Searching for soft relativistic jets in core-collapse supernovae with the IceCube optical follow-up program

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

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Neutrinos, Supernovae: General, Gamma-Ray Burst: General

Scientific paper

Context. Transient neutrino sources such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and supernovae (SNe) are hypothesized to emit bursts of high-energy neutrinos on a time-scale of ≲100 s. While GRB neutrinos would be produced in high relativistic jets, core-collapse SNe might host soft-relativistic jets, which become stalled in the outer layers of the progenitor star leading to an efficient production of high-energy neutrinos. Aims: To increase the sensitivity to these neutrinos and identify their sources, a low-threshold optical follow-up program for neutrino multiplets detected with the IceCube observatory has been implemented. Methods: If a neutrino multiplet, i.e. two or more neutrinos from the same direction within 100 s, is found by IceCube a trigger is sent to the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment, ROTSE. The 4 ROTSE telescopes immediately start an observation program of the corresponding region of the sky in order to detect an optical counterpart to the neutrino events. Results: No statistically significant excess in the rate of neutrino multiplets has been observed and furthermore no coincidence with an optical counterpart was found. Conclusions: The search allows, for the first time, to set stringent limits on current models predicting a high-energy neutrino flux from soft relativistic hadronic jets in core-collapse SNe. We conclude that a sub-population of SNe with typical Lorentz boost factor and jet energy of 10 and 3 × 1051 erg, respectively, does not exceed 4.2% at 90% confidence.

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