skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Kessler, R."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. 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 counterpartmore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT Rapidly evolving transients (RETs), also termed fast blue optical transients, are a recently discovered group of astrophysical events that display rapid luminosity evolution. RETs typically rise to peak in less than 10 d and fade within 30, a time-scale unlikely to be compatible with the decay of Nickel-56 that drives conventional supernovae (SNe). Their peak luminosity spans a range of −15 < Mg < −22.5, with some events observed at redshifts greater than 1. Their evolution on fast time-scales has hindered high-quality follow-up observations, and thus their origin and explosion/emission mechanism remains unexplained. In this paper, we present the largestmore »sample of RETs to date, comprising 106 objects discovered by the Dark Energy Survey, and perform the most comprehensive analysis of RET host galaxies. Using deep-stacked photometry and emission lines from OzDES spectroscopy, we derive stellar masses and star formation rates (SFRs) for 49 host galaxies, and metallicities ([O/H]) for 37. We find that RETs explode exclusively in star-forming galaxies and are thus likely associated with massive stars. Comparing RET hosts to samples of host galaxies of other explosive transients as well as field galaxies, we find that RETs prefer galaxies with high specific SFRs (〈log (sSFR)〉 ∼ −9.6), indicating a link to young stellar populations, similar to stripped-envelope SNe. RET hosts appear to show a lack of chemical enrichment, their metallicities akin to long-duration gamma-ray bursts and superluminous SN host galaxies (〈12 + log (O/H)〉 ∼ 9.4). There are no clear relationships between mass or SFR of the host galaxies and the peak magnitudes or decline rates of the transients themselves.« less