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  1. ABSTRACT

    We present photometry and spectroscopy of the slowly evolving superluminous Type IIn supernova (SN) 2015da. SN 2015da is extraordinary for its very high peak luminosity, and also for sustaining a high luminosity for several years. Even at 8 yr after explosion, SN 2015da remains as luminous as the peak of a normal SN II-P. The total radiated energy integrated over this time period (with no bolometric correction) is at least $1.6 \times 10^{51}$ erg (or 1.6 FOE). Including a mild bolometric correction, adding kinetic energy of the expanding cold dense shell of swept-up circumstellar material (CSM), and accounting for asymmetry, the total explosion kinetic energy was likely 5–10 FOE. Powering the light curve with CSM interaction requires an energetic explosion and 20 M$_{\odot }$ of H-rich CSM, which in turn implies a massive progenitor system $\gt $30 M$_{\odot }$. Narrow P Cyg features show steady CSM expansion at 90 km s$^{-1}$, requiring a high average mass-loss rate of $\sim$0.1 M$_{\odot }$ yr$^{-1}$ sustained for two centuries before explosion (although ramping up toward explosion time). No current theoretical model for single-star pre-SN mass-loss can account for this. The slow CSM, combined with broad wings of H $\alpha$ indicating H-rich material in the unshocked ejecta, disfavours a pulsational pair instability model for the pre-SN mass-loss. Instead, violent pre-SN binary interaction is a likely culprit. Finally, SN 2015da exhibits the characteristic asymmetric blueshift in its emission lines from shortly after peak until the present epoch, adding another well-studied superluminous SNe IIn with unambiguous evidence of post-shock dust formation.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Dark matter subhalos with extended profiles and density cores, and globular star clusters of mass 106–108Mthat live near the critical curves in galaxy cluster lenses can potentially be detected through their lensing magnification of stars in background galaxies. In this work, we study the effect such subhalos have on lensed images, and compare to the case of more well-studied microlensing by stars and black holes near critical curves. We find that the cluster density gradient and the extended mass distribution of subhalos are important in determining image properties. Both lead to an asymmetry between the image properties on the positive- and negative-parity sides of the cluster that is more pronounced than in the case of microlensing. For example, on the negative-parity side, subhalos with cores larger than about 50 pc do not generate any images with magnification above ∼100 outside of the immediate vicinity of the cluster critical curve. We discuss these factors using analytical and numerical analysis, and exploit them to identify observable signatures of subhalos: Subhalos create pixel-to-pixel flux variations of ≳0.1 mag on the positive-parity side of clusters. These pixels tend to cluster around (otherwise invisible) subhalos. Unlike in the case of microlensing, signatures of subhalo lensing can be found up to 1″ away from the critical curves of massive clusters.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    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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  4. Abstract

    A tight positive correlation between the stellar mass and the gas-phase metallicity of galaxies has been observed at low redshifts. The redshift evolution of this correlation can strongly constrain theories of galaxy evolution. The advent of JWST allows probing the mass–metallicity relation at redshifts far beyond what was previously accessible. Here we report the discovery of two emission line galaxies at redshifts 8.15 and 8.16 in JWST NIRCam imaging and NIRSpec spectroscopy of targets gravitationally lensed by the cluster RX J2129.4+0005. We measure their metallicities and stellar masses along with nine additional galaxies at 7.2 <zspec< 9.5 to report the first quantitative statistical inference of the mass–metallicity relation atz≈ 8. We measure ∼0.9 dex evolution in the normalization of the mass–metallicity relation fromz≈ 8 to the local universe; at a fixed stellar mass, galaxies are 8 times less metal enriched atz≈ 8 compared to the present day. Our inferred normalization is in agreement with the predictions of FIRE simulations. Our inferred slope of the mass–metallicity relation is similar to or slightly shallower than that predicted by FIRE or observed at lower redshifts. We compare thez≈ 8 galaxies to extremely low-metallicity analog candidates in the local universe, finding that they are generally distinct from extreme emission line galaxies or “green peas,” but are similar in strong emission line ratios and metallicities to “blueberry galaxies.” Despite this similarity, at a fixed stellar mass, thez≈ 8 galaxies have systematically lower metallicities compared to blueberry galaxies.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 25, 2024
  5. In this work, we present a constraint on the abundance of supergiant (SG) stars at redshiftz ≈ 1, based on recent observations of a strongly lensed arc at this redshift. First we derived a free-form model of MACS J0416.1-2403 using data from the Beyond Ultra-deep Frontier Fields and Legacy Observations (BUFFALO) program. The new lens model is based on 72 multiply lensed galaxies that produce 214 multiple images, making it the largest sample of spectroscopically confirmed lensed galaxies on this cluster. The larger coverage in BUFFALO allowed us to measure the shear up to the outskirts of the cluster, and extend the range of lensing constraints up to ∼1 Mpc from the central region, providing a mass estimate up to this radius. As an application, we make predictions for the number of high-redshift multiply lensed galaxies detected in future observations with theJames WebbSpace Telescope (JWST). Then we focus on a previously known lensed galaxy atz = 1.0054, nicknamed Spock, which contains four previously reported transients. We interpret these transients as microcaustic crossings of SG stars and explain how we computed the probability of such events. Based on simplifications regarding the stellar evolution, we find that microlensing (by stars in the intracluster medium) of SG stars atz = 1.0054 can fully explain these events. The inferred abundance of SG stars is consistent with either (1) a number density of stars with bolometric luminosities beyond the Humphreys-Davidson (HD) limit (Lmax ≈ 6 × 105Lfor red stars), which is below ∼400 stars kpc−2, or (2) the absence of stars beyond the HD limit but with a SG number density of ∼9000 kpc−2for stars with luminosities between 105Land 6 × 105L. This is equivalent to one SG star per 10 × 10 pc2. Finally, we make predictions for future observations with JWST’s NIRcam. We find that in observations made with theF200Wfilter that reach 29 mag AB, if cool red SG stars exist atz ≈ 1 beyond the HD limit, they should be easily detected in this arc.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024
  7. 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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  8. ABSTRACT

    We report the discovery of a transient seen in a strongly lensed arc at redshift zs = 1.2567 in Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the Abell 370 galaxy cluster. The transient is detected at 29.51 ± 0.14 AB mag in a WFC3/UVIS F200LP difference image made using observations from two different epochs, obtained in the framework of the Flashlights programme, and is also visible in the F350LP band (mF350LP ≈ 30.53 ± 0.76 AB mag). The transient is observed on the negative-parity side of the critical curve at a distance of ∼0.6 arcsec from it, greater than previous examples of lensed stars. The large distance from the critical curve yields a significantly smaller macromagnification, but our simulations show that bright, O/B-type supergiants can reach sufficiently high magnifications to be seen at the observed position and magnitude. In addition, the observed transient image is a trailing image with an observer-frame time delay of ∼+0.8 d from its expected counterpart, so that any transient lasting for longer than that should have also been seen on the minima side and is thus excluded. This, together with the blue colour we measure for the transient (mF200LP − mF350LP ≈ [−0.3, −1.6] AB), rules out most other transient candidates such as (kilo)novae, for example, and makes a lensed star the prime candidate. Assuming that the transient is indeed a lensed star as suggested, many more such events should be detected in the near future in cluster surveys with the Hubble Space Telescope and JWST.

     
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  9. ABSTRACT

    We analyse photometric observations of the supernova (SN) impostor SN 2000ch in NGC 3432 covering the time since its discovery. This source was previously observed to have four outbursts in 2000–2010. Observations now reveal at least three additional outbursts in 2004–2007, and 16 outbursts in 2010–2022. Outburst light curves are irregular and multipeaked, exhibiting a wide variety of peak magnitude, duration, and shape. The outbursts after 2008 repeat with a period of 200.7 ± 2 d, while the outburst in 2000 seems to match with a shorter period. The next outburst should occur around January/February 2023. We propose that these periodic eruptions arise from violent interaction around times of periastron in an eccentric binary system, similar to the periastron encounters of η Carinae leading up to its Great Eruption, and resembling the erratic pre-SN eruptions of SN 2009ip. We attribute the irregularity of the eruptions to the interplay between the orbit and the variability of the luminous blue variable (LBV) primary star, wherein each successive periastron pass may have a different intensity or duration due to the changing radius and mass-loss rate of the LBV-like primary. Such outbursts may occasionally be weak or undetectable if the LBV is relatively quiescent at periastron but can be much more extreme when the LBV is active. The observed change in orbital period may be a consequence of mass lost in outbursts. Given the similarity to the progenitor of SN 2009ip, SN 2000ch deserves continued attention in the event it is headed for a stellar merger or an SN-like explosion.

     
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