Supernova SN 2020faa -- an iPTF14hls look-alike?


We present observations of SN 2020faa. This Type II supernova displays a luminous light curve that started to rebrighten from an initial decline. We investigate this in relation to the famous supernova iPTF14hls, which received a lot of attention and multiple interpretations in the literature, however whose nature and source of energy still remains unknown. We demonstrate the great similarity between SN 2020faa and iPTF14hls during the first 6 months, and use this comparison both to forecast the evolution of SN 2020faa and to reflect on the less well observed early evolution of iPTF14hls. We present and analyse our observational data, consisting mainly of optical light curves from the Zwicky Transient Facility in the gri bands as well as a sequence of optical spectra. We construct colour curves, a bolometric light curve, compare ejecta-velocity and Black-body radius evolutions for the two supernovae, as well as for more typical Type II supernovae. The light curves show a great similarity with those of iPTF14hls over the first 6 months, in luminosity, timescale and colours. Also the spectral evolution of SN 2020faa is that of a Type II supernova, although it probes earlier epochs than those available for iPTF14hls. The similar light curve behaviour is suggestive of SN 2020faa being a new iPTF14hls. We present these observations now to advocate follow-up observations, since most of the more striking evolution of supernova iPTF14hls came later, with light curve undulations and a spectacular longevity. On the other hand, for SN 2020faa we have better constraints on the explosion epoch than we had for iPTF14hls, and we have been able to spectroscopically monitor it from earlier phases than was done for the more famous sibling.