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Creators/Authors contains: "Mahabal, Ashish A"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  2. In this work, we aimed to derive the gri-band period-luminosity (PL) and period-luminosity-color (PLC) relations for late-type contact binaries, for the first time, located in the globular clusters, using the homogeneous light curves collected by the Zwicky Transient Factory (ZTF). We started with 79 contact binaries in 15 globular clusters, and retained 30 contact binaries in 10 globular clusters that have adequate number of data points in the ZTF light curves and unaffected by blending. Magnitudes at mean and maximum light of these contact binaries were determined using a fourth-order Fourier expansion, while extinction corrections were done using the {\tt Bayerstar2019} 3D reddening map together with adopting the homogeneous distances to their host globular clusters. After removing early-type and "anomaly" contact binaries, our derived gri-band PL and period-Wesenheit (PW) relations exhibit a much larger dispersion with large errors on the fitted coefficients. Nevertheless, the gr-band PL and PW relations based on this small sample of contact binaries in globular clusters were consistent with those based on a larger sample of nearby contact binaries. Good agreements of the PL and PW relations suggested both samples of contact binaries in the local Solar neighborhood and in the distant globular clusters can bemore »combined and used to derive and calibrate the PL, PW and PLC relations. The final derived gr-band PL, PW and PLC relations were much improved than those based on the limited sample of contact binaries in the globular clusters.« less
  3. In a search for eclipsing white dwarfs using the Zwicky Transient Facility lightcurves, we identified a deep eclipsing white dwarf with a dark, substellar companion. The lack of an infrared excess and an orbital period of 10 hours made this a potential exoplanet candidate. We obtained high-speed photometry and radial velocity measurements to characterize the system. The white dwarf has a mass of 0.50±0.02M⊙ and a temperature of 10900±200K. The companion has a mass of 0.059±0.004M⊙ and a small radius of 0.0783±0.0013R⊙. It is one of the smallest transiting brown dwarfs known and likely old, ≳8Gyr. The ZTF discovery efficiency of substellar objects transiting white dwarfs is limited by the number of epochs and as ZTF continues to collect data we expect to find more of these systems. This will allow us to measure period and mass distributions and allows us to understand the formation channels of white dwarfs with substellar companions.
  4. AM CVn systems are a rare type of accreting binary that consists of a white dwarf and a helium-rich, degenerate donor star. Using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), we searched for new AM CVn systems by focusing on blue, outbursting stars. We first selected outbursting stars using the ZTF alerts. We cross-matched the candidates with Gaia and Pan-STARRS catalogs. The initial selection of candidates based on the Gaia BP-RP contains 1751 unknown objects. We used the Pan-STARRS g-r and r-i color in combination with the Gaia color to identify 59 high-priority candidates. We obtained identification spectra of 35 sources, of which 18 are high priority candidates, and discovered 9 new AM CVn systems and one magnetic CV which shows only He-II lines. Using the outburst recurrence time, we estimate the orbital periods which are in the range of 29 to 50 minutes. We conclude that targeted followup of blue, outbursting sources is an efficient method to find new AM CVn systems, and we plan to followup all candidates we identified to systematically study the population of outbursting AM CVn systems.
  5. Using Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) observations, we identify a pair of "sibling" Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), i.e., hosted by the same galaxy at z = 0.0541. They exploded within 200 days from each other at a separation of 0.6″ corresponding to a projected distance of only 0.6 kpc. Performing SALT2 light curve fits to the gri ZTF photometry, we show that for these equally distant "standardizable candles", there is a difference of 2 magnitudes in their rest frame B-band peaks, and the fainter SN has a significantly red SALT2 colour c=0.57± 0.04, while the stretch values x1 of the two SNe are similar, suggesting that the fainter SN is attenuated by dust in the interstellar medium of the host galaxy. We use these measurements to infer the SALT2 colour standardization parameter, β = 3.5 ± 0.3, independent of the underlying cosmology and Malmquist bias. Assuming the colour excess is entirely due to dust, the result differs by 2σ from the average Milky-Way total-to-selective extinction ratio, but is in good agreement with the colour-brightness corrections empirically derived from the most recent SN Ia Hubble-Lemaitre diagram fits. Thus we suggest that SN "siblings", which will increasingly be discovered in the comingmore »years, can be used to probe the validity of the colour and lightcurve shape corrections using in SN Ia cosmology while avoiding important systematic effects in their inference from global multi-parameter fits to inhomogeneous data-sets, and also help constrain the role of interstellar dust in SN Ia cosmology.« less