SN 2009ku, discovered by Pan-STARRS-1, is a Type Ia supernova (SN Ia), and a member of the distinct SN 2002cx-like class of SNe Ia. Its light curves are similar to the prototypical SN 2002cx, but are slightly broader and have a later rise to maximum in g. SN 2009ku is brighter (similar to 0.6 mag) than other SN 2002cx-like objects, peaking at M-V = -18.4 mag, which is still significantly fainter than typical SNe Ia. SN 2009ku, which had an ejecta velocity of similar to 2000 km s(-1) at 18 days after maximum brightness, is spectroscopically most similar to SN 2008ha, which also had extremely low-velocity ejecta. However, SN 2008ha had an exceedingly low luminosity, peaking at M-V = -14.2 mag, similar to 4 mag fainter than SN 2009ku. The contrast of high luminosity and low ejecta velocity for SN 2009ku is contrary to an emerging trend seen for the SN 2002cx class. SN 2009ku is a counterexample of a previously held belief that the class was more homogeneous than typical SNe Ia, indicating that the class has a diverse progenitor population and/or complicated explosion physics. As the first example of a member of this class of objects from the new generation of transient surveys, SN 2009ku is an indication of the potential for these surveys to find rare and interesting objects.
- Space and Planetary Science
- Astronomy and Astrophysics