Results from a Systematic Survey of X-Ray Emission from Hydrogen-poor Superluminous SNe

R. Margutti, R. Chornock, B. D. Metzger, D. L. Coppejans, C. Guidorzi, G. Migliori, D. Milisavljevic, E. Berger, M. Nicholl, B. A. Zauderer, R. Lunnan, A. Kamble, M. Drout, M. Modjaz

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23 Scopus citations


We present the results from a sensitive X-ray survey of 26 nearby hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe-I) with Swift, Chandra, and XMM. This data set constrains the SLSN evolution from a few days until ∼2000 days after explosion, reaching a luminosity limit L x ∼ 1040 erg s-1 and revealing the presence of significant X-ray emission possibly associated with PTF 12dam. No SLSN-I is detected above , suggesting that the luminous X-ray emission L x ∼ 1045 erg s-1 associated with SCP 60F6 is not common among SLSNe-I. We constrain the presence of off-axis gamma-ray burst (GRB) jets, ionization breakouts from magnetar engines and the density in the sub-parsec environments of SLSNe-I through inverse Compton emission. The deepest limits rule out the weakest uncollimated GRB outflows, suggesting that if the similarity of SLSNe-I with GRB/SNe extends to their fastest ejecta, then SLSNe-I are either powered by energetic jets pointed far away from our line of sight (θ > 30°), or harbor failed jets that do not successfully break through the stellar envelope. Furthermore, if a magnetar central engine is responsible for the exceptional luminosity of SLSNe-I, our X-ray analysis favors large magnetic fields G and ejecta masses , in agreement with optical/UV studies. Finally, we constrain the pre-explosion mass-loss rate of stellar progenitors of SLSNe-I. For PTF 12dam we infer , suggesting that the SN shock interaction with an extended circumstellar medium is unlikely to supply the main source of energy powering the optical transient and that some SLSN-I progenitors end their lives as compact stars surrounded by a low-density medium similar to long GRBs and type Ib/c SNe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • X-rays: general
  • stars: magnetars
  • stars: mass-loss
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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