Spectral evolution of the peculiar Ic supernova 1998bw

R. A. Stathakis*, B. J. Boyle, D. H. Jones, M. S. Bessell, T. J. Galama, Lisa M. Germany, M. Hartley, D. M. James, C. Kouveliotou, I. J. Lewis, Q. A. Parker, K. S. Russell, E. M. Sadler, C. G. Tinney, J. Van Paradijs, P. M. Vreeswijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Supernova 1998bw holds the record for the most energetic Type Ic explosion, one of the brightest radio supernovae and probably the first supernova associated with a γ-ray burst. In this paper we present spectral observations of SN 1998bw observed in a cooperative monitoring campaign using the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the UK Schmidt Telescope and the Siding Springs Observatories 2.3-m telescope. We investigate the evolution of the spectrum between 7 and 94 d after V-band maximum in comparison with well-studied examples of Type Ic SNe in order to quantify the unusual properties of this supernova event. Though the early spectra differ greatly from observations of classical Ic supernovae (SNe), we find that the evolution from the photospheric to nebular phases is slow but otherwise typical. The spectra differ predominantly in the extensive line blending and blanketing which has been attributed to the high velocity of the ejecta. We find that by day 19, the absorption line minima blueshifts are 10-50 per cent higher than other SNe and on day 94 emission lines are 45 per cent broader, as expected if the progenitor had a massive envelope. However, it is difficult to explain the extent of line blanketing entirely by line broadening, and we argue that an additional contribution from other species is present, indicating unusual relative abundances or physical conditions in the envelope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-814
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Gamma-rays: bursts
  • Stars: evolution
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual: SN 1998bw


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