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  1. Abstract

    We present upgraded infrastructure for Searches After Gravitational waves Using ARizona Observatories (SAGUARO) during LIGO, Virgo, and KAGRA’s fourth gravitational-wave (GW) observing run (O4). These upgrades implement many of the lessons we learned after a comprehensive analysis of potential electromagnetic counterparts to the GWs discovered during the previous observing run. We have developed a new web-based target and observation manager (TOM) that allows us to coordinate sky surveys, vet potential counterparts, and trigger follow-up observations from one centralized portal. The TOM includes software that aggregates all publicly available information on the light curves and possible host galaxies of targets, allowing us to rule out potential contaminants like active galactic nuclei, variable stars, solar system objects, and preexisting supernovae, as well as to assess the viability of any plausible counterparts. We have also upgraded our image-subtraction pipeline by assembling deeper reference images and training a new neural-network-based real–bogus classifier. These infrastructure upgrades will aid coordination by enabling the prompt reporting of observations, discoveries, and analysis to the GW follow-up community, and put SAGUARO in an advantageous position to discover kilonovae in the remainder of O4 and beyond. Many elements of our open-source software stack have broad utility beyond multimessenger astronomy, and will be particularly relevant in the “big data” era of transient discoveries by the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive catalog of observations and stellar population properties for 23 highly secure host galaxies of fast radio bursts (FRBs). Our sample comprises 6 repeating FRBs and 17 apparent nonrepeaters. We present 82 new photometric and 8 new spectroscopic observations of these hosts. Using stellar population synthesis modeling and employing nonparametric star formation histories (SFHs), we find that FRB hosts have a median stellar mass of ≈109.9M, mass-weighted age ≈5.1 Gyr, and ongoing star formation rate ≈1.3Myr−1but span wide ranges in all properties. Classifying the hosts by degree of star formation, we find that 87% (20 of 23 hosts) are star-forming, two are transitioning, and one is quiescent. The majority trace the star-forming main sequence of galaxies, but at least three FRBs in our sample originate in less-active environments (two nonrepeaters and one repeater). Across all modeled properties, we find no statistically significant distinction between the hosts of repeaters and nonrepeaters. However, the hosts of repeating FRBs generally extend to lower stellar masses, and the hosts of nonrepeaters arise in more optically luminous galaxies. While four of the galaxies with the clearest and most prolonged rises in their SFHs all host repeating FRBs, demonstrating heightened star formation activity in the last ≲100 Myr, one nonrepeating host shows this SFH as well. Our results support progenitor models with short delay channels (i.e., magnetars formed via core-collapse supernova) for most FRBs, but the presence of some FRBs in less-active environments suggests a fraction form through more delayed channels.

     
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  3. Abstract We present the complete set of Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 and its optical counterpart AT 2017gfo. Including deep template imaging in F814W, F110W, F140W, and F160W at 3.4 yr post-merger, we reanalyze the full light curve of AT 2017gfo across 12 bands from 5 to 1273 rest-frame days after merger. We obtain four new detections of the short γ -ray burst 170817A afterglow from 109 to 170 rest-frame days post-merger. These detections are consistent with the previously observed β = −0.6 spectral index in the afterglow light curve with no evidence for spectral evolution. We also analyze our limits in the context of kilonova afterglow or IR dust echo emission but find that our limits are not constraining for these models. We use the new data to construct deep optical and IR stacks, reaching limits of M = −6.3 to −4.6 mag, to analyze the local environment around AT 2017gfo and low surface brightness features in its host galaxy NGC 4993. We rule out the presence of any globular cluster at the position of AT 2017gfo to 2.3 × 10 4 L ⊙ , including those with the reddest V − H colors. Finally, we analyze the substructure of NGC 4993 in deep residual imaging and find shell features that extend up to 71.″8 (14.2 kpc) from NGC 4993. The shells have a cumulative stellar mass of 6.3 × 10 8 M ⊙ , roughly 2% of NGC 4993, and mass-weighted ages of >3 Gyr. We conclude that it was unlikely that the GW170817 progenitor system formed in the galaxy merger. 
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  4. ABSTRACT

    Blue Large-Amplitude Pulsators (BLAPs) are a relatively new class of blue variable stars showing periodic variations in their light curves with periods shorter than a few tens of minutes and amplitudes of more than 10 per cent. We report nine blue variable stars identified in the OmegaWhite survey conducted using ESO’s VST, which shows a periodic modulation in the range 7–37 min and an amplitude in the range 0.11–0.28 mag. We have obtained a series of followup photometric and spectroscopic observations made primarily using SALT and telescopes at SAAO. We find four stars which we identify as BLAPs, one of which was previously known. One star, OW  J0820–3301, appears to be a member of the V361 Hya class of pulsating stars and is spatially close to an extended nebula. One further star, OW J1819–2729, has characteristics similar to the sdAV pulsators. In contrast, OW J0815–3421 is a binary star containing an sdB and a white dwarf with an orbital period of 73.7 min, making it only one of six white dwarf-sdB binaries with an orbital period shorter than 80 min. Finally, high cadence photometry of four of the candidate BLAPs show features that we compare with notch-like features seen in the much longer period Cepheid pulsators.

     
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  5. Abstract

    We present the stellar population properties of 69 short gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies, representing the largest uniformly modeled sample to date. Using theProspectorstellar population inference code, we jointly fit photometry and/or spectroscopy of each host galaxy. We find a population median redshift ofz=0.640.32+0.83(68% confidence), including nine photometric redshifts atz≳ 1. We further find a median mass-weighted age oftm=0.80.53+2.71Gyr, stellar mass of log(M*/M) =9.690.65+0.75, star formation rate of SFR =1.441.35+9.37Myr−1, stellar metallicity of log(Z*/Z) =0.380.42+0.44, and dust attenuation ofAV=0.430.36+0.85mag (68% confidence). Overall, the majority of short GRB hosts are star-forming (≈84%), with small fractions that are either transitioning (≈6%) or quiescent (≈10%); however, we observe a much larger fraction (≈40%) of quiescent and transitioning hosts atz≲ 0.25, commensurate with galaxy evolution. We find that short GRB hosts populate the star-forming main sequence of normal field galaxies, but do not include as many high-mass galaxies as the general galaxy population, implying that their binary neutron star (BNS) merger progenitors are dependent on a combination of host star formation and stellar mass. The distribution of ages and redshifts implies a broad delay-time distribution, with a fast-merging channel atz> 1 and a decreased neutron star binary formation efficiency from high to low redshifts. If short GRB hosts are representative of BNS merger hosts within the horizon of current gravitational wave detectors, these results can inform future searches for electromagnetic counterparts. All of the data and modeling products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-ray burst Host Traits website.

     
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  6. Abstract We present a population of 19 radio-luminous supernovae (SNe) with emission reaching L ν ∼ 10 26 –10 29 erg s −1 Hz −1 in the first epoch of the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) at 2–4 GHz. Our sample includes one long gamma-ray burst, SN 2017iuk/GRB 171205A, and 18 core-collapse SNe detected at ≈1–60 yr after explosion. No thermonuclear explosion shows evidence for bright radio emission, and hydrogen-poor progenitors dominate the subsample of core-collapse events with spectroscopic classification at the time of explosion (79%). We interpret these findings in the context of the expected radio emission from the forward shock interaction with the circumstellar medium (CSM). We conclude that these observations require a departure from the single wind–like density profile (i.e., ρ CSM ∝ r −2 ) that is expected around massive stars and/or from a spherical Newtonian shock. Viable alternatives include the shock interaction with a detached, dense shell of CSM formed by a large effective progenitor mass-loss rate, M ̇ ∼ 10 − 4 – 10 − 1 M ⊙ yr −1 (for an assumed wind velocity of 1000 km s −1 ); emission from an off-axis relativistic jet entering our line of sight; or the emergence of emission from a newly born pulsar-wind nebula. The relativistic SN 2012ap that is detected 5.7 and 8.5 yr after explosion with L ν ∼ 10 28 erg s −1 Hz −1 might constitute the first detections of an off-axis jet+cocoon system in a massive star. However, none of the VLASS SNe with archival data points are consistent with our model off-axis jet light curves. Future multiwavelength observations will distinguish among these scenarios. Our VLASS source catalogs, which were used to perform the VLASS cross-matching, are publicly available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4895112 . 
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  8. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive optical and near-infrared census of the fields of 90 short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) discovered in 2005–2021, constituting all short GRBs for which host galaxy associations are feasible (≈60% of the total Swift short GRB population). We contribute 274 new multi-band imaging observations across 58 distinct GRBs and 26 spectra of their host galaxies. Supplemented by literature and archival survey data, the catalog contains 542 photometric and 42 spectroscopic data sets. The photometric catalog reaches 3σdepths of ≳24–27 mag and ≳23–26 mag for the optical and near-infrared bands, respectively. We identify host galaxies for 84 bursts, in which the most robust associations make up 56% (50/90) of events, while only a small fraction, 6.7%, have inconclusive host associations. Based on new spectroscopy, we determine 18 host spectroscopic redshifts with a range ofz≈ 0.15–1.5 and find that ≈23%–41% of Swift short GRBs originate fromz> 1. We also present the galactocentric offset catalog for 84 short GRBs. Taking into account the large range of individual measurement uncertainties, we find a median of projected offset of ≈7.7 kpc, for which the bursts with the most robust associations have a smaller median of ≈4.8 kpc. Our catalog captures more high-redshift and low-luminosity hosts, and more highly offset bursts than previously found, thereby diversifying the population of known short GRB hosts and properties. In terms of locations and host luminosities, the populations of short GRBs with and without detectable extended emission are statistically indistinguishable. This suggests that they arise from the same progenitors, or from multiple progenitors, which form and evolve in similar environments. All of the data products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-Ray Burst Host Traits website.

     
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