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  1. Abstract We present deep Chandra X-ray observations of two nearby Type Ia supernovae, SN 2017cbv and SN 2020nlb, which reveal no X-ray emission down to a luminosity L X ≲ 5.3 × 10 37 and ≲ 5.4 × 10 37 erg s −1 (0.3–10 keV), respectively, at ∼16–18 days after the explosion. With these limits, we constrain the pre-explosion mass-loss rate of the progenitor system to be M ̇ < 7.2 × 10 −9 and < 9.7 × 10 −9 M ⊙ yr −1 for each (at a wind velocity v w = 100 km s −1 and a radius of R ≈ 10 16 cm), assuming any X-ray emission would originate from inverse Compton emission from optical photons upscattered by the supernova shock. If the supernova environment was a constant-density medium, we would find a number density limit of n CSM < 36 and < 65 cm −3 , respectively. These X-ray limits rule out all plausible symbiotic progenitor systems, as well as large swathes of parameter space associated with the single degenerate scenario, such as mass loss at the outer Lagrange point and accretion winds. We also present late-time optical spectroscopy of SN 2020nlb, and set strong limitsmore »on any swept up hydrogen ( L H α < 2.7 × 10 37 erg s −1 ) and helium ( L He, λ 6678 < 2.7 × 10 37 erg s −1 ) from a nondegenerate companion, corresponding to M H ≲ 0.7–2 × 10 −3 M ⊙ and M He ≲ 4 × 10 −3 M ⊙ . Radio observations of SN 2020nlb at 14.6 days after explosion also yield a non-detection, ruling out most plausible symbiotic progenitor systems. While we have doubled the sample of normal Type Ia supernovae with deep X-ray limits, more observations are needed to sample the full range of luminosities and subtypes of these explosions, and set statistical constraints on their circumbinary environments.« less
  2. ABSTRACT M31-LRN-2015 is a likely stellar merger discovered in the Andromeda Galaxy in 2015. We present new optical to mid-infrared photometry and optical spectroscopy for this event. Archival data show that the source started to brighten ∼2 yr before the nova event. During this precursor phase, the source brightened by ∼3 mag. The light curve at 6 and 1.5 months before the main outburst may show periodicity, with periods of 16 ± 0.3 and 28.1 ± 1.4 d, respectively. This complex emission may be explained by runaway mass-loss from the system after the binary undergoes Roche lobe overflow, leading the system to coalesce in tens of orbital periods. While the progenitor spectral energy distribution shows no evidence of pre-existing warm dust in the system, the remnant forms an optically thick dust shell at approximately four months after the outburst peak. The optical depth of the shell increases dramatically after 1.5 yr, suggesting the existence of shocks that enhance the dust formation process. We propose that the merger remnant is likely an inflated giant obscured by a cooling shell of gas with mass ∼0.2 M⊙ ejected at the onset of the common envelope phase.
  3. We present the results of our monitoring campaigns of the luminous red novae (LRNe) AT 2020hat in NGC 5068 and AT 2020kog in NGC 6106. The two objects were imaged (and detected) before their discovery by routine survey operations. They show a general trend of slow luminosity rise, lasting at least a few months. The subsequent major LRN outbursts were extensively followed in photometry and spectroscopy. The light curves present an initial short-duration peak, followed by a redder plateau phase. AT 2020kog is a moderately luminous event peaking at ∼7 × 10 40 erg s −1 , while AT 2020hat is almost one order of magnitude fainter than AT 2020kog, although it is still more luminous than V838 Mon. In analogy with other LRNe, the spectra of AT 2020kog change significantly with time. They resemble those of type IIn supernovae at early phases, then they become similar to those of K-type stars during the plateau, and to M-type stars at very late phases. In contrast, AT 2020hat already shows a redder continuum at early epochs, and its spectrum shows the late appearance of molecular bands. A moderate-resolution spectrum of AT 2020hat taken at +37 d after maximum shows a forest of narrowmore »P Cygni lines of metals with velocities of 180 km s −1 , along with an H α emission with a full-width at half-maximum velocity of 250 km s −1 . For AT 2020hat, a robust constraint on its quiescent progenitor is provided by archival images of the Hubble Space Telescope. The progenitor is clearly detected as a mid-K type star, with an absolute magnitude of M F 606 W  = −3.33 ± 0.09 mag and a colour of F 606 W  −  F 814 W  = 1.14 ± 0.05 mag, which are inconsistent with the expectations from a massive star that could later produce a core-collapse supernova. Although quite peculiar, the two objects nicely match the progenitor versus light curve absolute magnitude correlations discussed in the literature.« less