Discovery, observations and theory of over luminous supernovae and peculiar transients

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Chatzopoulos, Emmanouil

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Modern wide-field imaging transient search projects led to the discovery of a new class of rare, over-luminous stellar explosions. Events like SN 2005ap (Quimby et al. 2007a), SN 2006gy (Quimby 2006; Smith et al. 2007), SN 2006tf (Quimby, Castro & Mondol 2007; Quimby et al. 2007b; Smith et al. 2008), SN 2008am (Chatzopoulos et al. 2010), SN 2008es (Yuan et al. 2008; Gezari et al. 2008; Miller et al. 2008) SN 2008fz (Drake et al. 2009) and SN 2008iy (Miller et al. 2010) introduced us new evidence about stellar death, since traditional ideas about the mechanisms that can power these phenomena are found to be inadequate to explain the observed properties. The Texas Supernova Search Project (TSS; Quimby et al. 2005) and its successor, the ROTSE-Supernova Verification Project (RSVP; Yuan et al. 2007)
discovered most of the above mentioned over-luminous supernovae (OLSNe) over the past five years of their operation. The advantage of this project is that it is essentially free of selection bias or the limits of a targeted search; the automated wide field (~3 square degrees) ROTSE-III telescopes (Akerlof et al. 2003), scan the whole sky blindly, looking for transients down to unfiltered magnitude ~19 mag and they do not focus on pre-selected galaxies. An estimated rate for these exceptionally luminous supernovae is ~ 2.6 10^{-7} events/Mpc^{3}/yr (Quimby et al. 2009a). Current and future transient search projects such as the SDSS-II Supernova Survey (Frieman et al. 2008),the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF; Law et al. 2009), SkyMapper (Schmidt et al. 2005), PanSTARRS (Chambers 2006) and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (Tyson & LSST collaboration 2002) are expected to increase the number of rare over-luminous (or, under-luminous) supernove and to discover new, unusual transients.




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