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  1. Abstract Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a ground-based astronomical facility under construction, a joint project of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to conduct a multipurpose 10 yr optical survey of the Southern Hemisphere sky: the Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Significant flexibility in survey strategy remains within the constraints imposed by the core science goals of probing dark energy and dark matter, cataloging the solar system, exploring the transient optical sky, and mapping the Milky Way. The survey’s massive data throughput will be transformational for many other astrophysics domains and Rubin’s data accessmore »policy sets the stage for a huge community of potential users. To ensure that the survey science potential is maximized while serving as broad a community as possible, Rubin Observatory has involved the scientific community at large in the process of setting and refining the details of the observing strategy. The motivation, history, and decision-making process of this strategy optimization are detailed in this paper, giving context to the science-driven proposals and recommendations for the survey strategy included in this Focus Issue.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 22, 2022
  2. 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

    The Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) 2011by, hosted in NGC 3972, and 2011fe, hosted in M101, are optical ‘twins,’ having almost identical optical light-curve shapes, colours, and near-maximum-brightness spectra. However, SN 2011fe had significantly more ultraviolet (UV; 1600 < λ < 2500 Å) flux than SN 2011by before and at peak luminosity. Several theoretical models predict that SNe Ia with higher progenitor metallicity should (1) have additional UV opacity and thus lower UV flux; (2) have an essentially unchanged optical spectral-energy distribution; (3) have a similar optical light-curve shape; and (4) because of the excess neutrons, produce more stable Fe-group elements atmore »the expense of radioactive 56Ni and thus have a lower peak luminosity. Following these predictions, Foley and Kirshner suggested that the difference in UV flux between SNe 2011by and 2011fe was the result of their progenitors having significantly different metallicities. They also measured a large, but insignificant, difference between the peak absolute magnitudes of the SNe (ΔMV, peak = 0.60 ± 0.36 mag), with SN 2011fe being more luminous. We present a new Cepheid-based distance to NGC 3972, substantially improving the precision of the distance measurement for SN 2011by. With these new data, we determine that the SNe have significantly different peak luminosities (ΔMV, peak = 0.335 ± 0.069 mag). Consequently, SN 2011fe produced 38 per cent more 56Ni than SN 2011by, consistent with predictions for progenitor metallicity differences for these SNe, although alternative models may also explain this difference. We discuss how progenitor metallicity differences can contribute to the intrinsic scatter for light-curve-shape-corrected SN luminosities, the use of ‘twin’ SNe for measuring distances, and implications for using SNe Ia for constraining cosmological parameters.

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