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  1. Abstract In recent years, many Type IIn supernovae have been found to share striking similarities with the peculiar SN 2009ip, whose true nature is still under debate. Here, we present 10 yr of observations of SN 2011fh, an interacting transient with spectroscopic and photometric similarities to SN 2009ip. SN 2011fh had an M r ∼ −16 mag brightening event, followed by a brighter M r ∼ −18 mag luminous outburst in 2011 August. The spectra of SN 2011fh are dominated by narrow to intermediate Balmer emission lines throughout its evolution, with P Cygni profiles indicating fast-moving material at ∼6400 km s −1 . HST/WFC3 observations from 2016 October revealed a bright source with M F814W ≈ −13.3 mag, indicating that we are seeing the ongoing interaction of the ejecta with the circumstellar material or that the star might be going through an eruptive phase five years after the luminous outburst of 2011. Using HST photometry of the stellar cluster around SN 2011fh, we estimated an age of ∼4.5 Myr for the progenitor, which implies a stellar mass of ∼60 M ⊙ , using single-star evolution models, or a mass range of 35–80 M ⊙ , considering a binary system. Wemore »also show that the progenitor of SN 2011fh exceeded the classical Eddington limit by a large factor in the months preceding the luminous outburst of 2011, suggesting strong super-Eddington winds as a possible mechanism for the observed mass loss. These findings favor an energetic outburst in a young and massive star, possibly a luminous blue variable.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  3. In a search for eclipsing white dwarfs using the Zwicky Transient Facility lightcurves, we identified a deep eclipsing white dwarf with a dark, substellar companion. The lack of an infrared excess and an orbital period of 10 hours made this a potential exoplanet candidate. We obtained high-speed photometry and radial velocity measurements to characterize the system. The white dwarf has a mass of 0.50±0.02M⊙ and a temperature of 10900±200K. The companion has a mass of 0.059±0.004M⊙ and a small radius of 0.0783±0.0013R⊙. It is one of the smallest transiting brown dwarfs known and likely old, ≳8Gyr. The ZTF discovery efficiency of substellar objects transiting white dwarfs is limited by the number of epochs and as ZTF continues to collect data we expect to find more of these systems. This will allow us to measure period and mass distributions and allows us to understand the formation channels of white dwarfs with substellar companions.
  4. Abstract We present observations of three core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) in elliptical hosts, detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility Bright Transient Survey (BTS). SN 2019ape is a SN Ic that exploded in the main body of a typical elliptical galaxy. Its properties are consistent with an explosion of a regular SN Ic progenitor. A secondary g -band light-curve peak could indicate interaction of the ejecta with circumstellar material (CSM). An H α -emitting source at the explosion site suggests a residual local star formation origin. SN 2018fsh and SN 2020uik are SNe II which exploded in the outskirts of elliptical galaxies. SN 2020uik shows typical spectra for SNe II, while SN 2018fsh shows a boxy nebular H α profile, a signature of CSM interaction. We combine these 3 SNe with 7 events from the literature and analyze their hosts as a sample. We present multi-wavelength photometry of the hosts, and compare this to archival photometry of all BTS hosts. Using the spectroscopically complete BTS, we conclude that 0.3 % − 0.1 + 0.3 of all CCSNe occur in elliptical galaxies. We derive star formation rates and stellar masses for the host galaxies and compare them to the properties of other SNmore »hosts. We show that CCSNe in ellipticals have larger physical separations from their hosts compared to SNe Ia in elliptical galaxies, and discuss implications for star-forming activity in elliptical galaxies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  5. We present the goals, strategy and first results of the high-cadence Galactic plane survey using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The goal of the survey is to unveil the Galactic population of short-period variable stars, including short period binaries and stellar pulsators with periods less than a few hours. Between June 2018 and January 2019, we observed 64 ZTF fields resulting in 2990 deg2 of high stellar density in ZTF-r band along the Galactic Plane. Each field was observed continuously for 1.5 to 6 hrs with a cadence of 40 sec. Most fields have between 200 and 400 observations obtained over 2-3 continuous nights. As part of this survey we extract a total of ≈230 million individual objects with at least 80 epochs obtained during the high-cadence Galactic Plane survey reaching an average depth of ZTF-r ≈20.5 mag. For four selected fields with 2 million to 10 million individual objects per field we calculate different variability statistics and find that ≈1-2% of the objects are astrophysically variable over the observed period. We present a progress report on recent discoveries, including a new class of compact pulsators, the first members of a new class of Roche Lobe filling hot subdwarf binariesmore »as well as new ultracompact double white dwarfs and flaring stars. Finally we present a sample of 12 new single-mode hot subdwarf B-star pulsators with pulsation amplitudes between ZTF-r = 20-76 mmag and pulsation periods between P = 5.8-16 min with a strong cluster of systems with periods ≈ 6 min. All of the data have now been released in either ZTF Data Release 3 or data release 4.« less
  6. Using Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) observations, we identify a pair of "sibling" Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), i.e., hosted by the same galaxy at z = 0.0541. They exploded within 200 days from each other at a separation of 0.6″ corresponding to a projected distance of only 0.6 kpc. Performing SALT2 light curve fits to the gri ZTF photometry, we show that for these equally distant "standardizable candles", there is a difference of 2 magnitudes in their rest frame B-band peaks, and the fainter SN has a significantly red SALT2 colour c=0.57± 0.04, while the stretch values x1 of the two SNe are similar, suggesting that the fainter SN is attenuated by dust in the interstellar medium of the host galaxy. We use these measurements to infer the SALT2 colour standardization parameter, β = 3.5 ± 0.3, independent of the underlying cosmology and Malmquist bias. Assuming the colour excess is entirely due to dust, the result differs by 2σ from the average Milky-Way total-to-selective extinction ratio, but is in good agreement with the colour-brightness corrections empirically derived from the most recent SN Ia Hubble-Lemaitre diagram fits. Thus we suggest that SN "siblings", which will increasingly be discovered in the comingmore »years, can be used to probe the validity of the colour and lightcurve shape corrections using in SN Ia cosmology while avoiding important systematic effects in their inference from global multi-parameter fits to inhomogeneous data-sets, and also help constrain the role of interstellar dust in SN Ia cosmology.« less