SUPERNOVAE

The value of supernovae (SNe) has been demonstrated over a wide range of astrophysical interests, ranging from stellar to cosmological scales. Most SNe can be classified as either thermonuclear explosions (SNeIa) or core collapse SNe (SNeCC). SNeIa are believed to be white dwarfs that have exceeded the Chandrasekhar limit. The resulting uniform nature has been the basis for the measurement of cosmological parameters and the discovery of a nonzero cosmological constant (e.g. Riess et al. 1998; Perlmutter et al. 1999). SNeCC are believed to have young massive star progenitors. These stars act as diagnostics for recent star formation (e.g. Cappellaro et al. 1999).


The importance of monitoring NIR SNe within starbursts was originally proposed by van Buren & Norman (1989). Dust obscuration can severly limit the number of supernovae that are observable at optical wavelengths. Furthermore, dust continues to cloud the interpretation of light curves and visible spectra of supernova of all types (Meikle 2000; Wheeler et al. 1998). Infrared observations can substantially mitigate the effects of dust extinction.