Detection of an outburst one year prior to the explosion of SN 2011ht

M. Fraser, M. Magee, R. Kotak, S. J. Smartt, K. W. Smith, J. Polshaw, A. J. Drake, T. Boles, C. -H. Lee, W. S. Burgett, K. C. Chambers, P. W. Draper, H. Flewelling, K. W. Hodapp, N. Kaiser, R. -P. Kudritzki, E. A. Magnier, P. A. Price, J. L. Tonry, R. J. WainscoatC. Waters

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Using imaging from the Pan-STARRS1 survey, we identify a precursor outburst at epochs 287 and 170 days prior to the reported explosion of the purported Type IIn supernova (SN) 2011ht. In the Pan-STARRS data, a source coincident with SN 2011ht is detected exclusively in the \zps\ and \yps-bands. An absolute magnitude of M$_z\simeq$-11.8 suggests that this was an outburst of the progenitor star. Unfiltered, archival Catalina Real Time Transient survey images also reveal a coincident source from at least 258 to 138 days before the main event. We suggest that the outburst is likely to be an intrinsically red eruption, although we cannot conclusively exclude a series of erratic outbursts which were observed only in the redder bands by chance. This is only the fourth detection of an outburst prior to a claimed SN, and lends credence to the possibility that many more interacting transients have pre-explosion outbursts, which have been missed by current surveys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Early online date18 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

6 pages, ApJL submitted


  • astro-ph.SR
  • astro-ph.CO


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