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  1. Abstract

    The fate of stars in the zero-age main-sequence (ZAMS) range ≈8–12Mis unclear. They could evolve to form white dwarfs or explode as electron-capture supernovae (SNe) or iron core-collapse SNe (CCSNe). Even though the initial mass function indicates that this mass range should account for over 40% of all CCSN progenitors, few have been observationally confirmed, likely due to the faintness and rapid evolution of some of these transients. In this paper, we present a sample of nine Ca-rich/O-poor Type IIb SNe detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility with progenitors likely in this mass range. These sources have a [Caii]λλ7291, 7324/[Oi]λλ6300, 6364 flux ratio of ≳2 in their nebular spectra. Comparing the measured [Oi] luminosity (≲1039erg s−1) and derived oxygen mass (≈0.01M) with theoretical models, we infer that the progenitor ZAMS mass for these explosions is less than 12M. The ejecta properties (Mej≲ 1MandEkin∼ 1050erg) are also consistent. The low ejecta mass of these sources indicates a class of strongly-stripped SNe that is a transition between the regular stripped-envelope SNe and ultra-stripped SNe. The progenitor could be stripped by a main-sequence companion and result in the formation of a neutron star−main sequence binary. Such binaries have been suggested to be progenitors of neutron star−white dwarf systems that could merge within a Hubble time and be detectable with LISA.

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  2. Abstract

    We conduct a systematic tidal disruption event (TDE) demographics analysis using the largest sample of optically selected TDEs. A flux-limited, spectroscopically complete sample of 33 TDEs is constructed using the Zwicky Transient Facility over 3 yr (from 2018 October to 2021 September). We infer the black hole (BH) mass (MBH) with host galaxy scaling relations, showing that the sampleMBHranges from 105.1Mto 108.2M. We developed a survey efficiency corrected maximum volume method to infer the rates. The rest-frameg-band luminosity function can be well described by a broken power law ofϕ(Lg)Lg/Lbk0.3+Lg/Lbk2.61, withLbk= 1043.1erg s−1. In the BH mass regime of 105.3≲ (MBH/M) ≲ 107.3, the TDE mass function followsϕ(MBH)MBH0.25, which favors a flat local BH mass function (dnBH/dlogMBHconstant). We confirm the significant rate suppression at the high-mass end (MBH≳ 107.5M), which is consistent with theoretical predictions considering direct capture of hydrogen-burning stars by the event horizon. At a host galaxy mass ofMgal∼ 1010M, the average optical TDE rate is ≈3.2 × 10−5galaxy−1yr−1. We constrain the optical TDE rate to be [3.7, 7.4, and 1.6] × 10−5galaxy−1yr−1in galaxies with red, green, and blue colors.

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  3. Abstract

    We report the discovery of ZTF J0127+5258, a compact mass-transferring binary with an orbital period of 13.7 minutes. The system contains a white dwarf accretor, which likely originated as a post–common envelope carbon–oxygen (CO) white dwarf, and a warm donor (Teff,donor= 16,400 ± 1000 K). The donor probably formed during a common envelope phase between the CO white dwarf and an evolving giant that left behind a helium star or white dwarf in a close orbit with the CO white dwarf. We measure gravitational wave–driven orbital inspiral with ∼51σsignificance, which yields a joint constraint on the component masses and mass transfer rate. While the accretion disk in the system is dominated by ionized helium emission, the donor exhibits a mixture of hydrogen and helium absorption lines. Phase-resolved spectroscopy yields a donor radial velocity semiamplitude of 771 ± 27 km s−1, and high-speed photometry reveals that the system is eclipsing. We detect a Chandra X-ray counterpart withLX∼ 3 × 1031erg s−1. Depending on the mass transfer rate, the system will likely either evolve into a stably mass-transferring helium cataclysmic variable, merge to become an R CrB star, or explode as a Type Ia supernova in the next million years. We predict that the Laser Space Interferometer Antenna (LISA) will detect the source with a signal-to-noise ratio of 24 ± 6 after 4 yr of observations. The system is the first LISA-loud mass-transferring binary with an intrinsically luminous donor, a class of sources that provide the opportunity to leverage the synergy between optical and infrared time domain surveys, X-ray facilities, and gravitational-wave observatories to probe general relativity, accretion physics, and binary evolution.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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. 
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  6. Abstract Dirty fireballs are a hypothesized class of relativistic massive-star explosions with an initial Lorentz factor Γ init below the Γ init ∼ 100 required to produce a long-duration gamma-ray burst (LGRB), but which could still produce optical emission resembling LGRB afterglows. Here we present the results of a search for on-axis optical afterglows using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Our search yielded seven optical transients that resemble on-axis LGRB afterglows in terms of their red colors ( g − r > 0 mag), faint host galaxies ( r > 23 mag), rapid fading ( dr / dt > 1 mag day −1 ), and in some cases X-ray and radio emission. Spectroscopy of the transient emission within a few days of discovery established cosmological distances (redshift z = 0.876 to 2.9) for six of the seven events, tripling the number of afterglows with redshift measurements discovered by optical surveys without a γ -ray trigger. A likely associated LGRB (GRB 200524A, GRB 210204A, GRB 210212B, and GRB 210610B) was identified for four events (ZTF 20abbiixp/AT 2020kym, ZTF 21aagwbjr/AT 2021buv, ZTF 21aakruew/AT 2021cwd, and ZTF 21abfmpwn/AT 2021qbd) post facto, while three (ZTF 20aajnksq/AT 2020blt, ZTF 21aaeyldq/AT 2021any, and ZTF 21aayokph/AT 2021lfa) had no detected LGRB counterpart. The simplest explanation for the three “orphan” events is that they were regular LGRBs missed by high-energy satellites owing to detector sensitivity and duty cycle, although it is possible that they were intrinsically subluminous in γ -rays or viewed slightly off-axis. We rule out a scenario in which dirty fireballs have a similar energy per solid angle to LGRBs and are an order of magnitude more common. In addition, we set the first direct constraint on the ratio of the opening angles of the material producing γ -rays and the material producing early optical afterglow emission, finding that they must be comparable. 
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  7. Abstract

    We present a search for extragalactic fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) during Phase I of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). We identify 38 candidates with durations above half-maximum light 1 day <t1/2< 12 days, of which 28 have blue (gr≲ −0.2 mag) colors at peak light. Of the 38 transients (28 FBOTs), 19 (13) can be spectroscopically classified as core-collapse supernovae (SNe): 11 (8) H- or He-rich (Type II/IIb/Ib) SNe, 6 (4) interacting (Type IIn/Ibn) SNe, and 2 (1) H&He-poor (Type Ic/Ic-BL) SNe. Two FBOTs (published previously) had predominantly featureless spectra and luminous radio emission: AT2018lug (The Koala) and AT2020xnd (The Camel). Seven (five) did not have a definitive classification: AT 2020bdh showed tentative broad Hαin emission, and AT 2020bot showed unidentified broad features and was 10 kpc offset from the center of an early-type galaxy. Ten (eight) have no spectroscopic observations or redshift measurements. We present multiwavelength (radio, millimeter, and/or X-ray) observations for five FBOTs (three Type Ibn, one Type IIn/Ibn, one Type IIb). Additionally, we search radio-survey (VLA and ASKAP) data to set limits on the presence of radio emission for 24 of the transients. All X-ray and radio observations resulted in nondetections; we rule out AT2018cow-like X-ray and radio behavior for five FBOTs and more luminous emission (such as that seen in the Camel) for four additional FBOTs. We conclude that exotic transients similar to AT2018cow, the Koala, and the Camel represent a rare subset of FBOTs and use ZTF’s SN classification experiments to measure the rate to be at most 0.1% of the local core-collapse SN rate.

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  8. null (Ed.)

    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, such 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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