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  1. ABSTRACT

    The abundance distribution in the ejecta of the peculiar slowly declining Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) SN 1999aa is obtained by modelling a time series of optical spectra. Similar to SN 1991T, SN 1999aa was characterized by early-time spectra dominated by Fe iii features and a weak Si ii 6355 Å line, but it exhibited a high-velocity Ca ii H&K line and morphed into a spectroscopically normal SN Ia earlier. Three explosion models are investigated, yielding comparable fits. The innermost layers are dominated by ∼0.3 M⊙ of neutron-rich stable iron-group elements, mostly stable iron. Above that central region lies a 56Ni-dominated shell, extending to $v \approx 11\, 000$–$12\, 000$ km s−1, with mass ∼0.65 M⊙. These inner layers are therefore similar to those of normal SNe Ia. However, the outer layers exhibit composition peculiarities similar to those of SN 1991T: The intermediate-mass elements shell is very thin, containing only ∼0.2 M⊙, and is sharply separated from an outer oxygen-dominated shell, which includes ∼0.22 M⊙. These results imply that burning suddenly stopped in SN 1999aa. This is a feature SN 1999aa shares with SN 1991T, and explains the peculiarities of both SNe, which are quite similar in nature apart from the different luminosities. The spectroscopic path from normal to SN 1991T-like SNe Ia cannot be explained solely bymore »a temperature sequence. It also involves composition layering differences, suggesting variations in the progenitor density structure or in the explosion parameters.

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  2. Abstract A thermonuclear explosion triggered by a He-shell detonation on a carbon–oxygen white-dwarf core has been predicted to have strong UV line blanketing at early times due to the iron-group elements produced during He-shell burning. We present the photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2016dsg, a subluminous peculiar Type I supernova consistent with a thermonuclear explosion involving a thick He shell. With a redshift of 0.04, the i -band peak absolute magnitude is derived to be around −17.5. The object is located far away from its host, an early-type galaxy, suggesting it originated from an old stellar population. The spectra collected after the peak are unusually red, show strong UV line blanketing and weak O i λ 7773 absorption lines, and do not evolve significantly over 30 days. An absorption line around 9700–10500 Å is detected in the near-infrared spectrum and is likely from the unburnt He in the ejecta. The spectroscopic evolution is consistent with the thermonuclear explosion models for a sub-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf with a thick He shell, while the photometric evolution is not well described by existing models.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 28, 2023
  3. Abstract

    We study the production of very light elements (Z< 20) in the dynamical and spiral-wave wind ejecta of binary neutron star mergers by combining detailed nucleosynthesis calculations with the outcome of numerical relativity merger simulations. All our models are targeted to GW170817 and include neutrino radiation. We explore different finite-temperature, composition-dependent nuclear equations of state, and binary mass ratios, and find that hydrogen and helium are the most abundant light elements. For both elements, the decay of free neutrons is the driving nuclear reaction. In particular, ∼0.5–2 × 10−6Mof hydrogen are produced in the fast expanding tail of the dynamical ejecta, while ∼1.5–11 × 10−6Mof helium are synthesized in the bulk of the dynamical ejecta, usually in association with heavyr-process elements. By computing synthetic spectra, we find that the possibility of detecting hydrogen and helium features in kilonova spectra is very unlikely for fiducial masses and luminosities, even when including nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium effects. The latter could be crucial to observe helium lines a few days after merger for faint kilonovae or for luminous kilonovae ejecting large masses of helium. Finally, we compute the amount of strontium synthesized in the dynamical and spiral-wave wind ejecta, and find that itmore »is consistent with (or even larger than, in the case of a long-lived remnant) the one required to explain early spectral features in the kilonova of GW170817.

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  4. Abstract We present high-cadence optical, ultraviolet (UV), and near-infrared data of the nearby ( D ≈ 23 Mpc) Type II supernova (SN) 2021yja. Many Type II SNe show signs of interaction with circumstellar material (CSM) during the first few days after explosion, implying that their red supergiant (RSG) progenitors experience episodic or eruptive mass loss. However, because it is difficult to discover SNe early, the diversity of CSM configurations in RSGs has not been fully mapped. SN 2021yja, first detected within ≈ 5.4 hours of explosion, shows some signatures of CSM interaction (high UV luminosity and radio and x-ray emission) but without the narrow emission lines or early light-curve peak that can accompany CSM. Here we analyze the densely sampled early light curve and spectral series of this nearby SN to infer the properties of its progenitor and CSM. We find that the most likely progenitor was an RSG with an extended envelope, encompassed by low-density CSM. We also present archival Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the host galaxy of SN 2021yja, which allows us to place a stringent upper limit of ≲ 9 M ☉ on the progenitor mass. However, this is in tension with some aspects of themore »SN evolution, which point to a more massive progenitor. Our analysis highlights the need to consider progenitor structure when making inferences about CSM properties, and that a comprehensive view of CSM tracers should be made to give a fuller view of the last years of RSG evolution.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  5. We present a new calibration of the peak absolute magnitude of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) based on the surface brightness fluctuations (SBF) method, aimed at measuring the value of the Hubble constant. We build a sample of calibrating anchors consisting of 24 SNe hosted in galaxies that have SBF distance measurements. Applying a hierarchical Bayesian approach, we calibrate the SN Ia peak luminosity and extend the Hubble diagram into the Hubble flow by using a sample of 96 SNe Ia in the redshift range 0.02 <  z  < 0.075, which was extracted from the Combined Pantheon Sample. We estimate a value of H 0  = 70.50 ± 2.37 (stat.) ± 3.38 (sys.) km s −1 Mpc −1 (i.e., 3.4% stat., 4.8% sys.), which is in agreement with the value obtained using the tip of the red giant branch calibration. It is also consistent, within errors, with the value obtained from SNe Ia calibrated with Cepheids or the value inferred from the analysis of the cosmic microwave background. We find that the SNe Ia distance moduli calibrated with SBF are on average larger by 0.07 mag than those calibrated with Cepheids. Our results point to possible differences among SNe in different types of galaxies, which could originate from differentmore »local environments and/or progenitor properties of SNe Ia. Sampling different host galaxy types, SBF offers a complementary approach to using Cepheids, which is important in addressing possible systematics. As the SBF method has the ability to reach larger distances than Cepheids, the impending entry of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and JWST into operation will increase the number of SNe Ia hosted in galaxies where SBF distances can be measured, making SBF measurements attractive for improving the calibration of SNe Ia, as well as in the estimation of H 0 .« less
  6. ABSTRACT ASASSN-18am/SN 2018gk is a newly discovered member of the rare group of luminous, hydrogen-rich supernovae (SNe) with a peak absolute magnitude of MV ≈ −20 mag that is in between normal core-collapse SNe and superluminous SNe. These SNe show no prominent spectroscopic signatures of ejecta interacting with circumstellar material (CSM), and their powering mechanism is debated. ASASSN-18am declines extremely rapidly for a Type II SN, with a photospheric-phase decline rate of ∼6.0 mag (100 d)−1. Owing to the weakening of H i and the appearance of He i in its later phases, ASASSN-18am is spectroscopically a Type IIb SN with a partially stripped envelope. However, its photometric and spectroscopic evolution shows significant differences from typical SNe IIb. Using a radiative diffusion model, we find that the light curve requires a high synthesized 56Ni mass $M_{\rm Ni} \sim 0.4\, \rm {M_{\odot }}$ and ejecta with high kinetic energy Ekin = (7–10) × 1051 erg. Introducing a magnetar central engine still requires $M_{\rm Ni} \sim 0.3\, \rm {M_{\odot }}$ and Ekin = 3 × 1051 erg. The high 56Ni mass is consistent with strong iron-group nebular lines in its spectra, which are also similar to several SNe Ic-BL with high 56Ni yields. The earliest spectrum shows ‘flash ionization’ features, from which we estimatemore »a mass-loss rate of $\dot{M}\approx 2\times 10^{-4} \, \rm \rm {M_{\odot }}\,yr^{-1}$. This wind density is too low to power the luminous light curve by ejecta–CSM interaction. We measure expansion velocities as high as 17 000 $\rm {\, km\, s^{-1}}$ for Hα, which is remarkably high compared to other SNe II. We estimate an oxygen core mass of 1.8–3.4 M⊙ using the [O i] luminosity measured from a nebular-phase spectrum, implying a progenitor with a zero-age main-sequence mass of 19–26 M⊙.« less