ASASSN-15lh: The Most Luminous Supernova Ever Discovered [HEAP]

We report the discovery and early evolution of ASASSN-15lh, the most luminous supernova ever found. At redshift z=0.2326, ASASSN-15lh reached an absolute magnitude of M_{u,AB} ~ -23.5 and bolometric luminosity L_bol ~ 2.2×10^45 ergs/s, which is >~ 2 times more luminous than any previously known supernova. Its spectra match the hydrogen-poor sub-class of super-luminous supernovae (SLSNe-I), whose energy sources and progenitors are poorly understood. In contrast to known SLSNe-I, most of which reside in star-forming, dwarf galaxies, its host appears to be a luminous galaxy (M_V ~ -22; M_K ~ -25.1) with little star formation. In the two months since its first detection, ASASSN-15lh has radiated ~7.5×10^51 ergs, challenging the popular magnetar model for the engine of SLSNe-I.

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S. Dong, B. Shappee, J. Prieto, et. al.
Tue, 14 Jul 15

Comments: Submitted to Science