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Published February 10, 2014 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

A Multi-wavelength Investigation of the Radio-loud Supernova PTF11qcj and its Circumstellar Environment


We present the discovery, classification, and extensive panchromatic (from radio to X-ray) follow-up observations of PTF11qcj, a supernova (SN) discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). Our observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array show that this event is radio-loud: PTF11qcj reached a radio peak luminosity comparable to that of the famous gamma-ray-burst-associated SN 1998bw (L_(5 GHz) ≈ 10^(29) erg s^(−1) Hz^(−1)). PTF11qcj is also detected in X-rays with the Chandra Observatory, and in the infrared band with Spitzer. Our multi-wavelength analysis probes the SN interaction with circumstellar material. The radio observations suggest a progenitor mass-loss rate of ~10^(−4) M_☉ yr^(−1) × (v_w/1000 km s^(−1)), and a velocity of ≈0.3–0.5 c for the fastest moving ejecta (at ≈10 days after explosion). However, these estimates are derived assuming the simplest model of SN ejecta interacting with a smooth circumstellar wind, and do not account for possible inhomogeneities in the medium and asphericity of the explosion. The radio data show deviations from such a simple model, as well as a late-time re-brightening. The X-ray flux from PTF11qcj is compatible with the high-frequency extrapolation of the radio synchrotron emission (within the large uncertainties). A light echo from pre-existing dust is in agreement with our infrared data. Our pre-explosion data from the PTF suggest that a precursor eruption of absolute magnitude M_r ≈ −13 mag may have occurred ≈2.5 yr prior to the SN explosion. Overall, PTF11qcj fits the expectations from the explosion of a Wolf–Rayet star. Precursor eruptions may be a feature characterizing the final pre-explosion evolution of such stars.

Additional Information

© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 13 August 2013, accepted for publication 12 December 2013; Published 24 January 2014. PTF is a collaboration of Caltech, LCOGT, the Weizmann Institute, LBNL, Oxford, Columbia, IPAC, and Berkeley. Staff and computational resources were provided by NERSC, supported by the DOE Office of Science. HET/LRS are supported by UT/Austin, the Pennsylvania State University, Stanford, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, and the Instituto de Astronomia de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Support for CARMA construction was derived from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Associates of the California Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, the states of California, Illinois, and Maryland, and the National Science Foundation. Ongoing CARMA development and operations are supported by the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement, and by the CARMA partner universities. The K. Jansky Very Large Array is operated by NRAO, for the NSF under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The W. M. Keck Observatory, is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The Liverpool Telescope is operated on the island of La Palma by Liverpool John Moores University in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias with financial support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. The William Herschel Telescope is operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. A.G. and S.R.K. acknowledge support from the BSF; A.G. further acknowledges support from the ISF, EU/FP7 via an ERC grant, GIF, Minerva, and a Kimmel Award; E.O.O. is incumbent of the Arye Dissentshik career development chair and is grateful to support by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Science and the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation (grant No 1829/12); J.S.B. acknowledges support of an NSF-CDI Grant 0941742, "Real- time Classification of Massive Time-series Data Streams"; M.M.K. acknowledges generous support from the Hubble Fellowship and Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship; M.S. acknowledges support from the Royal Society; S.B.C. acknowledges generous financial assistance from Gary and Cynthia Bengier, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Christopher R. Redlich Fund, the TABASGO Foundation, and NSF grant AST-1211916. A.C. thanks the VLA staff for their support, and in particular:Miriam Krauss for very useful discussions on many aspects of the data reduction procedures; Heidi Medlin for support with the scheduling of the observations; and Drew Medlin for useful discussions on the VLA data reduction pipeline. A.C. also thanks E. Nakar for useful discussions. We thank the anonymous referee for useful comments.

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Published - 0004-637X_782_1_42.pdf

Submitted - 1307.2366v3.pdf


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