Narrow lines in type II supernovae: Probing the circumstellar nebulae of the progenitors

Robert A. Gruendl, You Hua Chu, Schuyler D. Van Dyk, Christopher J. Stockdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have carried out a high-dispersion (R ∼ 30,000) echelle spectroscopic survey of 16 Type II supernovae (SNe) to search for narrow emission lines from circumstellar nebulae ejected by their massive progenitors. Circumstellar nebulae, if detected, provide invaluable opportunities to probe SN progenitors. Of the 16 SNe observed, SN ejecta are clearly detected in four SNe and possibly in another two SNe, interstellar gas is detected in 12 SNe, and circumstellar material is detected only in SN 1978K and SN 1998S. In the case of SN 1978K, we are able to place an upper limit of ∼2.2 pc for the size of the circumstellar ejecta nebula and note that this is more consistent with the typical sizes observed for ejecta nebulae around luminous blue variables, rather than Wolf-Rayet stars. In the case of SN 1998S, our observations of the narrow lines ∼1 yr after the SN explosion show variations compared to early epochs. The nebular lines we observe from SN 1998S either originate from the low-density outer region of a circumstellar nebula or have become dominated by an interstellar component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2847-2856
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5 1757
StatePublished - May 2002


  • Circumstellar matter
  • ISM: bubbles
  • Supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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