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  1. The Breakthrough Starshot Initiative aims to send a gram-scale probe to our nearest extrasolar neighbors using a laser-accelerated lightsail traveling at relativistic speeds. Thermal management is a key lightsail design objective because of the intense laser powers required but has generally been considered secondary to accelerative performance. Here, we demonstrate nanophotonic photonic crystal slab reflectors composed of 2H-phase molybdenum disulfide and crystalline silicon nitride, highlight the inverse relationship between the thermal band extinction coefficient and the lightsail’s maximum temperature, and examine the trade-off between minimizing acceleration distance and setting realistic sail thermal limits, ultimately realizing a thermally endurable acceleration minimum distance of 23.3 Gm. We additionally demonstrate multiscale photonic structures featuring thermal-wavelength-scale Mie resonant geometries and characterize their broadband Mie resonance-driven emissivity enhancement and acceleration distance reduction. More broadly, our results highlight new possibilities for simultaneously controlling optical and thermal response over broad wavelength ranges in ultralight nanophotonic structures.
  2. Abstract

    We report on the discovery by the Zwicky Transient Facility of an asteroid orbiting entirely within the orbit of Venus, the first known example of this orbital class. The asteroid's perihelion is closer to the Sun than the aphelion of Mercury, and its diameter is estimated at about 1.8 km assuming an albedo of 0.2. The object was first observed on 2020 January 4 in four exposures obtained 7 minutes apart during an evening twilight survey. Its IAU-recognized designation is 594913 ‘Ayló’chaxnim.

  3. A core collapse supernova occurs when exothermic fusion ceases in the core of a massive star, which is typically caused by exhaustion of nuclear fuel. Theory predicts that fusion could be interrupted earlier by merging of the star with a compact binary companion. We report a luminous radio transient, VT J121001+495647, found in the Very Large Array Sky Survey. The radio emission is consistent with supernova ejecta colliding with a dense shell of material, potentially ejected by binary interaction in the centuries before explosion. We associate the supernova with an archival x-ray transient, which implies that a relativistic jet was launched during the explosion. The combination of an early relativistic jet and late-time dense interaction is consistent with expectations for a merger-driven explosion.
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  5. 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 by 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 scenariomore »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

    Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) in the nearby Hubble flow are excellent distance indicators in cosmology. The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) has observed a large sample of SNe from an untargeted, rolling survey, reaching 20.8, 20.6, and 20.3 mag in g r, and i band, respectively. With an FoV of 47 deg2, ZTF discovered > 3000 SNe Ia in a little over 2.5 yr. Here, we report on the sample of 761 spectroscopically classified SNe Ia from the first year of operations (DR1). The sample has a median redshift $\bar{z} =$ 0.057, nearly a factor of 2 higher than the current low-z sample. Our sample has a total of 934 spectra, of which 632 were obtained with the robotic SEDm on Palomar P60. We assess the potential for precision cosmology for a total of 305 SNe with redshifts from host galaxy spectra. The sample is already comparable in size to the entire combined literature low-z anchor sample. The median first detection is 13.5 d before maximum light, about 10 d earlier than the median in the literature. Furthermore, six SNe from our sample are at DL < 80 Mpc, for which host galaxy distances can be obtained in the JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE era, suchmore »that we have calibrator and Hubble flow SNe observed with the same instrument. In the entire duration of ZTF-I, we have observed nearly 50 SNe for which we can obtain calibrator distances, key for per cent level distance scale measurements.

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