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The Supernova Early Warning System

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Core collapse, neutrinos, galactic supernovae A core collapse in the Milky Way will produce an enormous burst of neutrinos in detectors world-wide. Such a burst has the potential to provide an early warning of a supernova’s appearance. I will describe the nature of the signal, the sensitivity of current detectors, and SNEWS, the SuperNova Early Warning System, a network designed to alert astronomers as soon as possible after the detected neutrino signal. 1 The supernova neutrino signal When a massive star reaches the end of its life, its core collapses. More than 99 % of the binding energy of the resulting neutron star is released in the form of neutrinos and antineutrinos of all flavors, with energies in the tens of MeV range: the energy leaves via neutrinos because neutrinos interact so weakly that they readily leave the star. The neutrinos themselves bring information from deep inside the core; the detection of such a signal will yield great insights into neutrino properties and core collapse physics (e.g. Raffelt 2007). O

Year: 2007
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