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The Astrophysical Journal


Ground-based optical spectra and Hubble Space Telescope images of 10 core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) obtained several years to decades after outburst are analyzed with the aim of understanding the general properties of their late-time emissions. New observations of SN 1957D, 1970G, 1980K, and 1993J are included as part of the study. Blueshifted line emissions in oxygen and/or hydrogen with conspicuous line substructure are a common and long-lasting phenomenon in the late-time spectra. Followed through multiple epochs, changes in the relative strengths and velocity widths of the emission lines are consistent with expectations for emissions produced by interaction between SN ejecta and the progenitor star's circumstellar material. The most distinct trend is an increase in the strength of [O III]/([O I]+[O II]) with age, and a decline in Hα/([O I]+[O II]) which is broadly consistent with the view that the reverse shock has passed through the H envelope of the ejecta in many of these objects. We also present a spatially integrated spectrum of the young Galactic supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). Similarities observed between the emission line profiles of the ≈330 yr old Cas A remnant and decades old CCSNe suggest that observed emission line asymmetry in evolved CCSN spectra may be associated with dust in the ejecta, and that minor peak substructure typically interpreted as "clumps" or "blobs" of ejecta may instead be linked with large-scale rings of SN debris.