SN 2017ein and the Possible First Identification of a Type Ic Supernova Progenitor

Schuyler D. Van Dyk, Weikang Zheng, Thomas G. Brink, Alexei V. Filippenko, Dan Milisavljevic, Jennifer E. Andrews, Nathan Smith, Michele Cignoni, Ori D. Fox, Patrick L. Kelly, Angela Adamo, Sameen Yunus, Keto Zhang, Sahana Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have identified a progenitor candidate in archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images for the Type Ic supernova (SN Ic) SN 2017ein in NGC 3938, pinpointing the candidate's location via HST Target of Opportunity imaging of the SN itself. This would be the first identification of a stellar-like object as a progenitor candidate for any SN Ic to date. We also present observations of SN 2017ein during the first ∼49 days since explosion. We find that SN 2017ein most resembles the well-studied SN Ic SN 2007gr. We infer that SN 2017ein experienced a total visual extinction of A V ≈ 1.0-1.9 mag, predominantly because of dust within the host galaxy. Although the distance is not well known, if this object is the progenitor, it was likely of high initial mass, ∼47-48 M o if a single star, or ∼60-80 M o if in a binary system. However, we also find that the progenitor candidate could be a very blue and young compact cluster, further implying a very massive (>65 M o) progenitor. Furthermore, the actual progenitor might not be associated with the candidate at all and could be far less massive. From the immediate stellar environment, we find possible evidence for three different populations; if the SN progenitor was a member of the youngest population, this would be consistent with an initial mass of ∼57 M o. After it has faded, the SN should be reobserved at high spatial resolution and sensitivity, to determine whether the candidate is indeed the progenitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number90
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume860
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 20 2018

Keywords

  • binaries: general
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 3938)
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • stars: massive
  • supernovae: individual (SN 2017ein)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Van Dyk, S. D., Zheng, W., Brink, T. G., Filippenko, A. V., Milisavljevic, D., Andrews, J. E., Smith, N., Cignoni, M., Fox, O. D., Kelly, P. L., Adamo, A., Yunus, S., Zhang, K., & Kumar, S. (2018). SN 2017ein and the Possible First Identification of a Type Ic Supernova Progenitor. Astrophysical Journal, 860(2), [90]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aac32c