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  1. Abstract

    Microlensing events have historically been discovered throughout the Galactic bulge and plane by surveys designed solely for that purpose. We conduct the first multiyear search for microlensing events on the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), an all-sky optical synoptic survey that observes the entire visible northern sky every few nights. We discover 60 high-quality microlensing events in the 3 yr of ZTF-I using the bulk lightcurves in the ZTF Public Data Release 5.19 of our events are found outside of the Galactic plane (∣b∣ ≥ 10°), nearly doubling the number of previously discovered events in the stellar halo from surveys pointed toward the Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda galaxy. We also record 1558 ongoing candidate events as potential microlensing that can continue to be observed by ZTF-II for identification. The scalable and computationally efficient methods developed in this work can be applied to future synoptic surveys, such as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, as they attempt to find microlensing events in even larger and deeper data sets.

     
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  2. Abstract Jupiter-family comet (JFC) P/2021 HS (PANSTARRS) only exhibits a coma within a few weeks of its perihelion passage at 0.8 au, which is atypical for a comet. Here we present an investigation into the underlying cause using serendipitous survey detections and targeted observations. We find that the detection of the activity is caused by an extremely faint coma being enhanced by the forward scattering effect owing to the comet reaching a phase angle of ∼140°. The coma morphology is consistent with sustained, sublimation-driven activity produced by a small active area, ∼700 m 2 , one of the smallest values ever measured on a comet. The phase function of the nucleus shows a phase coefficient of 0.035 ± 0.002 mag deg −1 , implying an absolute magnitude of H = 18.31 ± 0.04 and a phase slope of G = − 0.13, with color consistent with typical JFC nuclei. Thermal observations suggest a nucleus diameter of 0.6–1.1 km, implying an optical albedo of 0.04–0.23, which is higher than typical cometary nuclei. An unsuccessful search for dust trail and meteor activity confirms minimal dust deposit along the orbit, totaling ≲10 8 kg. As P/2021 HS is dynamically unstable, similar to typical JFCs, we speculate that it has an origin in the trans-Neptunian region and that its extreme depletion of volatiles is caused by a large number of previous passages to the inner solar system. The dramatic discovery of the cometary nature of P/2021 HS highlights the challenges of detecting comets with extremely low activity levels. Observations at high phase angle, where forward scattering is pronounced, will help identify such comets. 
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  3. 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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  4. Abstract

    SN 1987A was an unusual hydrogen-rich core-collapse supernova originating from a blue supergiant star. Similar blue supergiant explosions remain a small family of events, and are broadly characterized by their long rises to peak. The Zwicky Transient Facility Census of the Local Universe (CLU) experiment aims to construct a spectroscopically complete sample of transients occurring in galaxies from the CLU galaxy catalog. We identify 13 long-rising (>40 days) Type II supernovae from the volume-limited CLU experiment during a 3.5 yr period from 2018 June to 2021 December, approximately doubling the previously known number of these events. We present photometric and spectroscopic data of these 13 events, finding peakr-band absolute magnitudes ranging from −15.6 to −17.5 mag and the tentative detection of Baiilines in nine events. Using our CLU sample of events, we derive a long-rising Type II supernova rate of1.370.30+0.26×106Mpc−3yr−1, ≈1.4% of the total core-collapse supernova rate. This is the first volumetric rate of these events estimated from a large, systematic, volume-limited experiment.

     
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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

    One of the open questions following the discovery of GW170817 is whether neutron star (NS) mergers are the only astrophysical sites capable of producingr-process elements. Simulations have shown that 0.01–0.1Mofr-process material could be generated in the outflows originating from the accretion disk surrounding the rapidly rotating black hole that forms as a remnant to both NS mergers and collapsing massive stars associated with long-duration gamma-ray bursts (collapsars). The hallmark signature ofr-process nucleosynthesis in the binary NS merger GW170817 was its long-lasting near-infrared (NIR) emission, thus motivating a systematic photometric study of the light curves of broad-lined stripped-envelope (Ic-BL) supernovae (SNe) associated with collapsars. We present the first systematic study of 25 SNe Ic-BL—including 18 observed with the Zwicky Transient Facility and 7 from the literature—in the optical/NIR bands to determine what quantity ofr-process material, if any, is synthesized in these explosions. Using semi-analytic models designed to account forr-process production in SNe Ic-BL, we perform light curve fitting to derive constraints on ther-process mass for these SNe. We also perform independent light curve fits to models without ther-process. We find that ther-process-free models are a better fit to the light curves of the objects in our sample. Thus, we find no compelling evidence ofr-process enrichment in any of our objects. Further high-cadence infrared photometric studies and nebular spectroscopic analysis would be sensitive to smaller quantities ofr-process ejecta mass or indicate whether all collapsars are completely devoid ofr-process nucleosynthesis.

     
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  7. Abstract Modern surveys of gravitational microlensing events have progressed to detecting thousands per year, and surveys are capable of probing Galactic structure, stellar evolution, lens populations, black hole physics, and the nature of dark matter. One of the key avenues for doing this is the microlensing Einstein radius crossing time ( t E ) distribution. However, systematics in individual light curves as well as oversimplistic modeling can lead to biased results. To address this, we developed a model to simultaneously handle the microlensing parallax due to Earth's motion, systematic instrumental effects, and unlensed stellar variability with a Gaussian process model. We used light curves for nearly 10,000 OGLE-III and -IV Milky Way bulge microlensing events and fit each with our model. We also developed a forward model approach to infer the t E distribution by forward modeling from the data rather than using point estimates from individual events. We find that modeling the variability in the baseline removes a source of significant bias in individual events, and the previous analyses overestimated the number of t E > 100 day events due to their oversimplistic model ignoring parallax effects. We use our fits to identify the hundreds filling a regime in the microlensing parameter space that are 50% pure of black holes. Finally, we have released the largest-ever catalog of Markov Chain Monte Carlo parameter estimates for microlensing events. 
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  8. Abstract Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are thermonuclear explosions of degenerate white dwarf stars destabilized by mass accretion from a companion star 1 , but the nature of their progenitors remains poorly understood. A way to discriminate between progenitor systems is through radio observations; a non-degenerate companion star is expected to lose material through winds 2 or binary interaction 3 before explosion, and the supernova ejecta crashing into this nearby circumstellar material should result in radio synchrotron emission. However, despite extensive efforts, no type Ia supernova (SN Ia) has ever been detected at radio wavelengths, which suggests a clean environment and a companion star that is itself a degenerate white dwarf star 4,5 . Here we report on the study of SN 2020eyj, a SN Ia showing helium-rich circumstellar material, as demonstrated by its spectral features, infrared emission and, for the first time in a SN Ia to our knowledge, a radio counterpart. On the basis of our modelling, we conclude that the circumstellar material probably originates from a single-degenerate binary system in which a white dwarf accretes material from a helium donor star, an often proposed formation channel for SNe Ia (refs.  6,7 ). We describe how comprehensive radio follow-up of SN 2020eyj-like SNe Ia can improve the constraints on their progenitor systems. 
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  9. 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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  10. Abstract Tidal disruption events (TDEs) offer a unique way to study dormant black holes. While the number of observed TDEs has grown thanks to the emergence of wide-field surveys in the past few decades, questions regarding the nature of the observed optical, UV, and X-ray emission remain. We present a uniformly selected sample of 30 spectroscopically classified TDEs from the Zwicky Transient Facility Phase I survey operations with follow-up Swift UV and X-ray observations. Through our investigation into correlations between light-curve properties, we recover a shallow positive correlation between the peak bolometric luminosity and decay timescales. We introduce a new spectroscopic class of TDE, TDE-featureless, which are characterized by featureless optical spectra. The new TDE-featureless class shows larger peak bolometric luminosities, peak blackbody temperatures, and peak blackbody radii. We examine the differences between the X-ray bright and X-ray faint populations of TDEs in this sample, finding that X-ray bright TDEs show higher peak blackbody luminosities than the X-ray faint subsample. This sample of optically selected TDEs is the largest sample of TDEs from a single survey yet, and the systematic discovery, classification, and follow-up of this sample allows for robust characterization of TDE properties, an important stepping stone looking forward toward the Rubin era. 
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