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Testing the magnetar scenario for superluminous supernovae with circular polarimetry

Testing the magnetar scenario for superluminous supernovae with circular polarimetry
Testing the magnetar scenario for superluminous supernovae with circular polarimetry

Superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) are at least ~5 times more luminous than common supernovae. Especially hydrogen-poor SLSN-I are difficult to explain with conventional powering mechanisms. One possible scenario that might explain such luminosities is that SLSNe-I are powered by an internal engine, such as a magnetar or an accreting black hole. Strong magnetic fields or collimated jets can circularly polarize light. In this work, we measured circular polarization of two SLSNe-I with the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph (FORS2) mounted at the ESO's Very Large Telescope. PS17bek, a fast-evolving SLSN-I, was observed around peak, while OGLE16dmu, a slowly evolving SLSN-I, was observed 100 d after maximum. Neither SLSN shows evidence of circularly polarized light; however, these non-detections do not rule out the magnetar scenario as the powering engine for SLSNe-I. We calculate the strength of the magnetic field and the expected circular polarization as a function of distance from the magnetar, which decreases very fast. Additionally, we observed no significant linear polarization for PS17bek at four epochs, suggesting that the photosphere near peak is close to spherical symmetry.

Polarization, PS17bek, Supernovae: general, Supernovae: individual: OGLE16dmu
0035-8711
4984-4990
Cikota, Aleksandar
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Leloudas, Giorgos
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Bulla, Mattia
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Inserra, Cosimo
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Chen, Ting Wan
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Spyromilio, Jason
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Patat, Ferdinando
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Cano, Zach
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Cikota, Stefan
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Coughlin, Michael W.
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Kankare, Erkki
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Lowe, Thomas B.
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Maund, Justyn R.
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Rest, Armin
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Smartt, Stephen J.
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Smith, Ken W.
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Wainscoat, Richard J.
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Young, David R.
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Cikota, Aleksandar
510bd44e-bc4c-4798-8a7b-987767b38a82
Leloudas, Giorgos
a49914b6-26c7-4494-b8c0-107461f35b1d
Bulla, Mattia
379641d2-fa89-4462-8a2d-b32f3b6b28df
Inserra, Cosimo
004da73f-5b5e-43f4-b1a7-aaa0e579672e
Chen, Ting Wan
01d5b56d-5665-4775-9d6e-dae6b1106829
Spyromilio, Jason
0352f5ab-a35b-426d-b457-c3620c70102b
Patat, Ferdinando
33d14793-576f-482e-abda-a7652791014f
Cano, Zach
e6d0ad1c-9cde-4dd2-84ac-5b1dccfc5413
Cikota, Stefan
0ab82866-ee3d-4e71-abbb-a0cb4869e41b
Coughlin, Michael W.
81e44f63-66cd-4f48-b89d-9167524a8426
Kankare, Erkki
fa96b7b0-e3af-4910-89f3-fc9b20105c7c
Lowe, Thomas B.
84b86a3f-9769-47ce-8c60-685f8cbefff4
Maund, Justyn R.
7e185024-fd8a-4c81-b437-907137baba60
Rest, Armin
46703e55-0c80-41d1-aeff-27269f39ddc3
Smartt, Stephen J.
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Smith, Ken W.
995ad3bd-b3d5-4afd-9a74-e69c97053993
Wainscoat, Richard J.
a3fc7486-956d-420d-be98-4787feb2c8f2
Young, David R.
f383c811-d4ef-4c54-9913-73a868389070

Cikota, Aleksandar, Leloudas, Giorgos, Bulla, Mattia, Inserra, Cosimo, Chen, Ting Wan, Spyromilio, Jason, Patat, Ferdinando, Cano, Zach, Cikota, Stefan, Coughlin, Michael W., Kankare, Erkki, Lowe, Thomas B., Maund, Justyn R., Rest, Armin, Smartt, Stephen J., Smith, Ken W., Wainscoat, Richard J. and Young, David R. (2018) Testing the magnetar scenario for superluminous supernovae with circular polarimetry. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 479 (4), 4984-4990. (doi:10.1093/mnras/sty1891).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) are at least ~5 times more luminous than common supernovae. Especially hydrogen-poor SLSN-I are difficult to explain with conventional powering mechanisms. One possible scenario that might explain such luminosities is that SLSNe-I are powered by an internal engine, such as a magnetar or an accreting black hole. Strong magnetic fields or collimated jets can circularly polarize light. In this work, we measured circular polarization of two SLSNe-I with the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph (FORS2) mounted at the ESO's Very Large Telescope. PS17bek, a fast-evolving SLSN-I, was observed around peak, while OGLE16dmu, a slowly evolving SLSN-I, was observed 100 d after maximum. Neither SLSN shows evidence of circularly polarized light; however, these non-detections do not rule out the magnetar scenario as the powering engine for SLSNe-I. We calculate the strength of the magnetic field and the expected circular polarization as a function of distance from the magnetar, which decreases very fast. Additionally, we observed no significant linear polarization for PS17bek at four epochs, suggesting that the photosphere near peak is close to spherical symmetry.

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Accepted/In Press date: 28 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 May 2018
Published date: 1 October 2018
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Polarization, PS17bek, Supernovae: general, Supernovae: individual: OGLE16dmu

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423784
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423784
ISSN: 0035-8711
PURE UUID: b83f9555-d90b-4d93-a924-68045c480171
ORCID for Cosimo Inserra: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3968-4409

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Date deposited: 01 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 18 Jul 2019 17:04

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Contributors

Author: Aleksandar Cikota
Author: Giorgos Leloudas
Author: Mattia Bulla
Author: Cosimo Inserra ORCID iD
Author: Ting Wan Chen
Author: Jason Spyromilio
Author: Ferdinando Patat
Author: Zach Cano
Author: Stefan Cikota
Author: Michael W. Coughlin
Author: Erkki Kankare
Author: Thomas B. Lowe
Author: Justyn R. Maund
Author: Armin Rest
Author: Stephen J. Smartt
Author: Ken W. Smith
Author: Richard J. Wainscoat
Author: David R. Young

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