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  1. Abstract

    Identifying the sites of r-process nucleosynthesis, a primary mechanism of heavy element production, is a key goal of astrophysics. The discovery of the brightest gamma-ray burst (GRB) to date, GRB 221009A, presented an opportunity to spectroscopically test the idea that r-process elements are produced following the collapse of rapidly rotating massive stars. Here we present James Webb Space Telescope observations of GRB 221009A obtained +168 and +170 rest-frame days after the gamma-ray trigger, and demonstrate that they are well described by a SN 1998bw-like supernova (SN) and power-law afterglow, with no evidence for a component from r-process emission. The SN, with a nickel mass of approximately 0.09 M, is only slightly fainter than the brightness of SN 1998bw at this phase, which indicates that the SN is not an unusual GRB-SN. This demonstrates that the GRB and SN mechanisms are decoupled and that highly energetic GRBs are not likely to produce significant quantities of r-process material, which leaves open the question of whether explosions of massive stars are key sources of r-process elements. Moreover, the host galaxy of GRB 221009A has a very low metallicity of approximately 0.12 Zand strong H2emission at the explosion site, which is consistent with recent star formation, hinting that environmental factors are responsible for its extreme energetics.

     
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  2. Abstract We report multiwavelength observations and characterization of the ultraluminous transient AT 2021lwx (ZTF20abrbeie; aka “Barbie”) identified in the alert stream of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) using a Recommender Engine For Intelligent Transient Tracking filter on the ANTARES alert broker. From a spectroscopically measured redshift of 0.995, we estimate a peak-observed pseudo-bolometric luminosity of log( L max / [ erg s − 1 ] ) = 45.7 from slowly fading ztf- g and ztf- r light curves spanning over 1000 observer-frame days. The host galaxy is not detected in archival Pan-STARRS observations ( g > 23.3 mag), implying a lower limit to the outburst amplitude of more than 5 mag relative to the quiescent host galaxy. Optical spectra exhibit strong emission lines with narrow cores from the H Balmer series and ultraviolet semi-forbidden lines of Si iii ] λ 1892, C iii ] λ 1909, and  C ii ] λ 2325. Typical nebular lines in Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) spectra from ions such as [O ii ] and [O iii ] are not detected. These spectral features, along with the smooth light curve that is unlike most AGN flaring activity and the luminosity that exceeds any observed or theorized supernova, lead us to conclude that AT 2021lwx is most likely an extreme tidal disruption event (TDE). Modeling of ZTF photometry with MOSFiT suggests that the TDE was between a ≈14 M ⊙ star and a supermassive black hole of mass M BH ∼ 10 8 M ⊙ . Continued monitoring of the still-evolving light curve along with deep imaging of the field once AT 2021lwx has faded can test this hypothesis and potentially detect the host galaxy. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  3. 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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  4. 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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