Type II-plateau supernovae (SNe IIP) are the results of the explosions of red supergiants and are the most common subclass of core-collapse supernovae. Past observations have shown that the outer layers of the ejecta of SNe IIP are largely spherical, but the degree of asphericity increases toward the core. We present evidence for high degrees of asphericity in the inner cores of three recent SNe IIP (SNe 2006my, 2006ov, and 2007aa), as revealed by late-time optical spectropolarimetry. The three objects were all selected to have very low interstellar polarization (ISP), which minimizes the uncertainties in ISP removal and allows us to use the continuum polarization as a tracer of asphericity. The three objects have intrinsic continuum polarizations in the range of 0.83%-1.56% in observations taken after the end of the photometric plateau, with the polarization dropping to almost zero at the wavelengths of strong emission lines. Our observations of SN 2007aa at earlier times, taken on the photometric plateau, show contrastingly smaller continuum polarizations (~0.1%). The late-time Hα and [O I] line profiles of SN 2006ov provide further evidence for asphericities in the inner ejecta. Such high core polarizations in very ordinary core-collapse supernovae provide further evidence that essentially all core-collapse supernova explosions are highly aspherical, even if the outer parts of the ejecta show only small deviations from spherical symmetry.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- April 2010
- supernovae: individual: SN 2006my SN 2006ov SN 2007aa;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 15 pages, 13 figures, minor revisions to match published version (2010, ApJ, 713, 1363)