Near-infrared spectroscopy of SN 2009ip's 2012 brightening reveals a dusty pre-supernova environment

Nathan Smith, Jon C. Mauerhan, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Adam J. Burgasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We present low-resolution near-infrared (IR) 0.8-2.5 μm spectra of Supernova (SN) 2009ip, taken immediately before, during and just after its rapid brightening in late September/October 2012. The first epoch shows the same general spectral characteristics as the later epochs (smooth continuum, narrow H and He I emission lines), but the IR continuum shape is substantially redder than the later epochs. The epoch 1 continuum can be approximated by reddening the peak-luminosity (epoch 3) spectrum by E(B - V) = 1.0 mag, but the blue colour seen in visual-wavelength spectra at the same time indicates that strong wavelength-dependent extinction by circumstellar dust is not the correct explanation. Instead, we favour the hypothesis that the redder colour before the brightening arises from excess emission from hot~2000K circumstellar dust. The minimum radius ({greater-than or approximate}120 au) deduced from the dust temperature and observed luminosity of the transient, combined with the observed expansion speed in the precursor outbursts of SN 2009ip, is consistent with an ejection at least 1.1 yr earlier. The mass of hot dust indicated by the IR excess is ~4 × 10-7M, although this is only a lower limit since the near-IR data do not constrain the mass of cooler dust. Thus, the observed pre-SN outbursts of this object were able to efficiently form dust into which the SN ejecta and radiation now propagate. This is consistent with the notion that the same pre-SN eruptions that generally give rise to SNe IIn also give rise to the dust needed for their commonly observed IR echoes. We also discuss some aspects of the IR line profiles, including He I λ10 830.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2721-2726
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Circumstellar matter
  • Stars: massive
  • Stars: variables: S doradus
  • Stars: winds, outflows
  • Supernovae: general
  • Supernovae: individual: SN 2009ip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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