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    We present optical photometry and spectroscopy of the superluminous SN 2002gh from maximum light to +204 d, obtained as part of the Carnegie Type II Supernova (CATS) project. SN 2002gh is among the most luminous discovered supernovae ever, yet it remained unnoticed for nearly two decades. Using Dark Energy Camera archival images we identify the potential supernova (SN) host galaxy as a faint dwarf galaxy, presumably having low metallicity, and in an apparent merging process with other nearby dwarf galaxies. We show that SN 2002gh is among the brightest hydrogen-poor SLSNe with MV = −22.40 ± 0.02, with an estimated peak bolometric luminosity of 2.6 ± 0.1 × 1044 erg s−1. We discount the decay of radioactive nickel as the main SN power mechanism, and assuming that the SN is powered by the spin-down of a magnetar we obtain two alternative solutions. The first case, is characterized by significant magnetar power leakage, and Mej between 0.6 and 3.2 M⊙, Pspin = 3.2 ms, and B = 5 × 1013 G. The second case does not require power leakage, resulting in a huge ejecta mass of about 30 M⊙, a fast spin period of Pspin ∼ 1 ms, and B ∼ 1.6 × 1014 G. We estimate a zero-age main-sequence mass between 14 and 25 M⊙ for the first case and ofmore »about 135 M⊙ for the second case. The latter case would place the SN progenitor among the most massive stars observed to explode as an SN.

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  2. Abstract

    We present early observations and analysis of the double-peaked Type IIb supernova (SN IIb) SN 2021zby. TESS captured the prominent early shock-cooling peak of SN 2021zby within the first ∼10 days after explosion with a 30 minute cadence. We present optical and near-infrared spectral series of SN 2021zby, including three spectra during the shock-cooling phase. Using a multiband model fit, we find that the inferred properties of its progenitor are consistent with a red supergiant or yellow supergiant, with an envelope mass of ∼0.30–0.65Mand an envelope radius of ∼120–300R. These inferred progenitor properties are similar to those of other SNe IIb with a double-peaked feature, such as SNe 1993J, 2011dh, 2016gkg, and 2017jgh. This study further validates the importance of the high cadence and early coverage in resolving the shape of the shock-cooling light curve, while the multiband observations, particularly UV, are also necessary to fully constrain the progenitor properties.

  3. Abstract We present high-cadence optical, ultraviolet (UV), and near-infrared data of the nearby ( D ≈ 23 Mpc) Type II supernova (SN) 2021yja. Many Type II SNe show signs of interaction with circumstellar material (CSM) during the first few days after explosion, implying that their red supergiant (RSG) progenitors experience episodic or eruptive mass loss. However, because it is difficult to discover SNe early, the diversity of CSM configurations in RSGs has not been fully mapped. SN 2021yja, first detected within ≈ 5.4 hours of explosion, shows some signatures of CSM interaction (high UV luminosity and radio and x-ray emission) but without the narrow emission lines or early light-curve peak that can accompany CSM. Here we analyze the densely sampled early light curve and spectral series of this nearby SN to infer the properties of its progenitor and CSM. We find that the most likely progenitor was an RSG with an extended envelope, encompassed by low-density CSM. We also present archival Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the host galaxy of SN 2021yja, which allows us to place a stringent upper limit of ≲ 9 M ☉ on the progenitor mass. However, this is in tension with some aspects of themore »SN evolution, which point to a more massive progenitor. Our analysis highlights the need to consider progenitor structure when making inferences about CSM properties, and that a comprehensive view of CSM tracers should be made to give a fuller view of the last years of RSG evolution.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  4. The many unusual properties of the enigmatic AT2018cow suggested that at least some subset of the empirical class of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) represents a genuinely new astrophysical phenomenon. Unfortunately, the intrinsic rarity and fleeting nature of these events have made it difficult to identify additional examples early enough to acquire the observations necessary to constrain theoretical models. We present here the Zwicky Transient Facility discovery of AT2020xnd (ZTF20acigmel, the "Camel") at z=0.243, the first unambiguous AT2018cow analog to be found and confirmed in real time. AT2018cow and AT2020xnd share all key observational properties: a fast optical rise, sustained high photospheric temperature, absence of a second peak attributable to ejection of a radioactively-heated stellar envelope, extremely luminous radio, millimetre, and X-ray emission, and a dwarf-galaxy host. This supports the argument that AT2018cow-like events represent a distinct phenomenon from slower-evolving radio-quiet supernovae, likely requiring a different progenitor or a different central engine. The sample properties of the four known members of this class to date disfavour tidal disruption models but are consistent with the alternative model of an accretion powered jet following the direct collapse of a massive star to a black hole. Contextual filtering of alert streams combined withmore »rapid photometric verification using multi-band imaging provides an efficient way to identify future members of this class, even at high redshift.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Low-luminosity Type II supernovae (LL SNe II) make up the low explosion energy end of core-collapse SNe, but their study and physical understanding remain limited. We present SN 2016aqf, an LL SN II with extensive spectral and photometric coverage. We measure a V-band peak magnitude of −14.58 mag, a plateau duration of ∼100 d, and an inferred 56Ni mass of 0.008 ± 0.002 M⊙. The peak bolometric luminosity, Lbol ≈ 1041.4 erg s−1, and its spectral evolution are typical of other SNe in the class. Using our late-time spectra, we measure the [O i] λλ6300, 6364 lines, which we compare against SN II spectral synthesis models to constrain the progenitor zero-age main-sequence mass. We find this to be 12 ± 3 M⊙. Our extensive late-time spectral coverage of the [Fe ii] λ7155 and [Ni ii] λ7378 lines permits a measurement of the Ni/Fe abundance ratio, a parameter sensitive to the inner progenitor structure and explosion mechanism dynamics. We measure a constant abundance ratio evolution of $0.081^{+0.009}_{-0.010}$ and argue that the best epochs to measure the ratio are at ∼200–300 d after explosion. We place this measurement in the context of a large sample of SNe II and compare against various physical, light-curve, and spectral parameters, in search of trends that might allow indirect ways of constrainingmore »this ratio. We do not find correlations predicted by theoretical models; however, this may be the result of the exact choice of parameters and explosion mechanism in the models, the simplicity of them, and/or primordial contamination in the measured abundance ratio.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We present early-time (t < +50 d) observations of SN 2019muj (=ASASSN-19tr), one of the best-observed members of the peculiar SN Iax class. Ultraviolet and optical photometric and optical and near-infrared spectroscopic follow-up started from ∼5 d before maximum light [tmax(B) on $58707.8$ MJD] and covers the photospheric phase. The early observations allow us to estimate the physical properties of the ejecta and characterize the possible divergence from a uniform chemical abundance structure. The estimated bolometric light-curve peaks at 1.05 × 1042 erg s−1 and indicates that only 0.031 M⊙ of 56Ni was produced, making SN 2019muj a moderate luminosity object in the Iax class with peak absolute magnitude of $M_\rm {V} = -16.4$ mag. The estimated date of explosion is t0 = $58698.2$ MJD and implies a short rise time of trise = 9.6 d in B band. We fit of the spectroscopic data by synthetic spectra, calculated via the radiative transfer code tardis. Adopting the partially stratified abundance template based on brighter SNe Iax provides a good match with SN 2019muj. However, without earlier spectra, the need for stratification cannot be stated in most of the elements, except carbon, which is allowed to appear in the outer layers only. SN 2019muj provides amore »unique opportunity to link extremely low-luminosity SNe Iax to well-studied, brighter SNe Iax.« less