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  1. ABSTRACT Low-luminosity Type II supernovae (LL SNe II) make up the low explosion energy end of core-collapse SNe, but their study and physical understanding remain limited. We present SN 2016aqf, an LL SN II with extensive spectral and photometric coverage. We measure a V-band peak magnitude of −14.58 mag, a plateau duration of ∼100 d, and an inferred 56Ni mass of 0.008 ± 0.002 M⊙. The peak bolometric luminosity, Lbol ≈ 1041.4 erg s−1, and its spectral evolution are typical of other SNe in the class. Using our late-time spectra, we measure the [O i] λλ6300, 6364 lines, which we compare against SN II spectral synthesis models to constrain the progenitormore »zero-age main-sequence mass. We find this to be 12 ± 3 M⊙. Our extensive late-time spectral coverage of the [Fe ii] λ7155 and [Ni ii] λ7378 lines permits a measurement of the Ni/Fe abundance ratio, a parameter sensitive to the inner progenitor structure and explosion mechanism dynamics. We measure a constant abundance ratio evolution of $0.081^{+0.009}_{-0.010}$ and argue that the best epochs to measure the ratio are at ∼200–300 d after explosion. We place this measurement in the context of a large sample of SNe II and compare against various physical, light-curve, and spectral parameters, in search of trends that might allow indirect ways of constraining this ratio. We do not find correlations predicted by theoretical models; however, this may be the result of the exact choice of parameters and explosion mechanism in the models, the simplicity of them, and/or primordial contamination in the measured abundance ratio.« less
  2. We present 42 rapidly evolving (time spent above half-maximum brightness t1/2<12d) extragalactic transients from Phase I of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), of which 22 have spectroscopic classifications. This is one of the largest systematically selected samples of day-timescale transients, and the first with spectroscopic classifications. Most can be classified as core-collapse supernovae (SNe), and we identify several predominant subtypes: (1) subluminous Type IIb or Type Ib SNe; (2) luminous Type Ibn or hybrid IIn/Ibn SNe; and (3) radio-loud, short-duration luminous events similar to AT2018cow. We conclude that rates quoted in the literature for rapidly evolving extragalactic transients are dominatedmore »by the subluminous events (mostly Type IIb SNe). From our spectroscopic classifications and radio, X-ray, and millimeter-band upper limits, we are motivated to consider the AT2018cow-like objects a distinct class, and use ZTF's systematic classification experiments to calculate that their rate does not exceed 0.1% of the local core-collapse SN rate, in agreement with previous work. By contrast, most other events are simply the extreme of a continuum of established SN types extending to ordinary timescales. The light curves of our objects are very similar to those of unclassified events in the literature, illustrating how spectroscopically classified samples of low-redshift objects in shallow surveys like ZTF can be used to photometrically classify larger numbers of events at higher redshift.« less
  3. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the brightest and most energetic events in the universe. The duration and hardness distribution of GRBs has two clusters, now understood to reflect (at least) two different progenitors. Short-hard GRBs (SGRBs; T90 <2 s) arise from compact binary mergers, while long-soft GRBs (LGRBs; T90 >2 s) have been attributed to the collapse of peculiar massive stars (collapsars). The discovery of SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 marked the first association of a LGRB with a collapsar and AT 2017gfo/GRB 170817A/GW170817 marked the first association of a SGRB with a binary neutron star merger, producing also gravitational wave (GW).more »Here, we present the discovery of ZTF20abwysqy (AT2020scz), a fast-fading optical transient in the Fermi Satellite and the InterPlanetary Network (IPN) localization regions of GRB 200826A; X-ray and radio emission further confirm that this is the afterglow. Follow-up imaging (at rest-frame 16.5 days) reveals excess emission above the afterglow that cannot be explained as an underlying kilonova (KN), but is consistent with being the supernova (SN). Despite the GRB duration being short (rest-frame T90 of 0.65 s), our panchromatic follow-up data confirms a collapsar origin. GRB 200826A is the shortest LGRB found with an associated collapsar; it appears to sit on the brink between a successful and a failed collapsar. Our discovery is consistent with the hypothesis that most collapsars fail to produce ultra-relativistic jets.« less
  4. The non-detection of companion stars in Type Ia supernova (SN) progenitor systems lends support to the notion of double-degenerate (DD) systems and explosions triggered by the merging of two white dwarfs. This very asymmetric process should lead to a conspicuous polarimetric signature. By contrast, observations consistently find very low continuum polarization as the signatures from the explosion process largely dominate over the pre-explosion configuration within several days. Critical information about the interaction of the ejecta with a companion and any circumstellar matter is encoded in the early polarization spectra. In this study, we obtain spectropolarimetry of SN\,2018gv with the ESOmore »Very Large Telescope at − 13.6 days relative to the B−band maximum light, or ∼ 5 days after the estimated explosion --- the earliest spectropolarimetric observations to date of any Type Ia SN. These early observations still show a low continuum polarization ( ≲ 0.2\%) and moderate line polarization (0.30 ± 0.04\% for the prominent \ion{Si}{2} λ6355 feature and 0.85 ± 0.04\% for the high-velocity Ca component). The high degree of spherical symmetry implied by the low line and continuum polarization at this early epoch is consistent with explosion models of delayed detonations and is inconsistent with the merger-induced explosion scenario. The dense UV and optical photometry and optical spectroscopy within the first ∼ 100 days after the maximum light indicate that SN\,2018gv is a normal Type Ia SN with similar spectrophotometric behavior to SN\,2011fe.« less