SDWFS-MT-1: A self-obscured luminous supernova at z ≃ 0.2

Szymon Kozłowski, C. S. Kochanek, D. Stern, J. L. Prieto, K. Z. Stanek, T. A. Thompson, R. J. Assef, A. J. Drake, D. M. Szczygieł, P. R. Woźniak, P. Nugent, M. L.N. Ashby, E. Beshore, M. J.I. Brown, Arjun Dey, R. Griffith, F. Harrison, B. T. Jannuzi, S. Larson, K. MadsenB. Pilecki, G. Pojmański, J. Skowron, W. T. Vestrand, J. A. Wren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We report the discovery of a 6 month long mid-infrared transient, SDWFS-MT-1 (aka SN 2007va), in the Spitzer Deep, Wide-Field Survey of the NOAO Deep Wide-Field Survey Boötes field. The transient, located in a z = 0.19 low-luminosity (M[4.5] ≃-18.6 mag, L/L* ≃ 0.01) metal-poor (12 + log(O/H) ≃ 7.8) irregular galaxy, peaked at a mid-infrared absolute magnitude of M[4.5] ≃-24.2 in the 4.5 μm Spitzer/IRAC band and emitted a total energy of at least 1051 erg. The optical emission was likely fainter than the mid-infrared, although our constraints on the optical emission are poor because the transient peaked when the source was "behind" the Sun. The Spitzer data are consistent with emission by a modified blackbody with a temperature of ∼1350 K. We rule out a number of scenarios for the origin of the transient such as a Galactic star, active galactic nucleus activity, γ-ray burst, tidal disruption of a star by a black hole, and gravitational lensing. The most plausible scenario is a supernova (SN) exploding inside a massive, optically thick circumstellar medium, composed of multiple shells of previously ejected material. If the proposed scenario is correct, then a significant fraction (∼10%) of the most luminous SN may be self-enshrouded by dust not only before but also after the SN occurs. The spectral energy distribution of the progenitor of such an SN would be a slightly cooler version of η Carinae peaking at 20-30 μm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1624-1632
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 20 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: irregular
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual (SDWFS-MT-1, SN 2007va)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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