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  1. Abstract

    We report the discovery of an extremely magnified star at redshiftz= 2.65 in the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) NIRISS pre-imaging of the A2744 galaxy-cluster field. The star’s background host galaxy lies on a fold caustic of the foreground lens, and the cluster creates a pair of images of the region close to the lensed star. We identified the bright transient in one of the merging images at a distance of ∼0.″15 from the critical curve by subtracting the JWST F115W and F150W imaging from coadditions of archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) F105W and F125W images and F140W and F160W images, respectively. Since the time delay between the two images should be only hours, the transient must be the microlensing event of an individual star, as opposed to a luminous stellar explosion that would persist for days to months. Analysis of individual exposures suggests that the star’s magnification is not changing rapidly during the observations. From photometry of the point source through the F115W, F150W, and F200W filters, we identify a strong Balmer break, and modeling allows us to constrain the star’s temperature to be approximately 7000–12,000 K.


    We present updated cosmological constraints from measurements of the gas mass fractions (fgas) of massive, dynamically relaxed galaxy clusters. Our new data set has greater leverage on models of dark energy, thanks to the addition of the Perseus cluster at low redshifts, two new clusters at redshifts z ≳ 1, and significantly longer observations of four clusters at 0.6 < z < 0.9. Our low-redshift (z < 0.16) fgas data, combined with the cosmic baryon fraction measured from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), imply a Hubble constant of h = 0.722 ± 0.067. Combining the full fgas data set with priors on the cosmic baryon density and the Hubble constant, we constrain the dark energy density to be ΩΛ = 0.865 ± 0.119 in non-flat Lambda cold dark matter (cosmological constant) models, and its equation of state to be $w=-1.13_{-0.20}^{+0.17}$ in flat, constant-w models, respectively 41 per cent and 29 per cent tighter than our previous work, and comparable to the best constraints available from other probes. Combining fgas, CMB, supernova, and baryon acoustic oscillation data, we also constrain models with global curvature and evolving dark energy. For the massive, relaxed clusters employed here, we find the scaling of fgas with mass to be consistent with a constant, withmore »an intrinsic scatter that corresponds to just ∼3 per cent in distance.

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  3. ABSTRACT We present photometry, spectra, and spectropolarimetry of supernova (SN) 2014ab, obtained through ∼200 d after peak brightness. SN 2014ab was a luminous Type IIn SN (MV < −19.14 mag) discovered after peak brightness near the nucleus of its host galaxy, VV 306c. Pre-discovery upper limits constrain the time of explosion to within 200 d prior to discovery. While SN 2014ab declined by ∼1 mag over the course of our observations, the observed spectrum remained remarkably unchanged. Spectra exhibit an asymmetric emission-line profile with a consistently stronger blueshifted component, suggesting the presence of dust or a lack of symmetry between the far side and near side of the SN. The Pa β emission line shows a profile very similar to that of H α, implying that this stronger blueshifted component is caused either through obscuration by large dust grains, occultation by optically thick material, or a lack of symmetry between the far side and near side of the interaction region. Despite these asymmetric line profiles, our spectropolarimetric data show that SN 2014ab has little detected polarization after accounting for the interstellar polarization. We are likely seeing emission from a photosphere that has only small deviation from circular symmetry in the plane normal to our line of sight, but with eithermore »large-grain dust or significant asymmetry in the density of circumstellar material or SN ejecta along our line of sight. We suggest that SN 2014ab and SN 2010jl (as well as other SNe IIn) may be events with similar geometry viewed from different directions.« less
  4. Ground-based observatories will discover thousands of transients in the optical, but will not provide the NIR photometry and high-resolution imaging of a space-based observatory. WFIRST can fill this gap. With its SN Ia survey, WFIRST will also discover thousands of other transients in the NIR, revealing the physics for these high-energy events.