We report the discovery of ASASSN-15lh (SN 2015L), which we interpret as the most luminous supernova yet found. At redshift z = 0.2326, ASASSN-15lh reached an absolute magnitude of Mu,AB = -23.5 ± 0.1 and bolometric luminosity Lbol = (2.2 ± 0.2) × 1045 ergs s-1, which is more than twice as luminous as any previously known supernova. It has several major features characteristic of the hydrogen-poor super-luminous supernovae (SLSNe-I), whose energy sources and progenitors are currently poorly understood. In contrast to most previously known SLSNe-I that reside in star-forming dwarf galaxies, ASASSN-15lh appears to be hosted by a luminous galaxy (MK ≈ -25.5) with little star formation. In the 4 months since first detection, ASASSN-15lh radiated (1.1 ± 0.2) × 1052 ergs, challenging the magnetar model for its engine.
- Pub Date:
- January 2016
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Published in the January 15, 2016 Issue of Science Magazine