An outburst from a massive star 40 days before a supernova explosion

E. O. Ofek*, M. Sullivan, S. B. Cenko, M. M. Kasliwal, A. Gal-Yam, S. R. Kulkarni, I. Arcavi, L. Bildsten, J. S. Bloom, A. Horesh, D. A. Howell, A. V. Filippenko, R. Laher, D. Murray, E. Nakar, P. E. Nugent, J. M. Silverman, N. J. Shaviv, J. Surace, O. Yaron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations

Abstract

Some observations suggest that very massive stars experience extreme mass-loss episodes shortly before they explode as supernovae, as do several models. Establishing a causal connection between these mass-loss episodes and the final explosion would provide a novel way to study pre-supernova massive-star evolution. Here we report observations of a mass-loss event detected 40 days before the explosion of the type IIn supernova SN 2010mc (also known as PTF 10tel). Our photometric and spectroscopic data suggest that this event is a result of an energetic outburst, radiating at least 6 × 10 47 erg of energy and releasing about 10-2 solar masses of material at typical velocities of 2,000 km s-1. The temporal proximity of the mass-loss outburst and the supernova explosion implies a causal connection between them. Moreover, we find that the outburst luminosity and velocity are consistent with the predictions of the wave-driven pulsation model, and disfavour alternative suggestions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)65-67
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume494
Issue number7435
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Feb 2013

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