I am part of the Survey Using DECam for Superluminous Supernovae (SUDSS). We are trying to create a large sample of superluminous supernovae for statistics and followup.
I use a technique which filters out all objects but Lyman break galaxies in order to filter my supernova detections to only those in the redshift range from 2-4. These are extremely distant supernovae by the technological standards of today. At this large redshift, theory suggests that we will find an over abundance of the so called pair-instability supernova (PISN). These supernovae need to originate from stars which were very massive and very metal poor. These are precisely the conditions we expect to see at high redshift. The existence of this type of supernova remains in question, however there are candidates that have been observed in archival data. PISNe, if confirmed, would constitute an excellent way to probe the very first population of stars, population III (pop3) stars. While we expect only a fraction of pop3 stars would explode as PISNe, these explosions would be more observable than core collapse supernovae, especially at high redshift, making such explosions most likely the first observable signature of pop3 stars. While it is unlikely that we will be able to observe a convincing example of a pop3 star at a redshift of less than 6, we are quickly approaching that threshold and will need to know what to look for when the time comes.
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