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  1. We present SNIascore, a deep-learning based method for spectroscopic classification of thermonuclear supernovae (SNe Ia) based on very low-resolution (R ∼100) data. The goal of SNIascore is fully automated classification of SNe Ia with a very low false-positive rate (FPR) so that human intervention can be greatly reduced in large-scale SN classification efforts, such as that undertaken by the public Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Bright Transient Survey (BTS). We utilize a recurrent neural network (RNN) architecture with a combination of bidirectional long short-term memory and gated recurrent unit layers. SNIascore achieves a <0.6% FPR while classifying up to 90% of the low-resolution SN Ia spectra obtained by the BTS. SNIascore simultaneously performs binary classification and predicts the redshifts of secure SNe Ia via regression (with a typical uncertainty of <0.005 in the range from z=0.01 to z=0.12). For the magnitude-limited ZTF BTS survey (≈70% SNe Ia), deploying SNIascore reduces the amount of spectra in need of human classification or confirmation by ≈60%. Furthermore, SNIascore allows SN Ia classifications to be automatically announced in real-time to the public immediately following a finished observation during the night.
  2. The many unusual properties of the enigmatic AT2018cow suggested that at least some subset of the empirical class of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) represents a genuinely new astrophysical phenomenon. Unfortunately, the intrinsic rarity and fleeting nature of these events have made it difficult to identify additional examples early enough to acquire the observations necessary to constrain theoretical models. We present here the Zwicky Transient Facility discovery of AT2020xnd (ZTF20acigmel, the "Camel") at z=0.243, the first unambiguous AT2018cow analog to be found and confirmed in real time. AT2018cow and AT2020xnd share all key observational properties: a fast optical rise, sustained high photospheric temperature, absence of a second peak attributable to ejection of a radioactively-heated stellar envelope, extremely luminous radio, millimetre, and X-ray emission, and a dwarf-galaxy host. This supports the argument that AT2018cow-like events represent a distinct phenomenon from slower-evolving radio-quiet supernovae, likely requiring a different progenitor or a different central engine. The sample properties of the four known members of this class to date disfavour tidal disruption models but are consistent with the alternative model of an accretion powered jet following the direct collapse of a massive star to a black hole. Contextual filtering of alert streams combined withmore »rapid photometric verification using multi-band imaging provides an efficient way to identify future members of this class, even at high redshift.« less
  3. ABSTRACT

    Supernova (SN) siblings – two or more SNe in the same parent galaxy – are useful tools for exploring progenitor stellar populations as well as properties of the host galaxies such as distance, star-formation rate, dust extinction, and metallicity. Since the average SN rate for a Milky Way-type galaxy is just one per century, a large imaging survey is required to discover an appreciable sample of SN siblings. From the wide-field Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Bright Transient Survey (which aims for spectroscopic completeness for all transients which peak brighter than r < 18.5 mag) we present 10 SN siblings in five parent galaxies. For each of these families, we analyse the SN’s location within the host and its underlying stellar population, finding agreement with expectations that SNe from more massive progenitors are found nearer to their host core and in regions of more active star formation. We also present an analysis of the relative rates of core collapse and thermonuclear SN siblings, finding a significantly lower ratio than past SN sibling samples due to the unbiased nature of the ZTF.