skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 10:00 PM ET on Friday, December 8 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, December 9 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Chomiuk, L."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are important cosmological tools, probes of binary star evolution, and contributors to cosmic metal enrichment; yet, a definitive understanding of the binary star systems that produce them remains elusive. Of particular interest is the identity of the mass-donor companion to the exploding carbon–oxygen white dwarf (CO WD). In this work, we present early-time (first observation within 10 days post-explosion) radio observations of six nearby (within 40 Mpc) SNe Ia taken by the Jansky Very Large Array, which are used to constrain the presence of synchrotron emission from the interaction between ejecta and circumstellar material (CSM). The two motivations for these early-time observations are: (1) to constrain the presence of low-density winds and (2) to provide an additional avenue of investigation for those SNe Ia observed to have early-time optical/UV excesses that may be due to CSM interaction. We detect no radio emission from any of our targets. Toward our first aim, these non-detections further increase the sample of SNe Ia that rule out winds from symbiotic binaries and strongly accreting white dwarfs. and discuss the dependence on underlying model assumptions and how our observations represent a large increase in the sample of SNe Ia with low-density wind constraints. For the second aim, we present a radiation hydrodynamics simulation to explore radio emission from an SN Ia interacting with a compact shell of CSM, and find that relativistic electrons cannot survive to produce radio emission despite the rapid expansion of the shocked shell after shock breakout. The effects of model assumptions are discussed for both the wind and compact shell conclusions.

    more » « less

    We present early spectral observations of the very slow Galactic nova Gaia22alz, over its gradual rise to peak brightness that lasted 180 d. During the first 50 d, when the nova was only 3–4 mag above its normal brightness, the spectra showed narrow (FWHM ≈ 400 km s−1) emission lines of H Balmer, He i, He ii, and C iv but no P Cygni absorption. A few weeks later, the high-excitation He ii and C iv lines disappeared, and P Cygni profiles of Balmer, He i, and eventually Fe ii lines emerged, yielding a spectrum typical of classical novae before peak. We propose that the early (first 50 d) spectra of Gaia22alz, particularly the emission lines with no P Cygni profiles, are produced in the white dwarf’s optically thin envelope or accretion disc, reprocessing ultraviolet and potentially X-ray emission from the white dwarf after a dramatic increase in the rate of thermonuclear reactions, during a phase known as the ‘early X-ray/UV flash’. If true, this would be one of the rare times that the optical signature of the early X-ray/UV flash has been detected. While this phase might last only a few hours in other novae and thus be easily missed, it was possible to detect in Gaia22alz due to its very slow and gradual rise and thanks to the efficiency of new all-sky surveys in detecting transients on their rise. We also consider alternative scenarios that could explain the early spectral features of Gaia22alz and its gradual rise.

    more » « less

    We use the Very Long Baseline Array to conduct high precision astrometry of a sample of 33 compact, flat spectrum, variable radio sources in the direction of the Galactic plane (Becker et al. 2010). Although Becker et al. (2010) ruled out a few potential scenarios for the origin of the radio emission, the study could not rule out that these sources were black hole X-ray binaries (BHXBs). Most known BHXBs are first detected by X-ray or optical emission when they go into an outburst, leaving the larger quiescent BHXB population undiscovered. In this paper, we attempt to identify any Galactic sources amongst the Becker et al. (2010) sample by measuring their proper motions as a first step to finding quiescent BHXB candidates. Amongst the 33 targets, we could measure the proper motion of six sources. We find that G32.7193-0.6477 is a Galactic source and are able to constrain the parallax of this source with a 3σ significance. We found three strong Galactic candidates, G32.5898-0.4468, G29.1075-0.1546, and G31.1494-0.1727, based purely on their proper motions, and suggest that G29.1075-0.1546 is also likely Galactic. We detected two resolved targets for multiple epochs (G30.1038+0.3984 and G29.7161-0.3178). We find six targets are only detected in one epoch and have an extended structure. We cross-match our VLBA detections with the currently available optical, infrared, and X-ray surveys, and did not find any potential matches. We did not detect 19 targets in any VLBA epochs and suggest that this could be due to limited uv-coverage, drastic radio variability, or faint, extended nature of the sources.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We present the first estimate of the Galactic nova rate based on optical transient surveys covering the entire sky. Using data from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) and Gaia—the only two all-sky surveys to report classical nova candidates—we find 39 confirmed Galactic novae and 7 additional unconfirmed candidates discovered from 2019 to 2021, yielding a nova discovery rate of ≈14 yr−1. Using accurate Galactic stellar mass models and three-dimensional dust maps and incorporating realistic nova light curves, we have built a sophisticated Galactic nova model to estimate the fraction of Galactic novae discovered by these surveys over this time period. The observing capabilities of each survey are distinct: the high cadence of ASAS-SN makes it sensitive to fast novae, while the broad observing filter and high spatial resolution of Gaia make it more sensitive to highly reddened novae across the entire Galactic plane and bulge. Despite these differences, we find that ASAS-SN and Gaia give consistent Galactic nova rates, with a final joint nova rate of 26 ± 5 yr−1. This inferred nova rate is substantially lower than found by many other recent studies. Critically assessing the systematic uncertainties in the Galactic nova rate, we argue that the role of faint, fast-fading novae has likely been overestimated, but that subtle details in the operation of transient alert pipelines can have large, sometimes unappreciated effects on transient recovery efficiency. Our predicted nova rate can be directly tested with forthcoming red/near-infrared transient surveys in the southern hemisphere.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract We present a detailed study of the 2019 outburst of the cataclysmic variable V1047 Cen, which hosted a classical nova eruption in 2005. The peculiar outburst occurred 14 yr after the classical nova event and lasted for more than 400 days, reaching an amplitude of around 6 magnitudes in the optical. Early spectral follow-up revealed what could be a dwarf nova (accretion disk instability) outburst. However, the outburst duration, high-velocity (>2000 km s −1 ) features in the optical line profiles, luminous optical emission, and presence of prominent long-lasting radio emission together suggest a phenomenon more exotic and energetic than a dwarf nova outburst. The outburst amplitude, radiated energy, and spectral evolution are also not consistent with a classical nova eruption. There are similarities between V1047 Cen’s 2019 outburst and those of classical symbiotic stars, but pre-2005 images of the field of V1047 Cen indicate that the system likely hosts a dwarf companion, implying a typical cataclysmic variable system. Based on our multiwavelength observations, we suggest that the outburst may have started with a brightening of the disk due to enhanced mass transfer or disk instability, possibly leading to enhanced nuclear shell burning on the white dwarf, which was already experiencing some level of quasi-steady shell burning. This eventually led to the generation of a wind and/or bipolar, collimated outflows. The 2019 outburst of V1047 Cen appears to be unique, and nothing similar has been observed in a typical cataclysmic variable system before, hinting at a potentially new astrophysical phenomenon. 
    more » « less
  6. Abstract There is a long-standing discrepancy between the observed Galactic classical nova rate of ∼10 yr −1 and the predicted rate from Galactic models of ∼30–50 yr −1 . One explanation for this discrepancy is that many novae are hidden by interstellar extinction, but the degree to which dust can obscure novae is poorly constrained. We use newly available all-sky three-dimensional dust maps to compare the brightness and spatial distribution of known novae to that predicted from relatively simple models in which novae trace Galactic stellar mass. We find that only half (53%) of the novae are expected to be easily detectable ( g ≲ 15) with current all-sky optical surveys such as the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). This fraction is much lower than previously estimated, showing that dust does substantially affect nova detection in the optical. By comparing complementary survey results from the ASAS-SN, OGLE-IV, and Palomar Gattini IR surveys using our modeling, we find a tentative Galactic nova rate of ∼30 yr −1 , though this could be as high as ∼40 yr −1 , depending on the assumed distribution of novae within the Galaxy. These preliminary estimates will be improved in future work through more sophisticated modeling of nova detection in ASAS-SN and other surveys. 
    more » « less

    Classical novae are shock-powered multiwavelength transients triggered by a thermonuclear runaway on an accreting white dwarf. V1674 Her is the fastest nova ever recorded (time to declined by two magnitudes is t2 = 1.1 d) that challenges our understanding of shock formation in novae. We investigate the physical mechanisms behind nova emission from GeV γ-rays to cm-band radio using coordinated Fermi-LAT, NuSTAR, Swift, and VLA observations supported by optical photometry. Fermi-LAT detected short-lived (18 h) 0.1–100 GeV emission from V1674 Her that appeared 6 h after the eruption began; this was at a level of (1.6 ± 0.4) × 10−6 photons cm−2 s−1. Eleven days later, simultaneous NuSTAR and Swift X-ray observations revealed optically thin thermal plasma shock-heated to kTshock = 4 keV. The lack of a detectable 6.7 keV Fe Kα emission suggests super-solar CNO abundances. The radio emission from V1674 Her was consistent with thermal emission at early times and synchrotron at late times. The radio spectrum steeply rising with frequency may be a result of either free-free absorption of synchrotron and thermal emission by unshocked outer regions of the nova shell or the Razin–Tsytovich effect attenuating synchrotron emission in dense plasma. The development of the shock inside the ejecta is unaffected by the extraordinarily rapid evolution and the intermediate polar host of this nova.

    more » « less
  8. null (Ed.)
  9. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present X-ray and radio observations of what may be the closest Type Iax supernova (SN) to date, SN 2014dt (d = 12.3–19.3 Mpc), and provide tight constraints on the radio and X-ray emission. We infer a specific radio luminosity $L_R\lt (1.0\!-\!2.4)\times 10^{25}\, \rm {erg\, s^{-1}\, Hz^{-1}}$ at a frequency of 7.5 GHz and a X-ray luminosity $L_X\lt 1.4\times 10^{38}\, \rm {erg\, s^{-1}}$ (0.3–10 keV) at ∼38–48 d post-explosion. We interpret these limits in the context of Inverse Compton (IC) emission and synchrotron emission from a population of electrons accelerated at the forward shock of the explosion in a power-law distribution $N_e(\gamma _e)\propto \gamma _e^{-p}$ with p = 3. Our analysis constrains the progenitor system mass-loss rate to be $\dot{M}\lt 5.0 \times 10^{-6} \rm {M_{\odot }\, yr^{-1}}$ at distances $r\lesssim 10^{16}\, \rm {cm}$ for an assumed wind velocity $v_w=100\, \rm {km\, s^{-1}}$, and a fraction of post-shock energy into magnetic fields and relativistic electrons of ϵB = 0.01 and ϵe = 0.1, respectively. This result rules out some of the parameter space of symbiotic giant star companions, and it is consistent with the low mass-loss rates expected from He-star companions. Our calculations also show that the improved sensitivity of the next-generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) is needed to probe the very low-density media characteristic of He stars that are the leading model for binary stellar companions of white dwarfs giving origin to Type Iax SNe. 
    more » « less
  10. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT V445 Puppis is the only helium nova observed to date; its eruption in late 2000 showed high velocities up to 8500 km s−1, and a remarkable bipolar morphology cinched by an equatorial dust disc. Here we present multifrequency radio observations of V445 Pup obtained with the Very Large Array (VLA) spanning 1.5–43.3 GHz, and between 2001 January and 2008 March (days ∼89–2700 after eruption). The radio light curve is dominated by synchrotron emission over these 7 yr, and shows four distinct radio flares. Resolved radio images obtained in the VLA’s A configuration show that the synchrotron emission hugs the equatorial disc, and comparisons to near-IR images of the nova clearly demonstrate that it is the densest ejecta – not the fastest ejecta – that are the sites of the synchrotron emission in V445 Pup. The data are consistent with a model where the synchrotron emission is produced by a wind from the white dwarf impacting the dense equatorial disc, resulting in shocks and particle acceleration. The individual synchrotron flares may be associated with density enhancements in the equatorial disc and/or velocity variations in the wind from the white dwarf. This overall scenario is similar to a common picture of shock production in hydrogen-rich classical novae, but V445 Pup is remarkable in that these shocks persist for almost a decade, much longer than the weeks or months for which shocks are typically observed in classical novae. 
    more » « less