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  1. Context. We present observations of ZTF20aatqesi (SN 2020faa). This Type II supernova (SN) displays a luminous light curve (LC) that started to rebrighten from an initial decline. We investigate this in relation to the famous SN iPTF14hls, which received a great deal of attention and multiple interpretations in the literature, but whose nature and source of energy still remain unknown. Aims. We demonstrate the great similarity between SN 2020faa and iPTF14hls during the first 6 months, and use this comparison to forecast the evolution of SN 2020faa and to reflect on the less well observed early evolution of iPTF14hls. Methods.more »We present and analyse our observational data, consisting mainly of optical LCs from the Zwicky Transient Facility in the gri bands and of a sequence of optical spectra. We construct colour curves and a bolometric lc, and we compare ejecta-velocity and black-body radius evolutions for the two supernovae (SNe) and for more typical Type II SNe. Results. The LCs show a great similarity with those of iPTF14hls over the first 6 months in luminosity, timescale, and colour. In addition, the spectral evolution of SN 2020faa is that of a Type II SN, although it probes earlier epochs than those available for iPTF14hls. Conclusions. The similar LC behaviour is suggestive of SN 2020faa being a new iPTF14hls. We present these observations now to advocate follow-up observations, since most of the more striking evolution of SN iPTF14hls came later, with LC undulations and a spectacular longevity. On the other hand, for SN 2020faa we have better constraints on the explosion epoch than we had for iPTF14hls, and we have been able to spectroscopically monitor it from earlier phases than was done for the more famous sibling.« less
  2. ABSTRACT M31-LRN-2015 is a likely stellar merger discovered in the Andromeda Galaxy in 2015. We present new optical to mid-infrared photometry and optical spectroscopy for this event. Archival data show that the source started to brighten ∼2 yr before the nova event. During this precursor phase, the source brightened by ∼3 mag. The light curve at 6 and 1.5 months before the main outburst may show periodicity, with periods of 16 ± 0.3 and 28.1 ± 1.4 d, respectively. This complex emission may be explained by runaway mass-loss from the system after the binary undergoes Roche lobe overflow, leading the system to coalesce in tens of orbital periods.more »While the progenitor spectral energy distribution shows no evidence of pre-existing warm dust in the system, the remnant forms an optically thick dust shell at approximately four months after the outburst peak. The optical depth of the shell increases dramatically after 1.5 yr, suggesting the existence of shocks that enhance the dust formation process. We propose that the merger remnant is likely an inflated giant obscured by a cooling shell of gas with mass ∼0.2 M⊙ ejected at the onset of the common envelope phase.« less
  3. Faint star-forming galaxies at z∼2–3 can be used as alternative background sources to probe the Lyα forest in addition to quasars, yielding high sightline densities that enable 3D tomographic reconstruction of the foreground absorption field. Here, we present the first data release from the COSMOS Lyα Mapping And Tomography Observations (CLAMATO) Survey, which was conducted with the LRIS spectrograph on the Keck I telescope. Over an observational footprint of 0.157 deg2 within the COSMOS field, we used 240 galaxies and quasars at 2.17<z<3.00, with a mean comoving transverse separation of 2.37 h-1 Mpc, as background sources probing the foreground Lyαmore »forest absorption at 2.05<z<2.55. The Lyα forest data was then used to create a Wiener- filtered tomographic reconstruction over a comoving volume of 3.15 ́ 105 h-3 Mpc3 with an effective smoothing scale of 2.5 h-1 Mpc. In addition to traditional figures, this map is also presented as a virtual-reality visualization and manipulable interactive figure. We see large overdensities and underdensities that visually agree with the distribution of coeval galaxies from spectroscopic redshift surveys in the same field, including overdensities associated with several recently discovered galaxy protoclusters in the volume. Quantitatively, the map signal-to- noise is S Nwiener » 3.4 over a 3 h−1Mpc top-hat kernel based on the variances estimated from the Wiener filter. This data release includes the redshift catalog, reduced spectra, extracted Lyα forest pixel data, and reconstructed tomographic map of the absorption. These can be downloaded from Zenodo« less
  4. In the next decade the peculiar velocities of SNe Ia in the local z<0.3 Universe will provide a measure of γ to ±0.01 precision that can definitively distinguish between General Relativity and leading models of alternative gravity.
  5. ABSTRACT We present an analysis of DES17X1boj and DES16E2bjy, two peculiar transients discovered by the Dark Energy Survey (DES). They exhibit nearly identical double-peaked light curves that reach very different maximum luminosities (Mr = −15.4 and −17.9, respectively). The light-curve evolution of these events is highly atypical and has not been reported before. The transients are found in different host environments: DES17X1boj was found near the nucleus of a spiral galaxy, while DES16E2bjy is located in the outskirts of a passive red galaxy. Early photometric data are well fitted with a blackbody and the resulting moderate photospheric expansion velocities (1800more » km s−1 for DES17X1boj and 4800  km s−1 for DES16E2bjy) suggest an explosive or eruptive origin. Additionally, a feature identified as high-velocity Ca ii absorption ($v$ ≈ 9400 km s−1) in the near-peak spectrum of DES17X1boj may imply that it is a supernova. While similar light-curve evolution suggests a similar physical origin for these two transients, we are not able to identify or characterize the progenitors.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We present DES16C3cje, a low-luminosity, long-lived type II supernova (SN II) at redshift 0.0618, detected by the Dark Energy Survey (DES). DES16C3cje is a unique SN. The spectra are characterized by extremely narrow photospheric lines corresponding to very low expansion velocities of ≲1500 km s−1, and the light curve shows an initial peak that fades after 50 d before slowly rebrightening over a further 100 d to reach an absolute brightness of Mr ∼ −15.5 mag. The decline rate of the late-time light curve is then slower than that expected from the powering by radioactive decay of 56Co, but is comparable to that expected from accretionmore »power. Comparing the bolometric light curve with hydrodynamical models, we find that DES16C3cje can be explained by either (i) a low explosion energy (0.11 foe) and relatively large 56Ni production of 0.075 M⊙ from an ∼15 M⊙ red supergiant progenitor typical of other SNe II, or (ii) a relatively compact ∼40 M⊙ star, explosion energy of 1 foe, and 0.08 M⊙ of 56Ni. Both scenarios require additional energy input to explain the late-time light curve, which is consistent with fallback accretion at a rate of ∼0.5 × 10−8 M⊙ s−1.« less