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  1. We present multiwavelength observations of two gap transients that were followed by the Carnegie Supernova Project-II. The observations are supplemented with data obtained by a number of different programs. Here in the first of two papers, we focus on the intermediate-luminosity red transient (ILRT) designated SNhunt120, while in a companion paper we examine the luminous red novae AT 2014ej. Our data set for SNhunt120 consists of an early optical discovery, estimated to be within three days after outburst, the subsequent optical and near-infrared broadband followup extending over a period of about two months, two visual and two near-infrared wavelength spectra, and Spitzer Space Telescope observations extending from early (+28 d) to late (+1155 d) phases. SNhunt120 resembles other ILRTs such as NGC 300-2008-OT and SN 2008S, and like these other ILRTs, SNhunt120 exhibits prevalent mid-infrared emission at both early and late phases. From the comparison of SNhunt120 and other ILRTs to electron-capture supernova simulations, we find that the current models underestimate the explosion kinetic energy and thereby produce synthetic light curves that overestimate the luminosity. Finally, examination of pre-outburst Hubble Space Telescope images yields no progenitor detection.
  2. We present optical and near-infrared broadband photometry and optical spectra of AT 2014ej from the Carnegie Supernova Project-II. These observations are complemented with data from the CHilean Automatic Supernova sEarch, the Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects, and from the Backyard Observatory Supernova Search. Observational signatures of AT 2014ej reveal that it is similar to other members of the gap-transient subclass known as luminous red novae (LRNe), including the ubiquitous double-hump light curve and spectral properties similar to that of LRN SN 2017jfs. A medium-dispersion visual-wavelength spectrum of AT 2014ej taken with the Magellan Clay telescope exhibits a P Cygni H α feature characterized by a blue velocity at zero intensity of ≈110 km s −1 and a P Cygni minimum velocity of ≈70 km s −1 . We attribute this to emission from a circumstellar wind. Inspection of pre-outbust Hubble Space Telescope images yields no conclusive progenitor detection. In comparison with a sample of LRNe from the literature, AT 2014ej lies at the brighter end of the luminosity distribution. Comparison of the ultra-violet, optical, infrared light curves of well-observed LRNe to common-envelope evolution models from the literature indicates that the models underpredict the luminosity of the comparison samplemore »at all phases and also produce inconsistent timescales of the secondary peak. Future efforts to model LRNe should expand upon the current parameter space we explore here and therefore may consider more massive systems and a wider range of dynamical timescales.« less

    Searches for optical transients are usually performed with a cadence of days to weeks, optimized for supernova discovery. The optical fast transient sky is still largely unexplored, with only a few surveys to date having placed meaningful constraints on the detection of extragalactic transients evolving at sub-hour time-scales. Here, we present the results of deep searches for dim, minute-time-scale extragalactic fast transients using the Dark Energy Camera, a core facility of our all-wavelength and all-messenger Deeper, Wider, Faster programme. We used continuous 20 s exposures to systematically probe time-scales down to 1.17 min at magnitude limits g > 23 (AB), detecting hundreds of transient and variable sources. Nine candidates passed our strict criteria on duration and non-stellarity, all of which could be classified as flare stars based on deep multiband imaging. Searches for fast radio burst and gamma-ray counterparts during simultaneous multifacility observations yielded no counterparts to the optical transients. Also, no long-term variability was detected with pre-imaging and follow-up observations using the SkyMapper optical telescope. We place upper limits for minute-time-scale fast optical transient rates for a range of depths and time-scales. Finally, we demonstrate that optical g-band light-curve behaviour alone cannot discriminate between confirmed extragalactic fast transients such asmore »prompt GRB flashes and Galactic stellar flares.

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