Determining the Delay Time Distribution Rate for SN Ia Using Monte Carlo Simulations

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Todd Hillwig


Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 2023


Here we study double degenerate systems (DDs); in this context, those are double white dwarfs. Specifically, we explore the rate at which type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) occur as a result of double degenerate systems. SN Ia originate from exploding white dwarfs. In order to better understand SN Ia, we determine a delay time distribution rate, which is the number of SN Ia that occur at certain ages of the specific double degenerate system. Due to a lack of data for DDs, we simulate more of these systems using various probability distributions for multiple parameters in order to expand the data set. We base our distributions on DD systems found among the central stars of planetary nebulae and explore how reasonable alterations to these probability functions affect the delay time distribution. Overall, we find that our predicted rate at which SN Ia occur in spiral galaxies is consistent with observed SN Ia rates and delay time distributions, suggesting that up to 80% of all SN Ia may come from DD mergers.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Brook Burbridge is a junior at Valparaiso University majoring in Astronomy and Mathematics. She is pursuing a career researching astrophysics and planning to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation. Due to her interest in this material, she has worked on this project from the summer of 2022, into the academic year. William Bakke is a senior at Valparaiso University and has been working alongside Burbridge throughout her time on the project.

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