In this work, we present a uniform analysis of the temperature evolution and bolometric luminosity of a sample of 29 Type II supernovae (SNe), by fitting a blackbody model to their multiband photometry. Our sample includes only SNe with high quality multiband data and relatively well-sampled time coverage. Most of the SNe in our sample were detected less than a week after explosion so their light curves cover the evolution both before and after recombination starts playing a role. We use this sample to study the signature of hydrogen recombination, which is expected to appear once the observed temperature drops to ≈7000 K. Theory predicts that before recombination starts affecting the light curve, both the luminosity and the temperature should drop relatively fast, following a power law in time. Once the recombination front reaches inner parts of the outflow, it sets the observed temperature to be nearly constant, and slows the decline of the luminosity (or even leads to a re-brightening). We compare our data to analytic studies and find strong evidence for the signature of recombination. We also find that the onset of the optical plateau in a given filter, is effectively the time at which the blackbody peak reaches the central wavelength of the filter, as it cools, and it does not correspond to the time at which recombination starts affecting the emission.
- Supernovae: general