NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014B-0167

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Proposal Information for 2014B-0167


PI: Ragnhild Lunnan, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, rlunnan@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Edo Berger, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Ryan Chornock, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Title: The Beast's Lair: Observing the Host Galaxies of High-Redshift Superluminous Supernoave from Pan-STARRS1

Abstract: The advent of wide-field optical time-domain surveys is providing an opportunity to discover and decipher new classes of astronomical transient phenomena. One of the most unexpected results from Pan-STARRS and other time-domain surveys is the discovery of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), with bolometric luminosities up to 100 times higher than normal core-collapse and Type Ia supernovae (SNe), and with spectra that do not match known SN classes. These SLSNe represent a new challenge to our understanding of the deaths of massive stars, the standard core-collapse picture, and the mechanism for powering optical emission in SNe. Progress in our understanding of these mysterious explosions requires detailed studies of their light curves and spectra (available from our Pan-STARRS data and follow-up), as well as studies of their galactic environments - the focus of this Gemini proposal. We propose deep GMOS and NIRI imaging of three SLSN host galaxies at redshift z > 1.2. The proposed Gemini observations are designed to complement existing HST and/or PS1 data of these objects that combined will allow us to measure the galaxy star formation rates, extinctions, stellar masses and stellar population ages. As part of our ongoing survey of SLSN host galaxies (which includes HST and Spitzer imaging, multiband optical photometry, and optical spectroscopy), these data will allow us to fully characterize the environments of SLSN host galaxies over a wide range of redshifts, thus beginning to address one of the key new mysteries in time-domain astrophysics.


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