SN 2005bf: A possible transition event between type Ib/c supernovae and gamma-ray bursts

Gastón Folatelli, Carlos Contreras, M. M. Phillips, S. E. Woosley, Sergei Blinnikov, Nidia Morrell, Nicholas B. Suntzeff, Brian L. Lee, Mario Hamuy, Sergio González, Wojtek Krzeminski, Miguel Roth, Weidong Li, Alexei V. Filippenko, Ryan J. Foley, W. L. Freedman, Barry F. Madore, S. E. Persson, David Murphy, Samuel BoissierGaspar Galaz, Luis González, P. J. Mccarthy, Andrew Mcwilliam, Wojtek Pych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present u′g′r′i′BV photometry and optical spectroscopy of the Type Ib/Ic SN 2005bf covering the first ∼100 days following discovery. The u′g′BV light curves displayed an unprecedented morphology among Type Ib/Ic supernovae, with an initial maximum some 2 weeks after discovery and a second, main maximum about 25 days after that. The bolometric light curve indicates that SN 2005bf was a remarkably luminous event, radiating at least 6.3 × 1042 ergs s -1 at maximum light and a total of 2.1 × 1049 ergs during the first 75 days after the explosion. Spectroscopically, SN 2005bf underwent a unique transformation from a Type Ic-like event at early times to a typical Type Ib supernova at later phases. The initial maximum in u′g′BV was accompanied by the presence in the spectrum of high-velocity (>14,000 km s-1) absorption lines of Fe II, Ca II, and H I. The photospheric velocity derived from spectra at early epochs was below 10,000 km s-1, which is unusually low compared with ordinary Type Ib supernovae. We describe one-dimensional computer simulations that attempt to account for these remarkable properties. The most favored model is that of a very energetic (2 × 1051 ergs), asymmetric explosion of a massive (8.3 M) Wolf-Rayet WN star that had lost most of its hydrogen envelope. We speculate that an unobserved relativistic jet was launched producing a two-component explosion consisting of (1) a polar explosion containing a small fraction of the total mass and moving at high velocity and (2) the explosion of the rest of the star. At first, only the polar explosion is observed, producing the initial maximum and the high-velocity absorption-line spectrum resembling a Type Ic event. At late times, this fast-moving component becomes optically thin, revealing the more slowly moving explosion of the rest of the star and transforming the observed spectrum to that of a typical Type Ib supernova. If this scenario is correct, then SN 2005bf is the best example to date of a transition object between normal Type Ib/Ic supernovae and γ-ray bursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1050
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 20 2006


  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 2005bf)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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