ULTRAVIOLET OBSERVATIONS OF SUPER-CHANDRASEKHAR MASS TYPE Ia SUPERNOVA CANDIDATES WITH SWIFT UVOT
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Among Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), a class of overluminous objects exist whose ejecta mass is inferred to be larger than the canonical Chandrasekhar mass. We present and discuss the UV/optical photometric light curves, colors, absolute magnitudes, and spectra of three candidate Super-Chandrasekhar mass SNe - 2009dc, 2011aa, and 2012dn - observed with the Swift Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope. The light curves are at the broad end for SNe Ia, with the light curves of SN 2011aa being among the broadest ever observed. We find all three to have very blue colors which may provide a means of excluding these overluminous SNe from cosmological analysis, though there is some overlap with the bluest of "normal" SNe Ia. All three are overluminous in their UV absolute magnitudes compared to normal and broad SNe Ia, but SNe 2011aa and 2012dn are not optically overluminous compared to normal SNe Ia. The integrated luminosity curves of SNe 2011aa and 2012dn in the UVOT range (1600-6000 ) are only half as bright as SN 2009dc, implying a smaller 56Ni yield. While it is not enough to strongly affect the bolometric flux, the early time mid-UV flux makes a significant contribution at early times. The strong spectral features in the mid-UV spectra of SNe 2009dc and 2012dn suggest a higher temperature and lower opacity to be the cause of the UV excess rather than a hot, smooth blackbody from shock interaction. Further work is needed to determine the ejecta and 56Ni masses of SNe 2011aa and 2012dn and to fully explain their high UV luminosities. 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.