Supernova shock breakout from a red supergiant

Kevin Schawinski, Stephen Justham, Christian Wolf, Philipp Podsiadlowski, Mark Sullivan, Katrien C. Steenbrugge, Tony Bell, Hermann Josef Röser, Emma S. Walker, Pierre Astier, Dave Balam, Christophe Balland, Ray Carlberg, Alex Conley, Dominique Fouchez, Julien Guy, Delphine Hardin, Isobel Hook, D. Andrew Howell, Reynald PainKathy Perrett, Chris Pritchet, Nicolas Regnault, Sukyoung K. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Massive stars undergo a violent death when the supply of nuclear fuel in their cores is exhausted, resulting in a catastrophic "core-collapse" supernova. Such events are usually only detected at least a few days after the star has exploded. Observations of the supernova SNLS-04D2dc with the Galaxy Evolution Explorer space telescope reveal a radiative precursor from the supernova shock before the shock reached the surface of the star and show the initial expansion of the star at the beginning of the explosion. Theoretical models of the ultraviolet light curve confirm that the progenitor was a red supergiant, as expected for this type of supernova. These observations provide a way to probe the physics of core-collapse supernovae and the internal structures of their progenitor stars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-226
Number of pages4
Issue number5886
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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