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From core collapse to superluminous: The rates of massive stellar explosions from the Palomar Transient Factory

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We present measurements of the local core collapse supernova (SN) rate using SN discoveries from the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). We use a Monte Carlo simulation of hundreds of millions of SN light curve realizations coupled with the detailed PTF survey detection efficiencies to forward-model the SN rates in PTF. Using a sample of 86 core collapse SNe, including 26 stripped-envelope SNe (SESNe), we show that the overall core collapse SN volumetric rate is rCCv=9.10+1.56−1.27×10−5SNe yr−1Mpc−3h370rvCC=9.10−1.27+1.56×10−5SNe yr−1Mpc−3h703 at 〈z〉 = 0.028, and the SESN volumetric rate is rSEv=2.41+0.81−0.64×10−5SNe yr−1Mpc−3h370rvSE=2.41−0.64+0.81×10−5SNe yr−1Mpc−3h703⁠. We further measure a volumetric rate for hydrogen-free superluminous SNe (SLSNe-I) using 8 events at z ≤ 0.2 of rSLSN−Iv=35+25−13SNe yr−1Gpc−3h370rvSLSN−I=35−13+25SNe yr−1Gpc−3h703⁠, which represents the most precise SLSN-I rate measurement to date. Using a simple cosmic star-formation history to adjust these volumetric rate measurements to the same redshift, we measure a local ratio of SLSN-I to SESN of ∼1/810+1500−94∼1/810−94+1500⁠, and of SLSN-I to all CCSN types of ∼1/3500+2800−720∼1/3500−720+2800⁠. However, using host galaxy stellar mass as a proxy for metallicity, we also show that this ratio is strongly metallicity dependent: in low-mass (logM* < 9.5M) galaxies, which are the only environments that host SLSN-I in our sample, we measure a SLSN-I to SESN fraction of 1/300+380−1701/300−170+380 and 1/1700+1800−7201/1700−720+1800 for all CCSN. We further investigate the SN rates a function of host galaxy stellar mass, and show that the specific rates of all core collapse SNe decrease with increasing stellar mass.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date21 Nov 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 21 Nov 2020


  • From core collapse to superluminous

    Rights statement: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in MNRAS following peer review. The version of record C. Frohmaier (2020). 'From core collapse to superluminous: The rates of massive stellar explosions from the Palomar Transient Factory'. MNRAS, is available online at:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 1.44 MB, PDF document

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