skip to main content

Title: WFIRST: Enhancing Transient Science and Multi-Messenger Astronomy
Ground-based observatories will discover thousands of transients in the optical, but will not provide the NIR photometry and high-resolution imaging of a space-based observatory. WFIRST can fill this gap. With its SN Ia survey, WFIRST will also discover thousands of other transients in the NIR, revealing the physics for these high-energy events.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
1817099
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10120209
Journal Name:
Baas
ISSN:
2468-1083
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. In order to identify the sources of the observed diffuse high-energy neutrino flux, it is crucial to discover their electromagnetic counterparts. To increase the sensitivity of detecting counterparts of transient or variable sources by telescopes with a limited field of view, IceCube began releasing alerts for single high-energy ( E ν  >  60 TeV) neutrino detections with sky localisation regions of order 1° radius in 2016. We used Pan-STARRS1 to follow-up five of these alerts during 2016–2017 to search for any optical transients that may be related to the neutrinos. Typically 10–20 faint ( m i P1  ≲ 22.5 mag) extragalacticmore »transients are found within the Pan-STARRS1 footprints and are generally consistent with being unrelated field supernovae (SNe) and AGN. We looked for unusual properties of the detected transients, such as temporal coincidence of explosion epoch with the IceCube timestamp, or other peculiar light curve and physical properties. We found only one transient that had properties worthy of a specific follow-up. In the Pan-STARRS1 imaging for IceCube-160427A (probability to be of astrophysical origin of ∼50%), we found a SN PS16cgx, located at 10.0′ from the nominal IceCube direction. Spectroscopic observations of PS16cgx showed that it was an H-poor SN at redshift z  = 0.2895 ± 0.0001. The spectra and light curve resemble some high-energy Type Ic SNe, raising the possibility of a jet driven SN with an explosion epoch temporally coincident with the neutrino detection. However, distinguishing Type Ia and Type Ic SNe at this redshift is notoriously difficult. Based on all available data we conclude that the transient is more likely to be a Type Ia with relatively weak Si  II absorption and a fairly normal rest-frame r -band light curve. If, as predicted, there is no high-energy neutrino emission from Type Ia SNe, then PS16cgx must be a random coincidence, and unrelated to the IceCube-160427A. We find no other plausible optical transient for any of the five IceCube events observed down to a 5 σ limiting magnitude of m i P1  ≈ 22 mag, between 1 day and 25 days after detection.« less
  2. While optical surveys regularly discover slow transients like supernovae on their own, the most common way to discover extragalactic fast transients, fading away in a few nights, is via follow-up observations of gamma-ray burst and gravitational-wave triggers. However, wide-field surveys have the potential to also identify rapidly fading transients independently of such external triggers. The volumetric survey speed of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) makes it sensitive to faint and fast-fading objects as kilonovae, the optical counterparts to binary neutron stars and neutron star-black hole mergers, out to almost 200Mpc. We introduce an open-source software infrastructure, the ZTF REaltime Searchmore »and Triggering, ZTFReST, designed to identify kilonovae and fast optical transients in ZTF data. Using the ZTF alert stream combined with forced photometry, we have implemented automated candidate ranking based on their photometric evolution and fitting to kilonova models. Automated triggering of follow-up systems, such as Las Cumbres Observatory, has also been implemented. In 13 months of science validation, we found several extragalactic fast transients independent of any external trigger (though some counterparts were identified later), including at least one supernova with post-shock cooling emission, two known afterglows with an associated gamma-ray burst, two known afterglows without any known gamma-ray counterpart, and three new fast-declining sources (ZTF20abtxwfx, ZTF20acozryr, and ZTF21aagwbjr) that are likely associated with GRB200817A, GRB201103B, and GRB210204A. However, we have not found any objects which appear to be kilonovae; therefore, we constrain the rate of GW170817-like kilonovae to R<900Gpc−3yr−1. A framework such as ZTFReST could become a prime tool for kilonova and fast transient discovery with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.« less
  3. Motivation The circadian rhythm drives the oscillatory expression of thousands of genes across all tissues. The recent revolution in high-throughput transcriptomics, coupled with the significant implications of the circadian clock for human health, has sparked an interest in circadian profiling studies to discover genes under circadian control. Result We present TimeCycle: a topology-based rhythm detection method designed to identify cycling transcripts. For a given time-series, the method reconstructs the state space using time-delay embedding, a data transformation technique from dynamical systems theory. In the embedded space, Takens’ theorem proves that the dynamics of a rhythmic signal will exhibit circular patterns.more »The degree of circularity of the embedding is calculated as a persistence score using persistent homology, an algebraic method for discerning the topological features of data. By comparing the persistence scores to a bootstrapped null distribution, cycling genes are identified. Results in both synthetic and biological data highlight Time-Cycle’s ability to identify cycling genes across a range of sampling schemes, number of replicates, and missing data. Comparison to competing methods highlights their relative strengths, providing guidance as to the optimal choice of cycling detection method. Availability and Implementation A fully documented open-source R package implementing Time-Cycle is available at: https://nesscoder.github.io/TimeCycle/.« less
  4. Thermonuclear Supernovae (SNe Ia) are one of the building blocks of modern cosmology and laboratories for the explosion physics of White Dwarf star/s (WD) in close binary systems. The second star may be aWD(double degenerate systems, DD), or a non-degenerated star (SD) with a main sequence star, red giant or a helium star as companion (Branch et al. 1995; Nomoto et al. 2003; Wang & Han 2012). Light curves and spectra of the explosion look similar because a ’stellar amnesia’ (H¨oflich et al. 2006). Basic nuclear physics determines the progenitor structure and the explosion physics, breaking the link between progenitormore »evolution, and the explosion, resulting in three main classes of explosion scenarios: a) dynamical merging of two WD and a heating on time scales of seconds (Webbink 1984; Isern et al. 2011), b) surface helium detonations on top of a WD which ignite the central C/O by a detonation wave traveling inwards (Nomoto 1982; Hoeflich & Khokhlov 1996; Kromer et al. 2010); c) compressional heating in an accreting WD approaching the Chandrasekar mass on time of up to 108 years which may originated from SD and DD systems (Whelan & Iben 1973; Piersanti et al. 2003). Simulations of the explosions depend on the inital conditions at the onset of the explosions, namely the mass and angular momentum of the WD(s). For all scenarios, diversity in SNe Ia must be expected because the WD originates from a range of Main Sequence masses (MMS < 8M ) and metallicities Z. Moreover, there is growing evidence that magnetic fields B may have to be added to the ’mix’. Only with recent advances in observations ranging from X-ray to radio, high precision spectroscopy, polarimetry and photometry and in the time-domain astronomy we obtain constraints for progenitor, on the explosion scenarios and links emerge between the progenitors and their environment with LCs and spectral signatures needed for high precision cosmology. It is too early to give final answers but we present our personal view. We will give some examples from the theory point of view and discuss future prospects with upcoming ground based, ELT, GMT and space based such as JWST, Euclide and WFIRST instruments.« less
  5. Many applications in protein engineering require optimizing multiple protein properties simultaneously, such as binding one target but not others or binding a target while maintaining stability. Such multistate design problems require navigating a high-dimensional space to find proteins with desired characteristics. A model that relates protein sequence to functional attributes can guide design to solutions that would be hard to discover via screening. In this work, we measured thousands of protein–peptide binding affinities with the high-throughput interaction assay amped SORTCERY and used the data to parameterize a model of the alpha-helical peptide-binding landscape for three members of the Bcl-2 familymore »of proteins: Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, and Bfl-1. We applied optimization protocols to explore extremes in this landscape to discover peptides with desired interaction profiles. Computational design generated 36 peptides, all of which bound with high affinity and specificity to just one of Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, or Bfl-1, as intended. We designed additional peptides that bound selectively to two out of three of these proteins. The designed peptides were dissimilar to known Bcl-2–binding peptides, and high-resolution crystal structures confirmed that they engaged their targets as expected. Excellent results on this challenging problem demonstrate the power of a landscape modeling approach, and the designed peptides have potential uses as diagnostic tools or cancer therapeutics.

    « less