Volume 584, December 2015
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||18 November 2015|
Revealing the binary origin of Type Ic superluminous supernovae through nebular hydrogen emission
Argelander Institute for Astronomy, University of Bonn,
Auf dem Hügel 71,
2 I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Zülpicher Straße 77, 50937 Köln, Germany
Received: 6 October 2015
Accepted: 26 October 2015
We propose that nebular Hα emission, as detected in the Type Ic superluminous supernova iPTF13ehe, stems from matter that is stripped from a companion star when the supernova ejecta collide with it. The temporal evolution, the line broadening, and the overall blueshift of the emission are consistent with this interpretation. We scale the nebular Hα luminosity predicted for Type Ia supernovae in single-degenerate systems to derive the stripped mass required to explain the Hα luminosity of iPTF13ehe. We find a stripped mass of 0.1−0.9 solar masses, assuming that the supernova luminosity is powered by radioactivity or magnetar spin down. Because a central heating source is required to excite the Hα emission, an interaction-powered model is not favored for iPTF13ehe if the Hα emission is from stripped matter. We derive a companion mass of more than 20 solar masses and a binary separation of less than about 20 companion radii based on the stripping efficiency during the collision, indicating that the supernova progenitor and the companion formed a massive close binary system. If Type Ic superluminous supernovae generally occur in massive close binary systems, the early brightening observed previously in several Type Ic superluminous supernovae may also be due to the collision with a close companion. Observations of nebular hydrogen emission in future Type Ic superluminous supernovae will enable us to test this interpretation.
Key words: supernovae: general / supernovae: individual: iPTF13ehe
© ESO, 2015
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