skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Chomiuk, Laura"

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.


    We present radio observations of the symbiotic recurrent nova V3890 Sagitarii following the 2019 August eruption obtained with the MeerKAT radio telescope at 1.28 GHz and Karl G. Janksy Very Large Array (VLA) at 1.26−35 GHz. The radio light curves span from day 1 to 540 days after eruption and are dominated by synchrotron emission produced by the expanding nova ejecta interacting with the dense wind from an evolved companion in the binary system. The radio emission is detected early on (day 6) and increases rapidly to a peak on day 15. The radio luminosity increases due to a decrease in the opacity of the circumstellar material in front of the shocked material and fades as the density of the surrounding medium decreases and the velocity of the shock decelerates. Modelling the light curve provides an estimated mass-loss rate of ${\overset{\hbox{$\bullet $}}{M}}_{\textrm {wind}} \approx 10^{-8}\, {\textrm {M}}_\odot ~{\textrm {yr}}^{-1}$ from the red giant star and ejecta mass in the range of Mej = 10−5––10−6 M⊙ from the surface of the white dwarf. V3890 Sgr likely hosts a massive white dwarf similar to other symbiotic recurrent novae, thus considered a candidate for supernovae type Ia (SNe Ia) progenitor. However, its radio flux densities compared to upper limits for SNe Ia have ruled it out as a progenitor for SN 2011fe like supernovae.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    In 2021 August, the Fermi Large Area Telescope, H.E.S.S., and MAGIC detected GeV and TeVγ-ray emission from an outburst of recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi. This detection represents the first very high-energyγ-rays observed from a nova, and it opens a new window to study particle acceleration. Both H.E.S.S. and MAGIC described the observedγ-rays as arising from a single, external shock. In this paper, we perform detailed, multi-zone modeling of RS Ophiuchi’s 2021 outburst, including a self-consistent prescription for particle acceleration and magnetic field amplification. We demonstrate that, contrary to previous work, a single shock cannot simultaneously explain RS Ophiuchi’s GeV and TeV emission, in particular the spectral shape and distinct light-curve peaks. Instead, we put forward a model involving multiple shocks that reproduces the observedγ-ray spectrum and temporal evolution. The simultaneous appearance of multiple distinct velocity components in the nova optical spectrum over the first several days of the outburst supports the presence of distinct shocks, which may arise either from the strong latitudinal dependence of the density of the external circumbinary medium (e.g., in the binary equatorial plane versus the poles) or due to internal collisions within the white dwarf ejecta (which power theγ-ray emission in classical novae).

    more » « less
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024
  4. Abstract We present the discovery of a new optical/X-ray source likely associated with the Fermi γ -ray source 4FGL J1408.6–2917. Its high-amplitude periodic optical variability, large spectroscopic radial-velocity semiamplitude, evidence for optical emission lines and flaring, and X-ray properties together imply the source is probably a new black widow millisecond pulsar binary. We compile the properties of the 41 confirmed and suspected field black widows, finding a median secondary mass of 0.027 ± 0.003 M ⊙ . Considered jointly with the more massive redback millisecond pulsar binaries, we find that the “spider” companion mass distribution remains strongly bimodal, with essentially zero systems having companion masses of between ∼0.07 and 0.1 M ⊙ . X-ray emission from black widows is typically softer and less luminous than in redbacks, consistent with less efficient particle acceleration in the intrabinary shock in black widows, excepting a few systems that appear to have more efficient “redback-like” shocks. Together black widows and redbacks dominate the census of the fastest spinning field millisecond pulsars in binaries with known companion types, making up ≳80% of systems with P spin < 2 ms. Similar to redbacks, the neutron star masses in black widows appear on average significantly larger than the canonical 1.4 M ⊙ , and many of the highest-mass neutron stars claimed to date are black widows with M NS ≳ 2.1 M ⊙ . Both of these observations are consistent with an evolutionary picture where spider millisecond pulsars emerge from short orbital period progenitors that had a lengthy period of mass transfer initiated while the companion was on the main sequence, leading to fast spins and high masses. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  5. Abstract

    The conditions under which accreting neutron stars launch radio-emitting jets and/or outflows are still poorly understood. The ultracompact X-ray binary X1850–087, located in the globular cluster NGC 6712, is a persistent atoll-type X-ray source that has previously shown unusual radio-continuum variability. Here we present the results of a pilot radio-monitoring program of X1850–087 undertaken with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, with simultaneous or quasi-simultaneous Swift/XRT data obtained at each epoch. The binary is clearly detected in the radio in two of the six new epochs. When combined with previous data, these results suggest that X1850–087 shows radio emission at a slightly elevated hard-state X-ray luminosity ofLX≳ 2 × 1036erg s−1, but no radio emission in its baseline hard stateLX∼ 1036erg s−1. No clear X-ray spectral changes are associated with this factor of ≳10 radio variability. At all detected epochs, X1850–087 has a flat to inverted radio spectral index, more consistent with the partially absorbed optically thick synchrotron of a compact jet rather than the evolving optically thick to thin emission associated with transient expanding synchrotron-emitting ejecta. If the radio emission in X1850–087 is indeed due to a compact jet, then it is plausibly being launched and quenched in the hard state on timescales as short as a few days. Future radio monitoring of X1850–087 could help elucidate the conditions under which compact jets are produced around hard-state accreting neutron stars.

    more » « less

    Weakly accreting black hole X-ray binaries launch compact radio jets that persist even in the quiescent spectral state, at X-ray luminosities ≲ 10−5 of the Eddington luminosity. However, radio continuum emission has been detected from only a few of these quiescent systems, and little is known about their radio variability. Jet variability can lead to misclassification of accreting compact objects in quiescence, and affects the detectability of black hole X-ray binaries in next-generation radio surveys. Here we present the results of a radio monitoring campaign of A0620 − 00, one of the best-studied and least-luminous known quiescent black hole X-ray binaries. We observed A0620 − 00 at 9.8 GHz using the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array on 31 epochs from 2017 to 2020, detecting the source $\sim 75{{\ \rm per\, cent}}$ of the time. We see significant variability over all time-scales sampled, and the observed flux densities follow a lognormal distribution with μ = 12.5 μJy and σ = 0.22 dex. In no epoch was A0620 − 00 as bright as in 2005 (51 ± 7 μJy), implying either that this original detection was obtained during an unusually bright flare, or that the system is fading in the radio over time. We present tentative evidence that the quiescent radio emission from A0620 − 00 is less variable than that of V404 Cyg, the only other black hole binary with comparable data. Given that V404 Cyg has a jet radio luminosity ∼20 times higher than A0620 − 00, this comparison could suggest that less luminous jets are less variable in quiescence.

    more » « less
  7. Abstract Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are thermonuclear explosions of degenerate white dwarf stars destabilized by mass accretion from a companion star 1 , but the nature of their progenitors remains poorly understood. A way to discriminate between progenitor systems is through radio observations; a non-degenerate companion star is expected to lose material through winds 2 or binary interaction 3 before explosion, and the supernova ejecta crashing into this nearby circumstellar material should result in radio synchrotron emission. However, despite extensive efforts, no type Ia supernova (SN Ia) has ever been detected at radio wavelengths, which suggests a clean environment and a companion star that is itself a degenerate white dwarf star 4,5 . Here we report on the study of SN 2020eyj, a SN Ia showing helium-rich circumstellar material, as demonstrated by its spectral features, infrared emission and, for the first time in a SN Ia to our knowledge, a radio counterpart. On the basis of our modelling, we conclude that the circumstellar material probably originates from a single-degenerate binary system in which a white dwarf accretes material from a helium donor star, an often proposed formation channel for SNe Ia (refs.  6,7 ). We describe how comprehensive radio follow-up of SN 2020eyj-like SNe Ia can improve the constraints on their progenitor systems. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 18, 2024
  8. Abstract Momentum feedback from isolated supernova remnants (SNRs) have been increasingly recognized by modern cosmological simulations as a resolution-independent means to implement the effects of feedback in galaxies, such as turbulence and winds. However, the integrated momentum yield from SNRs is uncertain due to the effects of SN clustering and interstellar medium (ISM) inhomogeneities. In this paper, we use spatially resolved observations of the prominent 10 kpc star-forming ring of M31 to test models of mass-weighted ISM turbulence driven by momentum feedback from isolated, nonoverlapping SNRs. We use a detailed stellar age distribution (SAD) map from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury survey, observationally constrained SN delay-time distributions, and maps of the atomic and molecular hydrogen to estimate the mass-weighted velocity dispersion using the Martizzi et al. ISM turbulence model. Our estimates are within a factor of two of the observed mass-weighted velocity dispersion in most of the ring, but exceed observations at densities ≲0.2 cm −3 and SN rates >2.1 × 10 −4 SN yr −1 kpc −2 , even after accounting for plausible variations in SAD models and ISM scale height assumptions. We conclude that at high SN rates the momentum deposited is most likely suppressed by the nonlinear effects of SN clustering, while at low densities, SNRs reach pressure equilibrium before the cooling phase. These corrections should be introduced in models of momentum-driven feedback and ISM turbulence. 
    more » « less

    The discovery that many classical novae produce detectable GeV γ-ray emission has raised the question of the role of shocks in nova eruptions. Here, we use radio observations of nova V809 Cep (nova Cep 2013) with the Jansky Very Large Array to show that it produced non-thermal emission indicative of particle acceleration in strong shocks for more than a month starting about 6 weeks into the eruption, quasi-simultaneous with the production of dust. Broadly speaking, the radio emission at late times – more than 6 months or so into the eruption – is consistent with thermal emission from $10^{-4}\, {\rm M}_\odot$ of freely expanding, 104 K ejecta. At 4.6 and 7.4 GHz, however, the radio light curves display an initial early-time peak 76 d after the discovery of the eruption in the optical (t0). The brightness temperature at 4.6 GHz on day 76 was greater than 105 K, an order of magnitude above what is expected for thermal emission. We argue that the brightness temperature is the result of synchrotron emission due to internal shocks within the ejecta. The evolution of the radio spectrum was consistent with synchrotron emission that peaked at high frequencies before low frequencies, suggesting that the synchrotron from the shock was initially subject to free–free absorption by optically thick ionized material in front of the shock. Dust formation began around day 37, and we suggest that internal shocks in the ejecta were established prior to dust formation and caused the nucleation of dust.

    more » « less
  10. Abstract We explore the observational appearance of the merger of a low-mass star with a white dwarf (WD) binary companion. We are motivated by recent work finding that multiple tensions between the observed properties of cataclysmic variables (CVs) and standard evolution models are resolved if a large fraction of CV binaries merge as a result of unstable mass transfer. Tidal disruption of the secondary forms a geometrically thick disk around the WD, which subsequently accretes at highly super-Eddington rates. Analytic estimates and numerical hydrodynamical simulations reveal that outflows from the accretion flow unbind a large fraction ≳90% of the secondary at velocities ∼500–1000 km s −1 within days of the merger. Hydrogen recombination in the expanding ejecta powers optical transient emission lasting about a month with a luminosity ≳10 38 erg s −1 , similar to slow classical novae and luminous red novae from ordinary stellar mergers. Over longer timescales the mass accreted by the WD undergoes hydrogen shell burning, inflating the remnant into a giant of luminosity ∼300–5000 L ⊙ , effective temperature T eff ≈ 3000 K, and lifetime ∼10 4 –10 5 yr. We predict that ∼10 3 –10 4 Milky Way giants are CV merger products, potentially distinguishable by atypical surface abundances. We explore whether any Galactic historical slow classical novae are masquerading CV mergers by identifying four such post-nova systems with potential giant counterparts for which a CV merger origin cannot be ruled out. We address whether the historical transient CK Vul and its gaseous/dusty nebula resulted from a CV merger. 
    more » « less