A shock flash breaking out of a dusty red supergiant

Gaici Li, Maokai Hu, Wenxiong Li, Yi Yang, Xiaofeng Wang, Shengyu Yan, Lei Hu, Jujia Zhang, Yiming Mao, Henrik Riise, Xing Gao, Tianrui Sun, Jialian Liu, Dingrong Xiong, Lifan Wang, Jun Mo, Abdusamatjan Iskandar, Gaobo Xi, Danfeng Xiang, Lingzhi WangGuoyou Sun, Keming Zhang, Jian Chen, Weili Lin, Fangzhou Guo, Qichun Liu, Guangyao Cai, Wenjie Zhou, Jingyuan Zhao, Jin Chen, Xin Zheng, Keying Li, Mi Zhang, Shijun Xu, Xiaodong Lyu, Alberto J. Castro-Tirado, Vasilii Chufarin, Nikolay Potapov, Ivan Ionov, Stanislav Korotkiy, Sergey Nazarov, Kirill Sokolovsky, Norman Hamann, Eliot Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shock-breakout emission is light that arises when a shockwave, generated by the core-collapse explosion of a massive star, passes through its outer envelope. Hitherto, the earliest detection of such a signal was at several hours after the explosion1, although a few others had been reported2–7. The temporal evolution of early light curves should provide insights into the shock propagation, including explosion asymmetry and environment in the vicinity, but this has been hampered by the lack of multiwavelength observations. Here we report the instant multiband observations of a type II supernova (SN 2023ixf) in the galaxy M101 (at a distance of 6.85 ± 0.15 Mpc; ref. 8), beginning at about 1.4 h after the explosion. The exploding star was a red supergiant with a radius of about 440 solar radii. The light curves evolved rapidly, on timescales of 1−2 h, and appeared unusually fainter and redder than predicted by the models9–11 within the first few hours, which we attribute to an optically thick dust shell before it was disrupted by the shockwave. We infer that the breakout and perhaps the distribution of the surrounding dust were not spherically symmetric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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