Feb 18 – 26, 2021
Europe/Rome timezone

The day before Betelgeuse dies: identifying a near-earth pre-supernova star from its neutrinos

Feb 25, 2021, 6:10 PM
Room 3 (https://unipd.link/NeuTel-ParallelRoom3)

Room 3


Parallel Contributed Talk Neutrino Telescopes and Multimessenger Multimessenger Investigations


Mainak Mukhopadhyay (Arizona State University)


I discuss the potential of current and future liquid scintillator neutrino detectors of $\mathcal O (10)$ kt mass to localize a presupernova neutrino signal in the sky. In the hours preceding the core collapse of a nearby star (at distance $D$ less than 1 kpc), tens to hundreds of inverse beta decay events will be recorded, and their reconstructed topology in the detector can be used to estimate the direction to the star. Although the directionality of inverse beta decay is weak ($\sim$ 8% forward-backward asymmetry for currently available liquid scintillators), we find that for a fiducial signal of $200$ events (which is realistic for Betelgeuse), a positional error of $\sim$ 60$^\circ$ can be achieved, resulting in the possibility to narrow the list of potential stellar candidates to less than ten, typically. For a configuration with improved forward-backward asymmetry ($\sim$ 40%, as expected for a lithium-loaded liquid scintillator), the angular sensitivity improves to $\sim$ 15$^\circ$, and -- when a distance upper limit is obtained from the overall event rate -- it is in principle possible to uniquely identify the progenitor star. Any localization information accompanying an early supernova alert will be useful to multi-messenger observations, dark matter detection experiments and to particle physics tests using collapsing stars.

Primary author

Mainak Mukhopadhyay (Arizona State University)


Cecilia Lunardini Prof. F.X. Timmes (Arizona State University) Prof. Kai Zuber (Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics)

Presentation materials