We report a luminous Type II supernova, ASASSN-15nx, with a peak luminosity of MV = -20 mag that is between those of typical core-collapse supernovae and super-luminous supernovae. The post-peak optical light curves show a long, linear decline with a steep slope of 2.5 mag (100 day)-1 (i.e., an exponential decline in flux) through the end of observations at phase 260 day. In contrast, the light curves of hydrogen-rich supernovae (SNe II-P/L) always show breaks in their light curves at phase ∼100 day, before settling onto 56Co radioactive decay tails with a decline rate of about 1 mag (100 day)-1. The spectra of ASASSN-15nx do not exhibit the narrow emission-line features characteristic of Type IIn SNe, which can have a wide variety of light-curve shapes usually attributed to strong interactions with a dense circumstellar medium (CSM). ASASSN-15nx has a number of spectroscopic peculiarities, including a relatively weak and triangular-shaped Hα emission profile with no absorption component. The physical origin of these peculiarities is unclear, but the long and linear post-peak light curve without a break suggests a single dominant powering mechanism. Decay of a large amount of 56Ni (MNi=1.6±0.2 M) can power the light curve of ASASSN-15nx, and the steep light-curve slope requires substantial γ-ray escape from the ejecta, which is possible given a low-mass hydrogen envelope for the progenitor. Another possibility is strong CSM interactions powering the light curve, but the CSM needs to be sculpted to produce the unique light-curve shape and avoid producing SN IIn-like narrow emission lines.
- supernovae: general
- supernovae: individual (ASASSN-15nx)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science