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Title: Signatures of r-process Enrichment in Supernovae from Collapsars

Despite recent progress, the astrophysical channels responsible for rapid neutron capture (r-process) nucleosynthesis remain an unsettled question. Observations of the kilonova following the gravitational-wave-detected neutron star merger GW170817 established mergers as one site of ther-process, but additional sources may be needed to fully explainr-process enrichment in the universe. One intriguing possibility is that rapidly rotating massive stars undergoing core collapse launchr-process-rich outflows off the accretion disks formed from their infalling matter. In this scenario,r-process winds are one component of the supernova (SN) ejecta produced by “collapsar” explosions. We present the first systematic study of the effects ofr-process enrichment on the emission from collapsar-generated SNe. We semianalytically modelr-process SN emission from explosion out to late times and determine its distinguishing features. The ease with whichr-process SNe can be identified depends on how effectively wind material mixes into the initiallyr-process-free outer layers of the ejecta. In many cases, enrichment produces a near-infrared (NIR) excess that can be detected within ∼75 days of explosion. We also discuss optimal targets and observing strategies for testing ther-process collapsar theory, and find that frequent monitoring of optical and NIR emission from high-velocity SNe in the first few months after explosion offers a reasonable chance of success while respecting finite observing resources. Such early identification ofr-process collapsar candidates also lays the foundation for nebular-phase spectroscopic follow-up in the NIR and mid-infrared, for example, with the James Webb Space Telescope.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Medium: X Size: Article No. L29
["Article No. L29"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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