DES13S2cmm: the first superluminous supernova from the Dark Energy Survey

A. Papadopoulos, C. B. D'Andrea, M. Sullivan, R. C. Nichol, K. Barbary, R. Biswas, P. J. Brown, R. A. Covarrubias, D. A. Finley, J. A. Fischer, R. J. Foley, D. Goldstein, R. R. Gupta, R. Kessler, E. Kovacs, S. E. Kuhlmann, C. Lidman, M. March, P. E. Nugent, M. SakoR. C. Smith, H. Spinka, W. Wester, T. M. C. Abbott, F. Abdalla, S. S. Allam, M. Banerji, J. P. Bernstein, R. A. Bernstein, A. Carnero, L. N. da Costa, D. L. DePoy, S. Desai, H. T. Diehl, T. Eifler, A. E. Evrard, B. Flaugher, J. A. Frieman, D. Gerdes, D. Gruen, K. Honscheid, D. James, K. Kuehn, N. Kuropatkin, O. Lahav, M. A. G. Maia, M. Makler, J. L. Marshall, K. W. Merritt, C. J. Miller, R. Miquel, R. Ogando, A. A. Plazas, N. A. Roe, A. K. Romer, E. Rykoff, E. Sanchez, B. X. Santiago, V. Scarpine, M. Schubnell, I. Sevilla, M. Soares- Santos, E. Suchyta, M. Swanson, G. Tarle, J. Thaler, D. L. Tucker, R. H. Wechsler, J. Zuntz

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We present DES13S2cmm, the first spectroscopically-confirmed superluminous supernova (SLSN) from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We briefly discuss the data and search algorithm used to find this event in the first year of DES operations, and outline the spectroscopic data obtained from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope to confirm its redshift (z = 0.663 +/- 0.001 based on the host-galaxy emission lines) and likely spectral type (type I). Using this redshift, we find M_U_peak = -21.05 +0.10 -0.09 for the peak, rest-frame U-band absolute magnitude, and find DES13S2cmm to be located in a faint, low metallicity (sub-solar), low stellar-mass host galaxy (log(M/M_sun) = 9.3 +/- 0.3); consistent with what is seen for other SLSNe-I. We compare the bolometric light curve of DES13S2cmm to fourteen similarly well-observed SLSNe-I in the literature and find it possesses one of the slowest declining tails (beyond +30 days rest frame past peak), and is the faintest at peak. Moreover, we find the bolometric light curves of all SLSNe-I studied herein possess a dispersion of only 0.2-0.3 magnitudes between +25 and +30 days after peak (rest frame) depending on redshift range studied; this could be important for 'standardising' such supernovae, as is done with the more common type Ia. We fit the bolometric light curve of DES13S2cmm with two competing models for SLSNe-I - the radioactive decay of 56Ni, and a magnetar - and find that while the magnetar is formally a better fit, neither model provides a compelling match to the data. Although we are unable to conclusively differentiate between these two physical models for this particular SLSN-I, further DES observations of more SLSNe-I should break this degeneracy, especially if the light curves of SLSNe-I can be observed beyond 100 days in the rest frame of the supernova.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1215-1227
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2015


  • astro-ph.HE
  • surveys
  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual: DES13S2cmm
  • RCUK
  • STFC


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