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Post Info TOPIC: Supernova 2008iy


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Supernova 2008iy

Title: SN 2008iy: An Unusual Type IIn Supernova with an Enduring 400 Day Rise Time
Authors: A. A. Miller (1), J. M. Silverman (1), N. R. Butler (1), J. S. Bloom (1), R. Chornock (1 and 2), A. V. Filippenko (1), M. Ganeshalingam (1), C. R. Klein (1), W. Li (1), P. E. Nugent (3), N. Smith (1), T. N. Steele (1) ((1) UC Berkeley, (2) Harvard CfA, (3) LBNL)

We present spectroscopic and photometric observations of the Type IIn supernova (SN) 2008iy. SN 2008iy showed an unprecedented long rise time of ~400 days, making it the first SN to take significantly longer than 100 days to reach peak optical luminosity. The peak absolute magnitude of SN 2008iy was M_r ~ -19.1 mag, and the total radiated energy over the first ~700 days was ~2 x 10^50 erg. Spectroscopically, SN 2008iy is very similar to the Type IIn SN 1988Z at late times, and, like SN 1988Z, it is a luminous X-ray source (both supernovae had an X-ray luminosity L_ X > 10^41 erg/s). The Halpha emission profile of SN 2008iy shows a narrow P Cygni absorption component, implying a pre-SN wind speed of ~100 km/s. We argue that the luminosity of SN 2008iy is powered via the interaction of the SN ejecta with a dense, clumpy circumstellar medium. The ~400 day rise time can be understood if the number density of clumps increases with distance over a radius ~1.7 x 10^16 cm from the progenitor. This scenario is possible if the progenitor experienced an episodic phase of enhanced mass-loss < 1 century prior to explosion or the progenitor wind speed increased during the decades before core collapse. We favour the former scenario, which is reminiscent of the eruptive mass-loss episodes observed for luminous blue variable (LBV) stars. The progenitor wind speed and increased mass-loss rates serve as further evidence that at least some, and perhaps all, Type IIn supernovae experience LBV-like eruptions shortly before core collapse. We also discuss the host galaxy of SN 2008iy, a subluminous dwarf galaxy, and offer a few reasons why the recent suggestion that unusual, luminous supernovae preferentially occur in dwarf galaxies may be the result of observational biases.

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