The double explosion of SN 2009ip in 2012 raises questions about our understanding of the late stages of massive star evolution. Here we present a comprehensive study of SN 2009ip during its remarkable rebrightenings. High-cadence photometric and spectroscopic observations from the GeV to the radio band obtained from a variety of ground-based and space facilities (including the Very Large Array, Swift, Fermi, Hubble Space Telescope, and XMM) constrain SN 2009ip to be a low energy (E ∼ 1050 erg for an ejecta mass ∼0.5 M) and asymmetric explosion in a complex medium shaped by multiple eruptions of the restless progenitor star. Most of the energy is radiated as a result of the shock breaking out through a dense shell of material located at ∼5 × 1014 cm with M ∼ 0.1 M, ejected by the precursor outburst ∼40 days before the major explosion. We interpret the NIR excess of emission as signature of material located further out, the origin of which has to be connected with documented mass-loss episodes in the previous years. Our modeling predicts bright neutrino emission associated with the shock break-out if the cosmic-ray energy is comparable to the radiated energy. We connect this phenomenology with the explosive ejection of the outer layers of the massive progenitor star, which later interacted with material deposited in the surroundings by previous eruptions. Future observations will reveal if the massive luminous progenitor star survived. Irrespective of whether the explosion was terminal, SN 2009ip brought to light the existence of new channels for sustained episodic mass loss, the physical origin of which has yet to be identified.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science