Why are we missing the majority of supernovae?

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Offline thedoc

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Why are we missing the majority of supernovae?
« on: 18/09/2012 16:20:26 »
A paper published this week in the Astrophysical Journal suggests that up to 90% of supernova explosions go unseen by the surveys designed to look for them.

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« Last Edit: 18/09/2012 16:20:26 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why are we missing the majority of supernovae?
« Reply #1 on: 17/09/2012 09:50:30 »
Isn't part of the problem that if a supernova is not visible to the naked eye, then it would need some kind of magnification to view it.  In the case of some of the most distant supernovae, the individual stars might not have been visible before the supernova.

Anyway, one would essentially need a telescope that had high magnification in all directions of a sphere (except towards our own sun).  And, be able to do rapid calculations of light intensity changes.

Perhaps with higher resolution CCD's, and new space based telescopes would be better at detecting them. 

For supernovae occurring in the Milky Way, if we can see light through the "dust", then we should be able to see the supernova.  Of course, some of the stars in the central bulge, and behind the bulge are somewhat indistinct.

I would think that UV, X-Ray, and Gamma emissions would penetrate dust well, and might be more characteristic of a supernova, but perhaps also more difficult to focus.