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  1. 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 previouslymore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. ABSTRACT SN 2018hti was a very nearby (z = 0.0614) superluminous supernova with an exceedingly bright absolute magnitude of −21.7 mag in r band at maximum. The densely sampled pre-maximum light curves of SN 2018hti show a slow luminosity evolution and constrain the rise time to ∼50 rest-frame d. We fitted synthetic light curves to the photometry to infer the physical parameters of the explosion of SN 2018hti for both the magnetar and the CSM-interaction scenarios. We conclude that one of two mechanisms could be powering the luminosity of SN 2018hti; interaction with ∼10 M⊙ of circumstellar material or a magnetar with a magneticmore »field of Bp∼ 1.3 × 1013 G, and initial period of Pspin∼ 1.8 ms. From the nebular spectrum modelling we infer that SN 2018hti likely results from the explosion of a ${\sim}40\, \mathrm{M}_\odot$ progenitor star.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 7, 2023
  3. Abstract For the first ∼3 yrs after the binary neutron star merger event GW 170817, the radio and X-ray radiation has been dominated by emission from a structured relativistic off-axis jet propagating into a low-density medium with n < 0.01 cm −3 . We report on observational evidence for an excess of X-ray emission at δt > 900 days after the merger. With L x ≈ 5 × 10 38 erg s −1 at 1234 days, the recently detected X-ray emission represents a ≥3.2 σ (Gaussian equivalent) deviation from the universal post-jet-break model that best fits the multiwavelength afterglow atmore »earlier times. In the context of JetFit afterglow models, current data represent a departure with statistical significance ≥3.1 σ , depending on the fireball collimation, with the most realistic models showing excesses at the level of ≥3.7 σ . A lack of detectable 3 GHz radio emission suggests a harder broadband spectrum than the jet afterglow. These properties are consistent with the emergence of a new emission component such as synchrotron radiation from a mildly relativistic shock generated by the expanding merger ejecta, i.e., a kilonova afterglow. In this context, we present a set of ab initio numerical relativity binary neutron star (BNS) merger simulations that show that an X-ray excess supports the presence of a high-velocity tail in the merger ejecta, and argues against the prompt collapse of the merger remnant into a black hole. Radiation from accretion processes on the compact-object remnant represents a viable alternative. Neither a kilonova afterglow nor accretion-powered emission have been observed before, as detections of BNS mergers at this phase of evolution are unprecedented.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT Stripped-envelope supernovae (SE-SNe) show a wide variety of photometric and spectroscopic properties. This is due to the different potential formation channels and the stripping mechanism that allows for a large diversity within the progenitors outer envelope compositions. Here, the photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2020cpg covering ∼130 d from the explosion date are presented. SN 2020cpg (z = 0.037) is a bright SE-SNe with the B-band peaking at MB = −17.75 ± 0.39 mag and a maximum pseudo-bolometric luminosity of Lmax = 6.03 ± 0.01 × 1042 erg s−1. Spectroscopically, SN 2020cpg displays a weak high- and low-velocity H α feature during the photospheric phase of its evolution, suggesting that it containedmore »a detached hydrogen envelope prior to explosion. From comparisons with spectral models, the mass of hydrogen within the outer envelope was constrained to be ∼0.1 M⊙. From the pseudo-bolometric light curve of SN 2020cpg a 56Ni mass of MNi ∼ 0.27 ± 0.08 M⊙ was determined using an Arnett-like model. The ejecta mass and kinetic energy of SN 2020cpg were determined using an alternative method that compares the light curve of SN 2020cpg and several modelled SE-SNe, resulting in an ejecta mass of Mejc ∼ 5.5 ± 2.0 M⊙ and a kinetic energy of EK ∼ 9.0 ± 3.0 × 1051 erg. The ejected mass indicates a progenitor mass of 18−25 M⊙. The use of the comparative light curve method provides an alternative process to the commonly used Arnett-like model to determine the physical properties of SE-SNe.« less
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  7. ABSTRACT We present and discuss the optical spectrophotometric observations of the nearby (z = 0.087) Type I superluminous supernova (SLSN I) SN 2017gci, whose peak K-corrected absolute magnitude reaches Mg = −21.5 mag. Its photometric and spectroscopic evolution includes features of both slow- and of fast-evolving SLSN I, thus favoring a continuum distribution between the two SLSN-I subclasses. In particular, similarly to other SLSNe I, the multiband light curves (LCs) of SN 2017gci show two re-brightenings at about 103 and 142 d after the maximum light. Interestingly, this broadly agrees with a broad emission feature emerging around 6520 Å after ∼51 d from themore »maximum light, which is followed by a sharp knee in the LC. If we interpret this feature as Hα, this could support the fact that the bumps are the signature of late interactions of the ejecta with a (hydrogen-rich) circumstellar material. Then we fitted magnetar- and CSM-interaction-powered synthetic LCs on to the bolometric one of SN 2017gci. In the magnetar case, the fit suggests a polar magnetic field Bp ≃ 6 × 1014 G, an initial period of the magnetar Pinitial ≃ 2.8 ms, an ejecta mass $M_{\rm ejecta}\simeq 9\, \mathrm{M}_\odot $ and an ejecta opacity $\kappa \simeq 0.08\, \mathrm{cm}^{2}\, \rm{g}^{-1}$. A CSM-interaction scenario would imply a CSM mass $\simeq 5\, \mathrm{M}_\odot $ and an ejecta mass $\simeq 12\, \mathrm{M}_\odot $. Finally, the nebular spectrum of phase  + 187 d was modeled, deriving a mass of $\sim 10\, {\rm M}_\odot$ for the ejecta. Our models suggest that either a magnetar or CSM interaction might be the power sources for SN 2017gci and that its progenitor was a massive ($40\, {\rm M}_\odot$) star.« less
  8. We present the results from a high cadence, multi-wavelength observation campaign of AT 2016jbu, (aka Gaia16cfr) an interacting transient. This dataset complements the current literature by adding higher cadence as well as extended coverage of the lightcurve evolution and late-time spectroscopic evolution. Photometric coverage reveals that AT 2016jbuunderwent significant photometric variability followed by two luminous events, the latter of which reached an absolute magnitude of MV ∼ −18.5 mag. This is similar to the transient SN 2009ipwhose nature is still debated. Spectra are dominated by narrow emission lines and show a blue continuum during the peak of the second event. AT 2016jbushows signatures of amore »complex, non-homogeneous circumstellar material (CSM). We see slowly evolving asymmetric hydrogen line profiles, with velocities of 500 km s−1seen in narrow emission features from a slow moving CSM, and up to 10,000 km s−1seen in broad absorption from some high velocity material. Late-time spectra (∼ +1 year) show a lack of forbidden emission lines expected from a core-collapse supernova and are dominated by strong emission from H, He i and Ca ii. Strong asymmetric emission features, a bumpy lightcurve, and continually evolving spectra suggest an inhibit nebular phase. We compare the evolution of Hα among SN 2009ip-like transients and find possible evidence for orientation angle effects. The light-curve evolution of AT 2016jbusuggests similar, but not identical, circumstellar environments to other SN 2009ip-like transients.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023