Observations of young supernovae and new instruments to study them

Adam Rubin (Weizmann Inst.)
September 22, 2017 - 12:15pm


I will discuss our recent results studying light curves of hydrogen-rich supernovae during the first few days after explosion. The first days of emission encode important information about the physical system, and it is possible to relate the early-time light curve to the radius of the progenitor star by using shock-cooling models. I will show the first systematic application of these models to data from the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). I will also discuss improved observing strategies to obtain more constraining results in the future. One important question is the effect of circumstellar material on the light curves, motivating systematic spectroscopic sequencing of these events. To this end, we have designed of a new medium resolution UV-VIS spectrograph. The Multi-Imaging Transient Spectrograph (MITS) is the R~5000 UV-VIS arm of the Son Of X-Shooter (SOXS) spectrograph proposed for ESO’s 3.6m New Technology Telescope. Our design divides the spectrum into several channels, allowing optimization for each narrow part of the spectrum. We estimate a 50-100% improvement in throughput relative to a classical 4-C echelle design. Our design has passed a preliminary design review and is expected on the telescope in 2020.