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The question of the possible progenitors of supernovae Type la (SNe la) is examined. It is argued that SNe la are thermonuclear explosions of accreting C-O white dwarfs. The existing observational evidence favors somewhat models in which the exploding star ignites carbon upon reaching the Chandrasekhar mass. A careful examination of all the potential progenitor classes reveals that when realization frequencies are combined with a variety of observational charcteristics, no single class emerges as containing the obvious progenitors. It is argued that coalescing white dwarfs or supersoft X-ray sources are the most likely progenitor systems. A few critical observations which could help identify the progenitors unambiguously are discussed.
The Supernova Working Group was re-established at the IAU XXV General Assembly in Sydney, 21 July 2003, sponsored by Commissions 28 (Galaxies) and 47 (Cosmology). Here we report on some of its activities since 2005.
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