The mid-infrared light curve of nearby core-collapse supernova SN 2011dh (PTF 11eon)

George Helou, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Eran O. Ofek, Iair Arcavi, Jason Surace, Avishay Gal-Yam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present Spitzer observations at 3.6 and 4.5 μm of the supernova SN 2011dh (PTF 11eon) in M51 from 18 days to 625 days after explosion. The mid-infrared emission peaks at 24 days after explosion at a few ×10 7 L , and decays more slowly than the visible-light bolometric luminosity. The infrared color temperature cools for the first 90 days and then is constant. Simple numerical models of a thermal echo can qualitatively reproduce the early behavior. At late times, the mid-IR light curve cannot be explained by a simple thermal echo model, suggesting additional dust heating or line emission mechanisms. We also propose that thermal echoes can serve as effective probes to uncover supernovae in heavily obscured environments, and speculate that under the right conditions, integrating the early epoch of the mid-infrared light curve may constrain the total energy in the shock breakout flash.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL19
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • circumstellar matter
  • galaxies: individual (M51)
  • infrared: ISM
  • supernovae: individual (SN2011dh)


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