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    We present multi-epoch spectropolarimetry of Type IIn supernova SN2017hcc, 16–391 d after explosion. Continuum polarization up to 6 per cent is observed during the first epoch, making SN 2017hcc the most intrinsically polarized SN ever reported at visible wavelengths. During the first 29 d, when the polarization is strongest, the continuum polarization exhibits wavelength dependence that rises toward the blue, then becomes wavelength independent by day 45. The polarization drops rapidly during the first month, even as the flux is still climbing to peak brightness. None the less, unusually high polarization is maintained until day 68, at which point the polarization declines to levels comparable to those of previous well-studied SNe IIn. Only minor changes in position angle (PA) are measured throughout the evolution. The blue slope of the polarized continuum and polarized line emission during the first month suggests that an aspherical distribution of dust grains in pre-shock circumstellar material (CSM) is echoing the SN IIn spectrum and strongly influencing the polarization, while the subsequent decline during the wavelength-independent phase appears consistent with electron scattering near the SN/CSM interface. The persistence of the PA between these two phases suggests that the pre-existing CSM responsible for the dust scattering at early times is part of the same geometric structure as the electron-scattering region that dominates the polarization at later times. SN 2017hcc appears to be yet another, but more extreme, case of aspherical yet well-ordered CSM in Type IIn SNe, possibly resulting from pre-SN mass-loss shaped by a binary progenitor system.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024
  3. Abstract

    We present six epochs of optical spectropolarimetry of the Type II supernova (SN) 2023ixf ranging from ∼2 to 15 days after the explosion. Polarimetry was obtained with the Kast double spectrograph on the Shane 3 m telescope at Lick Observatory, representing the earliest such observations ever captured for an SN. We observe a high continuum polarizationpcont≈ 1% on days +1.4 and +2.5 before dropping to 0.5% on day +3.5, persisting at that level up to day +14.5. Remarkably, this change coincides temporally with the disappearance of highly ionized “flash” features. The decrease of the continuum polarization is accompanied by a ∼70° rotation of the polarization position angle (PA) as seen across the continuum. The early evolution of the polarization may indicate different geometric configurations of the electron-scattering atmosphere as seen before and after the disappearance of the emission lines associated with highly ionized species (e.g., Heii, Civ, and Niii), which are likely produced by elevated mass loss shortly prior to the SN explosion. We interpret the rapid change of polarization and PA from days +2.5 to +4.5 as the time when the SN ejecta emerge from the dense asymmetric circumstellar material (CSM). The temporal evolution of the continuum polarization and the PA is consistent with an aspherical SN explosion that exhibits a distinct geometry compared to the CSM. The rapid follow-up spectropolarimetry of SN 2023ixf during the shock ionization phase reveals an exceptionally asymmetric mass-loss process leading up to the explosion.

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    We report on analysis using the JWST to identify a candidate progenitor star of the Type II-plateau (II-P) supernova SN 2022acko in the nearby, barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. To our knowledge, our discovery represents the first time JWST has been used to localize a progenitor system in pre-explosion archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images. We astrometrically registered a JWST NIRCam image from 2023 January, in which the SN was serendipitously captured, to pre-SN HST F160W and F814W images from 2017 and 2004, respectively. An object corresponding precisely to the SN position has been isolated with reasonable confidence. That object has a spectral energy distribution (SED) and overall luminosity consistent with a single-star model having an initial mass possibly somewhat less than the canonical 8 M⊙ theoretical threshold for core collapse (although masses as high as 9 M⊙ for the star are also possible); however, the star’s SED and luminosity are inconsistent with that of a super-asymptotic giant branch star that might be a forerunner of an electron-capture SN. The properties of the progenitor alone imply that SN 2022acko is a relatively normal SN II-P, albeit most likely a low-luminosity one. The progenitor candidate should be confirmed with follow-up HST imaging at late times, when the SN has sufficiently faded. This potential use of JWST opens a new era of identifying SN progenitor candidates at high spatial resolution.

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  5. 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
  6. Abstract We report spectropolarimetric observations of the Type Ia supernova (SN) SN 2021rhu at four epochs: −7, +0, +36, and +79 days relative to its B -band maximum luminosity. A wavelength-dependent continuum polarization peaking at 3890 ± 93 Å and reaching a level of p max = 1.78 % ± 0.02 % was found. The peak of the polarization curve is bluer than is typical in the Milky Way, indicating a larger proportion of small dust grains along the sight line to the SN. After removing the interstellar polarization, we found a pronounced increase of the polarization in the Ca ii near-infrared triplet, from ∼0.3% at day −7 to ∼2.5% at day +79. No temporal evolution in high-resolution flux spectra across the Na i D and Ca ii H and K features was seen from days +39 to +74, indicating that the late-time increase in polarization is intrinsic to the SN as opposed to being caused by scattering of SN photons in circumstellar or interstellar matter. We suggest that an explanation for the late-time rise of the Ca ii near-infrared triplet polarization may be the alignment of calcium atoms in a weak magnetic field through optical excitation/pumping by anisotropic radiation from the SN. 
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  7. 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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  8. ABSTRACT Detailed spectropolarimetric studies may hold the key to probing the explosion mechanisms and the progenitor scenarios of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). We present multi-epoch spectropolarimetry and imaging polarimetry of SN 2019ein, an SN Ia showing high expansion velocities at early phases. The spectropolarimetry sequence spans from ∼−11 to +10 d relative to peak brightness in the B band. We find that the level of the continuum polarization of SN 2019ein, after subtracting estimated interstellar polarization, is in the range 0.0–0.3 per cent, typical for SNe Ia. The polarization position angle remains roughly constant before and after the SN light-curve peak, implying that the inner regions share the same axisymmetry as the outer layers. We observe high polarization (∼1 per cent) across both the Si ii λ6355 and Ca ii near-infrared triplet features. These two lines also display complex polarization modulations. The spectropolarimetric properties of SN 2019ein rule out a significant departure from spherical symmetry of the ejecta for up to a month after the explosion. These observations disfavour merger-induced and double-detonation models for SN 2019ein. The imaging polarimetry shows weak evidence for a modest increase in polarization after ∼20 d since the B-band maximum. If this rise is real and is observed in other SNe Ia at similar phases, we may have seen, for the first time, an aspherical interior similar to what has been previously observed for SNe IIP. Future polarization observations of SNe Ia extending to post-peak epochs will help to examine the inner structure of the explosion. 
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  9. Abstract

    Using data from the Complete Nearby (redshiftzhost< 0.02) sample of Type Ia Supernovae (CNIa0.02), we find a linear relation between two parameters derived from theBVcolor curves of Type Ia supernovae: thecolor stretchsBVand the rising color slopes0*(BV)after the peak, and this relation applies to the full range ofsBV. ThesBVparameter is known to be tightly correlated with the peak luminosity, especially forfast decliners(dim Type Ia supernovae), and the luminosity correlation withsBVis markedly better than with the classic light-curve width parameters such as Δm15(B). Thus, our new linear relation can be used to infer peak luminosity froms0*. UnlikesBV(or Δm15(B)), the measurement ofs0*(BV)does not rely on a well-determined time of light-curve peak or color maximum, making it less demanding on the light-curve coverage than past approaches.

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  10. Abstract

    We combine our dynamical modeling black-hole mass measurements from the Lick AGN Monitoring Project 2016 sample with measured cross-correlation time lags and line widths to recover individual scale factors,f, used in traditional reverberation-mapping analyses. We extend our sample by including prior results from Code for AGN Reverberation and Modeling of Emission Lines (caramel) studies that have utilized our methods. Aiming to improve the precision of black-hole mass estimates, as well as uncover any regularities in the behavior of the broad-line region (BLR), we search for correlations betweenfand other AGN/BLR parameters. We find (i) evidence for a correlation between the virial coefficientlog10(fmean,σ)and black-hole mass, (ii) marginal evidence for a similar correlation betweenlog10(frms,σ)and black-hole mass, (iii) marginal evidence for an anticorrelation of BLR disk thickness withlog10(fmean,FWHM)andlog10(frms,FWHM), and (iv) marginal evidence for an anticorrelation of inclination angle withlog10(fmean,FWHM),log10(frms,σ), andlog10(fmean,σ). Last, we find marginal evidence for a correlation between line-profile shape, when using the root-mean-square spectrum,log10(FWHM/σ)rms, and the virial coefficient,log10(frms,σ), and investigate how BLR properties might be related to line-profile shape usingcaramelmodels.

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