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How much radioactive nickel does ASASSN-15lh require?

Kozyreva, Alexandra; Hirschi, Raphael; Blinnikov, Sergey; den Hartogh, Jacqueline

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Alexandra Kozyreva

Sergey Blinnikov

Jacqueline den Hartogh


The discovery of the most luminous supernova ASASSN-15lh triggered a shock-wave in the supernova community. The three possible mechanisms proposed for the majority of other superluminous supernovae do not produce a realistic physical model for this particular supernova. In the present study we show the limiting luminosity available from a nickel-powered pair-instability supernova. We computed a few exotic nickel-powered explosions with a total mass of nickel up to 1500 solar masses. We used the hydrostatic configurations prepared with the GENEVA and MESA codes, and the STELLA radiative-transfer code for following the explosion of these models. We show that 1500 solar masses of radioactive nickel is needed to power a luminosity of 2x10^45 erg/s. The resulting light curve is very broad and incompatible with the shorter ASASSN-15lh time-scale. This rules out a nickel-powered origin of ASASSN-15lh. In addition, we derive a simple peak luminosity - nickel mass relation from our data, which may serve to estimate of nickel mass from observed peak luminosities.


Kozyreva, A., Hirschi, R., Blinnikov, S., & den Hartogh, J. (2016). How much radioactive nickel does ASASSN-15lh require?. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459(1), L21–L25.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 2, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 16, 2016
Publication Date Jun 11, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2023
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 459
Issue 1
Pages L21–L25
Keywords radiative transfer, stars, evolution, massive, supernovae, general, individual, ASASSN-15h
Publisher URL


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