The first electromagnetic signal from a core-collapse supernova (SN) is a flash of soft X-rays or hard UV radiation as the photosphere is heated to millions of degrees in the process of shock breakout. We investigate the potential of the upcoming LOBSTER space observatory (due circa 2009) to detect these soft X-ray flashes, primarily from Type II events. LOBSTER should discover many SN breakout flashes, and will constrain the radii of their progenitor stars far more tightly than can be accomplished with optical observations of the SN light curve. We expect a population of blue supergiant progenitors (SN 1987A analogs) to be evident in the data, allowing for the first time a snapshot of stellar evolution at the point of core collapse. We consider also how the mass, explosion energy, and absorbing column can be constrained from X-ray observables alone. These conclusions are drawn using known scaling relations to extrapolate, from previous numerical calculations, the LOBSTER response to a broad range of explosion parameters.This work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and by the Canada Research Chairs program.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2003