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  1. We present linear polarimetry for seven hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe-I) of which only one has previously published polarimetric data. The best-studied event is SN 2017gci, for which we present two epochs of spectropolarimetry at +3 d and +29 d post-peak in rest frame, accompanied by four epochs of imaging polarimetry up to +108 d. The spectropolarimetry at +3 d shows increasing polarisation degree P towards the redder wavelengths and exhibits signs of axial symmetry, but at +29 d, P  ∼ 0 throughout the spectrum, implying that the photosphere of SN 2017gci evolved from a slightly aspherical configuration to a more spherical one in the first month post-peak. However, an increase of P to ∼0.5% at ∼ + 55 d accompanied by a different orientation of the axial symmetry compared to +3 d implies the presence of additional sources of polarisation at this phase. The increase in polarisation is possibly caused by interaction with circumstellar matter (CSM), as already suggested by a knee in the light curve and a possible detection of broad H α emission at the same phase. We also analysed the sample of all 16 SLSNe-I with polarimetric measurements to date. The data taken during the early spectroscopic phase show consistently low polarisation, indicating at least nearly spherical photospheres. No clear relation between the polarimetry and spectral phase was seen when the spectra resemble Type Ic SNe during the photospheric and nebular phases. The light-curve decline rate, which spans a factor of eight, also shows no clear relation with the polarisation properties. While only slow-evolving SLSNe-I have shown non-zero polarisation, the fast-evolving ones have not been observed at sufficiently late times to conclude that none of them exhibit changing P . However, the four SLSNe-I with increasing polarisation degree also have irregular light-curve declines. For up to half of them, the photometric, spectroscopic, and polarimetric properties are affected by CSM interaction. As such, CSM interaction clearly plays an important role in understanding the polarimetric evolution of SLSNe-I. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. ABSTRACT

    Hydrogen-rich Type II supernovae (SNe II) are the most frequently observed class of core-collapse SNe (CCSNe). However, most studies that analyse large samples of SNe II lack events with absolute peak magnitudes brighter than −18.5 mag at rest-frame optical wavelengths. Thanks to modern surveys, the detected number of such luminous SNe II (LSNe II) is growing. There exist several mechanisms that could produce luminous SNe II. The most popular propose either the presence of a central engine (a magnetar gradually spinning down or a black hole accreting fallback material) or the interaction of supernova ejecta with circumstellar material (CSM) that turns kinetic energy into radiation energy. In this work, we study the light curves and spectral series of a small sample of six LSNe II that show peculiarities in their H α profile, to attempt to understand the underlying powering mechanism. We favour an interaction scenario with CSM that is not dense enough to be optically thick to electron scattering on large scales – thus, no narrow emission lines are observed. This conclusion is based on the observed light curve (higher luminosity, fast decline, blue colours) and spectral features (lack of persistent narrow lines, broad H α emission, lack of H α absorption, weak, or non-existent metal lines) together with comparison to other luminous events available in the literature. We add to the growing evidence that transients powered by ejecta–CSM interaction do not necessarily display persistent narrow emission lines.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    The identification of the first confirmed neutron star–black hole (NS-BH) binary mergers by the LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA collaboration provides the opportunity to investigate the properties of the early sample of confirmed and candidate events. Here, we focus primarily on the tilt angle of the BH’s spin relative to the orbital angular momentum vector of the binary, and the implications for the physical processes that determine this tilt. The posterior tilt distributions of GW200115 and the candidate events GW190426_152155 and GW190917_114630 peak at significantly anti-aligned orientations (though display wide distributions). Producing these tilts through isolated binary evolution would require stronger natal kicks than are typically considered (and preferentially polar kicks would be ruled out), and/or an additional source of tilt such as stable mass transfer. The early sample of NS-BH events are less massive than expected for classical formation channels, and may provide evidence for efficient mass transfer that results in the merger of more massive NS-BH binaries before their evolution to the compact phase is complete. We predict that future gravitational-wave detections of NS-BH events will continue to display total binary masses of ≈7 M⊙ and mass ratios of q ∼ 3 if this interpretation is correct. Conversely, the high mass of the candidate GW191219_163120 suggests a dynamical capture origin. Large tilts in a significant fraction of merging NS-BH systems would weaken the prospects for electromagnetic detection. However, EM observations, including non-detections, can significantly tighten the constraints on spin and mass ratio.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT

    We present an in-depth study of the late-time near-infrared plateau in Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), which occurs between 70 and 500 d. We double the existing sample of SNe Ia observed during the late-time near-infrared plateau with new observations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, Gemini, New Technology Telescope, the 3.5-m Calar Alto Telescope, and the Nordic Optical Telescope. Our sample consists of 24 nearby SNe Ia at redshift < 0.025. We are able to confirm that no plateau exists in the Ks band for most normal SNe Ia. SNe Ia with broader optical light curves at peak tend to have a higher average brightness on the plateau in J and H, most likely due to a shallower decline in the preceding 100 d. SNe Ia that are more luminous at peak also show a steeper decline during the plateau phase in H. We compare our data to state-of-the-art radiative transfer models of nebular SNe Ia in the near-infrared. We find good agreement with the sub-Mch model that has reduced non-thermal ionization rates, but no physical justification for reducing these rates has yet been proposed. An analysis of the spectral evolution during the plateau demonstrates that the ratio of [Fe ii] to [Fe iii] contribution in a near-infrared filter determines the light curve evolution in said filter. We find that overluminous SNe decline slower during the plateau than expected from the trend seen for normal SNe Ia.

     
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  5. ABSTRACT

    We present extensive ultraviolet (UV) and optical photometric and optical spectroscopic follow-up of supernova (SN) 2021gno by the ‘Precision Observations of Infant Supernova Explosions’ (POISE) project, starting less than 2 d after the explosion. Given its intermediate luminosity, fast photometric evolution, and quick transition to the nebular phase with spectra dominated by [Ca ii] lines, SN 2021gno belongs to the small family of Calcium-rich transients. Moreover, it shows double-peaked light curves, a phenomenon shared with only four other Calcium-rich events. The projected distance from the centre of the host galaxy is not as large as other objects in this family. The initial optical light-curve peaks coincide with a very quick decline of the UV flux, indicating a fast initial cooling phase. Through hydrodynamical modelling of the bolometric light curve and line velocity evolution, we found that the observations are compatible with the explosion of a highly stripped massive star with an ejecta mass of $0.8\, M_\odot$ and a 56Ni mass of 0.024 M⊙. The initial cooling phase (first light-curve peak) is explained by the presence of an extended circumstellar material comprising ∼$10^{-2}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ with an extension of $1100\, R_{\odot }$. We discuss if hydrogen features are present in both maximum-light and nebular spectra, and their implications in terms of the proposed progenitor scenarios for Calcium-rich transients.

     
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  6. Aims. The modelling of spectroscopic observations of tidal disruption events (TDEs) to date suggests that the newly formed accretion disks are mostly quasi-circular. In this work we study the transient event AT 2020zso, hosted by an active galactic nucleus (AGN; as inferred from narrow emission line diagnostics), with the aim of characterising the properties of its newly formed accretion flow. Methods. We classify AT 2020zso as a TDE based on the blackbody evolution inferred from UV/optical photometric observations and spectral line content and evolution. We identify transient, double-peaked Bowen (N  III ), He  I , He  II, and H α emission lines. We model medium-resolution optical spectroscopy of the He  II (after careful de-blending of the N  III contribution) and H α lines during the rise, peak, and early decline of the light curve using relativistic, elliptical accretion disk models. Results. We find that the spectral evolution before the peak can be explained by optical depth effects consistent with an outflowing, optically thick Eddington envelope. Around the peak, the envelope reaches its maximum extent (approximately 10 15 cm, or ∼3000–6000 gravitational radii for an inferred black hole mass of 5−10 × 10 5 M ⊙ ) and becomes optically thin. The H α and He  II emission lines at and after the peak can be reproduced with a highly inclined ( i  = 85 ± 5 degrees), highly elliptical ( e  = 0.97 ± 0.01), and relatively compact ( R in = several 100 R g and R out = several 1000 R g ) accretion disk. Conclusions. Overall, the line profiles suggest a highly elliptical geometry for the new accretion flow, consistent with theoretical expectations of newly formed TDE disks. We quantitatively confirm, for the first time, the high inclination nature of a Bowen (and X-ray dim) TDE, consistent with the unification picture of TDEs, where the inclination largely determines the observational appearance. Rapid line profile variations rule out the binary supermassive black hole hypothesis as the origin of the eccentricity; these results thus provide a direct link between a TDE in an AGN and the eccentric accretion disk. We illustrate for the first time how optical spectroscopy can be used to constrain the black hole spin, through (the lack of) disk precession signatures (changes in inferred inclination). We constrain the disk alignment timescale to > 15 days in AT2020zso, which rules out high black hole spin values ( a  < 0.8) for M BH  ∼ 10 6 M ⊙ and disk viscosity α  ≳ 0.1. 
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  7. Abstract

    We present multiwavelength photometry and spectroscopy of SN 2022jli, an unprecedented Type Ic supernova discovered in the galaxy NGC 157 at a distance of ≈ 23 Mpc. The multiband light curves reveal many remarkable characteristics. Peaking at a magnitude ofg= 15.11 ± 0.02, the high-cadence photometry reveals periodic undulations of 12.5 ± 0.2 days superimposed on the 200-day supernova decline. This periodicity is observed in the light curves from nine separate filter and instrument configurations with peak-to-peak amplitudes of ≃ 0.1 mag. This is the first time that repeated periodic oscillations, over many cycles, have been detected in a supernova light curve. SN 2022jli also displays an extreme early excess that fades over ≈25 days, followed by a rise to a peak luminosity ofLopt= 1042.1erg s−1. Although the exact explosion epoch is not constrained by data, the time from explosion to maximum light is ≳ 59 days. The luminosity can be explained by a large ejecta mass (Mej≈ 12 ± 6M) powered by56Ni, but we find it difficult to quantitatively model the early excess with circumstellar interaction and cooling. Collision between the supernova ejecta and a binary companion is a possible source of this emission. We discuss the origin of the periodic variability in the light curve, including interaction of the SN ejecta with nested shells of circumstellar matter and neutron stars colliding with binary companions.

     
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  8. Abstract

    We present the discovery and extensive follow-up of a remarkable fast-evolving optical transient, AT 2022aedm, detected by the Asteroid Terrestrial impact Last Alert Survey (ATLAS). In the ATLASoband, AT 2022aedm exhibited a rise time of 9 ± 1 days, reaching a luminous peak withMg≈ −22 mag. It faded by 2 mag in thegband during the next 15 days. These timescales are consistent with other rapidly evolving transients, though the luminosity is extreme. Most surprisingly, the host galaxy is a massive elliptical with negligible current star formation. Radio and X-ray observations rule out a relativistic AT 2018cow–like explosion. A spectrum in the first few days after explosion showed short-lived Heiiemission resembling young core-collapse supernovae, but obvious broad supernova features never developed; later spectra showed only a fast-cooling continuum and narrow, blueshifted absorption lines, possibly arising in a wind withv≈ 2700 km s−1. We identify two further transients in the literature (Dougie in particular, as well as AT 2020bot) that share similarities in their luminosities, timescales, color evolution, and largely featureless spectra and propose that these may constitute a new class of transients: luminous fast coolers. All three events occurred in passive galaxies at offsets of ∼4–10 kpc from the nucleus, posing a challenge for progenitor models involving massive stars or black holes. The light curves and spectra appear to be consistent with shock breakout emission, though this mechanism is usually associated with core-collapse supernovae. The encounter of a star with a stellar-mass black hole may provide a promising alternative explanation.

     
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  9. Abstract GW190814 was a compact object binary coalescence detected in gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo that garnered exceptional community interest due to its excellent localization and the uncertain nature of the binary’s lighter-mass component (either the heaviest known neutron star, or the lightest known black hole). Despite extensive follow-up observations, no electromagnetic counterpart has been identified. Here, we present new radio observations of 75 galaxies within the localization volume at Δ t ≈ 35–266 days post-merger. Our observations cover ∼32% of the total stellar luminosity in the final localization volume and extend to later timescales than previously reported searches, allowing us to place the deepest constraints to date on the existence of a radio afterglow from a highly off-axis relativistic jet launched during the merger (assuming that the merger occurred within the observed area). For a viewing angle of ∼46° (the best-fit binary inclination derived from the gravitational wave signal) and assumed electron and magnetic field energy fractions of ϵ e = 0.1 and ϵ B = 0.01, we can rule out a typical short gamma-ray burst-like Gaussian jet with an opening angle of 15° and isotropic-equivalent kinetic energy 2 × 10 51 erg propagating into a constant-density medium n ≳ 0.1 cm −3 . These are the first limits resulting from a galaxy-targeted search for a radio counterpart to a gravitational wave event, and we discuss the challenges—and possible advantages—of applying similar search strategies to future events using current and upcoming radio facilities. 
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  10. Abstract We present extensive optical photometry of the afterglow of GRB 221009A. Our data cover 0.9–59.9 days from the time of Swift and Fermi gamma-ray burst (GRB) detections. Photometry in rizy -band filters was collected primarily with Pan-STARRS and supplemented by multiple 1–4 m imaging facilities. We analyzed the Swift X-ray data of the afterglow and found a single decline rate power law f ( t ) ∝ t −1.556±0.002 best describes the light curve. In addition to the high foreground Milky Way dust extinction along this line of sight, the data favor additional extinction to consistently model the optical to X-ray flux with optically thin synchrotron emission. We fit the X-ray-derived power law to the optical light curve and find good agreement with the measured data up to 5−6 days. Thereafter we find a flux excess in the riy bands that peaks in the observer frame at ∼20 days. This excess shares similar light-curve profiles to the Type Ic broad-lined supernovae SN 2016jca and SN 2017iuk once corrected for the GRB redshift of z = 0.151 and arbitrarily scaled. This may be representative of an SN emerging from the declining afterglow. We measure rest-frame absolute peak AB magnitudes of M g = −19.8 ± 0.6 and M r = − 19.4 ± 0.3 and M z = −20.1 ± 0.3. If this is an SN component, then Bayesian modeling of the excess flux would imply explosion parameters of M ej = 7.1 − 1.7 + 2.4 M ⊙ , M Ni = 1.0 − 0.4 + 0.6 M ⊙ , and v ej = 33,900 − 5700 + 5900 km s −1 , for the ejecta mass, nickel mass, and ejecta velocity respectively, inferring an explosion energy of E kin ≃ 2.6–9.0 × 10 52 erg. 
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