Color Me Intrigued: The Discovery of iPTF 16fnm, an SN 2002cx-like Object

October 2017 • 2017ApJ...848...59M

Authors • Miller, A. A. • Kasliwal, M. M. • Cao, Y. • Adams, S. M. • Goobar, A. • Knežević, S. • Laher, R. R. • Lunnan, R. • Masci, F. J. • Nugent, P. E. • Perley, D. A. • Petrushevska, T. • Quimby, R. M. • Rebbapragada, U. D. • Sollerman, J. • Taddia, F. • Kulkarni, S. R.

Abstract • Modern wide-field, optical time-domain surveys must solve a basic optimization problem: maximize the number of transient discoveries or minimize the follow-up needed for the new discoveries. Here, we describe the Color Me Intrigued experiment, the first from the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) to search for transients simultaneously in the g PTF and R PTF bands. During the course of this experiment, we discovered iPTF 16fnm, a new member of the 02cx-like subclass of Type Ia supernovae (SNe). iPTF 16fnm peaked at {M}{g{PTF}}=-15.09+/- 0.17 {mag}, making it the second-least-luminous known SN Ia. iPTF 16fnm exhibits all the hallmarks of the 02cx-like class: (I) low luminosity at peak, (II) low ejecta velocities, and (III) a non-nebular spectrum several months after peak. Spectroscopically, iPTF 16fnm exhibits a striking resemblance to two other low-luminosity 02cx-like SNe: SN 2007qd and SN 2010ae. iPTF 16fnm and SN 2005hk decline at nearly the same rate, despite a 3 mag difference in brightness at peak. When considering the full subclass of 02cx-like SNe, we do not find evidence for a tight correlation between peak luminosity and decline rate in either the g‧ or r‧ band. We measure the relative rate of 02cx-like SNe to normal SNe Ia and find {r}{N02{cx}/{N}{Ia}}={33}-25+158 % . We further examine the g‧ - r‧ evolution of 02cx-like SNe and find that their unique color evolution can be used to separate them from 91bg-like and normal SNe Ia. This selection function will be especially important in the spectroscopically incomplete Zwicky Transient Facility/Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) era. Finally, we close by recommending that LSST periodically evaluate, and possibly update, its observing cadence to maximize transient science.


IPAC Authors

Frank Masci

Senior Scientist