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Published December 1, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Supernova PTF 09UJ: A Possible Shock Breakout from a Dense Circumstellar Wind


Type-IIn supernovae (SNe IIn), which are characterized by strong interaction of their ejecta with the surrounding circumstellar matter (CSM), provide a unique opportunity to study the mass-loss history of massive stars shortly before their explosive death. We present the discovery and follow-up observations of an SN IIn, PTF 09uj, detected by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). Serendipitous observations by Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) at ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths detected the rise of the SN light curve prior to the PTF discovery. The UV light curve of the SN rose fast, with a timescale of a few days, to a UV absolute AB magnitude of about –19.5. Modeling our observations, we suggest that the fast rise of the UV light curve is due to the breakout of the SN shock through the dense CSM (n ≈ 10^(10) cm^(–3)). Furthermore, we find that prior to the explosion the progenitor went through a phase of high mass-loss rate (~0.1 M_⊙ yr^(–1)) that lasted for a few years. The decay rate of this SN was fast relative to that of other SNe IIn.

Additional Information

© 2010 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 July 9; accepted 2010 September 27; published 2010 November 12. We thank an anonymous referee for useful comments. E.O.O. and D.P. are supported by an Einstein fellowship. S.B.C. and A.V.F. acknowledge generous financial assistance from Gary & Cynthia Bengier, the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, NASA/ Swift grants NNX09AL08G and NNX10AI21G, and NSF grant AST-0908886. A.G. acknowledges support by the Israeli and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundations, an EU/IRG fellowship, the Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics, and the Peter and Patricia Gruber Awards. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U. S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231, provided staff, computational resources, and data storage for this project. P.E.N. acknowledges support from the US Department of Energy Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing program under contract DEFG02- 06ER06-04. J.S.B.'s work on PTF was supported by NSF/ OIA award AST-0941742 ("Real-Time Classification of Massive Time-Series Data Streams"). L.B. and K.S. are supported by the NSF under grants PHY 05-51164 and AST 07-07633.

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