Radio Observations of a Sample of Broad-line Type IC Supernovae Discovered by PTF/IPTF: A Search for Relativistic Explosions

A. Corsi, A. Gal-Yam, S. R. Kulkarni, D. A. Frail, P. A. Mazzali, S. B. Cenko, M. M. Kasliwal, Y. Cao, A. Horesh, N. Palliyaguru, D. A. Perley, R. R. Laher, F. Taddia, G. Leloudas, K. Maguire, P. E. Nugent, J. Sollerman, M. Sullivan

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Long duration γ-ray bursts are a rare subclass of stripped-envelope core-collapse supernovae (SNe) that launch collimated relativistic outflows (jets). All γ-ray-burst-associated SNe are spectroscopically Type Ic, with broad-lines, but the fraction of broad-lined SNe Ic harboring low-luminosity γ-ray bursts remains largely unconstrained. Some SNe should be accompanied by off-axis γ-ray burst jets that initially remain invisible, but then emerge as strong radio sources (as the jets decelerate). However, this critical prediction of the jet model for γ-ray bursts has yet to be verified observationally. Here, we present K. G. Jansky Very Large Array observations of 15 broad-lined SNe of Type Ic discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory in an untargeted manner. Most of the SNe in our sample exclude radio emission observationally similar to that of the radio-loud, relativistic SN 1998bw. We constrain the fraction of 1998bw-like broad-lined SNe Ic to be ≲ 41 % (99.865% confidence). Most of the events in our sample also exclude off-axis jets similar to GRB 031203 and GRB 030329, but we cannot rule out off-axis γ-ray bursts expanding in a low-density wind environment. Three SNe in our sample are detected in the radio. PTF11qcj and PTF14dby show late-time radio emission with average ejecta speeds of ≈0.3–0.4 c, on the dividing line between relativistic and “ordinary” SNe. The speed of PTF11cmh radio ejecta is poorly constrained. We estimate that ≲ 85 % (99.865% confidence) of the broad-lined SNe Ic in our sample may harbor off-axis γ-ray bursts expanding in media with densities in the range probed by this study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number42
Number of pages18
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2016


  • gamma-ray burst: general
  • radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
  • supernovae: general


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