Type II supernovae (SNe II) originate from the explosion of hydrogen-rich supergiant massive stars. Their first electromagnetic signature is the shock breakout (SBO), a short-lived phenomenon that can last for hours to days depending on the density at shock emergence. We present 26 rising optical light curves of SN II candidates discovered shortly after explosion by the High Cadence Transient Survey and derive physical parameters based on hydrodynamical models using a Bayesian approach. We observe a steep rise of a few days in 24 out of 26 SN II candidates, indicating the systematic detection of SBOs in a dense circumstellar matter consistent with a mass loss rate of \(\dot M\) > 10−4M yr−1 or a dense atmosphere. This implies that the characteristic hour-timescale signature of stellar envelope SBOs may be rare in nature and could be delayed into longer-lived circumstellar material SBOs in most SNe II.

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We thank L. Dessart, K. Maeda, Ph. Podsiadlowski and K. Pichara for useful discussions. F.F. and T.J.M. thank the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics at Kyoto University, where part of this work was initiated during the YITP-T-16-05 on ‘Transient Universe in the Big Survey Era: Understanding the Nature of Astrophysical Explosive Phenomena’. T.J.M. is supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (16H07413 and 17H02864). The Powered@NLHPC research was partially supported by the supercomputing infrastructure of the NLHPC (ECM-02). Numerical computations were partially carried out on PC cluster at the Center for Computational Astrophysics, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. We acknowledge support from Conicyt through the infrastructure Quimal project (number 140003). F.F., J.S.M., E.V. and S.G.-G. acknowledge support from Conicyt Basal fund AFB170001. F.F., G.C.-V., A.C., P.A.E., M.H., P. Huijse, H.K., J.M., G.M., F.O.E., G.P., A.R. and I.R. acknowledge support from the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism’s Millennium Science Initiative through grant IC120009, awarded to The Millennium Institute of Astrophysics. S.-C.Y. was supported by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute under the research and development programme (project number 3348-20160002) supervised by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and Monash Centre for Astrophysics via the distinguished visitor programme. E.Y.H. and C.A. acknowledge the support provided by the National Science Foundation under grant number AST-1613472 and the Florida Space Grant Consortium. F.F., J.M., G.M. and A.R. acknowledge support from Conicyt through Fondecyt project number 11130228. J.C.M., G.C-V., P.A.E., P. Huijse, H.K., G.P. and F.O.E. acknowledge support from Conicyt through Fondecyt project numbers 11170657, 3160747, 1171678, 3150460, 3140563, 1140352 and 11170953, respectively. G.M. and I.R. acknowledge support from CONICYT-PCHA/Magister Nacional/2016-22162353 and 2016-22162464, respectively. G.G. is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grant number GR 1717/5. S.G.-G. acknowledges support from Comité Mixto ESO Chile project ORP 48/16. F.F., J.C.M., P. Huijse, G.C.-V. and P.A.E. acknowledge support from Conicyt through the Programme of International Cooperation project DPI20140090. L.G. was supported in part by the US National Science Foundation under grant AST-1311862. A.G.-Y. is supported by the EU via ERC grant number 725161, the Quantum Universe I-Core programme, the ISF, the BSF Transformative programme and a Kimmel award. M.F. is supported by the Royal Society–Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship (reference 15/RS-URF/3304). S.B. acknowledges funding from project RSCF 18-12-00522. This study was based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programmes 292.D-5042(A) and 094.D-0358(A). This work is partly based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile as part of the PESSTO ESO programmes 188.D-3003, 191.D-0935 and 197.D-1075. It is partly based on observations obtained with the Gran Telescopio Canarias telescope. This project used data obtained with DECam, which was constructed by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration. Funding for the DES projects was provided by the US Department of Energy, US National Science Foundation, Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, Higher Education Funding Council for England, National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics at The Ohio State University, Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Collaborating Institutions in the DES. The Collaborating Institutions are Argonne National Laboratory, the University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Cambridge, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas–Madrid, University of Chicago, University College London, DES–Brazil Consortium, University of Edinburgh, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Institut de Física d’Altes Energies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Ludwig–Maximilians Universität München and the associated Excellence Cluster Universe, University of Michigan, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, University of Nottingham, Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Portsmouth, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, University of Sussex and Texas A&M University.

Author information


  1. Center for Mathematical Modeling, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

    • F. Förster
    • , J. C. Maureira
    • , S. González-Gaitán
    • , J. Martínez
    • , J. San Martín
    •  & E. Vera
  2. Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, Santiago, Chile

    • F. Förster
    • , G. Cabrera-Vives
    • , A. Clocchiatti
    • , P. A. Estévez
    • , M. Hamuy
    • , P. Huijse
    • , J. Martínez
    • , F. Olivares E.
    • , G. Pignata
    •  & I. Reyes
  3. Department of Astronomy, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

    • F. Förster
    • , M. Hamuy
    • , J. Martínez
    • , G. Medina
    • , F. Olivares E.
    •  & A. Razza
  4. Division of Theoretical Astronomy, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Tokyo, Japan

    • T. J. Moriya
  5. European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile

    • J. P. Anderson
    •  & A. Razza
  6. Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

    • S. Blinnikov
  7. Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Moscow, Russia

    • S. Blinnikov
  8. All-Russia Research Institute of Automatics, Moscow, Russia

    • S. Blinnikov
  9. INAF Catania Astrophysical Observatory, Catania, Italy

    • F. Bufano
  10. Department of Computer Science, University of Concepción, Concepción, Chile

    • G. Cabrera-Vives
  11. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

    • A. Clocchiatti
  12. Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, USA

    • T. de Jaeger
  13. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

    • P. A. Estévez
    • , P. Huentelemu
    • , P. Huijse
    •  & I. Reyes
  14. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

    • L. Galbany
  15. CENTRA, Instituto Técnico Superior, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

    • S. González-Gaitán
  16. Argelander-Institut fur Astronomie, Bonn, Germany

    • G. Gräfener
  17. Department of Physics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA

    • E. Y. Hsiao
  18. Instituto de Informática, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile

    • P. Huijse
  19. Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

    • H. Kuncarayakti
  20. Tuorla Observatory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

    • H. Kuncarayakti
  21. Departamento de Ciencias Fisicas, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile

    • G. Pignata
  22. Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, La Serena, Chile

    • R. C. Smith
    •  & A. K. Vivas
  23. CSIC Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Granada, Spain

    • A. de Ugarte Postigo
  24. Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Borh Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

    • A. de Ugarte Postigo
  25. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

    • S.-C. Yoon
  26. Monash Centre for Astrophysics, School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

    • S.-C. Yoon
  27. Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

    • C. Ashall
    •  & P. A. Mazzali
  28. School of Physics, O’Brien Centre for Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

    • M. Fraser
  29. Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

    • A. Gal-Yam
  30. Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK

    • E. Kankare
    •  & D. R. Young
  31. Sorbonne Université, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS, IN2P3, UMR 7585, LPNHE, Paris, France

    • L. Le Guillou
  32. Max-Planck-Institut fur Astrophysik, Garching bei Munchen, Germany

    • P. A. Mazzali
  33. Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

    • N. A. Walton


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F.F. computed the SN light curves based on DECam data and performed the analyses, including writing the analysis software. T.J.M. computed the grid of SN models. F.F. and J.C.M. wrote the SN discovery pipeline. J.P.A., F.B., A.C., Th.d.J., L.G., S.G.-G., E.Y.H., H.K., J.M., G.M., F.O.E., G.P., R.C.S. and A.K.V. helped with photometric and spectroscopic observations under the HiTS programme. T.J.M., S.B., G.G. and S.-C.Y. computed the progenitor models. A.R. computed the light curve observations made with the du Pont telescope. G.C.-V., P.A.E., P.Huentelemu, P.Huijse, I.R. and J.S.M. helped develop the SN detection algorithms, including image processing, statistical methods and machine learning. R.C.S. and E.V. coordinated the fast data access required to achieve the real-time analysis and fast spectroscopic classifications. C.A., M.F., A.G.-Y., E.K., L.L.G., P.A.M., N.A.W. and D.R.Y. contributed to the PESSTO observations. A.d.U.P. contributed spectroscopic observations using the Gran Telescopio Canarias telescope. All co-authors contributed comments.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to F. Förster.

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  1. Supplementary Information

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