SN 2002cx: The most peculiar known type Ia supernova

Weidong Li*, Alexei V. Filippenko, Ryan Chornock, Edo Berger, Perry Berlind, Michael L. Calkins, Peter Challis, Chris Fassnacht, Saurabh Jha, Robert P. Kirshner, Thomas Matheson, Wallace L.W. Sargent, Robert A. Simcoe, Graeme H. Smith, Gordon Squires

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


We present photometric and spectroscopic observations of supernova (SN) 2002cx, which reveal it to be unique among all observed Type Ia Supernovae (SNe Ia). SN 2002cx exhibits an SN 1991T-like premaximum spectrum, an SN 1991bg-like luminosity, and expansion velocities roughly half those of normal SNe Ia. Photometrically, SN 2002cx has a broad peak in the R band and a plateau phase in the I band, and slow late-time decline. The B-V color evolution is nearly normal, but the V-R and V-I colors are very red. Early-time spectra of SN 2002cx evolve very quickly and are dominated by lines from Fe-group elements; features from intermediate-mass elements (Ca, S, Si) are weak or absent. Mysterious emission lines are observed around 7000 Å at about 3 weeks after maximum brightness. The nebular spectrum of SN 2002cx is also unique, consisting of narrow iron and cobalt lines. The observations of SN 2002cx are inconsistent with the observed spectral/ photometric sequence and provide a major challenge to our understanding of SNe Ia. No existing theoretical model can successfully explain all observed aspects of SN 2002cx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-473
Number of pages21
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number806
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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