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  1. Abstract

    With the upcoming Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), it is expected that only ∼0.1% of all transients will be classified spectroscopically. To conduct studies of rare transients, such as Type I superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), we must instead rely on photometric classification. In this vein, here we carry out a pilot study of SLSNe from the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey (PS1-MDS), classified photometrically with ourSuperRAENNandSuperphotalgorithms. We first construct a subsample of the photometric sample using a list of simple selection metrics designed to minimize contamination and ensure sufficient data quality for modeling. We then fit the multiband light curves with a magnetar spin-down model using the Modular Open-Source Fitter for Transients (MOSFiT). Comparing the magnetar engine and ejecta parameter distributions of the photometric sample to those of the PS1-MDS spectroscopic sample and a larger literature spectroscopic sample, we find that these samples are consistent overall, but that the photometric sample extends to slower spins and lower ejecta masses, which correspond to lower-luminosity events, as expected for photometric selection. While our PS1-MDS photometric sample is still smaller than the overall SLSN spectroscopic sample, our methodology paves the way for an orders-of-magnitude increase in the SLSNmore »sample in the LSST era through photometric selection and study.

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  2. Abstract

    Recent work has revealed that the light curves of hydrogen-poor (Type I) superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), thought to be powered by magnetar central engines, do not always follow the smooth decline predicted by a simple magnetar spin-down model. Here we present the first systematic study of the prevalence and properties of “bumps” in the post-peak light curves of 34 SLSNe. We find that the majority (44%–76%) of events cannot be explained by a smooth magnetar model alone. We do not find any difference in supernova properties between events with and without bumps. By fitting a simple Gaussian model to the light-curve residuals, we characterize each bump with an amplitude, temperature, phase, and duration. We find that most bumps correspond with an increase in the photospheric temperature of the ejecta, although we do not see drastic changes in spectroscopic features during the bump. We also find a moderate correlation (ρ≈ 0.5;p≈ 0.01) between the phase of the bumps and the rise time, implying that such bumps tend to happen at a certain “evolutionary phase,” (3.7 ± 1.4)trise. Most bumps are consistent with having diffused from a central source of variable luminosity, although sources further out in the ejecta are not excluded.more »With this evidence, we explore whether the cause of these bumps is intrinsic to the supernova (e.g., a variable central engine) or extrinsic (e.g., circumstellar interaction). Both cases are plausible, requiring low-level variability in the magnetar input luminosity, small decreases in the ejecta opacity, or a thin circumstellar shell or disk.

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  3. Abstract

    We present the stellar population properties of 69 short gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies, representing the largest uniformly modeled sample to date. Using theProspectorstellar population inference code, we jointly fit photometry and/or spectroscopy of each host galaxy. We find a population median redshift ofz=0.640.32+0.83(68% confidence), including nine photometric redshifts atz≳ 1. We further find a median mass-weighted age oftm=0.80.53+2.71Gyr, stellar mass of log(M*/M) =9.690.65+0.75, star formation rate of SFR =1.441.35+9.37Myr−1, stellar metallicity of log(Z*/Z) =0.380.42+0.44, and dust attenuation ofAV=0.430.36+0.85mag (68% confidence). Overall, the majority of short GRB hosts are star-forming (≈84%), with small fractions that are either transitioning (≈6%) or quiescent (≈10%); however, we observe a much larger fraction (≈40%) of quiescent and transitioning hosts atz≲ 0.25, commensurate with galaxy evolution. We find that short GRB hosts populate the star-forming main sequence of normal field galaxies, but do not include as many high-mass galaxies as the general galaxy population, implying that their binary neutron star (BNS) merger progenitors are dependent on a combination of host star formation and stellar mass. The distribution of ages and redshifts implies a broad delay-time distribution,more »with a fast-merging channel atz> 1 and a decreased neutron star binary formation efficiency from high to low redshifts. If short GRB hosts are representative of BNS merger hosts within the horizon of current gravitational wave detectors, these results can inform future searches for electromagnetic counterparts. All of the data and modeling products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-ray burst Host Traits website.

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  4. ABSTRACT

    Making the most of the rapidly increasing population of gravitational-wave detections of black hole (BH) and neutron star (NS) mergers requires comparing observations with population synthesis predictions. In this work, we investigate the combined impact from the key uncertainties in population synthesis modelling of the isolated binary evolution channel: the physical processes in massive binary-star evolution and the star formation history as a function of metallicity, Z, and redshift z, $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$. Considering these uncertainties, we create 560 different publicly available model realizations and calculate the rate and distribution characteristics of detectable BHBH, BHNS, and NSNS mergers. We find that our stellar evolution and $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$ variations can combined impact the predicted intrinsic and detectable merger rates by factors in the range 102–104. We find that BHBH rates are dominantly impacted by $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$ variations, NSNS rates by stellar evolution variations and BHNS rates by both. We then consider the combined impact from all uncertainties considered in this work on the detectable mass distribution shapes (chirp mass, individual masses, and mass ratio). We find that the BHNS mass distributions are predominantly impacted by massive binary-star evolution changes. For BHBH and NSNS, we find that both uncertainties are important. Wemore »also find that the shape of the delay time and birth metallicity distributions are typically dominated by the choice of $\mathcal {S}(Z,z)$ for BHBH, BHNS, and NSNS. We identify several examples of robust features in the mass distributions predicted by all 560 models, such that we expect more than 95 per cent of BHBH detections to contain a BH $\gtrsim 8\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ and have mass ratios ≲ 4. Our work demonstrates that it is essential to consider a wide range of allowed models to study double compact object merger rates and properties. Conversely, larger observed samples could allow us to decipher currently unconstrained stages of stellar and binary evolution.

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  5. Abstract

    We present the discovery of the first millimeter afterglow of a short-durationγ-ray burst (SGRB) and the first confirmed afterglow of an SGRB localized by the GUANO system on Swift. Our Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) detection of SGRB 211106A establishes an origin in a faint host galaxy detected in Hubble Space Telescope imaging at 0.7 ≲z≲ 1.4. From the lack of a detectable optical afterglow, coupled with the bright millimeter counterpart, we infer a high extinction,AV≳ 2.6 mag along the line of sight, making this one of the most highly dust-extincted SGRBs known to date. The millimeter-band light curve captures the passage of the synchrotron peak from the afterglow forward shock and reveals a jet break attjet=29.24.0+4.5days. For a presumed redshift ofz= 1, we infer an opening angle,θjet= (15.°5 ± 1.°4), and beaming-corrected kinetic energy oflog(EK/erg)=51.8±0.3, making this one of the widest and most energetic SGRB jets known to date. Combining all published millimeter-band upper limits in conjunction with the energetics for a large sample of SGRBs, we find that energetic outflows in high-density environments are more likely to have detectable millimeter counterparts. Concerted afterglow searches with ALMA shouldmore »yield detection fractions of 24%–40% on timescales of ≳2 days at rates of ≈0.8–1.6 per year, outpacing the historical discovery rate of SGRB centimeter-band afterglows.

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  6. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive optical and near-infrared census of the fields of 90 short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) discovered in 2005–2021, constituting all short GRBs for which host galaxy associations are feasible (≈60% of the total Swift short GRB population). We contribute 274 new multi-band imaging observations across 58 distinct GRBs and 26 spectra of their host galaxies. Supplemented by literature and archival survey data, the catalog contains 542 photometric and 42 spectroscopic data sets. The photometric catalog reaches 3σdepths of ≳24–27 mag and ≳23–26 mag for the optical and near-infrared bands, respectively. We identify host galaxies for 84 bursts, in which the most robust associations make up 56% (50/90) of events, while only a small fraction, 6.7%, have inconclusive host associations. Based on new spectroscopy, we determine 18 host spectroscopic redshifts with a range ofz≈ 0.15–1.5 and find that ≈23%–41% of Swift short GRBs originate fromz> 1. We also present the galactocentric offset catalog for 84 short GRBs. Taking into account the large range of individual measurement uncertainties, we find a median of projected offset of ≈7.7 kpc, for which the bursts with the most robust associations have a smaller median of ≈4.8 kpc. Our catalog captures more high-redshiftmore »and low-luminosity hosts, and more highly offset bursts than previously found, thereby diversifying the population of known short GRB hosts and properties. In terms of locations and host luminosities, the populations of short GRBs with and without detectable extended emission are statistically indistinguishable. This suggests that they arise from the same progenitors, or from multiple progenitors, which form and evolve in similar environments. All of the data products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-Ray Burst Host Traits website.

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  7. Abstract We present the complete set of Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 and its optical counterpart AT 2017gfo. Including deep template imaging in F814W, F110W, F140W, and F160W at 3.4 yr post-merger, we reanalyze the full light curve of AT 2017gfo across 12 bands from 5 to 1273 rest-frame days after merger. We obtain four new detections of the short γ -ray burst 170817A afterglow from 109 to 170 rest-frame days post-merger. These detections are consistent with the previously observed β = −0.6 spectral index in the afterglow light curve with no evidence for spectral evolution. We also analyze our limits in the context of kilonova afterglow or IR dust echo emission but find that our limits are not constraining for these models. We use the new data to construct deep optical and IR stacks, reaching limits of M = −6.3 to −4.6 mag, to analyze the local environment around AT 2017gfo and low surface brightness features in its host galaxy NGC 4993. We rule out the presence of any globular cluster at the position of AT 2017gfo to 2.3 × 10 4 L ⊙ , including those with the reddest V − Hmore »colors. Finally, we analyze the substructure of NGC 4993 in deep residual imaging and find shell features that extend up to 71.″8 (14.2 kpc) from NGC 4993. The shells have a cumulative stellar mass of 6.3 × 10 8 M ⊙ , roughly 2% of NGC 4993, and mass-weighted ages of >3 Gyr. We conclude that it was unlikely that the GW170817 progenitor system formed in the galaxy merger.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023