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Title:
Slowly fading super-luminous supernovae that are not pair-instability explosions
Authors:
Nicholl, M.; Smartt, S. J.; Jerkstrand, A.; Inserra, C.; McCrum, M.; Kotak, R.; Fraser, M.; Wright, D.; Chen, T.-W.; Smith, K.; Young, D. R.; Sim, S. A.; Valenti, S.; Howell, D. A.; Bresolin, F.; Kudritzki, R. P.; Tonry, J. L.; Huber, M. E.; Rest, A.; Pastorello, A.; Tomasella, L.; Cappellaro, E.; Benetti, S.; Mattila, S.; Kankare, E.; Kangas, T.; Leloudas, G.; Sollerman, J.; Taddia, F.; Berger, E.; Chornock, R.; Narayan, G.; Stubbs, C. W.; Foley, R. J.; Lunnan, R.; Soderberg, A.; Sanders, N.; Milisavljevic, D.; Margutti, R.; Kirshner, R. P.; Elias-Rosa, N.; Morales-Garoffolo, A.; Taubenberger, S.; Botticella, M. T.; Gezari, S.; Urata, Y.; Rodney, S.; Riess, A. G.; Scolnic, D.; Wood-Vasey, W. M.; Burgett, W. S.; Chambers, K.; Flewelling, H. A.; Magnier, E. A.; Kaiser, N.; Metcalfe, N.; Morgan, J.; Price, P. A.; Sweeney, W.; Waters, C.
Affiliation:
AA(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK; ), AB(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AC(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AD(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AE(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AF(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AG(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AH(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AI(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AJ(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AK(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AL(Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK), AM(Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, 6740 Cortona Drive, Suite 102 Goleta, California 93117, USA; Department of Physics, Broida Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA), AN(Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, 6740 Cortona Drive, Suite 102 Goleta, California 93117, USA; Department of Physics, Broida Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA), AO(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), AP(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), AQ(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), AR(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), AS(Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA), AT(INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy), AU(INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy), AV(INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy), AW(INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy), AX(Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO (FINCA), University of Turku, Väisäläntie 20, FI-21500 Piikkiö, Finland; Tuorla Observatory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Väisäläntie 20, FI-21500 Piikkiö, Finland), AY(Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO (FINCA), University of Turku, Väisäläntie 20, FI-21500 Piikkiö, Finland; Tuorla Observatory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Väisäläntie 20, FI-21500 Piikkiö, Finland), AZ(Tuorla Observatory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Väisäläntie 20, FI-21500 Piikkiö, Finland), BA(The Oskar Klein Centre, Department of Physics, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden; Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark), BB(The Oskar Klein Centre, Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden), BC(The Oskar Klein Centre, Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden), BD(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BE(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BF(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BG(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BH(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BI(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BJ(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BK(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BL(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BM(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA), BN(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA; Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA), BO(Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (IEEC-CSIC), Facultat de Ciències, Campus UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain), BP(Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (IEEC-CSIC), Facultat de Ciències, Campus UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain), BQ(Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 1, 85741 Garching, Germany), BR(INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello 16, I-80131 Napoli, Italy), BS(Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742-2421, USA), BT(Institute of Astronomy, National Central University, Chung-Li 32054, Taiwan), BU(Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA), BV(Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA), BW(Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA), BX(Pittsburgh Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Center, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, 3941 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA), BY(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), BZ(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), CA(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), CB(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), CC(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), CD(Department of Physics, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK), CE(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), CF(Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA), CG(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA), CH(Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA)
Publication:
Nature, Volume 502, Issue 7471, pp. 346-349 (2013). (Nature Homepage)
Publication Date:
10/2013
Origin:
NATURE
Abstract Copyright:
(c) 2013: Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
DOI:
10.1038/nature12569
Bibliographic Code:
2013Natur.502..346N

Abstract

Super-luminous supernovae that radiate more than 1044 ergs per second at their peak luminosity have recently been discovered in faint galaxies at redshifts of 0.1-4. Some evolve slowly, resembling models of `pair-instability' supernovae. Such models involve stars with original masses 140-260 times that of the Sun that now have carbon-oxygen cores of 65-130 solar masses. In these stars, the photons that prevent gravitational collapse are converted to electron-positron pairs, causing rapid contraction and thermonuclear explosions. Many solar masses of 56Ni are synthesized; this isotope decays to 56Fe via 56Co, powering bright light curves. Such massive progenitors are expected to have formed from metal-poor gas in the early Universe. Recently, supernova 2007bi in a galaxy at redshift 0.127 (about 12 billion years after the Big Bang) with a metallicity one-third that of the Sun was observed to look like a fading pair-instability supernova. Here we report observations of two slow-to-fade super-luminous supernovae that show relatively fast rise times and blue colours, which are incompatible with pair-instability models. Their late-time light-curve and spectral similarities to supernova 2007bi call the nature of that event into question. Our early spectra closely resemble typical fast-declining super-luminous supernovae, which are not powered by radioactivity. Modelling our observations with 10-16 solar masses of magnetar-energized ejecta demonstrates the possibility of a common explosion mechanism. The lack of unambiguous nearby pair-instability events suggests that their local rate of occurrence is less than 6 × 10-6 times that of the core-collapse rate.
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