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  1. Abstract

    AT 2020mot is a typical UV/optical tidal disruption event (TDE) with no radio or X-ray signatures in a quiescent host. We find ani-band excess and rebrightening along the decline of the light curve which could be due to two consecutive dust echoes from the TDE. We model our observations following van Velzen et al. and find that the near-infrared light curve can be explained by concentric rings of thin dust within ∼0.1 pc of a ∼6 × 106Msupermassive black hole (SMBH), among the smallest scales at which dust has been inferred near SMBHs. We find dust covering factors of orderfc≤ 2%, much lower than found for dusty tori of active galactic nuclei. These results highlight the potential of TDEs for uncovering the environments around black holes when including near-infrared observations in high-cadence transient studies.

     
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  2. Abstract

    While the vast majority of tidal disruption events (TDEs) have been identified by wide-field sky surveys in the optical and X-ray bands, recent studies indicate that a considerable fraction of TDEs may be dust obscured and thus preferentially detected in the infrared (IR) wave bands. In this Letter, we present the discovery of a luminous mid-IR nuclear flare (termed WTP14adbjsh), identified in a systematic transient search of archival images from the NEOWISE mid-IR survey. The source reached a peak luminosity ofL≃ 1043erg s−1at 4.6μm in 2015 before fading in the IR with a TDE-likeFt−5/3decline, radiating a total of more than 3 × 1051erg in the last 7 yr. The transient event took place in the nearby galaxy NGC 7392, at a distance of around 42 Mpc; yet, no optical or X-ray flare is detected. We interpret the transient as the nearest TDE candidate detected in the last decade, which was missed at other wavelengths due to dust obscuration, hinting at the existence of TDEs that have been historically overlooked. Unlike most previously detected TDEs, the transient was discovered in a star-forming galaxy, corroborating earlier suggestions that dust obscuration suppresses significantly the detection of TDEs in these environments. Our results demonstrate that the study of IR-detected TDEs is critical in order to obtain a complete understanding of the physics of TDEs and to conclude whether TDEs occur preferentially in a particular class of galaxies.

     
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  3. Abstract

    We present the discovery of the Type II supernova SN 2023ixf in M101 and follow-up photometric and spectroscopic observations, respectively, in the first month and week of its evolution. Our discovery was made within a day of estimated first light, and the following light curve is characterized by a rapid rise (≈5 days) to a luminous peak (MV≈ − 18.2 mag) and plateau (MV≈ − 17.6 mag) extending to 30 days with a fast decline rate of ≈0.03 mag day−1. During the rising phase,UVcolor shows blueward evolution, followed by redward evolution in the plateau phase. Prominent flash features of hydrogen, helium, carbon, and nitrogen dominate the spectra up to ≈5 days after first light, with a transition to a higher ionization state in the first ≈2 days. Both theUVcolor and flash ionization states suggest a rise in the temperature, indicative of a delayed shock breakout inside dense circumstellar material (CSM). From the timescales of CSM interaction, we estimate its compact radial extent of ∼(3–7) × 1014cm. We then construct numerical light-curve models based on both continuous and eruptive mass-loss scenarios shortly before explosion. For the continuous mass-loss scenario, we infer a range of mass-loss history with 0.1–1.0Myr−1in the final 2−1 yr before explosion, with a potentially decreasing mass loss of 0.01–0.1Myr−1in ∼0.7–0.4 yr toward the explosion. For the eruptive mass-loss scenario, we favor eruptions releasing 0.3–1Mof the envelope at about a year before explosion, which result in CSM with mass and extent similar to the continuous scenario. We discuss the implications of the available multiwavelength constraints obtained thus far on the progenitor candidate and SN 2023ixf to our variable CSM models.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    We discuss the central role that dust condensation plays in shaping the observational appearance of outflows from coalescing binary systems. As binaries begin to coalesce, they shock-heat and expel material into their surroundings. Depending on the properties of the merging system, this material can expand to the point where molecules and dust form, dramatically increasing the gas opacity. We use the existing population of luminous red novae to constrain the thermodynamics of these ejecta, then apply our findings to the progressive obscuration of merging systems in the lead up to their coalescence. Compact progenitor stars near the main sequence or in the Hertzsprung gap along with massive progenitor stars have sufficiently hot circumstellar material to remain unobscured by dust. By contrast, more extended, low-mass giants should become completely optically obscured by dust formation in the circumbinary environment. We predict that 30%–50% of stellar-coalescence transients for solar-mass stars will be dusty, infrared-luminous sources. Of these, the optical transients may selectively trace complete merger outcomes while the infrared transients trace common envelope ejection outcomes.

     
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  5. We discuss the central role that dust condensation plays in shaping the observational appearance of outflows from coalescing binary systems. As binaries enter into a common envelope phase or merger, they shock-heat and expel material into their surroundings. Depending on the properties of the merging system, this material can expand to the point where molecules and dust form, dramatically increasing the gas opacity. We use the existing population of Luminous Red Novae (LRNe) to constrain the thermodynamics of these ejecta, then apply our findings to the progressive obscuration of merging systems in the lead in to their coalescence. Compact progenitor stars near the main sequence or in the Hertzsprung gap along with massive progenitor stars have sufficiently hot circumstellar material to remain unobscured by dust. By contrast, more extended, low-mass giants should become completely optically obscured by dust formation in the circumbinary environment. We predict that approximately half of stellar merger and common envelope transients for solar-mass stars will be dusty, infrared-luminous sources. The dusty, infrared transients will selectively trace the population of systems that may successfully eject their common envelopes, while the unobscured, optical transients correspond to the LRNe population of stellar mergers. 
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  6. Abstract

    SN 1987A was an unusual hydrogen-rich core-collapse supernova originating from a blue supergiant star. Similar blue supergiant explosions remain a small family of events, and are broadly characterized by their long rises to peak. The Zwicky Transient Facility Census of the Local Universe (CLU) experiment aims to construct a spectroscopically complete sample of transients occurring in galaxies from the CLU galaxy catalog. We identify 13 long-rising (>40 days) Type II supernovae from the volume-limited CLU experiment during a 3.5 yr period from 2018 June to 2021 December, approximately doubling the previously known number of these events. We present photometric and spectroscopic data of these 13 events, finding peakr-band absolute magnitudes ranging from −15.6 to −17.5 mag and the tentative detection of Baiilines in nine events. Using our CLU sample of events, we derive a long-rising Type II supernova rate of1.370.30+0.26×106Mpc−3yr−1, ≈1.4% of the total core-collapse supernova rate. This is the first volumetric rate of these events estimated from a large, systematic, volume-limited experiment.

     
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  7. Abstract

    The fate of stars in the zero-age main-sequence (ZAMS) range ≈8–12Mis unclear. They could evolve to form white dwarfs or explode as electron-capture supernovae (SNe) or iron core-collapse SNe (CCSNe). Even though the initial mass function indicates that this mass range should account for over 40% of all CCSN progenitors, few have been observationally confirmed, likely due to the faintness and rapid evolution of some of these transients. In this paper, we present a sample of nine Ca-rich/O-poor Type IIb SNe detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility with progenitors likely in this mass range. These sources have a [Caii]λλ7291, 7324/[Oi]λλ6300, 6364 flux ratio of ≳2 in their nebular spectra. Comparing the measured [Oi] luminosity (≲1039erg s−1) and derived oxygen mass (≈0.01M) with theoretical models, we infer that the progenitor ZAMS mass for these explosions is less than 12M. The ejecta properties (Mej≲ 1MandEkin∼ 1050erg) are also consistent. The low ejecta mass of these sources indicates a class of strongly-stripped SNe that is a transition between the regular stripped-envelope SNe and ultra-stripped SNe. The progenitor could be stripped by a main-sequence companion and result in the formation of a neutron star−main sequence binary. Such binaries have been suggested to be progenitors of neutron star−white dwarf systems that could merge within a Hubble time and be detectable with LISA.

     
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  8. Holland, Andrew D. ; Beletic, James (Ed.)
    The Wide-Field Infrared Transient Explorer (WINTER) is a new time-domain instrument which will perform a seeing-limited survey of the near-infrared sky. Deployed on a dedicated 1-meter robotic telescope at Palomar Observatory, WINTER is designed to study transients of particular interest in the near-infrared including kilo-novae from gravitational-wave sources, supernovae, tidal disruption events, and transiting exoplanets around low mass stars with surveys to a depth of J=21 magnitudes. WINTER's custom camera combines six commercial large-format Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) sensors, observing in Y, J, and a short-H (Hs) band filters (0.9-1.7 microns), and employs a novel tiled optical design to cover a >1 degree squared field of view with 90% fill factor. Each wide-format (1920 x 1080 pixels) InGaAs sensor operates at T = -50°C with a thermoelectric cooler, achieving background-limited photometry without cryogenic cooling. The tiled InGaAs sensors result in a wide field-of-view instrument with significant cost savings when compared to HgCdTe sensors. We present WINTER's novel readout scheme, which includes custom electronics, firmware, and software for low-noise, real-time readout of the InGaAs sensors, including up to a 30x speed up of data reduction using GPUs. This work also outlines the cooling design for warm (T = -50°C) operation of the sensors with a two-stage thermometric cooler, copper heat pipes, and liquid cooling. We conclude with updates on the alignment, integration, and test of the WINTER instrument with a projected first light in Fall 2022. 
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  9. Abstract

    One of the open questions following the discovery of GW170817 is whether neutron star (NS) mergers are the only astrophysical sites capable of producingr-process elements. Simulations have shown that 0.01–0.1Mofr-process material could be generated in the outflows originating from the accretion disk surrounding the rapidly rotating black hole that forms as a remnant to both NS mergers and collapsing massive stars associated with long-duration gamma-ray bursts (collapsars). The hallmark signature ofr-process nucleosynthesis in the binary NS merger GW170817 was its long-lasting near-infrared (NIR) emission, thus motivating a systematic photometric study of the light curves of broad-lined stripped-envelope (Ic-BL) supernovae (SNe) associated with collapsars. We present the first systematic study of 25 SNe Ic-BL—including 18 observed with the Zwicky Transient Facility and 7 from the literature—in the optical/NIR bands to determine what quantity ofr-process material, if any, is synthesized in these explosions. Using semi-analytic models designed to account forr-process production in SNe Ic-BL, we perform light curve fitting to derive constraints on ther-process mass for these SNe. We also perform independent light curve fits to models without ther-process. We find that ther-process-free models are a better fit to the light curves of the objects in our sample. Thus, we find no compelling evidence ofr-process enrichment in any of our objects. Further high-cadence infrared photometric studies and nebular spectroscopic analysis would be sensitive to smaller quantities ofr-process ejecta mass or indicate whether all collapsars are completely devoid ofr-process nucleosynthesis.

     
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  10. 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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