University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Patrick Kelly

Core-collapse Supernovae and Host Galaxy Stellar Populations
Kelly & Kirshner, Astrophysical Journal (2012)

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We have used images and spectra of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to examine the host galaxies of 519 nearby supernovae (SN). The colors at the sites of the explosions, as well as chemical abundances, and specific star formation rates (SFRs) of the host galaxies provide circumstantial evidence on the origin of each SN type. We examine separately SN II, SN IIn, SN IIb, SN Ib, SN Ic, and SN Ic with broad lines (SN Ic-BL). For host galaxies that have multiple spectroscopic fibers, we select the fiber with host radial offset most similar to that of the SN. Type Ic SN explode at small host offsets, and their hosts have exceptionally strongly star-forming, metal-rich, and dusty stellar populations near their centers. The SN Ic-BL and SN IIb explode in exceptionally blue locations, and, in our sample, we find that the host spectra for SN Ic-BL show lower average oxygen abundances than those for SN Ic. SN IIb host fiber spectra are also more metal-poor than those for SN Ib, although a significant difference exists for only one of two strong-line diagnostics. SN Ic-BL host galaxy emission lines show strong central specific SFRs. In contrast, we find no strong evidence for different environments for SN IIn compared to the sites of SN II. Because our SN sample is constructed from a variety of sources, there is always a risk that sampling methods can produce misleading results. We have separated the SN discovered by targeted surveys from those discovered by galaxy-impartial searches to examine these questions and show that our results do not depend sensitively on the discovery technique.