Physical properties of the X-ray-luminous SN 1978K in NGC 1313 from multiwavelength observations

Eric M. Schlegel*, Stuart Ryder, L. Staveley-Smith, R. Petre, E. Colbert, M. Dopita, D. Campbell-Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We update the light curves from the X-ray, optical, and radio bandpasses which we have assembled over the past decade and present two observations in the ultraviolet using the Hubble Space Telescope Faint Object Spectrograph. The HRI X-ray light curve is constant within the errors over the entire observation period. This behavior is confirmed in the ASCA GIS data obtained in 1993 and 1995. In the ultraviolet, we detected Lya, the [Ne IV] 2422/2424 Å doublet, the Mg II doublet at 2800 Å, and a line at approximately 3190 Å that we attribute to He I 3187. Only the Mg II and He I lines are detected at SN 1978K's position. The optical light curve is formally constant within the errors, although a slight upward trend may be present. The radio light curve continues its steep decline. The longer time span of our radio observations compared to previous studies shows that SN 1978K is in the same class of highly X-ray and radio-luminous supernovae as SN 1986J and SN 1988Z. The [Ne iv] emission is spatially distant from the location of SN 1978K and originates in the preshocked matter. The Mg II doublet flux ratio implies the quantity of line optical depth times density of approximately 1014 cm-3 for its emission region. The emission site must lie in the shocked gas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2689-2704
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Supernovae: individual (SN 1978K)


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