The host galaxy and late-time evolution of the superluminous supernova PTF12dam

T. -W. Chen, S. J. Smartt, A. Jerkstrand, M. Nicholl, F. Bresolin, R. Kotak, J. Polshaw, A. Rest, R. Kudritzki, Z. Zheng, N. Elias-Rosa, K. Smith, C. Inserra, D. Wright, E. Kankare, T. Kangas, M. Fraser

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) of Type Ic have a tendency to occur in faint host galaxies which are likely to have low mass and low metallicity. PTF12dam is one of the closest and best-studied superluminous explosions that has a broad and slowly fading light curve similar to SN 2007bi. Here we present new photometry and spectroscopy for PTF12dam from 200–500 d (rest frame) after peak and a detailed analysis of the host galaxy (SDSS J142446.21+461348.6 at z = 0.107). Using deep templates and image subtraction we show that the light curve can be fit with a magnetar model if escape of high-energy gamma rays is taken into account. The full bolometric light curve from −53 to +399 d (with respect to peak) cannot be fit satisfactorily with the pair-instability models. An alternative model of interaction with a dense circumstellar material (CSM) produces a good fit to the data although this requires a very large mass (∼13 M) of hydrogen-free CSM. The host galaxy is a compact dwarf (physical size ∼1.9 kpc) and with Mg = −19.33 ± 0.10, it is the brightest nearby SLSN Ic host discovered so far. The host is a low-mass system (2.8 × 108 M) with a star formation rate (5.0 M yr−1), which implies a very high specific star formation rate (17.9 Gyr−1). The remarkably strong nebular emission provide detections of the [O III] λ4363 and [O II] λλ7320, 7330auroral lines and an accurate oxygen abundance of 12 + log (O/H) = 8.05 ± 0.09. We show here that they are at the extreme end of the metallicity distribution of dwarf galaxies and propose that low metallicity is a requirement to produce these rare and peculiar SNe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1567-1586
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2015


  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual: PTF12dam
  • galaxies: abundances
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies


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