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  1. Abstract

    Identifying the sites of r-process nucleosynthesis, a primary mechanism of heavy element production, is a key goal of astrophysics. The discovery of the brightest gamma-ray burst (GRB) to date, GRB 221009A, presented an opportunity to spectroscopically test the idea that r-process elements are produced following the collapse of rapidly rotating massive stars. Here we present James Webb Space Telescope observations of GRB 221009A obtained +168 and +170 rest-frame days after the gamma-ray trigger, and demonstrate that they are well described by a SN 1998bw-like supernova (SN) and power-law afterglow, with no evidence for a component from r-process emission. The SN, with a nickel mass of approximately 0.09 M, is only slightly fainter than the brightness of SN 1998bw at this phase, which indicates that the SN is not an unusual GRB-SN. This demonstrates that the GRB and SN mechanisms are decoupled and that highly energetic GRBs are not likely to produce significant quantities of r-process material, which leaves open the question of whether explosions of massive stars are key sources of r-process elements. Moreover, the host galaxy of GRB 221009A has a very low metallicity of approximately 0.12 Zand strong H2emission at the explosion site, which is consistent with recent star formation, hinting that environmental factors are responsible for its extreme energetics.

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    Neutron star merger accretion discs can launch neutron-rich winds of >10−2M⊙. This ejecta is a prime site for r-process nucleosynthesis, which will produce a range of radioactive heavy nuclei. The decay of these nuclei releases enough energy to accelerate portions of the wind by ∼0.1c. Here, we investigate the effect of r-process heating on the dynamical evolution of disc winds. We extract the wind from a 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulation of a disc from a post-merger system. This is used to create inner boundary conditions for 2D hydrodynamic simulations that continue the original 3D simulation. We perform two such simulations: one that includes the r-process heating, and another one that does not. We follow the hydrodynamic simulations until the winds reach homology (60 s). Using time-dependent multifrequency multidimensional Monte Carlo radiation transport simulations, we then calculate the kilonova light curves from the winds with and without dynamical r-process heating. We find that the r-process heating can substantially alter the velocity distribution of the wind, shifting the mass-weighted median velocity from 0.06c to 0.12c. The inclusion of the dynamical r-process heating makes the light curve brighter and bluer at $\sim 1\, \mathrm{d}$ post-merger. However, the high-velocity tail of the ejecta distribution and the early ($\lesssim 1\, \mathrm{d}$) light curves are largely unaffected.

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  3. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The merger of two neutron stars produces an outflow of radioactive heavy nuclei. Within a second of merger, the central remnant is expected to also launch a relativistic jet, which shock-heats and disrupts a portion of the radioactive ejecta. Within a few hours, emission from the radioactive material gives rise to an ultraviolet, optical, and infrared transient (a kilonova). We use the endstates of a suite of 2D relativistic hydrodynamic simulations of jet–ejecta interaction as initial conditions for multidimensional Monte Carlo radiation transport simulations of the resulting viewing angle-dependent light curves and spectra starting at $1.5\, \mathrm{h}$ after merger. We find that on this time-scale, jet shock heating does not affect the kilonova emission for the jet parameters we survey. However, the jet disruption to the density structure of the ejecta does change the light curves. The jet carves a channel into the otherwise spheroidal ejecta, revealing the hot, inner regions. As seen from near (≲30°) the jet axis, the kilonova is brighter by a factor of a few and bluer. The strength of this effect depends on the jet parameters, since the light curves of more heavily disrupted ejecta are more strongly affected. The light curves and spectra are also more heavily modified in the ultraviolet than in the optical. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
  5. ABSTRACT Detailed spectropolarimetric studies may hold the key to probing the explosion mechanisms and the progenitor scenarios of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). We present multi-epoch spectropolarimetry and imaging polarimetry of SN 2019ein, an SN Ia showing high expansion velocities at early phases. The spectropolarimetry sequence spans from ∼−11 to +10 d relative to peak brightness in the B band. We find that the level of the continuum polarization of SN 2019ein, after subtracting estimated interstellar polarization, is in the range 0.0–0.3 per cent, typical for SNe Ia. The polarization position angle remains roughly constant before and after the SN light-curve peak, implying that the inner regions share the same axisymmetry as the outer layers. We observe high polarization (∼1 per cent) across both the Si ii λ6355 and Ca ii near-infrared triplet features. These two lines also display complex polarization modulations. The spectropolarimetric properties of SN 2019ein rule out a significant departure from spherical symmetry of the ejecta for up to a month after the explosion. These observations disfavour merger-induced and double-detonation models for SN 2019ein. The imaging polarimetry shows weak evidence for a modest increase in polarization after ∼20 d since the B-band maximum. If this rise is real and is observed in other SNe Ia at similar phases, we may have seen, for the first time, an aspherical interior similar to what has been previously observed for SNe IIP. Future polarization observations of SNe Ia extending to post-peak epochs will help to examine the inner structure of the explosion. 
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  6. Abstract Seeing pristine material from the donor star in a type Ia supernova (SN Ia) explosion can reveal the nature of the binary system. In this paper, we present photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2020esm, one of the best-studied SNe of the class of “super-Chandrasekhar” SNe Ia (SC SNe Ia), with data obtained −12 to +360 days relative to peak brightness, obtained from a variety of ground- and space-based telescopes. Initially misclassified as a type II supernova, SN 2020esm peaked at M B = −19.9 mag, declined slowly (Δ m 15 ( B ) = 0.92 mag), and had particularly blue UV and optical colors at early times. Photometrically and spectroscopically, SN 2020esm evolved similarly to other SC SNe Ia, showing the usual low ejecta velocities, weak intermediate-mass elements, and the enhanced fading at late times, but its early spectra are unique. Our first few spectra (corresponding to a phase of ≳10 days before peak) reveal a nearly pure carbon/oxygen atmosphere during the first days after explosion. This composition can only be produced by pristine material, relatively unaffected by nuclear burning. The lack of H and He may further indicate that SN 2020esm is the outcome of the merger of two carbon/oxygen white dwarfs. Modeling its bolometric light curve, we find an 56 Ni mass of 1.23 − 0.14 + 0.14 M ☉ and an ejecta mass of 1.75 − 0.20 + 0.32 M ☉ , in excess of the Chandrasekhar mass. Finally, we discuss possible progenitor systems and explosion mechanisms of SN 2020esm and, in general, the SC SNe Ia class. 
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