Novae and accreting white dwarfs as progenitors of type Ia supernovae

Mariko Kato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


I review various phenomena associated with mass-accreting white dwarfs (WDs) in relation to progenitors of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). The WD mass can be estimated from light curve analysis in multiwavelength bands based on the theory of optically thick winds. In the single degenerate scenario of SNe Ia, two main channels are known, i.e., WD + main sequence (MS) channel and WD + red giant (RG) channel. In each channel, a typical binary undergoes three evolutionary stages before explosion, i.e., the wind phase, supersoft X-ray source (SSS) phase, and recurrent nova phase, in this order because the accretion rate decreases with time as the companion mass decreases. For some accreting WDs we can identify the corresponding stage of evolution. Intermittent supersoft X-ray sources like RX J0513.9-6951 and V Sge correspond to wind phase objects. For the SSS phase, CAL 87-type objects correspond to the WD+MS channel. For the WD + RG channel, soft X-ray observations of early type galaxies give statistical evidence of SSS phase binaries. Recurrent novae of U Sco-type and RS Oph-type correspond to the WD + MS channel and WD + RG channel, respectively. The majority of recurrent novae host a very massive WD (≳ 1.35 M) and often show a plateau phase in their optical light curves corresponding to the long-lasting supersoft X-ray phase. These properties are indications of increasing WD masses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBinary Paths to Type Ia Supernovae Explosions
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781107019812
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • Binaries
  • Stars: novae
  • Supernovae - X-rays: stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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