Light curves of hydrogen-poor Superluminous Supernovae from the Palomar Transient Factory

Annalisa De Cia, A. Gal-Yam, A. Rubin, G. Leloudas, P. Vreeswijk, D. A. Perley, R. Quimby, Lin Yan, M. Sullivan, A. Flörs, J. Sollerman, D. Bersier, S. B. Cenko, M. Gal-Yam, K. Maguire, E. O. Ofek, S. Schulze, J. Spyromilio, S. Valenti, I. ArcaviA. Corsi, A. Howell, P. Mazzali, M. M. Kasliwal, F. Taddia, O. Yaron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
211 Downloads (Pure)


We investigate the light-curve properties of a sample of 26 spectroscopically confirmed hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe-I) in the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) survey. These events are brighter than SNe Ib/c and SNe Ic-BL, on average by about 4 and 2 mag, respectively. The SLSNe-I peak absolute magnitudes in rest-frame $g$-band span $-22\lesssim M_g \lesssim-20$ mag, and these peaks are not powered by radioactive $^{56}$Ni, unless strong asymmetries are at play. The rise timescales are longer for SLSNe than for normal SNe Ib/c, by roughly 10 days, for events with similar decay times. Thus, SLSNe-I can be considered as a separate population based on a photometric criterion. After peak, SLSNe-I decay with a wide range of slopes, with no obvious gap between rapidly-declining and slowly-declining events. The latter events show more irregularities (bumps) in the light curves at all times. At late times the SLSN-I light curves slow down and cluster around the $^{56}$Co radioactive decay rate. Powering the late-time light curves with radioactive decay would require between 1 and 10 ${\rm M}_\odot$ of Ni masses. Alternatively, a simple magnetar model can reasonably fit the majority of SLSNe-I light curves, with three exceptions, and can mimic the radioactive decay of $^{56}$Co, up to $\sim400$ days from explosion. The resulting spin values do not correlate with the host-galaxy metallicities. Finally, the analysis of our sample cannot strengthen the case for using SLSNe-I for cosmology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


  • Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
  • Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
  • Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Light curves of hydrogen-poor Superluminous Supernovae from the Palomar Transient Factory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this