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  1. Abstract On 2019 August 14 at 21:10:39 UTC, the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration (LVC) detected a possible neutron star–black hole merger (NSBH), the first ever identified. An extensive search for an optical counterpart of this event, designated GW190814, was undertaken using the Dark Energy Camera on the 4 m Victor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Target of Opportunity interrupts were issued on eight separate nights to observe 11 candidates using the 4.1 m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope’s Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph in order to assess whether any of these transients was likely to be an optical counterpart of the possible NSBH merger. Here, we describe the process of observing with SOAR, the analysis of our spectra, our spectroscopic typing methodology, and our resultant conclusion that none of the candidates corresponded to the gravitational wave merger event but were all instead other transients. Finally, we describe the lessons learned from this effort. Application of these lessons will be critical for a successful community spectroscopic follow-up program for LVC observing run 4 (O4) and beyond.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT The 5-yr Dark Energy Survey Supernova Programme (DES-SN) is one of the largest and deepest transient surveys to date in terms of volume and number of supernovae. Identifying and characterizing the host galaxies of transients plays a key role in their classification, the study of their formation mechanisms, and the cosmological analyses. To derive accurate host galaxy properties, we create depth-optimized coadds using single-epoch DES-SN images that are selected based on sky and atmospheric conditions. For each of the five DES-SN seasons, a separate coadd is made from the other four seasons such that each SN has a corresponding deep coadd with no contaminating SN emission. The coadds reach limiting magnitudes of order ∼27 in g band, and have a much smaller magnitude uncertainty than the previous DES-SN host templates, particularly for faint objects. We present the resulting multiband photometry of host galaxies for samples of spectroscopically confirmed type Ia (SNe Ia), core-collapse (CCSNe), and superluminous (SLSNe) as well as rapidly evolving transients (RETs) discovered by DES-SN. We derive host galaxy stellar masses and probabilistically compare stellar-mass distributions to samples from other surveys. We find that the DES spectroscopically confirmed sample of SNe Ia selects preferentially fewer high-mass hostsmore »at high-redshift compared to other surveys, while at low redshift the distributions are consistent. DES CCSNe and SLSNe hosts are similar to other samples, while RET hosts are unlike the hosts of any other transients, although these differences have not been disentangled from selection effects.« less