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Title: Variable thermal energy injection from magnetar spin-down as a possible cause of stripped-envelope supernova light-curve bumps

Luminosity evolution of some stripped-envelope supernovae such as Type I superluminous supernovae is difficult to explain by the canonical 56Ni nuclear decay heating. A popular alternative heating source is rapid spin-down of strongly magnetized rapidly rotating neutron stars (magnetars). Recent observations have indicated that Type I superluminous supernovae often have bumpy light curves with multiple luminosity peaks. The cause of bumpy light curves is unknown. In this study, we investigate the possibility that the light-curve bumps are caused by variations of the thermal energy injection from magnetar spin-down. We find that a temporal increase in the thermal energy injection can lead to multiple luminosity peaks. The multiple luminosity peaks caused by the variable thermal energy injection is found to be accompanied by significant increase in photospheric temperature, and photospheric radii are not significantly changed. We show that the bumpy light curves of SN 2015bn and SN 2019stc can be reproduced by temporarily increasing magnetar spin-down energy input by a factor of 2–3 for 5–20 d. However, not all the light-curve bumps are accompanied by the clear photospheric temperature increase as predicted by our synthetic models. In particular, the secondary light-curve bump of SN 2019stc is accompanied by a temporal increase in photospheric radii rather than temperature, which is not seen in our synthetic models. We therefore conclude that not all the light-curve bumps observed in luminous supernovae are caused by the variable thermal energy injection from magnetar spin-down and some bumps are likely caused by a different mechanism.

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Award ID(s):
2108467 2108466 1908689
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 6210-6218
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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