Ultraviolet light curves of supernovae with the Swift ultraviolet/optical telescope

Peter J. Brown, Stephen T. Holland, Stefan Immler, Peter Milne, Peter W.A. Roming, Neil Gehrels, John Nousek, Nino Panagia, Martin Still, Daniel Vanden Berk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


We present ultraviolet (UV) observations of supernovae (SNe) obtained with the UltraViolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) on board the Swift spacecraft. This is the largest sample of UV light curves from any single instrument and covers all major SN types and most subtypes. The UV light curves of SNe Ia are fairly homogenous, while SNe Ib/c and IIP show more variety in their light-curve shapes. The UV-optical colors clearly differentiate SNe Ia and IIP, particularly at early times. The color evolution of SNe IIP, however, makes their colors similar to SNe Ia at about 20 days after explosion. SNe Ib/c are shown to have varied UV-optical colors. The use of UV colors to help type SNe will be important for high-redshift SNe discovered in optical observations. These data can be added to ground-based optical and near infrared data to create bolometric light curves of individual objects and as checks on generic bolometric corrections used in the absence of UV data. This sample can also be compared with rest-frame UV observations of high-redshift SNe observed at optical wavelengths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4517-4525
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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