skip to main content

Title: The search for failed supernovae with the Large Binocular Telescope: a new candidate and the failed SN fraction with 11 yr of data
ABSTRACT We present updated results of the Large Binocular Telescope Search for Failed Supernovae. This search monitors luminous stars in 27 nearby galaxies with a current baseline of 11 yr of data. We re-discover the failed supernova (SN) candidate N6946-BH1 as well as a new candidate, M101-OC1. M101-OC1 is a blue supergiant that rapidly disappears in optical wavelengths with no evidence for significant obscuration by warm dust. While we consider other options, a good explanation for the fading of M101-OC1 is a failed SN, but follow-up observations are needed to confirm this. Assuming only one clearly detected failed SN, we find a failed SN fraction $f = 0.16^{+0.23}_{-0.12}$ at 90 per cent confidence. We also report on a collection of stars that show slow (∼decade), large amplitude (ΔL/L > 3) luminosity changes.
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
516 to 528
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    The absence of Type IIP core-collapse supernovae arising from progenitors above 17 solar masses suggests the existence of another evolutionary path by which massive stars end their lives. The direct collapse of a stellar core to a black hole without the production of a bright, explosive transient is expected to produce a long-lived, dim, red transient known as a failed supernova. Despite the detection of a number of candidates for disappearing massive stars in recent years, conclusive observational evidence for failed supernovae remains elusive. A custom-built pipeline designed for the detection of faint transients is used to re-analyse 10 yr of observations of 231 nearby galaxies from the PTF/ZTF surveys. This analysis recovers known supernovae, and yields a number of interesting transients. However, none of these are consistent with a failed supernova. Through Monte Carlo tests the recovery efficiency of our pipeline is quantified. By assuming failed supernovae occur as a Poissonian process with zero detections in the data set, 95 per cent upper limits to the rate of failed supernovae are calculated as a function of failed supernova absolute magnitude. We estimate failed supernovae to be less than 0.61, 0.33, 0.26, or 0.23 of the core-collapse SN rate formore »absolute magnitudes of −11, −12, −13, and −14, respectively. Finally, we show that if they exist, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will find 1.7–3.7 failed SNe per year for an absolute bolometric luminosity of ∼6 × 1039 erg s−1 out to distances of 33–43 Mpc, depending on their assumed spectral energy distribution.

    « less
  2. ABSTRACT We present new Large Binocular Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope data for the failed supernova candidate N6946-BH1. We also report an unsuccessful attempt to detect the candidate with Chandra. The ∼300 000 $\, \mathrm{L}_\odot$ red supergiant progenitor underwent an outburst in 2009 and has since disappeared in the optical. In the LBT data from 2008 May through 2019 October, the upper limit on any increase in the R-band luminosity of the source is $2000 \, \mathrm{L}_\odot$. HST and Spitzer observations show that the source continued to fade in the near-IR and mid-IR, fading by approximately a factor of 2 between 2015 October and 2017 September to 2900 $\, \mathrm{L}_\odot$ at Hband (F160W). Models of the spectral energy distribution are inconsistent with a surviving star obscured either by an ongoing wind or dust formed in the transient. The disappearance of N6946-BH1 remains consistent with a failed supernova, but the post-failure phenomenology requires further theoretical study.
  3. ABSTRACT As part of an All-Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) search for sources with large flux decrements, we discovered a transient where the quiescent, stellar source ASASSN-V J192114.84+624950.8 rapidly decreased in flux by $\sim 55{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (∼0.9 mag) in the g band. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite light curve revealed that the source is a highly eccentric, eclipsing binary. Fits to the light curve using phoebe find the binary orbit to have e = 0.79, Porb = 18.462 d, and i = 88.6°, and the ratios of the stellar radii and temperatures to be R2/R1 = 0.71 and Te,2/Te,1 = 0.82. Both stars are chromospherically active, allowing us to determine their rotational periods of P1 = 1.52 d and P2 = 1.79 d, respectively. A Large Binocular Telescope/Multi-Object Double Spectrograph spectrum shows that the primary is a late-G- or early-K-type dwarf. Fits to the spectral energy distribution show that the luminosities and temperatures of the two stars are L1 = 0.48 L⊙, $T_1= 5050\, \mathrm{K}$, L2 = 0.12 L⊙, and $T_{2} = 4190\, \mathrm{K}$. We conclude that ASASSN-V J192114.84+624950.8 consists of two chromospherically active, rotational variable stars in a highly elliptical eclipsing orbit.
  4. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the brightest and most energetic events in the universe. The duration and hardness distribution of GRBs has two clusters, now understood to reflect (at least) two different progenitors. Short-hard GRBs (SGRBs; T90 <2 s) arise from compact binary mergers, while long-soft GRBs (LGRBs; T90 >2 s) have been attributed to the collapse of peculiar massive stars (collapsars). The discovery of SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 marked the first association of a LGRB with a collapsar and AT 2017gfo/GRB 170817A/GW170817 marked the first association of a SGRB with a binary neutron star merger, producing also gravitational wave (GW). Here, we present the discovery of ZTF20abwysqy (AT2020scz), a fast-fading optical transient in the Fermi Satellite and the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) localization regions of GRB 200826A; X-ray and radio emission further confirm that this is the afterglow. Follow-up imaging (at rest-frame 16.5 days) reveals excess emission above the afterglow that cannot be explained as an underlying kilonova (KN), but is consistent with being the supernova (SN). Despite the GRB duration being short (rest-frame T90 of 0.65 s), our panchromatic follow-up data confirms a collapsar origin. GRB 200826A is the shortest LGRB found with an associated collapsar; it appears to sitmore »on the brink between a successful and a failed collapsar. Our discovery is consistent with the hypothesis that most collapsars fail to produce ultra-relativistic jets.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We present Hubble Space Telescope imaging of a pre-explosion counterpart to SN 2019yvr obtained 2.6 yr before its explosion as a type Ib supernova (SN Ib). Aligning to a post-explosion Gemini-S/GSAOI image, we demonstrate that there is a single source consistent with being the SN 2019yvr progenitor system, the second SN Ib progenitor candidate after iPTF13bvn. We also analysed pre-explosion Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) imaging, but we do not detect any counterparts at the SN location. SN 2019yvr was highly reddened, and comparing its spectra and photometry to those of other, less extinguished SNe Ib we derive $E(B-V)=0.51\substack{+0.27\\ -0.16}$ mag for SN 2019yvr. Correcting photometry of the pre-explosion source for dust reddening, we determine that this source is consistent with a log (L/L⊙) = 5.3 ± 0.2 and $T_{\mathrm{eff}} = 6800\substack{+400\\ -200}$ K star. This relatively cool photospheric temperature implies a radius of 320$\substack{+30\\ -50}~\mathrm{ R}_{\odot}$, much larger than expectations for SN Ib progenitor stars with trace amounts of hydrogen but in agreement with previously identified SN IIb progenitor systems. The photometry of the system is also consistent with binary star models that undergo common envelope evolution, leading to a primary star hydrogen envelope mass that is mostly depleted but still seemingly in conflict with the SN Ib classification of SN 2019yvr. SN 2019yvr had signatures ofmore »strong circumstellar interaction in late-time (>150 d) spectra and imaging, and so we consider eruptive mass-loss and common envelope evolution scenarios that explain the SN Ib spectroscopic class, pre-explosion counterpart, and dense circumstellar material. We also hypothesize that the apparent inflation could be caused by a quasi-photosphere formed in an extended, low-density envelope, or circumstellar matter around the primary star.« less