Broad-line type Ic SN 2020bvc: Signatures of an off-axis gamma-ray burst afterglow

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Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are almost unequivocally associated with very energetic, broad-line supernovae of Type Ic-BL. While the gamma-ray emission is emitted in narrow jets, the SN emits radiation isotropically. Therefore, it has been hypothesized that some SN Ic-BL not associated with GRBs arise from events with inner engines such as off-axis GRBs or choked jets. Here we present observations of the nearby (d=120 Mpc) SN 2020bvc (ASAS-SN 20bs) that support this scenario. Swift-UVOT observations reveal an early decline (up to two days after explosion), while optical spectra classify it as a SN Ic-BL with very high expansion velocities (approximate to 70 000 km s(-1)), similar to that found for the jet-cocoon emission in SN 2017iuk associated with GRB 171205A. Moreover, the Swift X-Ray Telescope and CXO X-ray Observatory detected X-ray emission only three days after the SN and decaying onward, which can be ascribed to an afterglow component. Cocoon and X-ray emission are both signatures of jet-powered GRBs. In the case of SN 2020bvc, we find that the jet is off axis (by approximate to 23 degrees), as also indicated by the lack of early (approximate to 1 day) X-ray emission, which explains why no coincident GRB was detected promptly or in archival data. These observations suggest that SN 2020bvc is the first orphan GRB detected through its associated SN emission.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL11
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2020

    Research areas

  • gamma-ray burst: general, supernovae: individual: SN2020bvc, stars: jets, LIGHT CURVES, SUPERNOVA, EVOLUTION, JETS, EMISSION, COCOON, GRB-060218, SPECTRA, MODEL, RATES

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