Type Ibn Supernovae May not all Come from Massive Stars

Griffin Hosseinzadeh, Curtis McCully, Ann I. Zabludoff, Iair Arcavi, K. Decker French, D. Andrew Howell, Edo Berger, Daichi Hiramatsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Because core-collapse supernovae are the explosions of massive stars, which have relatively short lifetimes, they occur almost exclusively in galaxies with active star formation. On the other hand, the Type Ibn supernova PS1-12sk exploded in an environment that is much more typical of thermonuclear (Type Ia) supernovae: on the outskirts of the brightest elliptical galaxy in a galaxy cluster. The lack of any obvious star formation at that location presented a challenge to models of Type Ibn supernovae as the explosions of very massive Wolf-Rayet stars. Here we present a supplementary search for star formation at the site of PS1-12sk, now that the supernova has faded, via deep ultraviolet (UV) imaging of the host cluster with the Hubble Space Telescope. We do not detect any UV emission within 1 kpc of the supernova location, which allows us deepen the limit on star formation rate by an order of magnitude compared to the original study on this event. In light of this new limit, we discuss whether or not the progenitors of Type Ibn supernovae can be massive stars, and what reasonable alternatives have been proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL9
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • galaxies: star formation
  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual (PS1-12sk)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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