The Unusually Luminous Extragalactic Nova SN 2010U

Ian Czekala, R. Chornock, E. Berger, A. Pastorello, G. H. Marion, P. Challis, J. C. Wheeler, M. T. Botticella, S. Smartt, M. Ergon, J. Sollerman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


With the rise of time-domain astronomy and the advent of survey facilities such as Pan-STARRS, Palomar Transient Factory, and, in the future, LSST, exotic optical transients are now being found in ever-increasing numbers. These events can be distinct from the traditional categories of novae and supernovae, which are typically clustered around -8 and -18 absolute magnitudes, respectively. Objects intermediate in luminosity have been broadly labeled "supernovae imposters" because although the objects are initially bright enough to be classified as supernovae, upon further spectral analysis they mainly turn out to be luminous blue variables (LBVs). SN 2010U is one such supernovae impostor that is in fact a fast and luminous extragalactic nova (Humphreys et al. 2010). We present an early-time spectrum of SN 2010U two days after discovery that clearly identifies SN 2010U as an Fe II-type nova. Additionally, we present a complete r-band lightcurve that confirms that SN 2010U was a very fast and bright nova with absolute magnitude in excess of -10. The discovery of this exotic nova has implications for the mass of the white dwarf progenitor, accreted material, and theoretical brightness relations such as the maximum-magnitude versus rate of decline (MMRD) relationship. The supernova imposter SN 2010U probes a new phase space of transient phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


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