We present optical spectra of the nearby Type Ia supernova SN 2011fe at 100, 205, 311, 349 and 578 d post-maximum light, as well as an ultraviolet (UV) spectrum obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope at 360 d post-maximum light. We compare these observations with synthetic spectra produced with the radiative transfer code PHOENIX. The day +100 spectrum can be well fitted with models that neglect collisional and radiative data for forbidden lines. Curiously, including these data and recomputing the fit yields a quite similar spectrum, but with different combinations of lines forming some of the stronger features. At day +205 and later epochs, forbidden lines dominate much of the optical spectrum formation; however, our results indicate that recombination, not collisional excitation, is the most influential physical process driving spectrum formation at these late times. Consequently, our synthetic optical and UV spectra at all epochs presented here are formed almost exclusively through recombinationdriven fluorescence. Furthermore, our models suggest that the UV spectrum even as late as day +360 is optically thick and consists of permitted lines from several iron-peak species. These results indicate that the transition to the 'nebular' phase in Type Ia supernovae is complex and highly wavelength dependent.
- Supernovae: general
- Supernovae: individual: SN 2011fe