PS1-12sk IS A PECULIAR SUPERNOVA FROM A He-RICH PROGENITOR SYSTEM IN A BRIGHTEST CLUSTER GALAXY ENVIRONMENT
Author(s)Friedman, Andrew Samuel
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We report on our discovery and observations of the Pan-STARRS1 supernova (SN) PS1-12sk, a transient with properties that indicate atypical star formation in its host galaxy cluster or pose a challenge to popular progenitor system models for this class of explosion. The optical spectra of PS1-12sk classify it as a Type Ibn SN (SN Ibn; cf. SN 2006jc), dominated by intermediate-width (3 × 10[superscript 3] km s[superscript –1]) and time variable He I emission. Our multi-wavelength monitoring establishes the rise time dt ~ 9-23 days and shows an NUV-NIR spectral energy distribution with temperature [> over ~] 17 × 10[superscript 3] K and a peak magnitude of M[subscript z] = –18.88 ± 0.02 mag. SN Ibn spectroscopic properties are commonly interpreted as the signature of a massive star (17-100 M ☉) explosion within an He-enriched circumstellar medium. However, unlike previous SNe Ibn, PS1-12sk is associated with an elliptical brightest cluster galaxy, CGCG 208–042 (z = 0.054) in cluster RXC J0844.9+4258. The expected probability of an event like PS1-12sk in such environments is low given the measured infrequency of core-collapse SNe in red-sequence galaxies compounded by the low volumetric rate of SN Ibn. Furthermore, we find no evidence of star formation at the explosion site to sensitive limits (Σ[subscript Hα] [< over ~] 2 × 10[superscript –3] M[subscript ☉] yr[superscript –1] kpc[superscript –2]). We therefore discuss white dwarf binary systems as a possible progenitor channel for SNe Ibn. We conclude that PS1-12sk represents either a fortuitous and statistically unlikely discovery, evidence for a top-heavy initial mass function in galaxy cluster cooling flow filaments, or the first clue suggesting an alternate progenitor channel for SNe Ibn.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society
Sanders, N. E., A. M. Soderberg, R. J. Foley, R. Chornock, D. Milisavljevic, R. Margutti, M. R. Drout, et al. “PS1-12sk IS A PECULIAR SUPERNOVA FROM A He-RICH PROGENITOR SYSTEM IN A BRIGHTEST CLUSTER GALAXY ENVIRONMENT.” The Astrophysical Journal 769, no. 1 (May 2, 2013): 39.
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