We report the discovery of a confirmed supernova (SN) and a supernova candidate in near-infrared images from the ALTAIR/NIRI adaptive optics system on the Gemini-North Telescope and NICMOS on the Hubble Space Telescope. The Gemini images were obtained as part of a near-infrared K-band search for highly obscured SNe in the nuclear regions of luminous infrared galaxies. SN 2008cs, apparent in the Gemini images, is the first SN discovered using laser guide star adaptive optics. It is located at 1500 pc projected distance from the nucleus of the luminous infrared galaxy IRAS 17138-1017. The SN luminosity, JHKcolors, and light curve are consistent with a core-collapse event suffering from a very high host galaxy extinction of 15.7 ± 0.8 mag in the V-band, which is to our knowledge the highest yet measured for a SN. The core-collapse nature of SN 2008cs is confirmed by its radio detection at 22.4 GHz using our Very Large Array observations 28 days after the SN discovery, indicating a prominent interaction of the SN ejecta with the circumstellar medium. An unconfirmed SN apparent in the NICMOS images from 2004 is located in the same galaxy at 660 pc projected distance from the nucleus and has a lower extinction.
- Galaxies: Individual (IRAS 17138-1017)
- Galaxies: Starburst
- Infrared: Galaxies
- Instrumentation: Adaptive optics
- Supernovae: Individual (SN 2008cs) Online material: Color figures