1,725 research outputs found

    Luminous Supernovae

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    Supernovae (SNe), the luminous explosions of stars, were observed since antiquity, with typical peak luminosity not exceeding 1.2x10^{43} erg/s (absolute magnitude >-19.5 mag). It is only in the last dozen years that numerous examples of SNe that are substantially super-luminous (>7x10^{43} erg/s; <-21 mag absolute) were well-documented. Reviewing the accumulated evidence, we define three broad classes of super-luminous SN events (SLSNe). Hydrogen-rich events (SLSN-II) radiate photons diffusing out from thick hydrogen layers where they have been deposited by strong shocks, and often show signs of interaction with circumstellar material. SLSN-R, a rare class of hydrogen-poor events, are powered by very large amounts of radioactive 56Ni and arguably result from explosions of very massive stars due to the pair instability. A third, distinct group of hydrogen-poor events emits photons from rapidly-expanding hydrogen-poor material distributed over large radii, and are not powered by radioactivity (SLSN-I). These may be the hydrogen-poor analogs of SLSN-II.Comment: This manuscript has been accepted for publication in Science (to appear August 24). This version has not undergone final editing. Please refer to the complete version of record at http://www.sciencemag.org/. The manuscript may not be reproduced or used in any manner that does not fall within the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act without the prior, written permission of AAA

    Caltech Core-Collapse Project (CCCP) Observations of Type II Supernovae: Evidence for Three Distinct Photometric Subtypes

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    We present R-Band light curves of Type II supernovae (SNe) from the Caltech Core Collapse Project (CCCP). With the exception of interacting (Type IIn) SNe and rare events with long rise times, we find that most light curve shapes belong to one of three distinct classes: plateau, slowly declining and rapidly declining events. The last class is composed solely of Type IIb SNe which present similar light curve shapes to those of SNe Ib, suggesting, perhaps, similar progenitor channels. We do not find any intermediate light curves, implying that these subclasses are unlikely to reflect variance of continuous parameters, but rather might result from physically distinct progenitor systems, strengthening the suggestion of a binary origin for at least some stripped SNe. We find a large plateau luminosity range for SNe IIP, while the plateau lengths seem rather uniform at approximately 100 days. As analysis of additional CCCP data goes on and larger samples are collected, demographic studies of core collapse SNe will likely continue to provide new constraints on progenitor scenarios.Comment: Submitted to ApJ

    Unsupervised clustering of Type II supernova light curves

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    As new facilities come online, the astronomical community will be provided with extremely large datasets of well-sampled light curves (LCs) of transient objects. This motivates systematic studies of the light curves of supernovae (SNe) of all types, including the early rising phase. We performed unsupervised k-means clustering on a sample of 59 R-band Type II SN light curves and find that our sample can be divided into three classes: slowly-rising (II-S), fast-rise/slow-decline (II-FS), and fast-rise/fast-decline (II-FF). We also identify three outliers based on the algorithm. We find that performing clustering on the first two components of a principal component analysis gives equivalent results to the analysis using the full LC morphologies. This may indicate that Type II LCs could possibly be reduced to two parameters. We present several important caveats to the technique, and find that the division into these classes is not fully robust and is sensitive to the uncertainty on the time of first light. Moreover these classes have some overlap, and are defined in the R-band only. It is currently unclear if they represent distinct physical classes, and more data is needed to study these issues. However, our analysis shows that the outliers are actually composed of slowly-evolving SN IIb, demonstrating the potential use of such methods. The slowly-evolving SNe IIb may arise from single massive progenitors.Comment: Comments welcome. Fixed small typo

    The Redshift Distribution of Type-Ia Supernovae: Constraints on Progenitors and Cosmic Star Formation History

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    We use the redshift distribution of type-Ia supernovae (SNe) discovered by the Supernova Cosmology Project to constrain the star formation history (SFH) of the Universe and SN Ia progenitor models. Given some of the recent determinations of the SFH, the observed SN Ia redshift distribution indicates a long (>~1 h^-1 Gyr) mean delay time between the formation of a stellar population and the explosion of some of its members as SNe Ia. For example, if the Madau et al. (1998) SFH is assumed, the delay time tau is constrained to be tau > 1.7 (tau > 0.7) h^-1 Gyr at the 95%(99%) confidence level (CL). SFHs that rise at high redshift, similar to those advocated by Lanzetta et al. (2002), are inconsistent with the data at the 95% CL unless tau > 2.5 h^-1 Gyr. Long time delays disfavor progenitor models such as edge-lit detonation of a white dwarf accreting from a giant donor, and the carbon core ignition of a white dwarf passing the Chandrasekhar mass due to accretion from a subgiant. The SN Ia delay may be shorter, thereby relaxing some of these constraints, if the field star formation rate falls, between z=1 and the present, less sharply than implied, e.g., by the original Madau plot. We show that the discovery of larger samples of high-z SNe Ia by forthcoming observational projects should yield strong constraints on the progenitor models and the SFH. In a companion paper (astro-ph/0309797), we demonstrate that if SNe Ia produce most of the iron in galaxy clusters, and the stars in clusters formed at z~2, the SN Ia delay time must be lower than 2 Gyr. If so, then the Lanzetta et al. (2002) SFH will be ruled out by the data presented here.Comment: MNRAS, accepte