If a supernova explosion occurs within a few hundred parsecs from the Earth, a huge number of axions, in addition to neutrinos, may arrive at the Earth. In this paper, we discuss in detail the prospect of detecting those supernova axions by an axion helioscope. With the help of a pre-supernova neutrino alert system, it is possible to point a helioscope at an exploding supernova in advance. The supernova axions can then be detected by a gamma-ray detector installed at the end of the helioscope. We call such a detection system an axion supernova-scope (SNscope). We propose a conceptual design for an axion SNscope, where the gamma-ray detector is installed at the opposite end to the X-ray detector for the solar axion. It still functions as an axion helioscope during the normal operation time, and once a pre-SN neutrino alert is received, the scope is temporarily turned around and targeted to a SN candidate, waiting for the supernova axions. We estimate the sensitivity of supernova axion detection and find that SNscopes based on the next-generation axion helioscopes, such as IAXO, have potential to explore the invisible axions and to test the axion interpretation of stellar cooling anomalies.
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