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Confined dense circumstellar material surrounding a regular type II supernova

Abstract

With the advent of new wide-field, high-cadence optical transient surveys, our understanding of the diversity of core-collapse supernovae has grown tremendously in the last decade. However, the pre-supernova evolution of massive stars, which sets the physical backdrop to these violent events, is theoretically not well understood and difficult to probe observationally. Here we report the discovery of the supernova iPTF 13dqy = SN 2013fs a mere 3 h after explosion. Our rapid follow-up observations, which include multiwavelength photometry and extremely early (beginning at 6 h post-explosion) spectra, map the distribution of material in the immediate environment (1015 cm) of the exploding star and establish that it was surrounded by circumstellar material (CSM) that was ejected during the final 1 yr prior to explosion at a high rate, around 10−3 solar masses per year. The complete disappearance of flash-ionized emission lines within the first several days requires that the dense CSM be confined to within 1015 cm, consistent with radio non-detections at 70–100 days. The observations indicate that iPTF 13dqy was a regular type II supernova; thus, the finding that the probable red supergiant progenitor of this common explosion ejected material at a highly elevated rate just prior to its demise suggests that pre-supernova instabilities may be common among exploding massive stars.

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Figure 1: The early discovery of iPTF13dqy and the prompt ensuing follow-up observations, multiband photometry and spectroscopy, enabled the direct probing and mapping of the nearby environment surrounding the progenitor.
Figure 2: Early-time flash spectroscopy of iPTF 13dqy reveals flash-ionization signatures during the first 2 d after explosion.
Figure 3: Spectra of iPTF 13dqy obtained between 8 and 57 days after explosion, showing P-Cygni profiles of the Balmer series and additional typical elements, confirm a regular type II SN identification.
Figure 4: The best-fitting CMFGEN models to the observed early-time spectrum (6 h post-explosion) of iPTF 13dqy reveal a temperature of the line-forming region around 50–60 kK.
Figure 5: Radio non-detections rule out an extended dense wind structure around the progenitor of iPTF 13dqy.
Figure 6: The proposed CSM configuration surrounding the progenitor of iPTF 13dqy, resulting from our multiwavelength observations—a CSM density profile that is both nearby and confined.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the staff at the various observatories where data were obtained, as well as to N. E. Groeneboom, K. I. Clubb, M. L. Graham, D. Sand, A. A. Djupvik, I. Shivvers, J. C. Mauerhan and A. Waszczak for assistance with observations. We thank E. Waxman for valuable discussions. A.G.-Y.’s group is supported by the EU/FP7 via an ERC grant, the Quantum Universe I-Core programme by the Israeli Committee for planning and budgeting and the ISF; by Minerva and ISF grants; by the Weizmann-UK ‘making connections’ programme; and by Kimmel, ARCHES and Yes awards. D.A.P. acknowledges support from Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF-51296.01-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, and from a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship as part of the Horizon 2020 European Union (EU) Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014-660113). J.H.G. acknowledges support from an AMBIZIONE grant of the Swiss NSF. E.O.O. is supported by the Arye Dissentshik career development chair, Israel Science Foundation, Minerva, Weizmann-UK, and the I-Core programme. M.M.K. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation for the GROWTH project funded under Grant No. 1545949. A.V.F.’s research is supported by the Christopher R. Redlich Fund, the TABASGO Foundation, and US NSF grant AST-1211916. Support for I.A. was provided by NASA through the Einstein Fellowship Program, grant PF6-170148. LANL participation in iPTF is supported by the US Department of Energy as part of the Laboratory Directed Research and Development programme. Supernova research at the Oskar Klein Centre is supported by the Swedish Research Council and by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. K.M. acknowledges support from a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (FP7). Some data were obtained with the Nordic Optical Telescope, which is operated by the Nordic Optical Telescope Scientific Association at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma, Spain. We thank the RATIR project team, the staff of the Observatorio Astronomico Nacional on Sierra San Pedro Martir, and the software support team from Teledyne Scientific and Imaging. RATIR, the automation of the Harold L. Johnson Telescope of the Observatorio Astronomico Nacional and the operation of both are funded through National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grants NNX09AH71G, NNX09AT02G, NNX10AI27G and NNX12AE66G, CONACyT (INFR-2009-01-122785, CB-2008-101958), UNAM PAPIIT (IN113810 and IG100414) and UCMEXUS-CONACyT. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Research at Lick Observatory is partially supported by a generous gift from Google. A portion of this work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under a Research and Technology Development Grant, under contract with NASA.

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Contributions

O.Y. initiated the study, conducted analysis and wrote the manuscript. D.A.P. is PI of the first-night Keck programme, obtained and reduced the Keck/LRIS spectra, and contributed to the analysis of the early-time data. A.G.-Y. is PI of iPTF early-time SN II studies, managed the project, and contributed to analysis and manuscript preparation. J.H.G. performed modelling and analysis of the early spectra. A.H. is PI of the VLA radio programme, provided radio observations, reduction, and analysis, and contributed to figures and manuscript preparation. E.O.O. contributed to analysis of early-time data, mass-loss estimates, Swift-XRT reductions and manuscript preparation. S.R.K. is PI of PTF and of Palomar and Keck follow-up programmes. J.S. provided NOT spectroscopy and contributed to analysis and manuscript preparation. C.F. contributed to analysis of line profiles, estimates of physical properties, and X-ray and radio data interpretation. A.R. performed analysis of the multiband photometry fits to RW11 shock-cooling models. P.S. performed SBO models and contributed to analysis of X-ray emission. N.S. contributed to analysis of SBO properties, early-time spectral modelling, and X-ray emission. F.T. provided and reduced NOT data. S.B.C. reduced Swift and Palomar 60-inch data, and contributed to spectroscopic reduction and analysis. S.V. provided LCOGT multiband photometry and reduced FTS-FLOYDS spectroscopy. I.A. provided LCOGT multiband photometry and reduced FTS-FLOYDS spectroscopy. D.A.H. is PI of the LCOGT follow-up programme. M.M.K. is a PTF builder and provided APO data. P.M.V. contributed to spectroscopic reductions, analysis and figure preparation. D.K. contributed to analysis of the early flash-ionized spectra and to figure preparation. O.D.F. provided RATIR multiband photometry. Y.C. is a PTF builder and performed spectroscopic observations and reductions. O.G. contributed to radiative-transfer analysis of the early-time emission-line spectra. P.L.K. contributed to Keck-II/DEIMOS spectroscopic reductions. P.E.N. is a PTF builder and contributed to manuscript preparation. A.V.F. provided Keck and Lick data, and edited the manuscript. R.R.L. is a developer of the image reduction pipeline. P.R.W. is a PTF builder, involved with machine-learning development. W.H.L. is PI of the RATIR proposals. U.D.R. is a PTF builder, involved with machine-learning development. K.M. is PI of the WHT ToO spectroscopic time, and performed WHT-ISIS spectroscopic reductions. M.S. is PI of the WHT follow-up effort. M.T.S. is a member of the iPTF human monitoring (scanners) team.

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Correspondence to O. Yaron.

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Yaron, O., Perley, D., Gal-Yam, A. et al. Confined dense circumstellar material surrounding a regular type II supernova. Nature Phys 13, 510–517 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys4025

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