Thanks to the efforts of the aLIGO team, gravitational wave astronomy is a reality. At the same time, neutrino detectors like Hyperkamiokande are becoming much more sensitive.

My question is: what are the prospects for the pseudo-simultaneous detection of gravitational waves and neutrinos from the same supernovae? What sort of stuff could we learn from such an event, both about supernovae and neutrinos? In particular, what are the prospects for estimating the neutrino mass?

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    $\begingroup$ There might be some interesting observations possible, such as (a): does the shape of the gravitational wave pulse tell us anything about the "kick" in asymmetric core collapse, and (b): the pulse presumably doesn't interact with anything as it leaves the core, while some of the neutrinos do, so there may be some interesting properties of the star's structure that can be measured this way. (Both ideas based on pop science treatments so treat with caution. And of course I am assuming measurements will be possible at high enough sensitivity.) $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Oct 3, 2016 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Andy Point (a) is especially true. We'd never measure gravitational waves from a purely spherical explosion given that you need a quadrupole moment to produce the waves. As such, any wave detection that did occur would necessarily indicate the supernova was asymmetrical to some degree. With sufficient modeling, one could possibly work out just how the explosion must have happened to produce the wave observed. $\endgroup$
    – zephyr
    Oct 3, 2016 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ @zephyr AFAIK GWs are expected from supernovae as the explosion is expected to be asymmetric. In terms of detection sensitivity, the merging black holes were >1 billion light years away. I was thinking more in terms of a supernova in M31, which might be expected in the next ~20-30 years. But if you write an answer which shows my optimism is misplaced, I guess I'd upvote it. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Oct 3, 2016 at 14:03
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    $\begingroup$ @RobJeffries Actually only 24 neutrinos were detected from 3 neutrino observatories around the world combined, Kamiokande 2 only detected 11, but your right, SN 1987A is the only recorded supernova to have observed neutrinos associated with it. $\endgroup$
    – Dean
    Oct 4, 2016 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ The cause for pessimism of GW detection of supernovae is that if the supernova is 1000 times closer than the black hole mergers, the GW amplitude is up by 1000, which sounds pretty good, but there's an efficiency problem. In the case of BH merger, GW generation is an important energy pathway, it allows the orbits to decay. When it was thought there might be a gamma ray detection with the BH merger, models were created that could put some small energy into light, but even so very little energy goes into anything other than GWs. Not so for supernova-- they put a lot of energy in neutrinos. $\endgroup$
    – Ken G
    Oct 4, 2016 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


This article basically seems to answer the question. They quote from an earlier study:

"Although no CCSNe have currently been detected by gravitational-wave detectors, previous studies indicate that an advanced detector network may be sensitive to these sources out to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). A CCSN would be an ideal multi-messenger source for aLIGO and AdV, as neutrino and electromagnetic counterparts to the signal would be expected. The gravitational waves are emitted from deep inside the core of CCSNe, which may allow astrophysical parameters, such as the equation of state (EOS), to be measured from the reconstruction of the gravitational-wave signal."

Since we know from SN1987A that neutrinos from a supernova can be detected at that range, that seems to be a "yes". The biggest uncertainty seems to be how much gravitational wave energy would be emitted by the supernova, and at what frequencies, which depends on a relatively detailed understanding of exactly how the matter moves around in the explosion, one simulation of which is illustrated in the (rather awesome) video in the article.

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    $\begingroup$ Good article apart from the moronic comments that appear BTL. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Mar 20, 2018 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Rob Jeffries: Good grief yes. Didn't read that far $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2018 at 21:58

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