Circumstellar Interaction Powers the Light Curves of Luminous Rapidly Evolving Optical Transients Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Rapidly evolving transients, or objects that rise and fade in brightness on timescales two to three times shorter than those of typical Type Ia or Type II supernovae (SNe), have uncertain progenitor systems and powering mechanisms. Recent studies have noted similarities between rapidly evolving transients and Type Ibn SNe, which are powered by ejecta interacting with He-rich circumstellar material (CSM). In this work we present multiband photometric and spectroscopic observations from Las Cumbres Observatory and Swift of four fast-evolving Type Ibn SNe. We compare these observations with those of rapidly evolving transients identified in the literature. We discuss several common characteristics between these two samples, including their light curve and color evolution as well as their spectral features. To investigate a common powering mechanism we construct a grid of analytical model light curves with luminosity inputs from CSM interaction as well as 56Ni radioactive decay. We find that models with ejecta masses of 13 M , CSM masses of 0.21 M , and CSM radii of 2065 au can explain the diversity of peak luminosities, rise times, and decline rates observed in Type Ibn SNe and rapidly evolving transients. This suggests that a common progenitor systemthe core collapse of a high-mass star within a dense CSM shellcan reproduce the light curves of even the most luminous and fast-evolving objects, such as AT 2018cow. This work is one of the first to reproduce the light curves of both SNe Ibn and other rapidly evolving transients with a single model.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 7.83

author list (cited authors)

  • Pellegrino, C., Howell, D. A., Vinko, J., Gangopadhyay, A., Xiang, D., Arcavi, I., ... Zhang, T.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Pellegrino, C||Howell, DA||Vink√≥, J||Gangopadhyay, A||Xiang, D||Arcavi, I||Brown, P||Burke, J||Hiramatsu, D||Hosseinzadeh, G||Li, Z||McCully, C||Misra, K||Newsome, M||Gonzalez, E Padilla||Pritchard, TA||Valenti, S||Wang, X||Zhang, T

publication date

  • February 2022