Las Cumbres Observatory’s Unique Capabilities Help Identify First ProgenItor OF A Stripped-Envelope Supernova
In June of this year, supernova iPTF13bvn, surprised astrophysicists by revealing its parentage. To date, Type Ib supernovae have appeared to come from nowhere. Type Ib supernovae explosions appear in surveys, but a search back through the archived data has so far resulted in no evidence of a progenitor, likely because they are simply too faint. A recently documented search for progenitors on a dozen Type Ib supernovae resulted in a dozen non-detections.
Because this is the first detected progenitor for a stripped envelope supernova (SNe Ib), the research was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Using radio, optical and spectroscopic sensors, a global team of astrophysicists led by Dr Yi Cao of Caltech began the work of tracking and characterizing the new supernova. The team from Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope, organized by D. Andrew Howell, gathered several spectra of the supernova as it evolved using the robotic FLOYDS spectrographs on 2-meter LCOGT telescopes in Hawaii and Australia. The LCOGT 1-meter telescope were activated by Dr. Melissa Graham to observe the SN continuously. Dr. Stefano Valenti reduced the data in real time from both the LCOGT 1-meter telescope network and the FLOYDS spectrograph, and worked with Caltech to analyze and characterize the data. The LCOGT data helped categorize the event as a Type Ib.