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  1. Abstract

    We report on contemporaneous optical observations at ≈10 ms timescales from the fast radio burst (FRB) 20180916B of two repeat bursts (FRB 20201023 and FRB 20220908) taken with the ‘Alopeke camera on the Gemini-North telescope. These repeats have radio fluences of 2.8 and 3.5 Jy ms, respectively, approximately in the lower 50th percentile for fluence from this repeating burst. The ‘Alopeke data reveal no significant optical detections at the FRB position and we place 3σupper limits to the optical fluences of <8.3 × 10−3and <7.7 × 10−3Jy ms after correcting for line-of-sight extinction. Together, these yield the most sensitive limits to the optical-to-radio fluence ratio of an FRB on these timescales withην< 3 × 10−3by roughly an order of magnitude. These measurements rule out progenitor models where FRB 20180916B has a similar fluence ratio to optical pulsars, such as the Crab pulsar, or where optical emission is produced as inverse-Compton radiation in a pulsar magnetosphere or young supernova remnant. Our ongoing program with ‘Alopeke on Gemini-North will continue to monitor repeating FRBs, including FRB 20180916B, to search for optical counterparts on millisecond timescales.

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    We present a series of ground-based photometry and spectroscopy of the superluminous Type IIn supernova (SN) ASASSN-15ua, which shows evidence for strong interaction with pre-existing dense circumstellar material (CSM). Our observations constrain the speed, mass-loss rate, and extent of the progenitor wind shortly before explosion. A narrow P Cygni absorption component reveals a progenitor wind speed of ∼100 km s−1. As observed in previous SNe IIn, the intermediate-width H α emission became more asymmetric and blueshifted over time, suggesting either asymmetric CSM, an asymmetric explosion, or increasing selective extinction from dust within the post-shock shell or SN ejecta. Based on the CSM radius and speed, we find that the progenitor suffered extreme eruptive mass-loss with a rate of 0.1–1 M⊙ yr−1 during the ∼12 yr immediately before the death of the star that imparted ∼ 1048 erg of kinetic energy to the CSM. Integrating its V-band light curve over the first 170 d after discovery, we find that ASASSN-15ua radiated at least 3 × 1050 erg in visual light alone, giving a lower limit to the total radiated energy that may have approached 1051 erg. ASASSN-15ua exhibits many similarities to two well-studied superluminous SNe IIn: SN 2006tf and SN 2010jl. Based on a detailed comparison of these three, we find that ASASSN-15ua falls in between these two events in a wide variety of observed properties and derived physical parameters, illustrating a continuum of behaviour across superluminous SNe IIn.

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  3. Abstract

    We present preexplosion optical and infrared (IR) imaging at the site of the type II supernova (SN II) 2023ixf in Messier 101 at 6.9 Mpc. We astrometrically registered a ground-based image of SN 2023ixf to archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Spitzer Space Telescope (Spitzer), and ground-based near-IR images. A single point source is detected at a position consistent with the SN at wavelengths ranging from HSTRband to Spitzer 4.5μm. Fitting with blackbody and red supergiant (RSG) spectral energy distributions (SEDs), we find that the source is anomalously cool with a significant mid-IR excess. We interpret this SED as reprocessed emission in a 8600Rcircumstellar shell of dusty material with a mass ∼5 × 10−5Msurrounding alog(L/L)=4.74±0.07andTeff=3920160+200K RSG. This luminosity is consistent with RSG models of initial mass 11M, depending on assumptions of rotation and overshooting. In addition, the counterpart was significantly variable in preexplosion Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5μm imaging, exhibiting ∼70% variability in both bands correlated across 9 yr and 29 epochs of imaging. The variations appear to have a timescale of 2.8 yr, which is consistent withκ-mechanism pulsations observed in RSGs, albeit with a much larger amplitude than RSGs such asαOrionis (Betelgeuse).

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    We present high-resolution 1.5–6 GHz Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) optical and infrared observations of the extremely active repeating fast radio burst (FRB) FRB 20201124A and its barred spiral host galaxy. We constrain the location and morphology of star formation in the host and search for a persistent radio source (PRS) coincident with FRB 20201124A. We resolve the morphology of the radio emission across all frequency bands and measure a star formation rate (SFR) ≈ 8.9Myr−1, approximately ≈2.5–6 times larger than optically inferred SFRs, demonstrating dust-obscured star formation throughout the host. Compared to a sample of all known FRB hosts with radio emission, the host of FRB 20201124A has the most significantly obscured star formation. While HST observations show the FRB to be offset from the bar or spiral arms, the radio emission extends to the FRB location. We propose that the FRB progenitor could have formed in situ (e.g., a magnetar born from a massive star explosion). It is still plausible, although less likely, that the progenitor of FRB 20201124A migrated from the central bar of the host. We further place a limit on the luminosity of a putative PRS at the FRB position ofL6.0GHz≲ 1.8 ×1027erg s−1Hz−1, among the deepest PRS luminosity limits to date. However, this limit is still broadly consistent with both magnetar nebulae and hypernebulae models assuming a constant energy injection rate of the magnetar and an age of ≳105yr in each model, respectively.

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  5. Abstract We present near-infrared (NIR) and optical observations of the Type Ic supernova (SN Ic) SN 2021krf obtained between days 13 and 259 at several ground-based telescopes. The NIR spectrum at day 68 exhibits a rising K -band continuum flux density longward of ∼2.0 μ m, and a late-time optical spectrum at day 259 shows strong [O i ] 6300 and 6364 Å emission-line asymmetry, both indicating the presence of dust, likely formed in the SN ejecta. We estimate a carbon-grain dust mass of ∼2 × 10 −5 M ⊙ and a dust temperature of ∼900–1200 K associated with this rising continuum and suggest the dust has formed in SN ejecta. Utilizing the one-dimensional multigroup radiation-hydrodynamics code STELLA, we present two degenerate progenitor solutions for SN 2021krf, characterized by C–O star masses of 3.93 and 5.74 M ⊙ , but with the same best-fit 56 Ni mass of 0.11 M ⊙ for early times (0–70 days). At late times (70–300 days), optical light curves of SN 2021krf decline substantially more slowly than those expected from 56 Co radioactive decay. Lack of H and He lines in the late-time SN spectrum suggests the absence of significant interaction of the ejecta with the circumstellar medium. We reproduce the entire bolometric light curve with a combination of radioactive decay and an additional powering source in the form of a central engine of a millisecond pulsar with a magnetic field smaller than that of a typical magnetar. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  6. Abstract

    We present high-cadence ultraviolet through near-infrared observations of the Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) 2023bee atD= 32 ± 3 Mpc, finding excess flux in the first days after explosion, particularly in our 10 minutes cadence TESS light curve and Swift UV data. Compared to a few other normal SNe Ia with early excess flux, the excess flux in SN 2023bee is redder in the UV and less luminous. We present optical spectra of SN 2023bee, including two spectra during the period where the flux excess is dominant. At this time, the spectra are similar to those of other SNe Ia but with weaker Siii, Cii,and Caiiabsorption lines, perhaps because the excess flux creates a stronger continuum. We compare the data to several theoretical models on the origin of early excess flux in SNe Ia. Interaction with either the companion star or close-in circumstellar material is expected to produce a faster evolution than observed. Radioactive material in the outer layers of the ejecta, either from double detonation explosion or from a56Ni clump near the surface, cannot fully reproduce the evolution either, likely due to the sensitivity of early UV observable to the treatment of the outer part of ejecta in simulation. We conclude that no current model can adequately explain the full set of observations. We find that a relatively large fraction of nearby, bright SNe Ia with high-cadence observations have some amount of excess flux within a few days of explosion. Considering potential asymmetric emission, the physical cause of this excess flux may be ubiquitous in normal SNe Ia.

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  7. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive catalog of observations and stellar population properties for 23 highly secure host galaxies of fast radio bursts (FRBs). Our sample comprises 6 repeating FRBs and 17 apparent nonrepeaters. We present 82 new photometric and 8 new spectroscopic observations of these hosts. Using stellar population synthesis modeling and employing nonparametric star formation histories (SFHs), we find that FRB hosts have a median stellar mass of ≈109.9M, mass-weighted age ≈5.1 Gyr, and ongoing star formation rate ≈1.3Myr−1but span wide ranges in all properties. Classifying the hosts by degree of star formation, we find that 87% (20 of 23 hosts) are star-forming, two are transitioning, and one is quiescent. The majority trace the star-forming main sequence of galaxies, but at least three FRBs in our sample originate in less-active environments (two nonrepeaters and one repeater). Across all modeled properties, we find no statistically significant distinction between the hosts of repeaters and nonrepeaters. However, the hosts of repeating FRBs generally extend to lower stellar masses, and the hosts of nonrepeaters arise in more optically luminous galaxies. While four of the galaxies with the clearest and most prolonged rises in their SFHs all host repeating FRBs, demonstrating heightened star formation activity in the last ≲100 Myr, one nonrepeating host shows this SFH as well. Our results support progenitor models with short delay channels (i.e., magnetars formed via core-collapse supernova) for most FRBs, but the presence of some FRBs in less-active environments suggests a fraction form through more delayed channels.

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  8. Abstract We present the complete set of Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 and its optical counterpart AT 2017gfo. Including deep template imaging in F814W, F110W, F140W, and F160W at 3.4 yr post-merger, we reanalyze the full light curve of AT 2017gfo across 12 bands from 5 to 1273 rest-frame days after merger. We obtain four new detections of the short γ -ray burst 170817A afterglow from 109 to 170 rest-frame days post-merger. These detections are consistent with the previously observed β = −0.6 spectral index in the afterglow light curve with no evidence for spectral evolution. We also analyze our limits in the context of kilonova afterglow or IR dust echo emission but find that our limits are not constraining for these models. We use the new data to construct deep optical and IR stacks, reaching limits of M = −6.3 to −4.6 mag, to analyze the local environment around AT 2017gfo and low surface brightness features in its host galaxy NGC 4993. We rule out the presence of any globular cluster at the position of AT 2017gfo to 2.3 × 10 4 L ⊙ , including those with the reddest V − H colors. Finally, we analyze the substructure of NGC 4993 in deep residual imaging and find shell features that extend up to 71.″8 (14.2 kpc) from NGC 4993. The shells have a cumulative stellar mass of 6.3 × 10 8 M ⊙ , roughly 2% of NGC 4993, and mass-weighted ages of >3 Gyr. We conclude that it was unlikely that the GW170817 progenitor system formed in the galaxy merger. 
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  9. Abstract

    We present the stellar population properties of 69 short gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies, representing the largest uniformly modeled sample to date. Using theProspectorstellar population inference code, we jointly fit photometry and/or spectroscopy of each host galaxy. We find a population median redshift ofz=0.640.32+0.83(68% confidence), including nine photometric redshifts atz≳ 1. We further find a median mass-weighted age oftm=0.80.53+2.71Gyr, stellar mass of log(M*/M) =9.690.65+0.75, star formation rate of SFR =1.441.35+9.37Myr−1, stellar metallicity of log(Z*/Z) =0.380.42+0.44, and dust attenuation ofAV=0.430.36+0.85mag (68% confidence). Overall, the majority of short GRB hosts are star-forming (≈84%), with small fractions that are either transitioning (≈6%) or quiescent (≈10%); however, we observe a much larger fraction (≈40%) of quiescent and transitioning hosts atz≲ 0.25, commensurate with galaxy evolution. We find that short GRB hosts populate the star-forming main sequence of normal field galaxies, but do not include as many high-mass galaxies as the general galaxy population, implying that their binary neutron star (BNS) merger progenitors are dependent on a combination of host star formation and stellar mass. The distribution of ages and redshifts implies a broad delay-time distribution, with a fast-merging channel atz> 1 and a decreased neutron star binary formation efficiency from high to low redshifts. If short GRB hosts are representative of BNS merger hosts within the horizon of current gravitational wave detectors, these results can inform future searches for electromagnetic counterparts. All of the data and modeling products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-ray burst Host Traits website.

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