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  1. Abstract

    We present the first estimate of the Galactic nova rate based on optical transient surveys covering the entire sky. Using data from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) and Gaia—the only two all-sky surveys to report classical nova candidates—we find 39 confirmed Galactic novae and 7 additional unconfirmed candidates discovered from 2019 to 2021, yielding a nova discovery rate of ≈14 yr−1. Using accurate Galactic stellar mass models and three-dimensional dust maps and incorporating realistic nova light curves, we have built a sophisticated Galactic nova model to estimate the fraction of Galactic novae discovered by these surveys over this time period. The observing capabilities of each survey are distinct: the high cadence of ASAS-SN makes it sensitive to fast novae, while the broad observing filter and high spatial resolution of Gaia make it more sensitive to highly reddened novae across the entire Galactic plane and bulge. Despite these differences, we find that ASAS-SN and Gaia give consistent Galactic nova rates, with a final joint nova rate of 26 ± 5 yr−1. This inferred nova rate is substantially lower than found by many other recent studies. Critically assessing the systematic uncertainties in the Galactic nova rate, we argue thatmore »the role of faint, fast-fading novae has likely been overestimated, but that subtle details in the operation of transient alert pipelines can have large, sometimes unappreciated effects on transient recovery efficiency. Our predicted nova rate can be directly tested with forthcoming red/near-infrared transient surveys in the southern hemisphere.

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  2. Abstract There is a long-standing discrepancy between the observed Galactic classical nova rate of ∼10 yr −1 and the predicted rate from Galactic models of ∼30–50 yr −1 . One explanation for this discrepancy is that many novae are hidden by interstellar extinction, but the degree to which dust can obscure novae is poorly constrained. We use newly available all-sky three-dimensional dust maps to compare the brightness and spatial distribution of known novae to that predicted from relatively simple models in which novae trace Galactic stellar mass. We find that only half (53%) of the novae are expected to be easily detectable ( g ≲ 15) with current all-sky optical surveys such as the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). This fraction is much lower than previously estimated, showing that dust does substantially affect nova detection in the optical. By comparing complementary survey results from the ASAS-SN, OGLE-IV, and Palomar Gattini IR surveys using our modeling, we find a tentative Galactic nova rate of ∼30 yr −1 , though this could be as high as ∼40 yr −1 , depending on the assumed distribution of novae within the Galaxy. These preliminary estimates will be improved in future work through moremore »sophisticated modeling of nova detection in ASAS-SN and other surveys.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We report observed and derived timing parameters for three millisecond pulsars (MSPs) from observations collected with the Parkes 64-m telescope, Murriyang. The pulsars were found during reprocessing of archival survey data by Mickaliger et al. One of the new pulsars (PSR J1546–5925) has a spin period P = 7.8 ms and is isolated. The other two (PSR J0921–5202 with P = 9.7 ms and PSR J1146–6610 with P = 3.7 ms) are in binary systems around low-mass (${\gt}0.2\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$) companions. Their respective orbital periods are 38.2 and 62.8 d. While PSR J0921–5202 has a low orbital eccentricity e = 1.3 × 10−5, in keeping with many other Galactic MSPs, PSR J1146–6610 has a significantly larger eccentricity, e = 7.4 × 10−3. This makes it a likely member of a group of eccentric MSP–helium white dwarf binary systems in the Galactic disc whose formation is poorly understood. Two of the pulsars are co-located with previously unidentified point sources discovered with the Fermi satellite’s Large Area Telescope, but no γ-ray pulsations have been detected, likely due to their low spin-down powers. We also show that, particularly in terms of orbital diversity, the current sample of MSPs is far from complete and is subject to a number of selection biases.
  4. 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