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Published May 2020 | Updated + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Type IIn supernova light-curve properties measured from an untargeted survey sample


The evolution of a Type IIn supernova (SN IIn) is governed by the interaction between the SN ejecta and a hydrogen-rich circumstellar medium. The SNe IIn thus allow us to probe the late-time mass-loss history of their progenitor stars. We present a sample of SNe IIn from the untargeted, magnitude-limited surveys of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) and its successor, the intermediate PTF (iPTF). To date, statistics on SN IIn optical light-curve properties have generally been based on small (≲10 SNe) samples from targeted SN surveys. The SNe IIn found and followed by the PTF/iPTF were used to select a sample of 42 events with useful constraints on the rise times as well as with available post-peak photometry. The sample SNe were discovered in 2009−2016 and have at least one low-resolution classification spectrum, as well as photometry from the P48 and P60 telescopes at Palomar Observatory. We study the light-curve properties of these SNe IIn using spline fits (for the peak and the declining portion) and template matching (for the rising portion). We study the peak-magnitude distribution, rise times, decline rates, colour evolution, host galaxies, and K-corrections of the SNe in our sample. We find that the typical rise times are divided into fast and slow risers at 20 ± 6 d and 50 ± 11 d, respectively. The decline rates are possibly divided into two clusters (with slopes 0.013 ± 0.006 mag d−1 and 0.040 ± 0.010 mag d−1), but this division has weak statistical significance. We find no significant correlation between the peak luminosity of SNe IIn and their rise times, but the more luminous SNe IIn are generally found to be more long-lasting. Slowly rising SNe IIn are generally found to decline slowly. The SNe in our sample were hosted by galaxies of absolute magnitude −22 ≲ M_g ≲ −13 mag. The K-corrections at light-curve peak of the SNe IIn in our sample are found to be within 0.2 mag for the observer's frame r-band, for SNe at redshifts z <  0.25. By applying K-corrections and also including ostensibly "superluminous" SNe IIn, we find that the peak magnitudes are M^r_(peak) = −19.18 ± 1.32 mag. We conclude that the occurrence of conspicuous light-curve bumps in SNe IIn, such as in iPTF13z, are limited to 1.4^(+14.6)_(−1.0) % of the SNe IIn. We also investigate a possible sub-type of SNe IIn with a fast rise to a ≳50 d plateau followed by a slow, linear decline.

Additional Information

© 2020 ESO. Article published by EDP Sciences. Received 13 June 2019; Accepted 30 September 2019; Published online 19 May 2020. Based on observations made with the Palomar Transient Factory and intermediate Palomar Transient Factory surveys. A.N. gratefully acknowledges a grant from Stiftelsen Gustaf och Ellen Kobbs stipendiefond, and wishes to thank Ashley Villar for providing MOSFiT contours in table format for Fig. 13, Axel Runnholm for help with Python, Ofer Yaron for help with WISeREP, Timothy E. Holy for making the distinguishable_colors function, Maayane Soumagnac and Peter Lundqvist for discussions, and opponent Philip James for questions and comments at the PhD thesis defence in Stockholm 2019 September 23. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The Oskar Klein Centre is funded by the Swedish Research Council. The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory project is a scientific collaboration among the California Institute of Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), the Oskar Klein Centre, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the TANGO Program of the University System of Taiwan, and the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe. This work was supported by the GROWTH project funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant No 1545949. A.V.F. is grateful for financial assistance from National Science Foundation (NSF) grant AST-1211916, the TABASGO Foundation, the Christopher R. Redlich Fund, and the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science (U. C. Berkeley). E.O.O. is grateful for support by grants from the Israeli Ministry of Science, ISF, Minerva, BSF, BSF transformative program, Weizmann-UK, and the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 1829/12). G.L. was supported by research grant 19054 from VILLUM FONDEN. Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). SED Machine is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1106171. Based in part on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, under programs: GN-2010B-Q13 and GN-2010A-Q20 (PI: Howell), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the NSF (United States), National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Argentina), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Brazil), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea). Partly based on observations obtained with the Apache Point Observatory 3.5 m telescope, which is owned and operated by the Astrophysical Research Consortium. 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 authors wish to recognise and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. Partly based on observations at Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the NSF. The authors are honoured to be permitted to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du'ag (Kitt Peak), a mountain with particular significance to the Tohono O'odham. Partly based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operated by the Nordic Optical Telescope Scientific Association at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. Partly based on observations made with the University of Hawaii's 2.2 m telescope, at Maunakea Observatory, Hawaii, USA. Partly based on observations made with the William Herschel Telescope operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. Partly based on observations made with the 5 m Hale Telescope (P200), at Palomar Observatory, California, USA. Partly based on observations made with the Kast spectrograph on the Shane 3 m telescope at Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, California, USA. Research at Lick Observatory is partially supported by a generous gift from Google. We thank S. Bradley Cenko, Kelsey I. Clubb, Melissa L. Graham, Michael T. Kandrashoff, Patrick L. Kelly, Alekzandir Morton, Peter E. Nugent, and Jeffrey M. Silverman for help with some of the observations and reductions. This research used the Latest Supernovae web page (maintained by D. Bishop) and the Open Supernova Catalog (maintained by J. Guillochon and J. Parrent). This research used the SIMBAD and VizieR databases operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France, as well as the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA, and NASA's Astrophysics Data System. STSDAS and PYRAF are products of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA for NASA. We acknowledge the whole PTF and iPTF collaborations for finding and following the SNe IIn studied in this sample.

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August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023