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We present the results from a multiyear radio campaign of the superluminous supernova (SLSN) SN 2017ens, which yielded the earliest radio detection of an SLSN to date at the age of ∼3.3 yr after explosion. SN 2017ens was not detected at radio frequencies in the first ∼300 days but reached Lν ≈ 1028 erg s−1 cm−2 Hz−1 at ν ∼ 6 GHz, ∼1250 days post explosion. Interpreting the radio observations in the context of synchrotron radiation from the supernova shock interaction with the circumstellar medium (CSM), we infer an effective mass-loss rate Ṁ ≈ 10−4 Myr−1 at r ∼ 1017 cm from the explosion's site, for a wind speed of vw = 50–60 km s−1 as measured from optical spectra. These findings are consistent with the spectroscopic metamorphosis of SN 2017ens from hydrogen poor to hydrogen rich ∼190 days after explosion reported by Chen et al. SN 2017ens is thus an addition to the sample of hydrogen-poor massive progenitors that explode shortly after having lost their hydrogen envelope. The inferred circumstellar densities, implying a CSM mass up to ∼0.5 M, and low velocity of the ejection suggest that binary interactions (in the form of common-envelope evolution and subsequent envelope ejection) play a role in shaping the evolution of the stellar progenitors of SLSNe in the ≲ 500 yr preceding core collapse.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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