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IPTF 16asu: A Luminous, Rapidly Evolving, and High-velocity Supernova

  • Author(s): Whitesides, L
  • Lunnan, R
  • Kasliwal, MM
  • Perley, DA
  • Corsi, A
  • Cenko, SB
  • Blagorodnova, N
  • Cao, Y
  • Cook, DO
  • Doran, GB
  • Frederiks, DD
  • Fremling, C
  • Hurley, K
  • Karamehmetoglu, E
  • Kulkarni, SR
  • Leloudas, G
  • Masci, F
  • Nugent, PE
  • Ritter, A
  • Rubin, A
  • Savchenko, V
  • Sollerman, J
  • Svinkin, DS
  • Taddia, F
  • Vreeswijk, P
  • Wozniak, P
  • et al.

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© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Wide-field surveys are discovering a growing number of rare transients whose physical origin is not yet well understood. Here we present optical and UV data and analysis of intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) 16asu, a luminous, rapidly evolving, high-velocity, stripped-envelope supernova (SN). With a rest-frame rise time of just four days and a peak absolute magnitude of Mg = -20.4 mag, the light curve of iPTF 16asu is faster and more luminous than that of previous rapid transients. The spectra of iPTF 16asu show a featureless blue continuum near peak that develops into an SN Ic-BL spectrum on the decline. We show that while the late-time light curve could plausibly be powered by 56Ni decay, the early emission requires a different energy source. Nondetections in the X-ray and radio strongly constrain the energy coupled to relativistic ejecta to be at most comparable to the class of low-luminosity gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). We suggest that the early emission may have been powered by either a rapidly spinning-down magnetar or by shock breakout in an extended envelope of a very energetic explosion. In either scenario a central engine is required, making iPTF 16asu an intriguing transition object between superluminous SNe, SNe Ic-BL, and low-luminosity GRBs.

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