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  1. Abstract

    We present photometric and spectroscopic observations of the nearby (D≈ 28 Mpc) interacting supernova (SN) 2019esa, discovered within hours of explosion and serendipitously observed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Early, high-cadence light curves from both TESS and the DLT40 survey tightly constrain the time of explosion, and show a 30 day rise to maximum light followed by a near-constant linear decline in luminosity. Optical spectroscopy over the first 40 days revealed a reddened object with narrow Balmer emission lines seen in Type IIn SNe. The slow rise to maximum in the optical light curve combined with the lack of broad Hαemission suggest the presence of very optically thick and close circumstellar material (CSM) that quickly decelerated the SN ejecta. This CSM was likely created from a massive star progenitor with anṀ∼ 0.2Myr−1lost in a previous eruptive episode 3–4 yr before eruption, similar to giant eruptions of luminous blue variable stars. At late times, strong intermediate-width Caii, Fei, and Feiilines are seen in the optical spectra, identical to those seen in the superluminous interacting SN 2006gy. The strong CSM interaction masks the underlying explosion mechanism in SN 2019esa, but the combination of the luminosity,more »strength of the Hαlines, and mass-loss rate of the progenitor seem to be inconsistent with a Type Ia CSM model and instead point to a core-collapse origin.

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  2. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive analysis of 653 optical candidate counterparts reported during the third gravitational-wave (GW) observing run. Our sample concentrates on candidates from the 15 events (published in GWTC-2, GWTC-3, or not retracted on GraceDB) that had a >1% chance of including a neutron star in order to assess their viability as true kilonovae. In particular, we leverage tools available in real time, including pre-merger detections and cross-matching with catalogs (i.e., point-source, variable-star, quasar and host-galaxy redshift data sets), to eliminate 65% of candidates in our sample. We further employ spectroscopic classifications, late-time detections, and light-curve behavior analyses and conclude that 66 candidates remain viable kilonovae. These candidates lack sufficient information to determine their classifications, and the majority would require luminosities greater than that of AT 2017gfo. Pre-merger detections in public photometric survey data and comparison of cataloged host-galaxy redshifts with the GW event distances are critical to incorporate into vetting procedures, as these tools eliminated >20% and >30% of candidates, respectively. We expect that such tools that leverage archival information will significantly reduce the strain on spectroscopic and photometric follow-up resources in future observing runs. Finally, we discuss the critical role prompt updates from GW astronomers tomore »the EM community play in reducing the number of candidates requiring vetting.

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  3. Abstract We present deep Chandra X-ray observations of two nearby Type Ia supernovae, SN 2017cbv and SN 2020nlb, which reveal no X-ray emission down to a luminosity L X ≲ 5.3 × 10 37 and ≲ 5.4 × 10 37 erg s −1 (0.3–10 keV), respectively, at ∼16–18 days after the explosion. With these limits, we constrain the pre-explosion mass-loss rate of the progenitor system to be M ̇ < 7.2 × 10 −9 and < 9.7 × 10 −9 M ⊙ yr −1 for each (at a wind velocity v w = 100 km s −1 and a radius of R ≈ 10 16 cm), assuming any X-ray emission would originate from inverse Compton emission from optical photons upscattered by the supernova shock. If the supernova environment was a constant-density medium, we would find a number density limit of n CSM < 36 and < 65 cm −3 , respectively. These X-ray limits rule out all plausible symbiotic progenitor systems, as well as large swathes of parameter space associated with the single degenerate scenario, such as mass loss at the outer Lagrange point and accretion winds. We also present late-time optical spectroscopy of SN 2020nlb, and set strong limitsmore »on any swept up hydrogen ( L H α < 2.7 × 10 37 erg s −1 ) and helium ( L He, λ 6678 < 2.7 × 10 37 erg s −1 ) from a nondegenerate companion, corresponding to M H ≲ 0.7–2 × 10 −3 M ⊙ and M He ≲ 4 × 10 −3 M ⊙ . Radio observations of SN 2020nlb at 14.6 days after explosion also yield a non-detection, ruling out most plausible symbiotic progenitor systems. While we have doubled the sample of normal Type Ia supernovae with deep X-ray limits, more observations are needed to sample the full range of luminosities and subtypes of these explosions, and set statistical constraints on their circumbinary environments.« less
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  5. We present the results of our monitoring campaigns of the luminous red novae (LRNe) AT 2020hat in NGC 5068 and AT 2020kog in NGC 6106. The two objects were imaged (and detected) before their discovery by routine survey operations. They show a general trend of slow luminosity rise, lasting at least a few months. The subsequent major LRN outbursts were extensively followed in photometry and spectroscopy. The light curves present an initial short-duration peak, followed by a redder plateau phase. AT 2020kog is a moderately luminous event peaking at ∼7 × 10 40 erg s −1 , while AT 2020hat is almost one order of magnitude fainter than AT 2020kog, although it is still more luminous than V838 Mon. In analogy with other LRNe, the spectra of AT 2020kog change significantly with time. They resemble those of type IIn supernovae at early phases, then they become similar to those of K-type stars during the plateau, and to M-type stars at very late phases. In contrast, AT 2020hat already shows a redder continuum at early epochs, and its spectrum shows the late appearance of molecular bands. A moderate-resolution spectrum of AT 2020hat taken at +37 d after maximum shows a forest of narrowmore »P Cygni lines of metals with velocities of 180 km s −1 , along with an H α emission with a full-width at half-maximum velocity of 250 km s −1 . For AT 2020hat, a robust constraint on its quiescent progenitor is provided by archival images of the Hubble Space Telescope. The progenitor is clearly detected as a mid-K type star, with an absolute magnitude of M F 606 W  = −3.33 ± 0.09 mag and a colour of F 606 W  −  F 814 W  = 1.14 ± 0.05 mag, which are inconsistent with the expectations from a massive star that could later produce a core-collapse supernova. Although quite peculiar, the two objects nicely match the progenitor versus light curve absolute magnitude correlations discussed in the literature.« less
  6. 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 counterpart 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.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023