Can pair-instability supernova models match the observations of superluminous supernovae?

Alexandra Kozyreva*, S. Blinnikov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An increasing number of so-called superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) are discovered. It is believed that at least some of them with slowly fading light curves originate in stellar explosions induced by the pair instability mechanism. Recent stellar evolution models naturally predict pair instability supernovae (PISNe) from very massive stars at wide range of metallicities (up to Z = 0.006, Yusof et al.). In the scope of this study, we analyse whether PISN models can match the observational properties of SLSNe with various light-curve shapes. Specifically, we explore the influence of different degrees of macroscopic chemical mixing in PISN explosive products on the resulting observational properties.We artificially applymixing to the 250 M PISN evolutionary model from Kozyreva et al. and explore its supernova evolution with the one-dimensional radiation hydrodynamics code STELLA. The greatest success in matching SLSN observations is achieved in the case of an extreme macroscopic mixing, where all radioactive material is ejected into the hydrogen-helium outer layer. Such an extreme macroscopic redistribution of chemicals produces events with faster light curves with high photospheric temperatures and high photospheric velocities. These properties fit a wider range of SLSNe than non-mixed PISN model. Our mixed models match the light curves, colour temperature, and photospheric velocity evolution of two well-observed SLSNe PTF12dam and LSQ12dlf. However, these models' extreme chemical redistribution may be hard to realize in massive PISNe. Therefore, alternative models such as the magnetar mechanism or wind-interaction may still to be favourable to interpret rapidly rising SLSNe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4357-4365
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Radiative transfer
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: massive
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual: LSQ12dlf
  • Supernovae: individual: PTF12dam


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