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  1. Abstract We present a comprehensive analysis of 653 optical candidate counterparts reported during the third gravitational-wave (GW) observing run. Our sample concentrates on candidates from the 15 events (published in GWTC-2, GWTC-3, or not retracted on GraceDB) that had a >1% chance of including a neutron star in order to assess their viability as true kilonovae. In particular, we leverage tools available in real time, including pre-merger detections and cross-matching with catalogs (i.e., point-source, variable-star, quasar and host-galaxy redshift data sets), to eliminate 65% of candidates in our sample. We further employ spectroscopic classifications, late-time detections, and light-curve behavior analysesmore »and conclude that 66 candidates remain viable kilonovae. These candidates lack sufficient information to determine their classifications, and the majority would require luminosities greater than that of AT 2017gfo. Pre-merger detections in public photometric survey data and comparison of cataloged host-galaxy redshifts with the GW event distances are critical to incorporate into vetting procedures, as these tools eliminated >20% and >30% of candidates, respectively. We expect that such tools that leverage archival information will significantly reduce the strain on spectroscopic and photometric follow-up resources in future observing runs. Finally, we discuss the critical role prompt updates from GW astronomers to the EM community play in reducing the number of candidates requiring vetting.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT The origin of the diverse light-curve shapes of Type II supernovae (SNe), and whether they come from similar or distinct progenitors, has been actively discussed for decades. Here, we report spectropolarimetry of two fast declining Type II (Type IIL) SNe: SN 2013ej and SN 2017ahn. SN 2013ej exhibited high continuum polarization from very soon after the explosion to the radioactive tail phase with time-variable polarization angles. The origin of this polarimetric behaviour can be interpreted as the combination of two different aspherical structures, namely an aspherical interaction of the SN ejecta with circumstellar matter (CSM) and an inherently aspherical explosion. Aspherical explosions are a commonmore »feature of slowly declining Type II (Type IIP) SNe. By contrast, SN 2017ahn showed low polarization not only in the photospheric phase but also in the radioactive tail phase. This low polarization in the tail phase, which has never before been observed in other Type IIP/L SNe, suggests that the explosion of SN 2017ahn was nearly spherical. These observations imply that Type IIL SNe have, at least, two different origins: they result from stars that have different explosion properties and/or different mass-loss processes. This fact might indicate that 13ej-like Type IIL SNe originate from a similar progenitor to those of Type IIP SNe accompanied by an aspherical CSM interaction, while 17ahn-like Type IIL SNe come from a more massive progenitor with less hydrogen in its envelope.« less
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  4. ABSTRACT We present photometry, spectra, and spectropolarimetry of supernova (SN) 2014ab, obtained through ∼200 d after peak brightness. SN 2014ab was a luminous Type IIn SN (MV < −19.14 mag) discovered after peak brightness near the nucleus of its host galaxy, VV 306c. Pre-discovery upper limits constrain the time of explosion to within 200 d prior to discovery. While SN 2014ab declined by ∼1 mag over the course of our observations, the observed spectrum remained remarkably unchanged. Spectra exhibit an asymmetric emission-line profile with a consistently stronger blueshifted component, suggesting the presence of dust or a lack of symmetry between the far side and near side ofmore »the SN. The Pa β emission line shows a profile very similar to that of H α, implying that this stronger blueshifted component is caused either through obscuration by large dust grains, occultation by optically thick material, or a lack of symmetry between the far side and near side of the interaction region. Despite these asymmetric line profiles, our spectropolarimetric data show that SN 2014ab has little detected polarization after accounting for the interstellar polarization. We are likely seeing emission from a photosphere that has only small deviation from circular symmetry in the plane normal to our line of sight, but with either large-grain dust or significant asymmetry in the density of circumstellar material or SN ejecta along our line of sight. We suggest that SN 2014ab and SN 2010jl (as well as other SNe IIn) may be events with similar geometry viewed from different directions.« less