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A giant outburst two years before the core-collapse of a massive star
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2007 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, Vol. 447, no 7146, 829-832 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The death of massive stars produces a variety of supernovae, which are linked to the structure of the exploding stars(1,2). The detection of several precursor stars of type II supernovae has been reported ( see, for example, ref. 3), but we do not yet have direct information on the progenitors of the hydrogen-deficient type Ib and Ic supernovae. Here we report that the peculiar type Ib supernova SN 2006jc is spatially coincident with a bright optical transient(4) that occurred in 2004. Spectroscopic and photometric monitoring of the supernova leads us to suggest that the progenitor was a carbon-oxygen Wolf - Rayet star embedded within a helium-rich circumstellar medium. There are different possible explanations for this pre-explosion transient. It appears similar to the giant outbursts of luminous blue variable stars (LBVs) of 60 - 100 solar masses(5), but the progenitor of SN 2006jc was helium- and hydrogen-deficient ( unlike LBVs). An LBV-like outburst of a Wolf - Rayet star could be invoked, but this would be the first observational evidence of such a phenomenon. Alternatively, a massive binary system composed of an LBV that erupted in 2004, and a Wolf - Rayet star exploding as SN 2006jc, could explain the observations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 447, no 7146, 829-832 p.
Keyword [en]
eta-carinae, supernova, progenitors, evolution, lines
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-57058DOI: 10.1038/nature05825ISI: 000247207500037OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-57058DiVA: diva2:414331
Note
authorCount :35Available from: 2011-05-03 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2011-05-03Bibliographically approved

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