The complex circumstellar environment of supernova 2023ixf

E. A. Zimmerman, I. Irani, P. Chen, A. Gal-Yam, S. Schulze, D. A. Perley, J. Sollerman, A. V. Filippenko, T. Shenar, O. Yaron, S. Shahaf, R. J. Bruch, E. O. Ofek, A. De Cia, T. G. Brink, Y. Yang, S. S. Vasylyev, S. Ben Ami, M. Aubert, A. BadashJ. S. Bloom, P. J. Brown, K. De, G. Dimitriadis, C. Fransson, C. Fremling, K. Hinds, A. Horesh, J. P. Johansson, M. M. Kasliwal, S. R. Kulkarni, D. Kushnir, C. Martin, M. Matuzewski, R. C. McGurk, A. A. Miller, J. Morag, J. D. Neil, P. E. Nugent, R. S. Post, N. Z. Prusinski, Y. Qin, A. Raichoor, R. Riddle, M. Rowe, B. Rusholme, I. Sfaradi, K. M. Sjoberg, M. Soumagnac, R. D. Stein, N. L. Strotjohann, J. H. Terwel, T. Wasserman, J. Wise, A. Wold, L. Yan, K. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The early evolution of a supernova (SN) can reveal information about the environment and the progenitor star. When a star explodes in vacuum, the first photons to escape from its surface appear as a brief, hours-long shock-breakout flare1,2, followed by a cooling phase of emission. However, for stars exploding within a distribution of dense, optically thick circumstellar material (CSM), the first photons escape from the material beyond the stellar edge and the duration of the initial flare can extend to several days, during which the escaping emission indicates photospheric heating3. Early serendipitous observations2,4 that lacked ultraviolet (UV) data were unable to determine whether the early emission is heating or cooling and hence the nature of the early explosion event. Here we report UV spectra of the nearby SN 2023ixf in the galaxy Messier 101 (M101). Using the UV data as well as a comprehensive set of further multiwavelength observations, we temporally resolve the emergence of the explosion shock from a thick medium heated by the SN emission. We derive a reliable bolometric light curve that indicates that the shock breaks out from a dense layer with a radius substantially larger than typical supergiants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-762
Number of pages4
Issue number8005
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2024

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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2024.


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