We present the first extensive radio to γ-ray observations of a fast-rising blue optical transient, AT 2018cow, over its first ∼100 days. AT 2018cow rose over a few days to a peak luminosity L pk ∼ 4 × 10 44 erg s -1 , exceeding that of superluminous supernovae (SNe), before declining as L ∝ t -2 . Initial spectra at δt ≲ 15 days were mostly featureless and indicated large expansion velocities v ∼ 0.1c and temperatures reaching T ∼ 3 × 10 4 K. Later spectra revealed a persistent optically thick photosphere and the emergence of H and He emission features with v ∼ 4000 km s -1 with no evidence for ejecta cooling. Our broadband monitoring revealed a hard X-ray spectral component at E ≥ 10 keV, in addition to luminous and highly variable soft X-rays, with properties unprecedented among astronomical transients. An abrupt change in the X-ray decay rate and variability appears to accompany the change in optical spectral properties. AT 2018cow showed bright radio emission consistent with the interaction of a blast wave with v sh ∼ 0.1c with a dense environment ( for v w = 1000 km s -1 ). While these properties exclude 56 Ni-powered transients, our multiwavelength analysis instead indicates that AT 2018cow harbored a "central engine," either a compact object (magnetar or black hole) or an embedded internal shock produced by interaction with a compact, dense circumstellar medium. The engine released ∼10 50 -10 51.5 erg over ∼10 3 -10 5 s and resides within low-mass fast-moving material with equatorial-polar density asymmetry (M ej,fast ≲ 0.3 M). Successful SNe from low-mass H-rich stars (like electron-capture SNe) or failed explosions from blue supergiants satisfy these constraints. Intermediate-mass black holes are disfavored by the large environmental density probed by the radio observations.

An Embedded X-Ray Source Shines through the Aspherical at 2018cow: Revealing the Inner Workings of the Most Luminous Fast-evolving Optical Transients

C. Guidorzi;
2019

Abstract

We present the first extensive radio to γ-ray observations of a fast-rising blue optical transient, AT 2018cow, over its first ∼100 days. AT 2018cow rose over a few days to a peak luminosity L pk ∼ 4 × 10 44 erg s -1 , exceeding that of superluminous supernovae (SNe), before declining as L ∝ t -2 . Initial spectra at δt ≲ 15 days were mostly featureless and indicated large expansion velocities v ∼ 0.1c and temperatures reaching T ∼ 3 × 10 4 K. Later spectra revealed a persistent optically thick photosphere and the emergence of H and He emission features with v ∼ 4000 km s -1 with no evidence for ejecta cooling. Our broadband monitoring revealed a hard X-ray spectral component at E ≥ 10 keV, in addition to luminous and highly variable soft X-rays, with properties unprecedented among astronomical transients. An abrupt change in the X-ray decay rate and variability appears to accompany the change in optical spectral properties. AT 2018cow showed bright radio emission consistent with the interaction of a blast wave with v sh ∼ 0.1c with a dense environment ( for v w = 1000 km s -1 ). While these properties exclude 56 Ni-powered transients, our multiwavelength analysis instead indicates that AT 2018cow harbored a "central engine," either a compact object (magnetar or black hole) or an embedded internal shock produced by interaction with a compact, dense circumstellar medium. The engine released ∼10 50 -10 51.5 erg over ∼10 3 -10 5 s and resides within low-mass fast-moving material with equatorial-polar density asymmetry (M ej,fast ≲ 0.3 M). Successful SNe from low-mass H-rich stars (like electron-capture SNe) or failed explosions from blue supergiants satisfy these constraints. Intermediate-mass black holes are disfavored by the large environmental density probed by the radio observations.
2019
Margutti, Raffaella; Metzger, B. D.; Chornock, R.; Vurm, I.; Roth, N.; Grefenstette, B. W.; Savchenko, V.; Cartier, R.; Steiner, J. F.; Terreran, G.; ...espandi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2401680
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