Indexed on: 12 Jun '02Published on: 12 Jun '02Published in: Astrophysics
We report the discovery and monitoring of radio emission from the Type Ic SN 2002ap ranging in frequency from 1.43 to 22.5 GHz, and in time from 4 to 50 days after the SN explosion. As in most other radio SNe, the radio spectrum of SN 2002ap shows evidence for absorption at low frequencies, usually attributed to synchrotron self-absorption or free-free absorption. While it is difficult to discriminate between these two processes based on a goodness-of-fit, the unabsorbed emission in the free-free model requires an unreasonably large ejecta energy. Therefore, on physical grounds we favor the synchrotron self-absorption (SSA) model. In the SSA framework, at about day 2, the shock speed is approximately 0.3c, the energy in relativistic electrons and magnetic fields is approximately 1.5e45 erg and the inferred progenitor mass loss rate is approximately 5e-7 solar masses per year (assuming a 1,000 km/sec wind). These properties are consistent with a model in which the outer, high velocity supernova ejecta interact with the progenitor wind. The amount of relativistic ejecta in this model is small, so that the presence of broad lines in the spectrum of a Type Ib/c supernova, as observed in SN 2002ap, is not a reliable indicator of a connection to relativistic ejecta and hence gamma-ray emission.