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Optical and infrared observations of the supernova SN 1999el

  • Di Carlo, E.
  • Massi, F.
  • Valentini, G.
  • Di Paola, A.
  • D'Alessio, F.
  • Brocato, E.
  • Guidubaldi, D.
  • Dolci, M.
  • Pedichini, F.
  • Speziali, R.
  • Causi, G. Li
  • Caratti, A.
  • Cappellaro, E.
  • Turatto, M.
  • Arkharov, A. A.
  • Gnedin, Y.
  • Larionov, V. M.
  • Benetti, S.
  • Pastorello, A.
  • Aretxaga, I.
  • And 4 more
Publication Date
Mar 04, 2002
Submission Date
Mar 04, 2002
DOI: 10.1086/340496
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Optical and near-infrared light curves of the Type IIn supernova 1999el in NGC 6951 are presented. A period of 220 days (416 days in the near-infrared) is covered from the first observation obtained a few days before maximum light. Spectroscopic observations are also discussed. Using as a distance calibrator the Type Ia SN 2000E, which occurred some months later in the same galaxy, and fitting a blackbody law to the photometric data we obtain a maximum bolometric luminosity for SN 1999el of $\sim 10^{44}$ erg s$^{-1}$. In general, the photometric properties of SN 1999el are very similar to those of SN 1998S, a bright and well studied Type IIn SN, showing a fast decline in all observed bands similar to those of Type II-L SNe. The differences with SN 1998S are analyzed and ascribed to the differences in a pre-existing circumstellar envelope in which dust was already present at the moment of the SN outburst. We infer that light echoes may play a possibly significant role in affecting the observed properties of the light curves, although improved theoretical models are needed to account for the data. We conclude that mass loss in the progenitor RG stars is episodic and occurs in an asymmetric way. This implies that collapsing massive stars appear as normal Type II SN if this occurs far from major mass loss episodes, whereas they appear as Type IIn SNe if a large mass loss episode is in progress.

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