main-sequence stars with Minit ≳ 16 M and most evolved stars with Minit ≳ 8 M as being the progenitor of SN 2014dt. Hot Wolf-Rayet stars are also allowed, but the lack of nearby bright sources makes this scenario unlikely. Because of its proximity (D = 12 Mpc), SN 2014dt is ideal for long-term monitoring, where images in ∼2 yr may detect the companion star or the luminous bound remnant of the progenitor white dwarf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL37
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: individual (M61)
  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual (SN 2014dt)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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