The supernova CSS121015: 004244+132827: A clue for understanding superluminous supernovae

S. Benetti*, M. Nicholl, E. Cappellaro, A. Pastorello, S. J. Smartt, N. Elias-Rosa, A. J. Drake, L. Tomasella, M. Turatto, A. Harutyunyan, S. Taubenberger, S. Hachinger, A. Morales-Garoffolo, T. W. Chen, S. G. Djorgovski, M. Fraser, A. Gal-Yam, C. Inserra, P. Mazzali, M. L. PumoJ. Sollerman, S. Valenti, D. R. Young, M. Dennefeld, L. Le Guillou, M. Fleury, P. F. Léget

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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We present optical photometry and spectra of the superluminous Type II/IIn supernova (SN) CSS121015:004244+132827 (z = 0.2868) spanning epochs from -30 d (rest frame) to more than 200 d after maximum. CSS121015 is one of the more luminous SNe ever found and one of the best observed. The photometric evolution is characterized by a relatively fast rise to maximum (~40 d in the SN rest frame), and by a linear post-maximum decline. The light curve shows no sign of a break to an exponential tail. A broad Hα is first detected at ~+40 d (rest frame). Narrow, barely resolved Balmer and [O iii] 5007 Å lines, with decreasing strength, are visible along the entire spectral evolution. The spectra are very similar to other superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) with hydrogen in their spectrum, and also to SN 2005gj, sometimes considered Type Ia interacting with H-rich circumstellar medium. The spectra are also similar to a subsample of H-deficient SLSNe. We propose that the properties of CSS121015 are consistent with the interaction of the ejecta with a massive, extended, opaque shell, lost by the progenitor decades before the final explosion, although a magnetar-powered model cannot be excluded. Based on the similarity of CSS121015 with other SLSNe (with and without H), we suggest that the shocked-shell scenario should be seriously considered as a plausible model for both types of SLSN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-303
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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