Spectropolarimetry of the unique type Ib supernova 2005bf: Larger asymmetry revealed by later-phase data

Masaomi Tanaka, Koji S. Kawabata, Keiichi Maeda, Masanori Iye, Takashi Hattori, Elena Pian, Ken'Ichi Nomoto, Paolo A. Mazzali, Nozomu Tominaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We present an optical spectropolarimetric observation of the unique Type Ib supernova (SN) 2005bf at 8 days after the second maximum. The data, combined with the polarization spectrum taken at 6 days before the second maximum, enable us to closely examine the intrinsic properties of the SN. The polarization percentage is smaller at the later epoch over a wide wavelength range, while the position angle is similar at the two epochs. We find that an assumption of complete depolarization of strong lines at the emission peak is not necessarily correct. The intrinsic polarization of the SN is larger, and thus the ejecta of SN 2005bf would be more asymmetric than previously expected. The axis ratio of the photosphere projected on the sky deviates from unity by at least 20%. If the position angle of interstellar polarization is aligned with the spiral arm of the host galaxy, the deviation is larger than 25%. The line polarization at the He I, Ca II, and Fe II lines is also smaller at the later epoch. The changes in the position angle across these lines, which were observed at the earlier epoch, are still marginally present at the later epoch. The similar polarimetric behavior suggests that the distributions of these ions are correlated. Properties of polarization, as well as the light curve and the spectra both at photospheric and nebular phases, can be explained by an aspherical, possibly unipolar explosion of a WN star in which the blob of 56Ni penetrates C+O core and stops within the He layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1124
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Polarization
  • Supernovae: individual (SN 2005bf)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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