Core-collapse Supernovae Theory vs. Observations
Abstract: A core-collapse supernova (CCSN) is an astronomical explosion that indicates the death of a massive star. The iron core of the star collapses into either a neutron star or a black hole while the rest of the material is expelled at high velocities. Supernovae (SNe) are important for the chemical evolution of the Universe because a large fraction of the heavier elements such as oxygen, silicon, and iron are liberated by CCSN explosions. Another important role of SNe is that the ejected material seed the next generation of stars and planets. From observations, it is clear that a large fraction of all massive stars undergoes SN explosions, but describing how SNe explode has remained a challenge for many decades.The attached papers focus on comparing theoretical predictions with observations, primarily observations of SN 1987A. The compact remnant in SN 1987A has not yet been detected and we have investigated how a compact object can remain hidden in the ejecta (Paper I and II). Because of the high opacity of the metal-rich ejecta, the direct X-ray observations are not very constraining even for potentially favorable viewing angles. However, the combined observations still strongly constrain fallback accretion and put a limit on possible pulsar wind activity. The thermal surface emission from a neutron star is consistent with the observations if our line of sight is dust-obscured, and only marginally consistent otherwise. Future observations provide promising opportunities for detecting the compact object.We have also compared the most recent three-dimensional neutrino-driven SN models that are based on explosion simulations with early X-ray and gamma-ray observations of SN 1987A (Paper III). The models that are designed to match SN 1987A fit the data well, but not all tensions can be explained by choosing a suitable viewing angle. More generally, the asymmetries do not affect the early emission qualitatively and different progenitors of the same class result in similar early emission. We also find that the progenitor metallicity is important for the low-energy X-ray cuto↵. Current instruments should be able to detect this emission from SNe at distances of 3–10 Mpc, which correspond to distances slightly beyond the Local Group.
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