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    We report the discovery of six new magnetar counterpart candidates from deep near-infrared Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging. The new candidates are among a sample of 19 magnetars for which we present HST data obtained between 2018 and 2020. We confirm the variability of previously established near-infrared counterparts, and newly identify candidates for PSR J1622−4950, Swift J1822.3−1606, CXOU J171405.7−381031, Swift J1833−0832, Swift J1834.9−0846, and AX J1818.8−1559 based on their proximity to X-ray localizations. The new candidates are compared with the existing counterpart population in terms of their colours, magnitudes, and near-infrared to X-ray spectral indices. We find two candidates for AX J1818 that are both consistent with previously established counterparts. The other new candidates are likely to be chance alignments, or otherwise have a different origin for their near-infrared emission not previously seen in magnetar counterparts. Further observations and studies of these candidates are needed to firmly establish their nature.

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    It is well established that magnetars are neutron stars with extreme magnetic fields and young ages, but the evolutionary pathways to their creation are still uncertain. Since most massive stars are in binaries, if magnetars are a frequent result of core-collapse supernovae, some fractions are expected to have a bound companion at the time of observation. In this paper, we utilize literature constraints, including deep Hubble Space Telescope imaging, to search for bound stellar companions to magnetars. The magnitude and colour measurements are interpreted in the context of binary population synthesis predictions. We find two candidates for stellar companions associated with CXOU J171405.7–381031 and SGR 0755–2933, based on their J–H colours and H-band absolute magnitudes. Overall, the proportion of the Galactic magnetar population with a plausibly stellar near-infrared (NIR) counterpart candidate, based on their magnitudes and colours, is between 5 and 10 per cent. This is consistent with a population synthesis prediction of 5 per cent, for the fraction of core-collapse neutron stars arising from primaries that remain bound to their companion after the supernova. These results are therefore consistent with magnetars being drawn in an unbiased way from the natal core-collapse neutron star population, but some contribution from alternative progenitor channels cannot be ruled out.

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  3. Abstract A thermonuclear explosion triggered by a He-shell detonation on a carbon–oxygen white-dwarf core has been predicted to have strong UV line blanketing at early times due to the iron-group elements produced during He-shell burning. We present the photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2016dsg, a subluminous peculiar Type I supernova consistent with a thermonuclear explosion involving a thick He shell. With a redshift of 0.04, the i -band peak absolute magnitude is derived to be around −17.5. The object is located far away from its host, an early-type galaxy, suggesting it originated from an old stellar population. The spectra collected after the peak are unusually red, show strong UV line blanketing and weak O i λ 7773 absorption lines, and do not evolve significantly over 30 days. An absorption line around 9700–10500 Å is detected in the near-infrared spectrum and is likely from the unburnt He in the ejecta. The spectroscopic evolution is consistent with the thermonuclear explosion models for a sub-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf with a thick He shell, while the photometric evolution is not well described by existing models. 
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  4. Abstract

    We present optical and near-infrared photometric and spectroscopic observations of the fast-declining Type Ia supernova (SN) 2015bo. SN 2015bo is underluminous (MB= −17.50 ± 0.15 mag) and has a fast-evolving light curve (Δm15(B) = 1.91 ± 0.01 mag andsBV= 0.48 ± 0.01). It has a unique morphology in the observedVrcolor curve, where it is bluer than all other supernovae (SNe) in the comparison sample. A56Ni mass of 0.17 ± 0.03Mwas derived from the peak bolometric luminosity, which is consistent with its location on the luminosity–width relation. Spectroscopically, SN 2015bo is a cool SN in the Branch classification scheme. The velocity evolution measured from spectral features is consistent with 1991bg-like SNe. SN 2015bo has a SN twin (similar spectra)andsibling (same host galaxy), SN 1997cn. Distance moduli ofμ= 34.33 ± 0.01 (stat) ±0.11 (sys) mag andμ= 34.34 ± 0.04 (stat) ± 0.12 (sys) mag are derived for SN 2015bo and SN 1997cn, respectively. These distances are consistent at the 0.06σlevel with each other, and they are also consistent with distances derived using surface-brightness fluctuations and redshift-corrected cosmology. This suggests that fast-declining SNe could be accurate distance indicators, which should not be excluded from future cosmological analyses.

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  8. Abstract The number of long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) known to have occurred in the distant Universe (z > 5) is small (∼15); however, these events provide a powerful way of probing star formation at the onset of galaxy evolution. In this paper, we present the case for GRB 100205A being a largely overlooked high-redshift event. While initially noted as a high-z candidate, this event and its host galaxy have not been explored in detail. By combining optical and near-infrared Gemini afterglow imaging (at t < 1.3 d since burst) with deep late-time limits on host emission from the Hubble Space Telescope, we show that the most likely scenario is that GRB 100205A arose in the range 4 < z < 8. GRB 100205A is an example of a burst whose afterglow, even at ∼1 h post burst, could only be identified by 8-m class IR observations, and suggests that such observations of all optically dark bursts may be necessary to significantly enhance the number of high-redshift GRBs known. 
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  9. Aims . We present a comprehensive dataset of optical and near-infrared photometry and spectroscopy of type Ia supernova (SN) 2016hnk, combined with integral field spectroscopy (IFS) of its host galaxy, MCG -01-06-070, and nearby environment. Our goal with this complete dataset is to understand the nature of this peculiar object. Methods . Properties of the SN local environment are characterized by means of single stellar population synthesis applied to IFS observations taken two years after the SN exploded. We performed detailed analyses of SN photometric data by studying its peculiar light and color curves. SN 2016hnk spectra were compared to other 1991bg-like SNe Ia, 2002es-like SNe Ia, and Ca-rich transients. In addition, we used abundance stratification modeling to identify the various spectral features in the early phase spectral sequence and also compared the dataset to a modified non-LTE model previously produced for the sublumnious SN 1999by. Results . SN 2016hnk is consistent with being a subluminous ( M B  = −16.7 mag, s B V =0.43 ± 0.03), highly reddened object. The IFS of its host galaxy reveals both a significant amount of dust at the SN location, residual star formation, and a high proportion of old stellar populations in the local environment compared to other locations in the galaxy, which favors an old progenitor for SN 2016hnk. Inspection of a nebular spectrum obtained one year after maximum contains two narrow emission lines attributed to the forbidden [Ca  II ] λ λ 7291,7324 doublet with a Doppler shift of 700 km s −1 . Based on various observational diagnostics, we argue that the progenitor of SN 2016hnk was likely a near Chandrasekhar-mass ( M Ch ) carbon-oxygen white dwarf that produced 0.108 M ⊙ of 56 Ni. Our modeling suggests that the narrow [Ca  II ] features observed in the nebular spectrum are associated with 48 Ca from electron capture during the explosion, which is expected to occur only in white dwarfs that explode near or at the M Ch limit. 
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