Discovery Of The Ultra-Bright Type II-L Supernova 2008es
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We report the discovery by the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment (ROTSE-IIIb) telescope of SN 2008es, an overluminous supernova (SN) at z = 0.205 with a peak visual magnitude of -22.2. We present multiwavelength follow-up observations with the Swift satellite and several ground-based optical telescopes. The ROTSE-IIIb observations constrain the time of explosion to be 23 +/- 1 rest-frame days before maximum. The linear decay of the optical light curve, and the combination of a symmetric, broad Ha emission line profile with broad P Cygni H beta and Na lambda 5892 profiles, are properties reminiscent of the bright Type II-L SNe 1979C and 1980K, although SN 2008es is greater than 10 times more luminous. The host galaxy is undetected in pre-supernova Sloan Digital Sky Survey images, and similar to Type II-L SN 2005ap (the most luminous SN ever observed), the host is most likely a dwarf galaxy with M(r) > - 17. Swift Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope observations in combination with Palomar 60 inch photometry measure the spectral energy distribution of the SN from 200 to 800 nm to be a blackbody that cools from 14000 K at the time of the optical peak to 6400 K 65 days later. The inferred blackbody radius is in good agreement with the radius expected for the expansion speed measured from the broad lines (10000 km s(-1)). The bolometric luminosity at the optical peak is 2.8 x 10(44) erg s(-1), with a total energy radiated over the next 65 days of 5.6 x 10(50) erg. The exceptional luminosity of SN 2008es requires an efficient conversion of kinetic energy produced from the core-collapse explosion into radiation. We favor a model in which the large peak luminosity is a consequence of the core collapse of a progenitor star with a low-mass extended hydrogen envelope and a stellar wind with a density close to the upper limit on the mass-loss rate measured from the lack of an X-ray detection by the Swift X-Ray Telescope.