The High-Metallicity Explosion Environment of the Relativistic Supernova 2009bb

The Astrophysical Journal Letters (Impact Factor: 5.6). 12/2009; 709(1):L26. DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/709/1/L26
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We investigate the environment of the nearby (d 40 Mpc) broad-lined Type Ic supernova (SN) 2009bb. This event was observed to produce a relativistic outflow likely powered by a central accreting compact object. While such a phenomenon was previously observed only in long-duration gamma-ray bursts (LGRBs), no LGRB was detected in association with SN 2009bb. Using an optical spectrum of the SN 2009bb explosion site, we determine a variety of interstellar medium properties for the host environment, including metallicity, young stellar population age, and star formation rate. We compare the SN explosion site properties to observations of LGRB and broad-lined SN Ic host environments on optical emission line ratio diagnostic diagrams. Based on these analyses, we find that the SN 2009bb explosion site has a metallicity between 1.7 Z ☉ and 3.5 Z ☉, in agreement with other broad-lined SN Ic host environments and at odds with the low-redshift LGRB host environments and recently proposed maximum metallicity limits for relativistic explosions. We consider the implications of these findings and the impact that SN 2009bb's unusual explosive properties and environment have on our understanding of the key physical ingredient that enables some SNe to produce a relativistic outflow.


Available from: Vandiver Chaplin, Jun 02, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deep late-time X-ray observations of the relativistic, engine-driven, Type Ic SN2012ap allow us to probe the nearby environment of the explosion and reveal the unique properties of relativistic SNe. We find that on a local scale of 0.01 pc the environment was shaped directly by the evolution of the progenitor star with a pre-explosion mass-loss rate Mdot <5 x 10^-6 Msun yr-1 in line with GRBs and the other relativistic SN2009bb. Like sub-energetic GRBs, SN2012ap is characterized by a bright radio emission and evidence for mildly relativistic ejecta. However, its late time (t~20 days) X-ray emission is ~100 times fainter than the faintest sub-energetic GRB at the same epoch, with no evidence for late-time central engine activity.Our results suggest that relativistic SNe like 2009bb and 2012ap represent the weakest engine-driven explosions, where the engine is unable to power a successful jet breakout. This phenomenology can either be due to an intrinsically short-lived engine or to different progenitor properties between relativistic SNe and GRBs.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recently, it has been suggested that the metallicity aversion of Long-duration Gamma Ray Bursts (LGRBs) is not intrinsic to their formation, but rather a consequence of the anti-correlation between star formation and metallicity seen in the general galaxy population. To investigate this proposal, we compare the metallicity of the hosts of LGRBs, broad-lined Type Ic (Ic-bl) supernovae (SNe), and Type II SNe to each other and to the metallicity distribution of star-forming galaxies using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to represent galaxies in the local universe and the Team Keck Redshift Survey (TKRS) for galaxies at intermediate redshifts. The differing metallicity distributions of LGRB hosts and the star formation in local galaxies forces us to conclude that the low-metallicity preference of LGRBs is not primarily driven by the anti-correlation between star formation and metallicity, but rather must be overwhelmingly due to the astrophysics of the LGRBs themselves. Three quarters of our LGRB sample are found at metallicities below 12+log(O/H) < 8.6, while less than a one-tenth of local star formation is at similarly low metallicities. However, our SN samples are statistically consistent with the metallicity distribution of the general galaxy population. Additionally, we show that the star formation rate distribution of the LGRB and SNe host populations are consistent with the star formation rate distribution of the SDSS galaxy sample. This provides further evidence that the low-metallicity distribution of LGRBs is not caused by the general properties of star-forming galaxies. Using the TKRS population of galaxies, we can exclude the possibility that the LGRB host metallicity aversion is caused by the decrease in galaxy metallicity with redshift, as this effect is clearly much smaller than the observed LGRB host metallicity bias over the redshift span of our sample. The presence of the strong metallicity difference between LGRBs and Type Ic-bl SNe largely eliminates the possibility that the observed LGRB metallicity bias is a byproduct of a difference in the initial mass functions of the galaxy populations. Rather, metallicity below half-solar must be a fundamental component of the evolutionary process that separates LGRBs from the vast majority of Type Ic-bl SNe and from the bulk of local star formation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2013; 774(2):119. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/774/2/119 · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) are absorption features observed in optical and near-infrared spectra that are thought to be associated with carbon-rich polyatomic molecules in interstellar gas. However, because the central wavelengths of these bands do not correspond with electronic transitions of any known atomic or molecular species, their nature has remained uncertain since their discovery almost a century ago. Here we report on unusually strong DIBs in optical spectra of the broad-lined Type Ic supernova SN 2012ap that exhibit changes in equivalent width over short (~30 days) timescales. The 4428 and 6283 Angstrom DIB features get weaker with time, whereas the 5780 Angstrom feature shows a marginal increase. These nonuniform changes suggest that the supernova is interacting with a nearby source of the DIBs and that the DIB carriers possess high ionization potentials, such as small cations or charged fullerenes. We conclude that moderate-resolution spectra of supernovae with DIB absorptions obtained within weeks of outburst could reveal unique information about the mass-loss environment of their progenitor systems and provide new constraints on the properties of DIB carriers.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 01/2014; 782(1). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/782/1/L5 · 5.60 Impact Factor