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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


We examine the evolution of late-time, optical nebular features of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) using a sample consisting of 160 spectra of 27 normal SNe Ia taken from the literature as well as unpublished spectra of SN 2008Q and ASASSN-14lp. Particular attention was given to nebular features between 4000-6000 A in terms of temporal changes in width and central wavelength. Analysis of the prominent late-time 4700 A feature shows a progressive central wavelength shift from ~4600 A to longer wavelengths out to at least day +300 for our entire sample. We find no evidence for the feature's red-ward shift slowing or halting at an [Fe III] blend centroid of 4701 A as has been proposed. The width of the feature also steadily increases with a FWHM ~170 A at day +100 growing to 200 A or more by day +350. Two weaker adjacent features around 4850 and 5000 A exhibit very similar red shifts to that of the 4700 A feature but show no change in width until very late times. We discuss possible causes for the observed red-ward shifting of these late-time optical features including contribution from [Co II] emission at early nebular epochs and the emergence of additional features at later times. We conclude that the ubiquitous red shift of these common late-time, nebular SN Ia spectral features is not mainly due to a decrease in a blueshift of forbidden Fe lines but the result, in part, of decreasing velocity and/or optical depth of permitted Fe lines.