The Type IIn Supernova SN 2010bt: The Explosion of a Star in Outburst

June 2018 • 2018ApJ...860...68E

Authors • Elias-Rosa, Nancy • Van Dyk, Schuyler D. • Benetti, Stefano • Cappellaro, Enrico • Smith, Nathan • Kotak, Rubina • Turatto, Massimo • Filippenko, Alexei V. • Pignata, Giuliano • Fox, Ori D. • Galbany, Lluis • González-Gaitán, Santiago • Miluzio, Matteo • Monard, L. A. G. • Ergon, Mattias

Abstract • It is well known that massive stars (M > 8 M ) evolve up to the collapse of the stellar core, resulting in most cases in a supernova (SN) explosion. Their heterogeneity is related mainly to different configurations of the progenitor star at the moment of the explosion and to their immediate environments. We present photometry and spectroscopy of SN 2010bt, which was classified as a Type IIn SN from a spectrum obtained soon after discovery and was observed extensively for about 2 months. After the seasonal interruption owing to its proximity to the Sun, the SN was below the detection threshold, indicative of a rapid luminosity decline. We can identify the likely progenitor with a very luminous star (log L/L ≈ 7) through comparison of Hubble Space Telescope images of the host galaxy prior to explosion with those of the SN obtained after maximum light. Such a luminosity is not expected for a quiescent star, but rather for a massive star in an active phase. This progenitor candidate was later confirmed via images taken in 2015 (∼5 yr post-discovery), in which no bright point source was detected at the SN position. Given these results and the SN behavior, we conclude that SN 2010bt was likely a Type IIn SN and that its progenitor was a massive star that experienced an outburst shortly before the final explosion, leading to a dense H-rich circumstellar environment around the SN progenitor.


IPAC Authors

Schuyler Van Dyk

Senior Scientist