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  1. Abstract In recent years, there have been significant advances in multimessenger astronomy due to the discovery of the first, and so far only confirmed, gravitational wave event with a simultaneous electromagnetic (EM) counterpart, as well as improvements in numerical simulations, gravitational wave (GW) detectors, and transient astronomy. This has led to the exciting possibility of performing joint analyses of the GW and EM data, providing additional constraints on fundamental properties of the binary progenitor and merger remnant. Here, we present a new Bayesian framework that allows inference of these properties, while taking into account the systematic modeling uncertainties that arisemore »when mapping from GW binary progenitor properties to photometric light curves. We extend the relative binning method presented in Zackay et al. to include extrinsic GW parameters for fast analysis of the GW signal. The focus of our EM framework is on light curves arising from r -process nucleosynthesis in the ejected material during and after merger, the so-called kilonova, and particularly on black hole−neutron star systems. As a case study, we examine the recent detection of GW190425, where the primary object is consistent with being either a black hole or a neutron star. We show quantitatively how improved mapping between binary progenitor and outflow properties, and/or an increase in EM data quantity and quality are required in order to break degeneracies in the fundamental source parameters.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Abstract We present nimbus : a hierarchical Bayesian framework to infer the intrinsic luminosity parameters of kilonovae (KNe) associated with gravitational-wave (GW) events, based purely on nondetections. This framework makes use of GW 3D distance information and electromagnetic upper limits from multiple surveys for multiple events and self-consistently accounts for the finite sky coverage and probability of astrophysical origin. The framework is agnostic to the brightness evolution assumed and can account for multiple electromagnetic passbands simultaneously. Our analyses highlight the importance of accounting for model selection effects, especially in the context of nondetections. We show our methodology using a simple,more »two-parameter linear brightness model, taking the follow-up of GW190425 with the Zwicky Transient Facility as a single-event test case for two different prior choices of model parameters: (i) uniform/uninformative priors and (ii) astrophysical priors based on surrogate models of Monte Carlo radiative-transfer simulations of KNe. We present results under the assumption that the KN is within the searched region to demonstrate functionality and the importance of prior choice. Our results show consistency with simsurvey —an astronomical survey simulation tool used previously in the literature to constrain the population of KNe. While our results based on uniform priors strongly constrain the parameter space, those based on astrophysical priors are largely uninformative, highlighting the need for deeper constraints. Future studies with multiple events having electromagnetic follow-up from multiple surveys should make it possible to constrain the KN population further.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. Abstract We present observations of SN 2021csp, the second example of a newly identified type of supernova (SN) hallmarked by strong, narrow, P Cygni carbon features at early times (Type Icn). The SN appears as a fast and luminous blue transient at early times, reaching a peak absolute magnitude of −20 within 3 days due to strong interaction between fast SN ejecta ( v ≈ 30,000 km s −1 ) and a massive, dense, fast-moving C/O wind shed by the WC-like progenitor months before explosion. The narrow-line features disappear from the spectrum 10–20 days after explosion and are replaced bymore »a blue continuum dominated by broad Fe features, reminiscent of Type Ibn and IIn supernovae and indicative of weaker interaction with more extended H/He-poor material. The transient then abruptly fades ∼60 days post-explosion when interaction ceases. Deep limits at later phases suggest minimal heavy-element nucleosynthesis, a low ejecta mass, or both, and imply an origin distinct from that of classical Type Ic SNe. We place SN 2021csp in context with other fast-evolving interacting transients, and discuss various progenitor scenarios: an ultrastripped progenitor star, a pulsational pair-instability eruption, or a jet-driven fallback SN from a Wolf–Rayet (W-R) star. The fallback scenario would naturally explain the similarity between these events and radio-loud fast transients, and suggests a picture in which most stars massive enough to undergo a W-R phase collapse directly to black holes at the end of their lives.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  6. Abstract The discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart to the binary neutron star (NS) merger GW170817 has opened the era of gravitational-wave multimessenger astronomy. Rapid identification of the optical/infrared kilonova enabled a precise localization of the source, which paved the way to deep multiwavelength follow-up and its myriad of related science results. Fully exploiting this new territory of exploration requires the acquisition of electromagnetic data from samples of NS mergers and other gravitational-wave sources. After GW170817, the frontier is now to map the diversity of kilonova properties and provide more stringent constraints on the Hubble constant, and enable new tests ofmore »fundamental physics. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time can play a key role in this field in the 2020s, when an improved network of gravitational-wave detectors is expected to reach a sensitivity that will enable the discovery of a high rate of merger events involving NSs (∼tens per year) out to distances of several hundred megaparsecs. We design comprehensive target-of-opportunity observing strategies for follow-up of gravitational-wave triggers that will make the Rubin Observatory the premier instrument for discovery and early characterization of NS and other compact-object mergers, and yet unknown classes of gravitational-wave events.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
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  8. Evans, Christopher J. ; Bryant, Julia J. ; Motohara, Kentaro (Ed.)
    The Wide-field Infrared Transient Explorer (WINTER) is a 1x1 degree infrared survey telescope under devel- opment at MIT and Caltech, and slated for commissioning at Palomar Observatory in 2021. WINTER is a seeing-limited infrared time-domain survey and has two main science goals: (1) the discovery of IR kilonovae and r-process materials from binary neutron star mergers and (2) the study of general IR transients, including supernovae, tidal disruption events, and transiting exoplanets around low mass stars. We plan to meet these science goals with technologies that are relatively new to astrophysical research: hybridized InGaAs sensors as an alternative to traditional,more »but expensive, HgCdTe arrays and an IR-optimized 1-meter COTS telescope. To mitigate risk, optimize development efforts, and ensure that WINTER meets its science objectives, we use model-based systems engineering (MBSE) techniques commonly featured in aerospace engineering projects. Even as ground-based instrumentation projects grow in complexity, they do not often have the budget for a full-time systems engineer. We present one example of systems engineering for the ground-based WINTER project, featuring software tools that allow students or staff to learn the fundamentals of MBSE and capture the results in a formalized software interface. We focus on the top-level science requirements with a detailed example of how the goal of detecting kilonovae flows down to WINTER's optical design. In particular, we discuss new methods for tolerance simulations, eliminating stray light, and maximizing image quality of a fly's-eye design that slices the telescope's focus onto 6 non-buttable, IR detectors. We also include a discussion of safety constraints for a robotic telescope.« less