Late-time observations of SN 2006gy: Still going strong

Ryan J. Foley, Joshua S. Bloom, Weidong Li, Alexei V. Filippenko, Raphaël Gavazzi, Andrea Ghez, Quinn Konopacky, Matthew A. Malkan, Philip J. Marshall, David Pooley, Tommaso Treu, Jong Hak Woo, Nathan Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Owing to its extremely high luminosity and long duration, supernova (SN) 2006gy radiated more energy in visual light than any other known SN. Two hypotheses to explain its high luminosity at early times - that it was powered by shock interaction with circumstellar material (CSM) as implied by its Type IIn spectrum, or that it was fueled by radioactive decay from a large mass of 56Ni synthesized in a pair-instability SN-predicted different late-time properties. Here we present observations of SN 2006gy obtained more than a year after discovery. We were unable to detect it at visual wavelengths, but clear near-infrared (IR) K′ and H-band detections show that it is still at least as luminous as the peak of a normal Type II SN. We also present spectra giving an upper limit to the late-time Ha luminosity of ≲S10 39 erg s-1. Based on the weak late-time Ha, X-ray, and radio emission, combined with the difficulty of explaining the shift to IR wavelengths, we can rule out ongoing CSM interaction as the primary late-time power source of SN 2006gy. Instead, we propose that the evolution of SN 2006gy is consistent with one of two possible scenarios: (1)apairinstability SN plus modest CSM interaction, where the radioactive decay luminosity shifts to the IR because of dust formation; or (2) an IR echo, where radiation emitted during peak luminosity heats a pre-existing dust shell at radii near 1 light year, requiring the progenitor star to have ejected another shell of ∼10 M about 1500 yr before the SN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-491
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume686
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

supernovae
radioactive decay
luminosity
shell
dust
wavelength
erg
near infrared
radio
shift
interactions
radio emission
wavelengths
echoes
energy
material
shock
stars
heat
radii

Keywords

  • Circumstellar matter
  • Stars: evolution
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 2006gy)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Foley, R. J., Bloom, J. S., Li, W., Filippenko, A. V., Gavazzi, R., Ghez, A., ... Smith, N. (2008). Late-time observations of SN 2006gy: Still going strong. Astrophysical Journal, 686(1), 485-491. https://doi.org/10.1086/590141

Late-time observations of SN 2006gy : Still going strong. / Foley, Ryan J.; Bloom, Joshua S.; Li, Weidong; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Gavazzi, Raphaël; Ghez, Andrea; Konopacky, Quinn; Malkan, Matthew A.; Marshall, Philip J.; Pooley, David; Treu, Tommaso; Woo, Jong Hak; Smith, Nathan.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 686, No. 1, 10.10.2008, p. 485-491.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Foley, RJ, Bloom, JS, Li, W, Filippenko, AV, Gavazzi, R, Ghez, A, Konopacky, Q, Malkan, MA, Marshall, PJ, Pooley, D, Treu, T, Woo, JH & Smith, N 2008, 'Late-time observations of SN 2006gy: Still going strong', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 686, no. 1, pp. 485-491. https://doi.org/10.1086/590141
Foley RJ, Bloom JS, Li W, Filippenko AV, Gavazzi R, Ghez A et al. Late-time observations of SN 2006gy: Still going strong. Astrophysical Journal. 2008 Oct 10;686(1):485-491. https://doi.org/10.1086/590141
Foley, Ryan J. ; Bloom, Joshua S. ; Li, Weidong ; Filippenko, Alexei V. ; Gavazzi, Raphaël ; Ghez, Andrea ; Konopacky, Quinn ; Malkan, Matthew A. ; Marshall, Philip J. ; Pooley, David ; Treu, Tommaso ; Woo, Jong Hak ; Smith, Nathan. / Late-time observations of SN 2006gy : Still going strong. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2008 ; Vol. 686, No. 1. pp. 485-491.
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