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What Powers the 3000-Day Light Curve of SN 2006gy?

Fox, Ori D. and Smith, Nathan and Ammons, S. Mark and Andrews, Jennifer and Bostroem, K. Azalee and Cenko, S. Bradley and Clayton, Geoffrey C. and Dwek, Eli and Filippenko, Alexei V. and Gallagher, Joseph S. and Kelly, Patrick L. and Mauerhan, Jon C. and Miller, Adam M. and Van Dyk, Schuyler D. (2015) What Powers the 3000-Day Light Curve of SN 2006gy? Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 454 (4). pp. 4366-4378. ISSN 0035-8711.

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SN 2006gy was the most luminous supernova (SN) ever observed at the time of its discovery and the first of the newly defined class of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe). The extraordinary energetics of SN 2006gy and all SLSNe (>10^(51) erg) require either atypically large explosion energies (e.g. pair-instability explosion) or the efficient conversion of kinetic into radiative energy (e.g. shock interaction). The mass-loss characteristics can therefore offer important clues regarding the progenitor system. For the case of SN 2006gy, both a scattered and thermal light echo from circumstellar material (CSM) have been reported at later epochs (day ∼800), ruling out the likelihood of a pair-instability event and leading to constraints on the characteristics of the CSM. Owing to the proximity of the SN to the bright host-galaxy nucleus, continued monitoring of the light echo has not been trivial, requiring the high resolution offered by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) or ground-based adaptive optics (AO). Here, we report detections of SN 2006gy using HST and Keck AO at ∼3000 d post-explosion and consider the emission mechanism for the very late-time light curve. While the optical light curve and optical spectral energy distribution are consistent with a continued scattered-light echo, a thermal echo is insufficient to power the K′-band emission by day 3000. Instead, we present evidence for late-time infrared emission from dust that is radiatively heated by CSM interaction within an extremely dense dust shell, and we consider the implications on the CSM characteristics and progenitor system.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Fox, Ori D.0000-0003-2238-1572
Ammons, S. Mark0000-0001-5172-7902
Cenko, S. Bradley0000-0003-1673-970X
Dwek, Eli0000-0001-8033-1181
Filippenko, Alexei V.0000-0003-3460-0103
Kelly, Patrick L.0000-0003-3142-997X
Van Dyk, Schuyler D.0000-0001-9038-9950
Additional Information:© 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2015 September 29. Received 2015 September 17; in original form 2015 July 10. First published online October 28, 2015. This work is based on observations made with the NASA/ESA HST, obtained from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. We are grateful to the STScI Help Desk for their assistance with the HST data. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA; the observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Keck observations were made possible by the ToO program. We thank the staff of the Keck Observatory for their assistance with the observations, as well as efforts by Sam Ragland and Mark Morris. Melissa L. Graham and WeiKang Zheng helped obtain and reduce the Keck spectra. We wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. Financial support for ODF was provided by NASA through grant GO-13287 from STScI. AVF and his group acknowledge generous financial assistance from the Christopher R. Redlich Fund, the TABASGO Foundation, and NSF grant AST-1211916. The research by SMA is supported by the US Department of Energy through the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Christopher R. Redlich FundUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC52-07NA27344
Subject Keywords:circumstellar matter – supernovae: general – supernovae: individual: SN 2006gy – dust, extinction – infrared: stars
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151022-135502266
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ori D. Fox, Nathan Smith, S. Mark Ammons, Jennifer Andrews, K. Azalee Bostroem, S. Bradley Cenko, Geoffrey C. Clayton, Eli Dwek, Alexei V. Filippenko, Joseph S. Gallagher, Patrick L. Kelly, Jon C. Mauerhan, Adam A. Miller, and Schuyler D. Van Dyk What powers the 3000-day light curve of SN 2006gy? MNRAS (December 21, 2015) Vol. 454 4366-4378 doi:10.1093/mnras/stv2270 First published online October 28, 2015
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:61433
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:22 Oct 2015 21:13
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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