Three-dimensional explosion geometry of stripped-envelope core-collapse supernovae. I. Spectropolarimetric observations

Masaomi Tanaka, Koji S. Kawabata, Takashi Hattori, Paolo A. Mazzali, Kentaro Aoki, Masanori Iye, Keiichi Maeda, Ken'Ichi Nomoto, Elena Pian, Toshiyuki Sasaki, Masayuki Yamanaka

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29 Citations (Scopus)


We study the multi-dimensional geometry of supernova (SN) explosions by means of spectropolarimetric observations of stripped-envelope SNe, i.e., SNe without a hydrogen-rich layer. We perform spectropolarimetric observations of two stripped-envelope SNe, Type Ib SN 2009jf and Type Ic SN 2009mi. Both objects show non-zero polarization at the wavelength of the strong lines. They also show a loop in the Stokes Q - U diagram, which indicates a non-axisymmetric, three-dimensional ion distribution in the ejecta. We show that five out of six stripped-envelope SNe, which have been observed spectropolarimetrically so far, show such a loop. This implies that a three-dimensional geometry is common in stripped-envelope SNe. We find that stronger lines tend to show higher polarization. This effect is not related to the geometry, and must be corrected for to compare the polarization of different lines or different objects. Even after the correction, however, there remains a dispersion of polarization degree among different objects. Such a dispersion might be caused by three-dimensional clumpy ion distributions viewed from different directions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul 20


  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual (SNe 2009jf, 2009mi)
  • techniques: polarimetric


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