In contrast to the rich history of SNR observations through the Einstein era, observations of supernovae were sparse. Einstein's contribution was meager but important: it provided the first detection of a supernova soon after outburst. SN 1980K in the nearby star-forming galaxy NGC 6946 was detected 35 days after outburst but soon faded from view, becoming invisible 47 days after outburst [21]. The only other supernova to be detected in X-rays prior to the ROSAT era was SN 1987A. The mechanism responsible for the early X-ray emission in this object is fundamentally different from that of other X-ray detected SNe as explained later.

Before returning to supernovae, we first discuss the results of recent X-ray observations of supernova remnants.

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