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  1. Abstract

    Electromagnetic follow-up of gravitational-wave detections is very resource intensive, taking up hours of limited observation time on dozens of telescopes. Creating more efficient schedules for follow-up will lead to a commensurate increase in counterpart location efficiency without using more telescope time. Widely used in operations research and telescope scheduling, mixed-integer linear programming is a strong candidate to produce these higher-efficiency schedules, as it can make use of powerful commercial solvers that find globally optimal solutions to provided problems. We detail a new target-of-opportunity scheduling algorithm designed with Zwicky Transient Facility in mind that uses mixed-integer linear programming. We compare its performance togwemopt, the tuned heuristic scheduler used by the Zwicky Transient Facility and other facilities during the third LIGO–Virgo gravitational-wave observing run. This new algorithm uses variable-length observing blocks to enforce cadence requirements and to ensure field observability, along with having a secondary optimization step to minimize slew time. We show that by employing a hybrid method utilizing both this scheduler andgwemopt, the previous scheduler used, in concert, we can achieve an average improvement in detection efficiency of 3%–11% overgwemoptalone for a simulated binary neutron star merger data set consistent with LIGO–Virgo’s third observing run, highlighting the potential of mixed-integer target of opportunity schedulers for future multimessenger follow-up surveys.

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  2. Abstract The detonation of a thin (≲0.03 M ⊙ ) helium shell (He-shell) atop a ∼1 M ⊙ white dwarf (WD) is a promising mechanism to explain normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), while thicker He-shells and less massive WDs may explain some recently observed peculiar SNe Ia. We present observations of SN 2020jgb, a peculiar SN Ia discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Near maximum brightness, SN 2020jgb is slightly subluminous (ZTF g -band absolute magnitude −18.7 mag ≲ M g ≲ −18.2 mag depending on the amount of host-galaxy extinction) and shows an unusually red color (0.2 mag ≲ g ZTF − r ZTF ≲ 0.4 mag) due to strong line-blanketing blueward of ∼5000 Å. These properties resemble those of SN 2018byg, a peculiar SN Ia consistent with an He-shell double detonation (DDet) SN. Using detailed radiative transfer models, we show that the optical spectroscopic and photometric evolution of SN 2020jgb is broadly consistent with a ∼0.95–1.00 M ⊙ (C/O core + He-shell) progenitor ignited by a ≳0.1 M ⊙ He-shell. However, one-dimensional radiative transfer models without non-local-thermodynamic-equilibrium treatment cannot accurately characterize the line-blanketing features, making the actual shell mass uncertain. We detect a prominent absorption feature at ∼1 μ m in the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum of SN 2020jgb, which might originate from unburnt helium in the outermost ejecta. While the sample size is limited, we find similar 1 μ m features in all the peculiar He-shell DDet candidates with NIR spectra obtained to date. SN 2020jgb is also the first peculiar He-shell DDet SN discovered in a star-forming dwarf galaxy, indisputably showing that He-shell DDet SNe occur in both star-forming and passive galaxies, consistent with the normal SN Ia population. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    We report observations of the optical counterpart of the long gamma-ray burst GRB 221009A. Due to the extreme rarity of being both nearby (z= 0.151) and highly energetic (Eγ,iso≥ 1054erg), GRB 221009A offers a unique opportunity to probe the connection between massive star core collapse and relativistic jet formation across a very broad range ofγ-ray properties. Adopting a phenomenological power-law model for the afterglow and host galaxy estimates from high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope imaging, we use Bayesian model comparison techniques to determine the likelihood of an associated supernova (SN) contributing excess flux to the optical light curve. Though not conclusive, we find moderate evidence (KBayes= 101.2) for the presence of an additional component arising from an associated SN, SN 2022xiw, and find that it must be substantially fainter (<67% as bright at the 99% confidence interval) than SN 1998bw. Given the large and uncertain line-of-sight extinction, we attempt to constrain the SN parameters (MNi,Mej, andEKE) under several different assumptions with respect to the host galaxy’s extinction. We find properties that are broadly consistent with previous GRB-associated SNe:MNi= 0.05–0.25M,Mej= 3.5–11.1M, andEKE= (1.6–5.2) × 1052erg. We note that these properties are weakly constrained due to the faintness of the SN with respect to the afterglow and host emission, but we do find a robust upper limit onMNiofMNi< 0.36M. Given the tremendous range in isotropic gamma-ray energy release exhibited by GRBs (seven orders of magnitude), the SN emission appears to be decoupled from the central engine in these systems.

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  4. Abstract

    Luminous red novae (LRNe) are transients characterized by low luminosities and expansion velocities, and they are associated with mergers or common-envelope ejections in stellar binaries. Intermediate-luminosity red transients (ILRTs) are an observationally similar class with unknown origins, but they are generally believed to be either electron-capture supernovae in super-asymptotic giant branch stars or outbursts in dusty luminous blue variables (LBVs). In this paper, we present a systematic sample of eight LRNe and eight ILRTs detected as part of the Census of the Local Universe (CLU) experiment on the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The CLU experiment spectroscopically classifies ZTF transients associated with nearby (<150 Mpc) galaxies, achieving 80% completeness formr< 20 mag. Using the ZTF-CLU sample, we derive the first systematic LRNe volumetric rate of7.83.7+6.5×105Mpc−3yr−1in the luminosity range −16 ≤Mr≤ −11 mag. We find that, in this luminosity range, the LRN rate scales asdN/dLL2.5±0.3—significantly steeper than the previously derived scaling ofL−1.4±0.3for lower-luminosity LRNe (MV≥ −10 mag). The steeper power law for LRNe at high luminosities is consistent with the massive merger rates predicted by binary population synthesis models. We find that the rates of the brightest LRNe (Mr≤ −13 mag) are consistent with a significant fraction of them being progenitors of double compact objects that merge within a Hubble time. For ILRTs, we derive a volumetric rate of2.61.4+1.8×106Mpc−3yr−1forMr≤ −13.5 mag, which scales asdN/dLL2.5±0.5. This rate is ∼1%–5% of the local core-collapse supernova rate and is consistent with theoretical ECSN rate estimates.

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  5. Abstract

    Searches for electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational-wave signals have redoubled since the first detection in 2017 of a binary neutron star merger with a gamma-ray burst, optical/infrared kilonova, and panchromatic afterglow. Yet, one LIGO/Virgo observing run later, there has not yet been a second, secure identification of an electromagnetic counterpart. This is not surprising given that the localization uncertainties of events in LIGO and Virgo’s third observing run, O3, were much larger than predicted. We explain this by showing that improvements in data analysis that now allow LIGO/Virgo to detect weaker and hence more poorly localized events have increased the overall number of detections, of which well-localized,gold-platedevents make up a smaller proportion overall. We present simulations of the next two LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA observing runs, O4 and O5, that are grounded in the statistics of O3 public alerts. To illustrate the significant impact that the updated predictions can have, we study the follow-up strategy for the Zwicky Transient Facility. Realistic and timely forecasting of gravitational-wave localization accuracy is paramount given the large commitments of telescope time and the need to prioritize which events are followed up. We include a data release of our simulated localizations as a public proposal planning resource for astronomers.

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  6. Abstract

    We present a search for extragalactic fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) during Phase I of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). We identify 38 candidates with durations above half-maximum light 1 day <t1/2< 12 days, of which 28 have blue (gr≲ −0.2 mag) colors at peak light. Of the 38 transients (28 FBOTs), 19 (13) can be spectroscopically classified as core-collapse supernovae (SNe): 11 (8) H- or He-rich (Type II/IIb/Ib) SNe, 6 (4) interacting (Type IIn/Ibn) SNe, and 2 (1) H&He-poor (Type Ic/Ic-BL) SNe. Two FBOTs (published previously) had predominantly featureless spectra and luminous radio emission: AT2018lug (The Koala) and AT2020xnd (The Camel). Seven (five) did not have a definitive classification: AT 2020bdh showed tentative broad Hαin emission, and AT 2020bot showed unidentified broad features and was 10 kpc offset from the center of an early-type galaxy. Ten (eight) have no spectroscopic observations or redshift measurements. We present multiwavelength (radio, millimeter, and/or X-ray) observations for five FBOTs (three Type Ibn, one Type IIn/Ibn, one Type IIb). Additionally, we search radio-survey (VLA and ASKAP) data to set limits on the presence of radio emission for 24 of the transients. All X-ray and radio observations resulted in nondetections; we rule out AT2018cow-like X-ray and radio behavior for five FBOTs and more luminous emission (such as that seen in the Camel) for four additional FBOTs. We conclude that exotic transients similar to AT2018cow, the Koala, and the Camel represent a rare subset of FBOTs and use ZTF’s SN classification experiments to measure the rate to be at most 0.1% of the local core-collapse SN rate.

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  7. Abstract

    SkyPortalis an open-source software package designed to discover interesting transients efficiently, manage follow-up, perform characterization, and visualize the results. By enabling fast access to archival and catalog data, crossmatching heterogeneous data streams, and the triggering and monitoring of on-demand observations for further characterization, aSkyPortal-based platform has been operating at scale for >2 yr for the Zwicky Transient Facility Phase II community, with hundreds of users, containing tens of millions of time-domain sources, interacting with dozens of telescopes, and enabling community reporting. WhileSkyPortalemphasizes rich user experiences across common front-end workflows, recognizing that scientific inquiry is increasingly performed programmatically,SkyPortalalso surfaces an extensive and well-documented application programming interface system. From back-end and front-end software to data science analysis tools and visualization frameworks, theSkyPortaldesign emphasizes the reuse and leveraging of best-in-class approaches, with a strong extensibility ethos. For instance,SkyPortalnow leverages ChatGPT large language models to generate and surface source-level human-readable summaries automatically. With the imminent restart of the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors,SkyPortalnow also includes dedicated multimessenger features addressing the requirements of rapid multimessenger follow-up: multitelescope management, team/group organizing interfaces, and crossmatching of multimessenger data streams with time-domain optical surveys, with interfaces sufficiently intuitive for newcomers to the field. This paper focuses on the detailed implementations, capabilities, and early science results that establishSkyPortalas a community software package ready to take on the data science challenges and opportunities presented by this next chapter in the multimessenger era.

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    The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) performs a systematic neutrino follow-up programme, searching for optical counterparts to high-energy neutrinos with dedicated Target-of-Opportunity (ToO) observations. Since first light in March 2018, ZTF has taken prompt observations for 24 high-quality neutrino alerts from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, with a median latency of 12.2 h from initial neutrino detection. From two of these campaigns, we have already reported tidal disruption event (TDE) AT 2019dsg and likely TDE AT 2019fdr as probable counterparts, suggesting that TDEs contribute >7.8 per cent of the astrophysical neutrino flux. We here present the full results of our programme through to December 2021. No additional candidate neutrino sources were identified by our programme, allowing us to place the first constraints on the underlying optical luminosity function of astrophysical neutrino sources. Transients with optical absolutes magnitudes brighter that −21 can contribute no more than 87 per cent of the total, while transients brighter than −22 can contribute no more than 58 per cent of the total, neglecting the effect of extinction and assuming they follow the star formation rate. These are the first observational constraints on the neutrino emission of bright populations such as superluminous supernovae. None of the neutrinos were coincident with bright optical AGN flares comparable to that observed for TXS 0506+056/IC170922A, with such optical blazar flares producing no more than 26 per cent of the total neutrino flux. We highlight the outlook for electromagnetic neutrino follow-up programmes, including the expected potential for the Rubin Observatory.

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  9. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Joint multimessenger observations with gravitational waves and electromagnetic (EM) data offer new insights into the astrophysical studies of compact objects. The third Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo observing run began on 2019 April 1; during the 11 months of observation, there have been 14 compact binary systems candidates for which at least one component is potentially a neutron star. Although intensive follow-up campaigns involving tens of ground and space-based observatories searched for counterparts, no EM counterpart has been detected. Following on a previous study of the first six months of the campaign, we present in this paper the next five months of the campaign from 2019 October to 2020 March. We highlight two neutron star–black hole candidates (S191205ah and S200105ae), two binary neutron star candidates (S191213g and S200213t), and a binary merger with a possible neutron star and a ‘MassGap’ component, S200115j. Assuming that the gravitational-wave (GW) candidates are of astrophysical origin and their location was covered by optical telescopes, we derive possible constraints on the matter ejected during the events based on the non-detection of counterparts. We find that the follow-up observations during the second half of the third observing run did not meet the necessary sensitivity to constrain the source properties of the potential GW candidate. Consequently, we suggest that different strategies have to be used to allow a better usage of the available telescope time. We examine different choices for follow-up surveys to optimize sky localization coverage versus observational depth to understand the likelihood of counterpart detection. 
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  10. Abstract

    We presentnimbus: a hierarchical Bayesian framework to infer the intrinsic luminosity parameters of kilonovae (KNe) associated with gravitational-wave (GW) events, based purely on nondetections. This framework makes use of GW 3D distance information and electromagnetic upper limits from multiple surveys for multiple events and self-consistently accounts for the finite sky coverage and probability of astrophysical origin. The framework is agnostic to the brightness evolution assumed and can account for multiple electromagnetic passbands simultaneously. Our analyses highlight the importance of accounting for model selection effects, especially in the context of nondetections. We show our methodology using a simple, two-parameter linear brightness model, taking the follow-up of GW190425 with the Zwicky Transient Facility as a single-event test case for two different prior choices of model parameters: (i) uniform/uninformative priors and (ii) astrophysical priors based on surrogate models of Monte Carlo radiative-transfer simulations of KNe. We present results under the assumption that the KN is within the searched region to demonstrate functionality and the importance of prior choice. Our results show consistency withsimsurvey—an astronomical survey simulation tool used previously in the literature to constrain the population of KNe. While our results based on uniform priors strongly constrain the parameter space, those based on astrophysical priors are largely uninformative, highlighting the need for deeper constraints. Future studies with multiple events having electromagnetic follow-up from multiple surveys should make it possible to constrain the KN population further.

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