On 2018 February 4.41, the All-Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) discovered ASASSN-18bt in the K2 Campaign 16 field. With a redshift of z = 0.01098 and a peak apparent magnitude of B max = 14.31, ASASSN-18bt is the nearest and brightest SNe Ia yet observed by the Kepler spacecraft. Here we present the discovery of ASASSN-18bt, the K2 light curve, and prediscovery data from ASAS-SN and the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System. The K2 early-time light curve has an unprecedented 30-minute cadence and photometric precision for an SN Ia light curve, and it unambiguously shows a ∼4 day nearly linear phase followed by a steeper rise. Thus, ASASSN-18bt joins a growing list of SNe Ia whose early light curves are not well described by a single power law. We show that a double-power-law model fits the data reasonably well, hinting that two physical processes must be responsible for the observed rise. However, we find that current models of the interaction with a nondegenerate companion predict an abrupt rise and cannot adequately explain the initial, slower linear phase. Instead, we find that existing published models with shallow 56Ni are able to span the observed behavior and, with tuning, may be able to reproduce the ASASSN-18bt light curve. Regardless, more theoretical work is needed to satisfactorily model this and other early-time SNe Ia light curves. Finally, we use Swift X-ray nondetections to constrain the presence of circumstellar material (CSM) at much larger distances and lower densities than possible with the optical light curve. For a constant-density CSM, these nondetections constrain ρ < 4.5 × 105 cm-3 at a radius of 4 × 1015 cm from the progenitor star. Assuming a wind-like environment, we place mass loss limits of for v w = 100 km s-1, ruling out some symbiotic progenitor systems. This work highlights the power of well-sampled early-time data and the need for immediate multiband, high-cadence follow-up for progress in understanding SNe Ia.
- supernovae: individual (ASASSN-18bt, SN 2018oh)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science