FUNA Lunch Talk:

Alicia Soderberg

Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow / Carnegie-Princeton Fellow, Princeton

A Paradigm Shift for Supernova Discovery and Study

May 2

12:10PM, Room 230, NRAO, Edgemont Road


Throughout history, observational supernova studies have focused almost exclusively on their strong optical emission which peaks several weeks after the explosion and dominates the bolometric luminosity. Yet many of the leading breakthroughs in our understanding of supernovae and their progenitors have been enabled by observations at other wavelengths. In particular, X-ray observations of young supernovae trace the properties of the very fastest ejecta and peak at the time of explosion. These observations have the power to reveal new supernovae in the act of exploding, eliminating the delay imposed by optical discoveries. As I will discuss, these observations enable an unprecedented view of the progenitor properties and can reveal the nature of the compact remnants. Moreover, they provide essential triggers to neutrino and gravitational wave searches for coincident emission. I will present exciting new results stemming from our Swift/XRT follow-up of nearby supernovae, providing the first ever discovery of an ordinary supernova at the very moment the shock unbinds the star.