The Lowest of the Low: Discovery of SN 2019gsc and the Nature of Faint Iax Supernovae

Shubham Srivastav, Stephen J. Smartt, Giorgos Leloudas, Mark E. Huber, Ken Chambers, Daniele B. Malesani, Jens Hjorth, James H. Gillanders, A. Schultz, Stuart A. Sim, Katie Auchettl, Johan P. U. Fynbo, Christa Gall, Owen R. McBrien, Armin Rest, Ken W. Smith, Radoslaw Wojtak, David R. Young

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We present the discovery and optical follow-up of the faintest supernova-like transient known. The event (SN 2019gsc) was discovered in a star-forming host at 53 Mpc by ATLAS. A detailed multicolor light curve was gathered with Pan-STARRS1 and follow-up spectroscopy was obtained with the Nordic Optical Telescope and Gemini-North. The spectra near maximum light show narrow features at low velocities of 3000-4000 km s-1, similar to the extremely low-luminosity SNe 2010ae and 2008ha, and the light curve displays a similar fast decline (Δm15(r) = 0.91 ± 0.10 mag). SNe 2010ae and 2008ha have been classified as SNe Iax, and together the three either make up a distinct physical class of their own or are at the extreme low-luminosity end of this diverse supernova population. The bolometric light curve is consistent with a low kinetic energy of explosion (Ek ∼ 1049 erg s-1), a modest ejected mass (Mej ∼ 0.2 M⊙), and radioactive powering by 56Ni (MNi ∼ 2 × 10-3 M⊙). The spectra are quite well reproduced with radiative transfer models (TARDIS) and a composition dominated by carbon, oxygen, magnesium, silicon, and sulfur. Remarkably, all three of these extreme Iax events are in similar low-metallicity star-forming environments. The combination of the observational constraints for all three may be best explained by deflagrations of near MCh hybrid carbon-oxygen-neon white dwarfs that have short evolutionary pathways to formation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Early online date01 Apr 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 01 Apr 2020


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