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  1. Abstract

    Transient low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) are discovered largely by X-ray and gamma-ray all-sky monitors. The X-ray outburst is also accompanied by an optical brightening, which empirically can precede the detection of X-rays. Newly sensitive optical synoptic surveys may offer a complementary pathway for discovery and potential for insight into the initial onset and propagation of the thermal instability that leads to the ionization of the accretion disk. We use the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) alert stream to perform a comprehensive search at optical wavelengths for previously undiscovered outbursting LMXBs. Our pipeline first crossmatches the positions of the alerts to cataloged X-ray sources, and then analyzes the 30 day lightcurve of matched alerts by thresholding on differences with an 8 day exponentially weighted moving average. In addition to a 19 month long live search, we ran our pipeline over 4 yr of ZTF archival data, recovering four known LMXBs. We also independently detected an outburst of MAXI J1957+032 in the live search and found the first outburst of Swift J1943.4+0228, an unclassified X-ray transient, in 10 yr. Using Monte Carlo simulations of the Galactic LMXB population, we estimate that 29% of outbursting LMXBs are detectable by ZTF and that 4.4% of LMXBs would be present in the crossmatched X-ray catalogs, giving an estimated Galactic population of33901930+3980. We estimate that our current pipeline can detect 1.3% of all outbursting LMXBs, including those previously unknown, but that Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time will be able to detect 43% of outbursting LMXBs.

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    Cataclysmic variables (CVs) that have evolved past the period minimum during their lifetimes are predicted to be systems with a brown dwarf donor. While population synthesis models predict that around 40–70 per cent of the Galactic CVs are post-period minimum systems referred to as ‘period bouncers’, only a few dozen confirmed systems are known. We report the study and characterization of a new eclipsing CV, SRGeJ041130.3+685350 (SRGeJ0411), discovered from a joint SRG/eROSITA and ZTF programme. The optical spectrum of SRGeJ0411 shows prominent hydrogen and helium emission lines, typical for CVs. We obtained optical high-speed photometry to confirm the eclipse of SRGeJ0411 and determine the orbital period to be Porb ≈ 97.530 min. The spectral energy distribution suggests that the donor has an effective temperature of ≲ 1800 K. We constrain the donor mass with the period–density relationship for Roche lobe-filling stars and find that Mdonor ≲ 0.04 M⊙. The binary parameters are consistent with evolutionary models for post-period minimum CVs, suggesting that SRGeJ0411 is a new period bouncer. The optical emission lines of SRGeJ0411 are single-peaked despite the system being eclipsing, which is typically only seen due to stream-fed accretion in polars. X-ray spectroscopy hints that the white dwarf in SRGeJ0411 could be magnetic, but verifying the magnetic nature of SRGeJ0411 requires further investigation. The lack of optical outbursts has made SRGeJ0411 elusive in previous surveys, and joint X-ray and optical surveys highlight the potential for discovering similar systems in the near future.

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  3. Abstract

    SX Phoenicis (SXP) variables are short-period pulsating stars that exhibit a period–luminosity (PL) relation. We derived thegri-band PL and extinction-free period–Wesenheit (PW) relations, as well as the period-color and reddening-free period-Q-index relations for 47 SXP stars located in 21 globular clusters, using the optical light curves taken from Zwicky Transient Facility. These empirical relations were derived for the first time in thegrifilters except for theg-band PL relation. We used ourgi-band PL and PW relations to derive a distance modulus to Crater II dwarf spheroidal which hosts one SXP variable. Assuming that the fundamental and first-overtone pulsation mode for the SXP variable in Crater II, we found distance moduli of 20.03 ± 0.23 mag and 20.37 ± 0.24 mag, respectively, using the PW relation, where the latter is in excellent agreement with independent RR Lyrae based distance to Crater II dwarf galaxy.

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  4. Abstract We present the first gri -band period–luminosity (PL) and period–Wesenheit (PW) relations for 37 Type II Cepheids (TIICs) located in 18 globular clusters based on photometric data from the Zwicky Transient Facility. We also updated BVIJHK -band absolute magnitudes for 58 TIICs in 24 globular clusters using the latest homogeneous distances to the globular clusters. The slopes of g / r / i - and B / V / I -band PL relations are found to be statistically consistent when using the same sample of distance and reddening. We employed the calibration of ri -band PL/PW relations in globular clusters to estimate a distance to M31 based on a sample of ∼270 TIICs from the PAndromeda project. The distance modulus to M31, obtained using calibrated ri -band PW relation, agrees well with the recent determination based on classical Cepheids. However, distance moduli derived using the calibrated r - and i -band PL relations are systematically smaller by ∼0.2 mag, suggesting there are possible additional systematic errors on the PL relations. Finally, we also derive the period–color (PC) relations and for the first time the period–Q-index (PQ) relations, where the Q -index is reddening free, for our sample of TIICs. The PC relations based on ( r − i ) and near-infrared colors and the PQ relations are found to be relatively independent of the pulsation periods. 
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  5. 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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  6. Abstract

    We present the first absolute calibration for the yellow post-asymptotic-giant-branch (PAGB) stars in thegandrband based on time-series observations from the Zwicky Transient Facility. These absolute magnitudes were calibrated using four yellow PAGB stars (one nonvarying star and three Type II Cepheids) located in the globular clusters. We provide two calibrations of thegr-band absolute magnitudes for the yellow PAGB stars, by using an arithmetic mean and a linear regression. We demonstrate that the linear regression provides a better fit to theg-band absolute magnitudes for the yellow PAGB stars. These calibratedgr-band absolute magnitudes have a potential to be used as Population II distance indicators in the era of time-domain synoptic sky surveys.

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  7. 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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  8. Abstract The current Cepheid-calibrated distance ladder measurement of H 0 is reported to be in tension with the values inferred from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), assuming standard cosmology. However, some tip of the red giant branch (TRGB) estimates report H 0 in better agreement with the CMB. Hence, it is critical to reduce systematic uncertainties in local measurements to understand the Hubble tension. In this paper, we propose a uniform distance ladder between the second and third rungs, combining Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) observed by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) with a TRGB calibration of their absolute luminosity. A large, volume-limited sample of both calibrator and Hubble flow SNe Ia from the same survey minimizes two of the largest sources of systematics: host-galaxy bias and nonuniform photometric calibration. We present results from a pilot study using the existing TRGB distance to the host galaxy of ZTF SN Ia SN 2021rhu (aka ZTF21abiuvdk) in NGC7814. Combining the ZTF calibrator with a volume-limited sample from the first data release of ZTF Hubble flow SNe Ia, we infer H 0 = 76.94 ± 6.4 km s −1 Mpc −1 , an 8.3% measurement. The error budget is dominated by the single object calibrating the SN Ia luminosity in this pilot study. However, the ZTF sample includes already five other SNe Ia within ∼20 Mpc for which TRGB distances can be obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. Finally, we present the prospects of building this distance ladder out to 80 Mpc with James Webb Space Telescope observations of more than 100 ZTF SNe Ia. 
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  9. Abstract

    Luminous red novae (LRNe) are transients characterized by low luminosities and expansion velocities, and they are associated with mergers or common-envelope ejections in stellar binaries. Intermediate-luminosity red transients (ILRTs) are an observationally similar class with unknown origins, but they are generally believed to be either electron-capture supernovae in super-asymptotic giant branch stars or outbursts in dusty luminous blue variables (LBVs). In this paper, we present a systematic sample of eight LRNe and eight ILRTs detected as part of the Census of the Local Universe (CLU) experiment on the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The CLU experiment spectroscopically classifies ZTF transients associated with nearby (<150 Mpc) galaxies, achieving 80% completeness formr< 20 mag. Using the ZTF-CLU sample, we derive the first systematic LRNe volumetric rate of7.83.7+6.5×105Mpc−3yr−1in the luminosity range −16 ≤Mr≤ −11 mag. We find that, in this luminosity range, the LRN rate scales asdN/dLL2.5±0.3—significantly steeper than the previously derived scaling ofL−1.4±0.3for lower-luminosity LRNe (MV≥ −10 mag). The steeper power law for LRNe at high luminosities is consistent with the massive merger rates predicted by binary population synthesis models. We find that the rates of the brightest LRNe (Mr≤ −13 mag) are consistent with a significant fraction of them being progenitors of double compact objects that merge within a Hubble time. For ILRTs, we derive a volumetric rate of2.61.4+1.8×106Mpc−3yr−1forMr≤ −13.5 mag, which scales asdN/dLL2.5±0.5. This rate is ∼1%–5% of the local core-collapse supernova rate and is consistent with theoretical ECSN rate estimates.

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  10. null (Ed.)