We investigate the light-curve properties of a sample of 26 spectroscopically confirmed hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe-I) in the Palomar Transient Factory survey. These events are brighter than SNe Ib/c and SNe Ic-BL, on average, by about 4 and 2 mag, respectively. The peak absolute magnitudes of SLSNe-I in rest-frame g band span -22 ≲ Mg ≲ -20 mag, and these peaks are not powered by radioactive 56Ni, unless strong asymmetries are at play. The rise timescales are longer for SLSNe than for normal SNe Ib/c, by roughly 10 days, for events with similar decay times. Thus, SLSNe-I can be considered as a separate population based on photometric properties. After peak, SLSNe-I decay with a wide range of slopes, with no obvious gap between rapidly declining and slowly declining events. The latter events show more irregularities (bumps) in the light curves at all times. At late times, the SLSN-I light curves slow down and cluster around the 56Co radioactive decay rate. Powering the late-time light curves with radioactive decay would require between 1 and 10 M o of Ni masses. Alternatively, a simple magnetar model can reasonably fit the majority of SLSNe-I light curves, with four exceptions, and can mimic the radioactive decay of 56Co, up to ∼400 days from explosion. The resulting spin values do not correlate with the host-galaxy metallicities. Finally, the analysis of our sample cannot strengthen the case for using SLSNe-I for cosmology.
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