Spiral instability can drive thermonuclear explosions in binary white dwarf mergers
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Thermonuclear, or Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), originate from the explosion of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs, and serve as standardizable cosmological candles. However, despite their importance, the nature of the progenitor systems that give rise to SNe Ia has not been hitherto elucidated. Observational evidence favors the double-degenerate channel in which merging white dwarf binaries lead to SNe Ia. Furthermore, significant discrepancies exist between observations and theory, and to date, there has been no self-consistent merger model that yields a SNe Ia. Here we show that a spiral mode instability in the accretion disk formed during a binary white dwarf merger leads to a detonation on a dynamical timescale. This mechanism sheds light on how white dwarf mergers may frequently yield SNe Ia.
Citationkashyap, R. [et al.]. Spiral instability can drive thermonuclear explosions in binary white dwarf mergers. "The astrophysical journal letters", 10 Febrer 2015, vol. 800, núm. 1, p. 800:L7-1-800:L7-6.