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Can a closure mass neutrino help solve the supernova shock reheating problem?

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We point out that a vμ or vτ neutrino with a cosmologically significant mass (10-100 eV) and a small mixing (vacuum mixing angle θ > 10-4) with a light ve would result in a matter-enhanced Mikheyev-Smirnov-Wolfenstein resonant transformation between these species in a region above the neutrino sphere but below the stalled shock during the reheating phase of a Type II supernova. The neutrino heating behind the shock is due to charged-current ve and v̄e captures. Since the vμ and vτ have considerably higher average energies than do the ve, neutrino flavor mixing would result in higher effective ve energies behind the shock and a concomitant increase in the heating rate. Our numerical calculations suggest that this effect results in a 60% increase in the supernova explosion energy, possibly helping to solve the energy problem of delayed-mechanism supernova models.

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