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  1. Abstract

    The WN3/O3 Wolf–Rayet (WR) stars were discovered as part of our survey for WRs in the Magellanic Clouds. The WN3/O3s show the emission lines of a high-excitation WN star and the absorption lines of a hot O-type star, but our prior work has shown that the absorption spectrum is intrinsic to the WR star. Their place in the evolution of massive stars remains unclear. Here we investigate the possibility that they are the products of binary evolution. Although these are not WN3+O3 V binaries, they could still harbor unseen companions. To address this possibility, we have conducted a multiyear radial velocity study of six of the nine known WN3/O3s. Our study finds no evidence of statistically significant radial velocity variations, and allows us to set stringent upper limits on the mass of any hypothetical companion star: for probable orbital inclinations, any companion with a period less than 100 days must have a mass <2M. For periods less than 10 days, any companion would have to have a mass <1M. We argue that scenarios where any such companion is a compact object are unlikely. The absorption lines indicate a normal projected rotational velocity, making it unlikely that these stars evolved with the aid of a companion star that has since merged. The modest rotation also suggests that these stars are not the result of homogenous evolution. Thus it is likely that these stars are a normal but short-lived stage in the evolution of massive stars.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We present the final results of an imaging and spectroscopic search for stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) with Ciiλλ7231, 7236 emission lines. The goal is to identify and study [WC11] stars, the coolest of the low-mass Wolf–Rayet sequence, and a subset of central stars of planetary nebulae where the Ciilines are known to be especially prominent. A recent serendipitous discovery of an LMC [WC11] raised the possibility that these objects, although difficult to identify, might in fact be more common than previously believed. Several new members of this rare class have been found in this survey. It now seems clear, however, that a significant number of these stars are not hiding among the general [WC] population. We point out that the Ciidoublet intensity ratio observed in our spectra proves to neatly divide the objects into two distinct groups, with the Ciiemission likely originating from either the stellar wind or a surrounding nebula. The physics of the Ciiemission mechanism correctly explains this bifurcation. Spectral subtypes are suggested for most of the objects. The numerous spectroscopic clues now available for these objects should facilitate future detailed modeling.

     
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  3. Abstract

    The identification of bright quasars atz≳ 6 enables detailed studies of supermassive black holes, massive galaxies, structure formation, and the state of the intergalactic medium within the first billion years after the Big Bang. We present the spectroscopic confirmation of 55 quasars at redshifts 5.6 <z< 6.5 and UV magnitudes −24.5 <M1450< −28.5 identified in the optical Pan-STARRS1 and near-IR VIKING surveys (48 and 7, respectively). Five of these quasars have independently been discovered in other studies. The quasar sample shows an extensive range of physical properties, including 17 objects with weak emission lines, 10 broad absorption line quasars, and 5 objects with strong radio emission (radio-loud quasars). There are also a few notable sources in the sample, including a blazar candidate atz= 6.23, a likely gravitationally lensed quasar atz= 6.41, and az= 5.84 quasar in the outskirts of the nearby (D∼ 3 Mpc) spiral galaxy M81. The blazar candidate remains undetected in NOEMA observations of the [Cii]and underlying emission, implying a star formation rate <30–70Myr−1. A significant fraction of the quasars presented here lies at the foundation of the first measurement of thez∼ 6 quasar luminosity function from Pan-STARRS1 (introduced in a companion paper). These quasars will enable further studies of the high-redshift quasar population with current and future facilities.

     
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  4. Abstract

    We present a spectroscopic analysis of 44 low-luminosity host galaxies of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) detected by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), using hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur emission lines to measure metallicities and star formation rates. We find no statistically significant evidence that the star formation activity and metallicities of the galaxies in our sample are inconsistent with galaxies of similar luminosities and masses. We identify two 3σoutlier galaxies that have high metallicities for their stellar masses, but find that their other properties are consistent with general galaxies. The overall consistency between our sample and general galaxy samples further strengthens the evidence from more luminous SN Ia host galaxy samples that SN Ia host galaxies are typical.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Are WO-type Wolf–Rayet (WR) stars in the final stage of massive star evolution before core-collapse? Although WC- and WO-type WRs have very similar spectra, WOs show a much stronger Oviλλ3811,34 emission-line feature. This has usually been interpreted to mean that WOs are more oxygen rich than WCs, and thus further evolved. However, previous studies have failed to model this line, leaving the relative abundances uncertain, and the relationship between the two types unresolved. To answer this fundamental question, we modeled six WCs and two WOs in the LMC using UV, optical, and NIR spectra with the radiative transfer codecmfgenin order to determine their physical properties. We find that WOs are not richer in oxygen; rather, the Ovifeature is insensitive to the abundance. However, the WOs have a significantly higher carbon and lower helium content than the WCs, and hence are further evolved. A comparison of our results with single-star Geneva and binary BPASS evolutionary models show that, while many properties match, there is more carbon and less oxygen in the WOs than either set of evolutionary model predicts. This discrepancy may be due to the large uncertainty in the12C+4He →16O nuclear reaction rate; we show that if the Kunz et al. rate is decreased by a factor of 25%–50%, then there would be a good match with the observations. It would also help explain the LIGO/VIRGO detection of black holes whose masses are in the theoretical upper mass gap.

     
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  6. Abstract

    We present a spectral analysis of four Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) WC-type Wolf–Rayet (WR) stars (BAT99-8, BAT99-9, BAT99-11, and BAT99-52) to shed light on two evolutionary questions surrounding massive stars. The first is: are WO-type WR stars more oxygen enriched than WC-type stars, indicating further chemical evolution, or are the strong high-excitation oxygen lines in WO-type stars an indication of higher temperatures. This study will act as a baseline for answering the question of where WO-type stars fall in WR evolution. Each star’s spectrum, extending from 1100 to 25000 Å, was modeled usingcmfgento determine the star’s physical properties such as luminosity, mass-loss rate, and chemical abundances. The oxygen abundance is a key evolutionary diagnostic, and with higher resolution data and an improved stellar atmosphere code, we found the oxygen abundance to be up to a factor of 5 lower than that of previous studies. The second evolutionary question revolves around the formation of WR stars: do they evolve by themselves or is a close companion star necessary for their formation? Using our derived physical parameters, we compared our results to the Geneva single-star evolutionary models and the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) binary evolutionary models. We found that both the Geneva solar-metallicity models and BPASS LMC-metallicity models are in agreement with the four WC-type stars, while the Geneva LMC-metallicity models are not. Therefore, these four WC4 stars could have been formed either via binary or single-star evolution.

     
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  7. ABSTRACT

    We present optical photometry and spectroscopy of the superluminous SN 2002gh from maximum light to +204 d, obtained as part of the Carnegie Type II Supernova (CATS) project. SN 2002gh is among the most luminous discovered supernovae ever, yet it remained unnoticed for nearly two decades. Using Dark Energy Camera archival images we identify the potential supernova (SN) host galaxy as a faint dwarf galaxy, presumably having low metallicity, and in an apparent merging process with other nearby dwarf galaxies. We show that SN 2002gh is among the brightest hydrogen-poor SLSNe with MV = −22.40 ± 0.02, with an estimated peak bolometric luminosity of 2.6 ± 0.1 × 1044 erg s−1. We discount the decay of radioactive nickel as the main SN power mechanism, and assuming that the SN is powered by the spin-down of a magnetar we obtain two alternative solutions. The first case, is characterized by significant magnetar power leakage, and Mej between 0.6 and 3.2 M⊙, Pspin = 3.2 ms, and B = 5 × 1013 G. The second case does not require power leakage, resulting in a huge ejecta mass of about 30 M⊙, a fast spin period of Pspin ∼ 1 ms, and B ∼ 1.6 × 1014 G. We estimate a zero-age main-sequence mass between 14 and 25 M⊙ for the first case and of about 135 M⊙ for the second case. The latter case would place the SN progenitor among the most massive stars observed to explode as an SN.

     
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  8. ABSTRACT

    We present photometric and spectroscopic observations and analysis of SN 2021bxu (ATLAS21dov), a low-luminosity, fast-evolving Type IIb supernova (SN). SN 2021bxu is unique, showing a large initial decline in brightness followed by a short plateau phase. With $M_r = -15.93 \pm 0.16\, \mathrm{mag}$ during the plateau, it is at the lower end of the luminosity distribution of stripped-envelope supernovae (SE-SNe) and shows a distinct ∼10 d plateau not caused by H- or He-recombination. SN 2021bxu shows line velocities which are at least $\sim 1500\, \mathrm{km\, s^{-1}}$ slower than typical SE-SNe. It is photometrically and spectroscopically similar to Type IIb SNe during the photospheric phases of evolution, with similarities to Ca-rich IIb SNe. We find that the bolometric light curve is best described by a composite model of shock interaction between the ejecta and an envelope of extended material, combined with a typical SN IIb powered by the radioactive decay of 56Ni. The best-fitting parameters for SN 2021bxu include a 56Ni mass of $M_{\mathrm{Ni}} = 0.029^{+0.004}_{-0.005}\, \mathrm{{\rm M}_{\odot }}$, an ejecta mass of $M_{\mathrm{ej}} = 0.61^{+0.06}_{-0.05}\, \mathrm{{\rm M}_{\odot }}$, and an ejecta kinetic energy of $K_{\mathrm{ej}} = 8.8^{+1.1}_{-1.0} \times 10^{49}\, \mathrm{erg}$. From the fits to the properties of the extended material of Ca-rich IIb SNe we find a trend of decreasing envelope radius with increasing envelope mass. SN 2021bxu has MNi on the low end compared to SE-SNe and Ca-rich SNe in the literature, demonstrating that SN 2021bxu-like events are rare explosions in extreme areas of parameter space. The progenitor of SN 2021bxu is likely a low-mass He star with an extended envelope.

     
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  9. Abstract

    We present the largest and most homogeneous collection of near-infrared (NIR) spectra of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia): 339 spectra of 98 individual SNe obtained as part of the Carnegie Supernova Project-II. These spectra, obtained with the FIRE spectrograph on the 6.5 m Magellan Baade telescope, have a spectral range of 0.8–2.5μm. Using this sample, we explore the NIR spectral diversity of SNe Ia and construct a template of spectral time series as a function of the light-curve-shape parameter, color stretchsBV. Principal component analysis is applied to characterize the diversity of the spectral features and reduce data dimensionality to a smaller subspace. Gaussian process regression is then used to model the subspace dependence on phase and light-curve shape and the associated uncertainty. Our template is able to predict spectral variations that are correlated withsBV, such as the hallmark NIR features: Mgiiat early times and theH-band break after peak. Using this template reduces the systematic uncertainties inK-corrections by ∼90% compared to those from the Hsiao template. These uncertainties, defined as the meanK-correction differences computed with the color-matched template and observed spectra, are on the level of 4 × 10−4mag on average. This template can serve as the baseline spectral energy distribution for light-curve fitters and can identify peculiar spectral features that might point to compelling physics. The results presented here will substantially improve future SN Ia cosmological experiments, for both nearby and distant samples.

     
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  10. Abstract

    1991T-like supernovae are the luminous, slow-declining extreme of the Branch shallow-silicon (SS) subclass of Type Ia supernovae. They are distinguished by extremely weak CaiiH & K and Siiiλ6355 and strong Feiiiabsorption features in their optical spectra at pre-maximum phases, and have long been suspected to be over-luminous compared to normal Type Ia supernovae. In this paper, the pseudo-equivalent width of the Siiiλ6355 absorption obtained at light curve phases from ≤ +10 days is combined with the morphology of thei-band light curve to identify a sample of 1991T-like supernovae in the Carnegie Supernova Project II. Hubble diagram residuals show that, at optical as well as near-infrared wavelengths, these events are over-luminous by ∼0.1–0.5 mag with respect to the less extreme Branch SS (1999aa-like) and Branch core-normal supernovae with similarB-band light-curve decline rates.

     
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