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On the Origin of SN 2016hil—A Type II Supernova in the Remote Outskirts of an Elliptical Host


Type II supernovae (SNe) stem from the core collapse of massive (>8 M o) stars. Due to their short lifespan, we expect a very low rate of such events in elliptical hosts, where the star formation rate is low, and which are mostly comprised of an old stellar population. SN 2016hil (iPTF16hil) is an SN II located in the extreme outskirts of an elliptical galaxy at z = 0.0608 (projected distance 27.2 kpc). It was detected near peak (M r ∼ -17 mag) 9 days after the last non-detection. The event has some potentially peculiar properties: it presented an apparently double-peaked light curve, and its spectra suggest low metallicity content (Z < 0.4 Z o). We place a tentative upper limit on the mass of a potential faint host at log MMo = 7.27 +0.43-0.24 using deep optical imaging from Keck/LRIS. In light of this, we discuss the possibility of the progenitor forming locally and other more exotic formation scenarios such as a merger or common-envelope evolution causing a time-delayed explosion. Further observations of the explosion site in the UV are needed in order to distinguish between the cases. Regardless of the origin of the transient, observing a population of such seemingly hostless SNe II could have many uses, including an estimate the amount of faint galaxies in a given volume, and tests of the prediction of a time-delayed population of core-collapse SNe in locations otherwise unfavorable for the detection of such events.

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