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Title: Supernova 2020wnt: An Atypical Superluminous Supernova with a Hidden Central Engine

We present observations of a peculiar hydrogen- and helium-poor stripped-envelope (SE) supernova (SN) 2020wnt, primarily in the optical and near-infrared (near-IR). Its peak absolute bolometric magnitude of −20.9 mag (Lbol, peak= (6.8 ± 0.3) × 1043erg s−1) and a rise time of 69 days are reminiscent of hydrogen-poor superluminous SNe (SLSNe I), luminous transients potentially powered by spinning-down magnetars. Before the main peak, there is a brief peak lasting <10 days post explosion, likely caused by interaction with circumstellar medium (CSM) ejected ∼years before the SN explosion. The optical spectra near peak lack a hot continuum and Oiiabsorptions, which are signs of heating from a central engine; they quantitatively resemble those of radioactivity-powered hydrogen/helium-poor Type Ic SESNe. At ∼1 yr after peak, nebular spectra reveal a blue pseudo-continuum and narrow Oirecombination lines associated with magnetar heating. Radio observations rule out strong CSM interactions as the dominant energy source at +266 days post peak. Near-IR observations at +200–300 days reveal carbon monoxide and dust formation, which causes a dramatic optical light-curve dip. Pair-instability explosion models predict slow light curve and spectral features incompatible with observations. SN 2020wnt is best explained as a magnetar-powered core-collapse explosion of a 28Mpre-SN star. The explosion kinetic energy is significantly larger than the magnetar energy at peak, effectively concealing the magnetar-heated inner ejecta until well after peak. SN 2020wnt falls into a continuum between normal SNe Ic and SLSNe I, and demonstrates that optical spectra at peak alone cannot rule out the presence of a central engine.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Article No. 34
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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