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  1. Abstract

    The fate of stars in the zero-age main-sequence (ZAMS) range ≈8–12Mis unclear. They could evolve to form white dwarfs or explode as electron-capture supernovae (SNe) or iron core-collapse SNe (CCSNe). Even though the initial mass function indicates that this mass range should account for over 40% of all CCSN progenitors, few have been observationally confirmed, likely due to the faintness and rapid evolution of some of these transients. In this paper, we present a sample of nine Ca-rich/O-poor Type IIb SNe detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility with progenitors likely in this mass range. These sources have a [Caii]λλ7291, 7324/[Oi]λλ6300, 6364 flux ratio of ≳2 in their nebular spectra. Comparing the measured [Oi] luminosity (≲1039erg s−1) and derived oxygen mass (≈0.01M) with theoretical models, we infer that the progenitor ZAMS mass for these explosions is less than 12M. The ejecta properties (Mej≲ 1MandEkin∼ 1050erg) are also consistent. The low ejecta mass of these sources indicates a class of strongly-stripped SNe that is a transition between the regular stripped-envelope SNe and ultra-stripped SNe. The progenitor could be stripped by a main-sequence companion and result in the formation of a neutron star−main sequence binary. Such binaries have been suggested to be progenitors of neutron star−white dwarf systems that could merge within a Hubble time and be detectable with LISA.

     
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  2. Abstract

    One of the open questions following the discovery of GW170817 is whether neutron star (NS) mergers are the only astrophysical sites capable of producingr-process elements. Simulations have shown that 0.01–0.1Mofr-process material could be generated in the outflows originating from the accretion disk surrounding the rapidly rotating black hole that forms as a remnant to both NS mergers and collapsing massive stars associated with long-duration gamma-ray bursts (collapsars). The hallmark signature ofr-process nucleosynthesis in the binary NS merger GW170817 was its long-lasting near-infrared (NIR) emission, thus motivating a systematic photometric study of the light curves of broad-lined stripped-envelope (Ic-BL) supernovae (SNe) associated with collapsars. We present the first systematic study of 25 SNe Ic-BL—including 18 observed with the Zwicky Transient Facility and 7 from the literature—in the optical/NIR bands to determine what quantity ofr-process material, if any, is synthesized in these explosions. Using semi-analytic models designed to account forr-process production in SNe Ic-BL, we perform light curve fitting to derive constraints on ther-process mass for these SNe. We also perform independent light curve fits to models without ther-process. We find that ther-process-free models are a better fit to the light curves of the objects in our sample. Thus, we find no compelling evidence ofr-process enrichment in any of our objects. Further high-cadence infrared photometric studies and nebular spectroscopic analysis would be sensitive to smaller quantities ofr-process ejecta mass or indicate whether all collapsars are completely devoid ofr-process nucleosynthesis.

     
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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  4. Abstract: Detecting gravitationally lensed supernovae is among the biggest challenges in astronomy. It involves a combination of two very rare phenomena: catching the transient signal of a stellar explosion in a distant galaxy and observing it through a nearly perfectly aligned foreground galaxy that deflects light towards the observer. Here we describe how high-cadence optical observations with the Zwicky Transient Facility, with its unparalleled large field of view, led to the detection of a multiply imaged type Ia supernova, SN Zwicky, also known as SN 2022qmx. Magnified nearly 25-fold, the system was found thanks to the standard candle nature of type Ia supernovae. High-spatial-resolution imaging with the Keck telescope resolved four images of the supernova with very small angular separation, corresponding to an Einstein radius of only θ E  = 0.167″ and almost identical arrival times. The small θ E and faintness of the lensing galaxy are very unusual, highlighting the importance of supernovae to fully characterize the properties of galaxy-scale gravitational lenses, including the impact of galaxy substructures. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 12, 2024
  5. Abstract The detonation of a thin (≲0.03 M ⊙ ) helium shell (He-shell) atop a ∼1 M ⊙ white dwarf (WD) is a promising mechanism to explain normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), while thicker He-shells and less massive WDs may explain some recently observed peculiar SNe Ia. We present observations of SN 2020jgb, a peculiar SN Ia discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Near maximum brightness, SN 2020jgb is slightly subluminous (ZTF g -band absolute magnitude −18.7 mag ≲ M g ≲ −18.2 mag depending on the amount of host-galaxy extinction) and shows an unusually red color (0.2 mag ≲ g ZTF − r ZTF ≲ 0.4 mag) due to strong line-blanketing blueward of ∼5000 Å. These properties resemble those of SN 2018byg, a peculiar SN Ia consistent with an He-shell double detonation (DDet) SN. Using detailed radiative transfer models, we show that the optical spectroscopic and photometric evolution of SN 2020jgb is broadly consistent with a ∼0.95–1.00 M ⊙ (C/O core + He-shell) progenitor ignited by a ≳0.1 M ⊙ He-shell. However, one-dimensional radiative transfer models without non-local-thermodynamic-equilibrium treatment cannot accurately characterize the line-blanketing features, making the actual shell mass uncertain. We detect a prominent absorption feature at ∼1 μ m in the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum of SN 2020jgb, which might originate from unburnt helium in the outermost ejecta. While the sample size is limited, we find similar 1 μ m features in all the peculiar He-shell DDet candidates with NIR spectra obtained to date. SN 2020jgb is also the first peculiar He-shell DDet SN discovered in a star-forming dwarf galaxy, indisputably showing that He-shell DDet SNe occur in both star-forming and passive galaxies, consistent with the normal SN Ia population. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  6. Abstract

    We conduct a systematic tidal disruption event (TDE) demographics analysis using the largest sample of optically selected TDEs. A flux-limited, spectroscopically complete sample of 33 TDEs is constructed using the Zwicky Transient Facility over 3 yr (from 2018 October to 2021 September). We infer the black hole (BH) mass (MBH) with host galaxy scaling relations, showing that the sampleMBHranges from 105.1Mto 108.2M. We developed a survey efficiency corrected maximum volume method to infer the rates. The rest-frameg-band luminosity function can be well described by a broken power law ofϕ(Lg)Lg/Lbk0.3+Lg/Lbk2.61, withLbk= 1043.1erg s−1. In the BH mass regime of 105.3≲ (MBH/M) ≲ 107.3, the TDE mass function followsϕ(MBH)MBH0.25, which favors a flat local BH mass function (dnBH/dlogMBHconstant). We confirm the significant rate suppression at the high-mass end (MBH≳ 107.5M), which is consistent with theoretical predictions considering direct capture of hydrogen-burning stars by the event horizon. At a host galaxy mass ofMgal∼ 1010M, the average optical TDE rate is ≈3.2 × 10−5galaxy−1yr−1. We constrain the optical TDE rate to be [3.7, 7.4, and 1.6] × 10−5galaxy−1yr−1in galaxies with red, green, and blue colors.

     
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  7. We present photometric and spectroscopic observations of the Type IIn supernova SN 2019zrk (also known as ZTF 20aacbyec). The SN shows a > 100 day precursor, with a slow rise, followed by a rapid rise to M  ≈ −19.2 in the r and g bands. The post-peak light-curve decline is well fit with an exponential decay with a timescale of ∼39 days, but it shows prominent undulations, with an amplitude of ∼1 mag. Both the light curve and spectra are dominated by an interaction with a dense circumstellar medium (CSM), probably from previous mass ejections. The spectra evolve from a scattering-dominated Type IIn spectrum to a spectrum with strong P-Cygni absorptions. The expansion velocity is high, ∼16 000 km s −1 , even in the last spectra. The last spectrum ∼110 days after the main eruption reveals no evidence for advanced nucleosynthesis. From analysis of the spectra and light curves, we estimate the mass-loss rate to be ∼4 × 10 −2   M ⊙ yr −1 for a CSM velocity of 100 km s −1 , and a CSM mass of 1  M ⊙ . We find strong similarities for both the precursor, general light curve, and spectral evolution with SN 2009ip and similar SNe, although SN 2019zrk displays a brighter peak magnitude. Different scenarios for the nature of the 09ip-class of SNe, based on pulsational pair instability eruptions, wave heating, and mergers, are discussed. 
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  8. Abstract Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are thermonuclear explosions of degenerate white dwarf stars destabilized by mass accretion from a companion star 1 , but the nature of their progenitors remains poorly understood. A way to discriminate between progenitor systems is through radio observations; a non-degenerate companion star is expected to lose material through winds 2 or binary interaction 3 before explosion, and the supernova ejecta crashing into this nearby circumstellar material should result in radio synchrotron emission. However, despite extensive efforts, no type Ia supernova (SN Ia) has ever been detected at radio wavelengths, which suggests a clean environment and a companion star that is itself a degenerate white dwarf star 4,5 . Here we report on the study of SN 2020eyj, a SN Ia showing helium-rich circumstellar material, as demonstrated by its spectral features, infrared emission and, for the first time in a SN Ia to our knowledge, a radio counterpart. On the basis of our modelling, we conclude that the circumstellar material probably originates from a single-degenerate binary system in which a white dwarf accretes material from a helium donor star, an often proposed formation channel for SNe Ia (refs.  6,7 ). We describe how comprehensive radio follow-up of SN 2020eyj-like SNe Ia can improve the constraints on their progenitor systems. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 18, 2024
  9. ABSTRACT A rare class of supernovae (SNe) is characterized by strong interaction between the ejecta and several solar masses of circumstellar matter (CSM) as evidenced by strong Balmer-line emission. Within the first few weeks after the explosion, they may display spectral features similar to overluminous Type Ia SNe, while at later phase their observation properties exhibit remarkable similarities with some extreme case of Type IIn SNe that show strong Balmer lines years after the explosion. We present polarimetric observations of SN 2018evt obtained by the ESO Very Large Telescope from 172 to 219 d after the estimated time of peak luminosity to study the geometry of the CSM. The non-zero continuum polarization decreases over time, suggesting that the mass-loss of the progenitor star is aspherical. The prominent H α emission can be decomposed into a broad, time-evolving component and an intermediate-width, static component. The former shows polarized signals, and it is likely to arise from a cold dense shell (CDS) within the region between the forward and reverse shocks. The latter is significantly unpolarized, and it is likely to arise from shocked, fragmented gas clouds in the H-rich CSM. We infer that SN 2018evt exploded inside a massive and aspherical circumstellar cloud. The symmetry axes of the CSM and the SN appear to be similar. SN 2018evt shows observational properties common to events that display strong interaction between the ejecta and CSM, implying that they share similar circumstellar configurations. Our preliminary estimate also suggests that the circumstellar environment of SN 2018evt has been significantly enriched at a rate of ∼0.1 M⊙ yr−1 over a period of >100 yr. 
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  10. ABSTRACT

    We present a photometric and spectroscopic analysis of the ultraluminous and slowly evolving 03fg-like Type Ia SN 2021zny. Our observational campaign starts from ∼5.3 h after explosion (making SN 2021zny one of the earliest observed members of its class), with dense multiwavelength coverage from a variety of ground- and space-based telescopes, and is concluded with a nebular spectrum ∼10 months after peak brightness. SN 2021zny displayed several characteristics of its class, such as the peak brightness (MB = −19.95 mag), the slow decline (Δm15(B) = 0.62 mag), the blue early-time colours, the low ejecta velocities, and the presence of significant unburned material above the photosphere. However, a flux excess for the first ∼1.5 d after explosion is observed in four photometric bands, making SN 2021zny the third 03fg-like event with this distinct behaviour, while its +313 d spectrum shows prominent [O i] lines, a very unusual characteristic of thermonuclear SNe. The early flux excess can be explained as the outcome of the interaction of the ejecta with $\sim 0.04\, \mathrm{M_{\odot }}$ of H/He-poor circumstellar material at a distance of ∼1012 cm, while the low ionization state of the late-time spectrum reveals low abundances of stable iron-peak elements. All our observations are in accordance with a progenitor system of two carbon/oxygen white dwarfs that undergo a merger event, with the disrupted white dwarf ejecting carbon-rich circumstellar material prior to the primary white dwarf detonation.

     
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