Modulations in the radio light curve of the Type IIb supernova 2001ig: evidence for a Wolf-Rayet binary progenitor?
We describe the radio evolution of supernova (SN) 2001ig in NGC 7424, from 700 d of multifrequency monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) and the Very Large Array (VLA). We find that deviations of the radio light curves at each frequency from the standard `minishell' model are consistent with density modulations in the circumstellar medium (CSM), which seem to recur with a period near 150 d. One possibility is that these are due to enhanced mass loss from thermal pulses in an asymptotic giant branch star progenitor. A more likely scenario, however, is that the progenitor was a Wolf-Rayet (WR) star, whose stellar wind collided with that from a massive hot companion on an eccentric 100-d orbit, leading to a regular build-up of CSM material on the required time and spatial scales. Recent observations of `dusty pinwheels' in WR binary systems lend credibility to this model. Since such binary systems are also thought to provide the necessary conditions for envelope stripping which would cause the WR star to appear as a Type Ib/c SN event rather than a Type II, these radio observations of SN 2001ig may provide the key to linking Type Ib/c SNe to Type IIb events, and even to some types of gamma-ray bursts.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- April 2004
- binaries: general;
- circumstellar matter;
- supernovae: individual: SN 2001ig;
- stars: Wolf-Rayet;
- galaxies: individual: NGC 7424;
- gamma-rays: bursts;
- 10 pages, MNRAS, accepted