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Title: Radio Analysis of SN2004C Reveals an Unusual CSM Density Profile as a Harbinger of Core Collapse

We present extensive multifrequency Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) observations of the radio-bright supernova (SN) IIb SN 2004C that span ∼40–2793 days post-explosion. We interpret the temporal evolution of the radio spectral energy distribution in the context of synchrotron self-absorbed emission from the explosion’s forward shock as it expands in the circumstellar medium (CSM) previously sculpted by the mass-loss history of the stellar progenitor. VLBA observations and modeling of the VLA data point to a blastwave with average velocity ∼0.06cthat carries an energy of ≈1049erg. Our modeling further reveals a flat CSM density profileρCSMR−0.03±0.22up to a break radiusRbr≈ (1.96 ± 0.10) × 1016cm, with a steep density gradient followingρCSMR−2.3±0.5at larger radii. We infer that the flat part of the density profile corresponds to a CSM shell with mass ∼0.021M, and that the progenitor’s effective mass-loss rate varied with time over the range (50–500) × 10−5Myr−1for an adopted wind velocityvw= 1000 km s−1and shock microphysical parametersϵe= 0.1,ϵB= 0.01. These results add to the mounting observational evidence for departures from the traditional single-wind mass-loss scenarios in evolved, massive stars in the centuries leading up to core collapse. Potentially viable scenarios include mass loss more » powered by gravity waves and/or interaction with a binary companion.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 84
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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