December 2016 • 2016ApJ...833..231T
Abstract • We present a systematic study of mid-infrared emission from 141 nearby supernovae (SNe) observed with Spitzer/IRAC as part of the ongoing SPIRITS survey. We detect 8 Type Ia and 36 core-collapse SNe. All Type Ia/Ibc SNe become undetectable within three years of explosion, whereas 22 ± 11% of Type II SNe continue to be detected. Five Type II SNe are detected even two decades after discovery (SN 1974E, 1979C, 1980K, 1986J, and 1993J). Warm dust luminosity, temperature, and a lower limit on mass are obtained by fitting the two IRAC bands, assuming an optically thin dust shell. We derive warm dust masses between 10-6 and 10-2 M ⊙ and dust color temperatures between 200 and 1280 K. This observed warm dust could be pre-existing or newly created, but in either case represents a lower limit to the dust mass because cooler dust may be present. We present three case studies of extreme SNe. SN 2011ja (II-P) was over-luminous ([4.5] = -15.6 mag) at 900 days post explosion with increasing hot dust mass, suggesting either an episode of dust formation or intensifying circumstellar material (CSM) interactions heating up pre-existing dust. SN 2014bi (II-P) showed a factor of 10 decrease in dust mass over one month, suggesting either dust destruction or reduced dust heating. The IR luminosity of SN 2014C (Ib) stayed constant over 800 days, possibly due to strong CSM interaction with an H-rich shell, which is rare among stripped-envelope SNe. The observations suggest that this CSM shell originated from an LBV-like eruption roughly 100 years pre-explosion. The observed diversity demonstrates the power of mid-IR observations of a large sample of SNe.