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Discovery of a Super-Luminous Supernova, PTF12dam

ATel #4121; R. M. Quimby (Kavli IPMU), I. Arcavi, A. Sternberg, S. Ben-Ami, O. Yaron, A. Gal-Yam (Weizmann), M. Graham (LCOGT), S. B. Cenko, A. V. Filippenko (UC Berkeley), D. Perley, Y. Cao, S. R. Kulkarni (Caltech)
on 23 May 2012; 04:03 UT
Distributed as an Instant Email Notice Supernovae
Credential Certification: Robert Quimby (quimby@astro.as.utexas.edu)

Subjects: Optical, Ultra-Violet, Supernovae, Transient

The Palomar Transient Factory (Law et al., 2009; Rau et al., 2009) reports the discovery of an optical transient, PTF12dam. The source is located at RA = 14:24:46.20, Dec. = +46:13:48.3 (J2000), which is offset from a r=19.15 mag galaxy detected by the SDSS. PTF12dam was first detected by the Palomar Oschin 1.2m telescope with an R-band magnitude of about 20 on 2012 Apr 10 (UT). The transient brightened to about 17.2 mag on May 21. PTF did not detect the source prior to 2012 Apr 8.

Spectroscopic follow-up was performed with the Lick 3m (+Kast Spectrograph) and Keck 10m (+LRIS) telescopes on 2012 May 20, 21, and 22. The spectra show a blue continuum with broad absorption bands. The spectra are similar to PTF09atu prior to maximum light (Quimby et al. 2011). There are multiple narrow emission lines detected (presumably from the host) that indicate a redshift of z=0.107.

We requested Swift observations, which were carried out on May 22. Including possible contamination from the host galaxy, we measure the following preliminary UVOT magnitudes for the transient:

 
   MJD     Filter   Mag   Mag_err  
56069.8438     B   17.15   0.06  
56069.8438     U   16.04   0.05  
56069.8438  UVW1   16.21   0.05  
56069.8477  UVW2   16.88   0.10  

We have requested HST/WFC3 UV grism observations of PTF12dam. The first (disruptive) ToO observations will likely take place between May 26 and May 27.

We thank the Swift and HST teams for scheduling these ToO observations.