We investigate the thermal emission and extinction from dust associated with the nearby superluminous supernova (SLSN) 2018bsz. Our dataset has daily cadence and simultaneous optical and near-infrared coverage up to ~ 100 days, together with late time (+ 1.7 yr) MIR observations. At 230 days after light curve peak the SN is not detected in the optical, but shows a surprisingly strong near-infrared excess, with r - J > 3 mag and r - Ks > 5 mag. The time evolution of the infrared light curve enables us to investigate if the mid-infrared emission is from newly formed dust inside the SN ejecta, from a pre-existing circumstellar envelope, or interstellar material heated by the radiation from the SN. We find the latter two scenarios can be ruled out, and a scenario where new dust is forming in the SN ejecta at epochs > 200 days can self-consistently reproduce the evolution of the SN flux. We can fit the spectral energy distribution well at +230 d with 5 x 10^-4 solar mass of carbon dust, increasing over the following several hundred days to 10^-2 solar mass by +535 d. SN 2018bsz is the first SLSN showing evidence for dust formation within the SN ejecta, and appears to form ten times more dust than normal core-collapse SNe at similar epochs. Together with their preference for low mass, low metallicity host galaxies, we suggest that SLSNe may be a significant contributor to dust formation in the early Universe.
- Pub Date:
- September 2021
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 14 pages and 7 figures in main text, 12 pages and 6 figures in appendix. The observational data will be updated once the paper is accepted