A Caltech Library Service

Energetic eruptions leading to a peculiar hydrogen-rich explosion of a massive star

Arcavi, Iair and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Blagorodnova, Nadja and Laher, Russ (2017) Energetic eruptions leading to a peculiar hydrogen-rich explosion of a massive star. Nature, 551 . pp. 210-213. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/nature24030.

[img] PDF (Full list of acknowledgements) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 1 : The discovery and environment of iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 2 : Additional photometry of iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 3 : Pre-explosion nondetection limits for iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 4 : The slow spectral evolution of iPTF14hls compared to normal supernovae) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 5 : A lack of spectral interaction signatures in iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 6 : The nature of the increased flux during the brightest peak of iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 7 : The perplexing velocity evolution of iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Figure 8 : A historic eruption at the position of iPTF14hls) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Table 1: iPTF14hls host-galaxy line fluxes) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Table 2: iPTF14hls host-galaxy metallicity values) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Every supernova so far observed has been considered to be the terminal explosion of a star. Moreover, all supernovae with absorption lines in their spectra show those lines decreasing in velocity over time, as the ejecta expand and thin, revealing slower-moving material that was previously hidden. In addition, every supernova that exhibits the absorption lines of hydrogen has one main light-curve peak, or a plateau in luminosity, lasting approximately 100 days before declining1. Here we report observations of iPTF14hls, an event that has spectra identical to a hydrogen-rich core-collapse supernova, but characteristics that differ extensively from those of known supernovae. The light curve has at least five peaks and remains bright for more than 600 days; the absorption lines show little to no decrease in velocity; and the radius of the line-forming region is more than an order of magnitude bigger than the radius of the photosphere derived from the continuum emission. These characteristics are consistent with a shell of several tens of solar masses ejected by the progenitor star at supernova-level energies a few hundred days before a terminal explosion. Another possible eruption was recorded at the same position in 1954. Multiple energetic pre-supernova eruptions are expected to occur in stars of 95 to 130 solar masses, which experience the pulsational pair instability. That model, however, does not account for the continued presence of hydrogen, or the energetics observed here. Another mechanism for the violent ejection of mass in massive stars may be required.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Arcavi, Iair0000-0001-7090-4898
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Blagorodnova, Nadja0000-0003-0901-1606
Laher, Russ0000-0003-2451-5482
Additional Information:© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. Received: 28 September 2016; Accepted: 16 August 2017; Published online: 08 November 2017. I. Arcavi is an Einstein Fellow. B.S. is a Hubble Fellow and a Carnegie-Princeton Fellow. A.V.F. is a Miller Senior Fellow. See the Supplementary Information for a full list of Acknowledgements. Contributions: I. Arcavi initiated the study, triggered follow-up observations, reduced data, performed the analysis and wrote the manuscript. D.A.H. is the Principal Investigator of the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) Supernova Key Project through which all of the LCO data were obtained; he also assisted with interpretation and the manuscript. D. Kasen and L.B. assisted with theoretical models, data interpretation, and with the manuscript. G.H. and C.McC. assisted with obtaining and reducing LCO data. Z.C.W. first flagged the supernova as interesting. S.R.K. performed the spectral expansion velocity measurements. A.G.-Y. is the Principal Investigator for core-collapse supernovae in iPTF and assisted with interpretation. J.S. and F.T. obtained the Nordic Optical Telescope spectra and polarimetry data and assisted with the manuscript. G.L. reduced the polarimetry data. C.F. reduced the Palomar 60-inch telescope (P60) data. P.E.N. discovered the 1954 eruption image of iPTF14hls, helped obtain the host-galaxy spectrum, and is a Co-Principal Investigator of the Keck proposal under which it and one of the supernova spectra were obtained. A.H. obtained and reduced the Very Large Array (VLA) data and is Principal Investigator of the programme through which the data were obtained. K.M. and C.R. obtained and reduced the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager Large Array (AMI-LA) data. S.B.C. obtained and reduced the Swift X-Ray Telescope (XRT) data. M.L.G. obtained and reduced Keck spectra. D.A.P. performed the host-galaxy analysis and assisted with the manuscript. E.N., O.B., N.J.S. and K.J.S. assisted with theoretical interpretation and the manuscript. E.O.O. helped with interpretation and the manuscript. Y.C. built the real-time iPTF image-subtraction pipeline and obtained Palomar 200-inch telescope (P200) observations. X.W., F.H., L.R., T.Z., W.L., Z.L. and J.Z. obtained and reduced the Xinglong, Lijiang, and Tsinghua University-NAOC telescope (TNT) data. S.V. built the LCO photometric and spectroscopic reduction pipelines and assisted with LCO observations, interpretation, and the manuscript. D.G. assisted with the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS) image analysis. B.S., C.S.K. and T.W.-S.H. obtained and reduced the All Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) pre-discovery limits. A.V.F. is a Co-Principal Investigator of the Keck proposal under which the host-galaxy spectrum and one of the supernova spectra were obtained; he also helped with the manuscript. R.F. is Principal Investigator of the programme through which the AMI-LA data were obtained. A.N. helped scan for iPTF candidates and assisted with the manuscript. O.Y. is in charge of the iPTF candidate scanning effort. M.M.K. led the work for building iPTF. M.S. wrote the pipeline used to reduce Palomar 48-inch Oschin Schmidt telescope (P48) data. N.B. and R.S.W. obtained P60 SEDM photometry. R.L., D. Khazov, and I. Andreoni obtained P200 observations. R.R.L. contributed to building the P48 image-processing pipeline. N.K. was a main builder of the P60 SEDM. P.W. and B.B. helped build the machine-learning algorithms that identify iPTF supernova candidates. Competing interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests. Reviewer Information: Nature thanks P. Mazzali, S. Woosley and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Group:Astronomy Department, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Einstein FellowshipPF6-170148
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF5076
European Research Council (ERC)307260
European Research Council (ERC)725161
Israeli Committee for Planning and BudgetingUNSPECIFIED
Israel Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Binational Science Foundation (USA-Israel)UNSPECIFIED
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FOA-0001088
Major State Basic Research Development Program2013CB834903
National Natural Science Foundation of China11325313
National Natural Science Foundation of China11403096
National Natural Science Foundation of China11633002
Chinese Academy of SciencesXDB09000000
NASA Hubble FellowshipHF-51348.001
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG02-97ER25308
Gary and Cynthia BengierUNSPECIFIED
Christopher R. Redlich FundUNSPECIFIED
Miller Institute for Basic Research in ScienceUNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)615929
Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO)UNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
John and Ginger GiovaleUNSPECIFIED
Ohio State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Mt. Cuba Astronomical FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Robert Martin Ayers Sciences FundUNSPECIFIED
National Geographic SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Samuel Oschin FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Eastman Kodak CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170814-094646452
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80349
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:09 Nov 2017 17:18
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page