SN 2009md: another faint supernova from a low-mass progenitor

Morgan Fraser, M. Ergon, John Eldridge, Stefano Valenti, Andrea Pastorello, J. Sollerman, Stephen Smartt, I. Agnoletto, I. Arcavi, S. Benetti, Maria Botticella, F. Bufano, A. Campillay, Rhonda Crockett, A. Gal-Yam, E. Kankare, G. Leloudas, Kathrina Maguire, Seppo Mattila, J.R. MaundF. Salgado, A. Stephens, S. Taubenberger, M. Turatto

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77 Citations (Scopus)


We present adaptive optics imaging of the core-collapse supernova (SN) 2009md, which we use together with archival Hubble Space Telescope data to identify a coincident progenitor candidate. We find the progenitor to have an absolute magnitude of V=-4.63+0.3-0.4 mag and a colour of V-I= 2.29+0.25-0.39 mag, corresponding to a progenitor luminosity of log L/L?similar to 4.54 +/- 0.19 dex. Using the stellar evolution code STARS, we find this to be consistent with a red supergiant progenitor with M= 8.5+6.5-1.5 M?. The photometric and spectroscopic evolution of SN 2009md is similar to that of the class of sub-luminous Type IIP SNe; in this paper we compare the evolution of SN 2009md primarily to that of the sub-luminous SN 2005cs. We estimate the mass of 56Ni ejected in the explosion to be (5.4 +/- 1.3) x 10-3 M? from the luminosity on the radioactive tail, which is in agreement with the low 56Ni masses estimated for other sub-luminous Type IIP SNe. From the light curve and spectra, we show the SN explosion had a lower energy and ejecta mass than the normal Type IIP SN 1999em. We discuss problems with stellar evolutionary models, and the discrepancy between low observed progenitor luminosities (log L/L?similar to 4.35 dex) and model luminosities after the second dredge-up for stars in this mass range, and consider an enhanced carbon burning rate as a possible solution. In conclusion, SN 2009md is a faint SN arising from the collapse of a progenitor close to the lower mass limit for core collapse. This is now the third discovery of a low-mass progenitor star producing a low-energy explosion and low 56Ni ejected mass, which indicates that such events arise from the lowest end of the mass range that produces a core-collapse SN (78 M?).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1433
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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