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Title: An Ultraviolet Excess in the Superluminous Supernova Gaia16apd Reveals a Powerful Central Engine

Abstract

Since the discovery of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) in the last decade, it has been known that these events exhibit bluer spectral energy distributions than other supernova subtypes, with significant output in the ultraviolet. However, the event Gaia16apd seems to outshine even the other SLSNe at rest-frame wavelengths below ∼3000 Å. Yan et al. have recently presented HST UV spectra and attributed the UV flux to low iron-group abundance in the outer ejecta, and hence reduced line blanketing. Here, we present UV and optical light curves over a longer baseline in time, revealing a rapid decline at UV wavelengths despite a typical optical evolution. Combining the published UV spectra with our own optical data, we demonstrate that Gaia16apd has a much hotter continuum than virtually any SLSN at maximum light, but it cools rapidly thereafter and is indistinguishable from the others by ∼10–15 days after peak. Comparing the equivalent widths of UV absorption lines with those of other events, we show that the excess UV continuum is a result of a more powerful central power source, rather than a lack of UV absorption relative to other SLSNe or an additional component from interaction with the surrounding medium. These findings strongly supportmore » the central-engine hypothesis for hydrogen-poor SLSNe. An explosion ejecting M {sub ej} = 4.8(0.2/ κ ) M {sub ⊙}, where κ is the opacity in cm{sup 2} g{sup −1}, and forming a magnetar with spin period P = 2 ms, and B = 2 × 10{sup 14} G (lower than other SLSNe with comparable rise times) can consistently explain the light curve evolution and high temperature at peak. The host metallicity, Z = 0.18 Z {sub ⊙}, is comparable to other SLSNe.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 (United States)
  2. Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208 (United States)
  3. Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 (United States)
  4. Astrophysical Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, 251B Clippinger Lab, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22654566
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 835; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; ABUNDANCE; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; ENERGY SPECTRA; EVOLUTION; EXPLOSIONS; HYDROGEN; HYPOTHESIS; INTERACTIONS; IRON; METALLICITY; NEUTRON STARS; OPACITY; SPIN; SUPERNOVAE; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; ULTRAVIOLET SPECTRA; VISIBLE RADIATION; WAVELENGTHS

Citation Formats

Nicholl, M., Berger, E., Blanchard, P. K., Milisavljevic, D., Challis, P., Margutti, R., Metzger, B. D., and Chornock, R., E-mail: matt.nicholl@cfa.harvard.edu. An Ultraviolet Excess in the Superluminous Supernova Gaia16apd Reveals a Powerful Central Engine. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA56C5.
Nicholl, M., Berger, E., Blanchard, P. K., Milisavljevic, D., Challis, P., Margutti, R., Metzger, B. D., & Chornock, R., E-mail: matt.nicholl@cfa.harvard.edu. An Ultraviolet Excess in the Superluminous Supernova Gaia16apd Reveals a Powerful Central Engine. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA56C5.
Nicholl, M., Berger, E., Blanchard, P. K., Milisavljevic, D., Challis, P., Margutti, R., Metzger, B. D., and Chornock, R., E-mail: matt.nicholl@cfa.harvard.edu. Fri . "An Ultraviolet Excess in the Superluminous Supernova Gaia16apd Reveals a Powerful Central Engine". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/AA56C5.
@article{osti_22654566,
title = {An Ultraviolet Excess in the Superluminous Supernova Gaia16apd Reveals a Powerful Central Engine},
author = {Nicholl, M. and Berger, E. and Blanchard, P. K. and Milisavljevic, D. and Challis, P. and Margutti, R. and Metzger, B. D. and Chornock, R., E-mail: matt.nicholl@cfa.harvard.edu},
abstractNote = {Since the discovery of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) in the last decade, it has been known that these events exhibit bluer spectral energy distributions than other supernova subtypes, with significant output in the ultraviolet. However, the event Gaia16apd seems to outshine even the other SLSNe at rest-frame wavelengths below ∼3000 Å. Yan et al. have recently presented HST UV spectra and attributed the UV flux to low iron-group abundance in the outer ejecta, and hence reduced line blanketing. Here, we present UV and optical light curves over a longer baseline in time, revealing a rapid decline at UV wavelengths despite a typical optical evolution. Combining the published UV spectra with our own optical data, we demonstrate that Gaia16apd has a much hotter continuum than virtually any SLSN at maximum light, but it cools rapidly thereafter and is indistinguishable from the others by ∼10–15 days after peak. Comparing the equivalent widths of UV absorption lines with those of other events, we show that the excess UV continuum is a result of a more powerful central power source, rather than a lack of UV absorption relative to other SLSNe or an additional component from interaction with the surrounding medium. These findings strongly support the central-engine hypothesis for hydrogen-poor SLSNe. An explosion ejecting M {sub ej} = 4.8(0.2/ κ ) M {sub ⊙}, where κ is the opacity in cm{sup 2} g{sup −1}, and forming a magnetar with spin period P = 2 ms, and B = 2 × 10{sup 14} G (lower than other SLSNe with comparable rise times) can consistently explain the light curve evolution and high temperature at peak. The host metallicity, Z = 0.18 Z {sub ⊙}, is comparable to other SLSNe.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/AA56C5},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 835,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}
  • Observations of Gaia16apd revealed extremely luminous ultraviolet emission among superluminous supernovae (SLSNe). Using radiation hydrodynamics simulations, we perform a comparison of UV light curves, color temperatures, and photospheric velocities between the most popular SLSN models: pair-instability supernova, magnetar, and interaction with circumstellar medium. We find that the interaction model is the most promising to explain the extreme UV luminosity of Gaia16apd. The differences in late-time UV emission and in color evolution found between the models can be used to link an observed SLSN event to the most appropriate model. Observations at UV wavelengths can be used to clarify the naturemore » of SLSNe and more attention should be paid to them in future follow-up observations.« less
  • We present nebular-phase imaging and spectroscopy for the hydrogen-poor superluminous supernova (SLSN) SN 2015bn, at redshift z = 0.1136, spanning +250–400 days after maximum light. The light curve exhibits a steepening in the decline rate from 1.4 mag (100 days){sup −1} to 1.7 mag (100 days){sup −1}, suggestive of a significant decrease in the opacity. This change is accompanied by a transition from a blue continuum superposed with photospheric absorption lines to a nebular spectrum dominated by emission lines of oxygen, calcium, and magnesium. There are no obvious signatures of circumstellar interaction or large {sup 56}Ni mass. We show thatmore » the spectrum at +400 days is virtually identical to a number of energetic SNe Ic such as SN 1997dq, SN 2012au, and SN 1998bw, indicating similar core conditions and strengthening the link between “hypernovae”/long gamma-ray bursts and SLSNe. A single explosion mechanism may unify these events that span absolute magnitudes of −22 < M {sub B} < −17. Both the light curve and spectrum of SN 2015bn are consistent with an engine-driven explosion ejecting 7–30 M {sub ⊙} of oxygen-dominated ejecta (for reasonable choices in temperature and opacity). A strong and relatively narrow O i λ 7774 line, seen in a number of these energetic events but not in normal supernovae, may point to an inner shell that is the signature of a central engine.« less
  • The discovery of a population of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), with peak luminosities a factor of {approx}100 brighter than normal supernovae (SNe; typically SLSNe have M{sub V} < -21), has shown an unexpected diversity in core-collapse SN properties. Numerous models have been postulated for the nature of these events, including a strong interaction of the shockwave with a dense circumstellar environment, a re-energizing of the outflow via a central engine, or an origin in the catastrophic destruction of the star following a loss of pressure due to pair production in an extremely massive stellar core (so-called pair instability SNe). Here wemore » consider constraints that can be placed on the explosion mechanism of hydrogen-poor SLSNe (SLSNe-I) via X-ray observations, with XMM-Newton, Chandra, and Swift, and show that at least one SLSN-I is likely the brightest X-ray SN ever observed, with L{sub X} {approx} 10{sup 45} erg s{sup -1}, {approx}150 days after its initial discovery. This is a luminosity three orders of magnitude higher than seen in other X-ray SNe powered via circumstellar interactions. Such high X-ray luminosities are sufficient to ionize the ejecta and markedly reduce the optical depth, making it possible to see deep into the ejecta and any source of emission that resides there. Alternatively, an engine could have powered a moderately relativistic jet external to the ejecta, similar to those seen in gamma-ray bursts. If the detection of X-rays does require an engine it implies that these SNe do create compact objects, and that the stars are not completely destroyed in a pair instability event. Future observations will determine which, if any, of these mechanisms are at play in SLSNe.« less
  • We present observations of four rapidly rising (t{sub rise} ≈ 10 days) transients with peak luminosities between those of supernovae (SNe) and superluminous SNe (M{sub peak} ≈ −20)—one discovered and followed by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) and three by the Supernova Legacy Survey. The light curves resemble those of SN 2011kl, recently shown to be associated with an ultra-long-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB), though no GRB was seen to accompany our SNe. The rapid rise to a luminous peak places these events in a unique part of SN phase space, challenging standard SN emission mechanisms. Spectra of the PTF event formallymore » classify it as an SN II due to broad Hα emission, but an unusual absorption feature, which can be interpreted as either high velocity Hα (though deeper than in previously known cases) or Si ii (as seen in SNe Ia), is also observed. We find that existing models of white dwarf detonations, CSM interaction, shock breakout in a wind (or steeper CSM), and magnetar spin down cannot readily explain the observations. We consider the possibility that a “Type 1.5 SN” scenario could be the origin of our events. More detailed models for these kinds of transients and more constraining observations of future such events should help to better determine their nature.« less
  • We present the light curves of the hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe I) PTF 12dam and iPTF 13dcc, discovered by the (intermediate) Palomar Transient Factory. Both show excess emission at early times and a slowly declining light curve at late times. The early bump in PTF 12dam is very similar in duration (∼10 days) and brightness relative to the main peak (2–3 mag fainter) compared to that observed in other SLSNe I. In contrast, the long-duration (>30 days) early excess emission in iPTF 13dcc, whose brightness competes with that of the main peak, appears to be of a different nature. Wemore » construct bolometric light curves for both targets, and fit a variety of light-curve models to both the early bump and main peak in an attempt to understand the nature of these explosions. Even though the slope of the late-time decline in the light curves of both SLSNe is suggestively close to that expected from the radioactive decay of {sup 56}Ni and {sup 56}Co, the amount of nickel required to power the full light curves is too large considering the estimated ejecta mass. The magnetar model including an increasing escape fraction provides a reasonable description of the PTF 12dam observations. However, neither the basic nor the double-peaked magnetar model is capable of reproducing the light curve of iPTF 13dcc. A model combining a shock breakout in an extended envelope with late-time magnetar energy injection provides a reasonable fit to the iPTF 13dcc observations. Finally, we find that the light curves of both PTF 12dam and iPTF 13dcc can be adequately fit with the model involving interaction with the circumstellar medium.« less