Peculiar Supernovae

Dan Milisavljevic*, Raffaella Margutti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


What makes a supernova truly “peculiar?” In this review we attempt to address this question by tracing the history of the use of “peculiar” as a descriptor of non-standard supernovae back to the original binary spectroscopic classification of Type I vs. Type II proposed by Minkowski (Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac., 53:224, 1941). A handful of noteworthy examples are highlighted to illustrate a general theme: classes of supernovae that were once thought to be peculiar are later seen as logical branches of standard events. This is not always the case, however, and we discuss ASASSN-15lh as an example of a transient with an origin that remains contentious. We remark on how late-time observations at all wavelengths (radio-through-X-ray) that probe 1) the kinematic and chemical properties of the supernova ejecta and 2) the progenitor star system’s mass loss in the terminal phases preceding the explosion, have often been critical in understanding the nature of seemingly unusual events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number68
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Stars: mass-loss
  • Supernovae: general
  • X-rays: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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