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  1. Abstract We present the discovery of a new double-detonation progenitor system consisting of a hot subdwarf B (sdB) binary with a white dwarf companion with a P orb = 76.34179(2) minutes orbital period. Spectroscopic observations are consistent with an sdB star during helium core burning residing on the extreme horizontal branch. Chimera light curves are dominated by ellipsoidal deformation of the sdB star and a weak eclipse of the companion white dwarf. Combining spectroscopic and light curve fits, we find a low-mass sdB star, M sdB = 0.383 ± 0.028 M ⊙ with a massive white dwarf companion, M WDmore »= 0.725 ± 0.026 M ⊙ . From the eclipses we find a blackbody temperature for the white dwarf of 26,800 K resulting in a cooling age of ≈25 Myr whereas our MESA model predicts an sdB age of ≈170 Myr. We conclude that the sdB formed first through stable mass transfer followed by a common envelope which led to the formation of the white dwarf companion ≈25 Myr ago. Using the MESA stellar evolutionary code we find that the sdB star will start mass transfer in ≈6 Myr and in ≈60 Myr the white dwarf will reach a total mass of 0.92 M ⊙ with a thick helium layer of 0.17 M ⊙ . This will lead to a detonation that will likely destroy the white dwarf in a peculiar thermonuclear supernova. PTF1 J2238+7430 is only the second confirmed candidate for a double-detonation thermonuclear supernova. Using both systems we estimate that at least ≈1% of white dwarf thermonuclear supernovae originate from sdB+WD binaries with thick helium layers, consistent with the small number of observed peculiar thermonuclear explosions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 27, 2023
  2. In this work, we aimed to derive the gri-band period-luminosity (PL) and period-luminosity-color (PLC) relations for late-type contact binaries, for the first time, located in the globular clusters, using the homogeneous light curves collected by the Zwicky Transient Factory (ZTF). We started with 79 contact binaries in 15 globular clusters, and retained 30 contact binaries in 10 globular clusters that have adequate number of data points in the ZTF light curves and unaffected by blending. Magnitudes at mean and maximum light of these contact binaries were determined using a fourth-order Fourier expansion, while extinction corrections were done using the {\ttmore »Bayerstar2019} 3D reddening map together with adopting the homogeneous distances to their host globular clusters. After removing early-type and "anomaly" contact binaries, our derived gri-band PL and period-Wesenheit (PW) relations exhibit a much larger dispersion with large errors on the fitted coefficients. Nevertheless, the gr-band PL and PW relations based on this small sample of contact binaries in globular clusters were consistent with those based on a larger sample of nearby contact binaries. Good agreements of the PL and PW relations suggested both samples of contact binaries in the local Solar neighborhood and in the distant globular clusters can be combined and used to derive and calibrate the PL, PW and PLC relations. The final derived gr-band PL, PW and PLC relations were much improved than those based on the limited sample of contact binaries in the globular clusters.« less
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  4. In a search for eclipsing white dwarfs using the Zwicky Transient Facility lightcurves, we identified a deep eclipsing white dwarf with a dark, substellar companion. The lack of an infrared excess and an orbital period of 10 hours made this a potential exoplanet candidate. We obtained high-speed photometry and radial velocity measurements to characterize the system. The white dwarf has a mass of 0.50±0.02M⊙ and a temperature of 10900±200K. The companion has a mass of 0.059±0.004M⊙ and a small radius of 0.0783±0.0013R⊙. It is one of the smallest transiting brown dwarfs known and likely old, ≳8Gyr. The ZTF discovery efficiencymore »of substellar objects transiting white dwarfs is limited by the number of epochs and as ZTF continues to collect data we expect to find more of these systems. This will allow us to measure period and mass distributions and allows us to understand the formation channels of white dwarfs with substellar companions.« less
  5. We present the goals, strategy and first results of the high-cadence Galactic plane survey using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The goal of the survey is to unveil the Galactic population of short-period variable stars, including short period binaries and stellar pulsators with periods less than a few hours. Between June 2018 and January 2019, we observed 64 ZTF fields resulting in 2990 deg2 of high stellar density in ZTF-r band along the Galactic Plane. Each field was observed continuously for 1.5 to 6 hrs with a cadence of 40 sec. Most fields have between 200 and 400 observations obtainedmore »over 2-3 continuous nights. As part of this survey we extract a total of ≈230 million individual objects with at least 80 epochs obtained during the high-cadence Galactic Plane survey reaching an average depth of ZTF-r ≈20.5 mag. For four selected fields with 2 million to 10 million individual objects per field we calculate different variability statistics and find that ≈1-2% of the objects are astrophysically variable over the observed period. We present a progress report on recent discoveries, including a new class of compact pulsators, the first members of a new class of Roche Lobe filling hot subdwarf binaries as well as new ultracompact double white dwarfs and flaring stars. Finally we present a sample of 12 new single-mode hot subdwarf B-star pulsators with pulsation amplitudes between ZTF-r = 20-76 mmag and pulsation periods between P = 5.8-16 min with a strong cluster of systems with periods ≈ 6 min. All of the data have now been released in either ZTF Data Release 3 or data release 4.« less
  6. Abstract Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a ground-based astronomical facility under construction, a joint project of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to conduct a multipurpose 10 yr optical survey of the Southern Hemisphere sky: the Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Significant flexibility in survey strategy remains within the constraints imposed by the core science goals of probing dark energy and dark matter, cataloging the solar system, exploring the transient optical sky, and mapping the Milky Way. The survey’s massive data throughput will be transformational for many other astrophysics domains and Rubin’s data accessmore »policy sets the stage for a huge community of potential users. To ensure that the survey science potential is maximized while serving as broad a community as possible, Rubin Observatory has involved the scientific community at large in the process of setting and refining the details of the observing strategy. The motivation, history, and decision-making process of this strategy optimization are detailed in this paper, giving context to the science-driven proposals and recommendations for the survey strategy included in this Focus Issue.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 22, 2022
  7. Using Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) observations, we identify a pair of "sibling" Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), i.e., hosted by the same galaxy at z = 0.0541. They exploded within 200 days from each other at a separation of 0.6″ corresponding to a projected distance of only 0.6 kpc. Performing SALT2 light curve fits to the gri ZTF photometry, we show that for these equally distant "standardizable candles", there is a difference of 2 magnitudes in their rest frame B-band peaks, and the fainter SN has a significantly red SALT2 colour c=0.57± 0.04, while the stretch values x1 of themore »two SNe are similar, suggesting that the fainter SN is attenuated by dust in the interstellar medium of the host galaxy. We use these measurements to infer the SALT2 colour standardization parameter, β = 3.5 ± 0.3, independent of the underlying cosmology and Malmquist bias. Assuming the colour excess is entirely due to dust, the result differs by 2σ from the average Milky-Way total-to-selective extinction ratio, but is in good agreement with the colour-brightness corrections empirically derived from the most recent SN Ia Hubble-Lemaitre diagram fits. Thus we suggest that SN "siblings", which will increasingly be discovered in the coming years, can be used to probe the validity of the colour and lightcurve shape corrections using in SN Ia cosmology while avoiding important systematic effects in their inference from global multi-parameter fits to inhomogeneous data-sets, and also help constrain the role of interstellar dust in SN Ia cosmology.« less