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  1. Abstract The discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart to the binary neutron star (NS) merger GW170817 has opened the era of gravitational-wave multimessenger astronomy. Rapid identification of the optical/infrared kilonova enabled a precise localization of the source, which paved the way to deep multiwavelength follow-up and its myriad of related science results. Fully exploiting this new territory of exploration requires the acquisition of electromagnetic data from samples of NS mergers and other gravitational-wave sources. After GW170817, the frontier is now to map the diversity of kilonova properties and provide more stringent constraints on the Hubble constant, and enable new tests ofmore »fundamental physics. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time can play a key role in this field in the 2020s, when an improved network of gravitational-wave detectors is expected to reach a sensitivity that will enable the discovery of a high rate of merger events involving NSs (∼tens per year) out to distances of several hundred megaparsecs. We design comprehensive target-of-opportunity observing strategies for follow-up of gravitational-wave triggers that will make the Rubin Observatory the premier instrument for discovery and early characterization of NS and other compact-object mergers, and yet unknown classes of gravitational-wave events.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  2. We present the results of our monitoring campaigns of the luminous red novae (LRNe) AT 2020hat in NGC 5068 and AT 2020kog in NGC 6106. The two objects were imaged (and detected) before their discovery by routine survey operations. They show a general trend of slow luminosity rise, lasting at least a few months. The subsequent major LRN outbursts were extensively followed in photometry and spectroscopy. The light curves present an initial short-duration peak, followed by a redder plateau phase. AT 2020kog is a moderately luminous event peaking at ∼7 × 10 40 erg s −1 , while AT 2020hat is almostmore »one order of magnitude fainter than AT 2020kog, although it is still more luminous than V838 Mon. In analogy with other LRNe, the spectra of AT 2020kog change significantly with time. They resemble those of type IIn supernovae at early phases, then they become similar to those of K-type stars during the plateau, and to M-type stars at very late phases. In contrast, AT 2020hat already shows a redder continuum at early epochs, and its spectrum shows the late appearance of molecular bands. A moderate-resolution spectrum of AT 2020hat taken at +37 d after maximum shows a forest of narrow P Cygni lines of metals with velocities of 180 km s −1 , along with an H α emission with a full-width at half-maximum velocity of 250 km s −1 . For AT 2020hat, a robust constraint on its quiescent progenitor is provided by archival images of the Hubble Space Telescope. The progenitor is clearly detected as a mid-K type star, with an absolute magnitude of M F 606 W  = −3.33 ± 0.09 mag and a colour of F 606 W  −  F 814 W  = 1.14 ± 0.05 mag, which are inconsistent with the expectations from a massive star that could later produce a core-collapse supernova. Although quite peculiar, the two objects nicely match the progenitor versus light curve absolute magnitude correlations discussed in the literature.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We present the data and analysis of SN 2018gjx, an unusual low-luminosity transient with three distinct spectroscopic phases. Phase I shows a hot blue spectrum with signatures of ionized circumstellar material (CSM), Phase II has the appearance of broad SN features, consistent with those seen in a Type IIb supernova at maximum light, and Phase III is that of a supernova interacting with helium-rich CSM, similar to a Type Ibn supernova. This event provides an apparently rare opportunity to view the inner workings of an interacting supernova. The observed properties can be explained by the explosion of a star inmore »an aspherical CSM. The initial light is emitted from an extended CSM (∼4000 R⊙), which ionizes the exterior unshocked material. Some days after, the SN photosphere envelops this region, leading to the appearance of a SN IIb. Over time, the photosphere recedes in velocity space, revealing interaction between the supernova ejecta and the CSM that partially obscures the supernova nebular phase. Modelling of the initial spectrum reveals a surface composition consistent with compact H-deficient Wolf–Rayet and Luminous Blue Variable (LBV) stars. Such configurations may not be unusual, with SNe IIb being known to have signs of interaction so at least some SNe IIb and SNe Ibn may be the same phenomena viewed from different angles, or possibly with differing CSM configurations.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present observations of the unusually luminous Type II supernova (SN) 2016gsd. With a peak absolute magnitude of V = −19.95 ± 0.08, this object is one of the brightest Type II SNe, and lies in the gap of magnitudes between the majority of Type II SNe and the superluminous SNe. Its light curve shows little evidence of the expected drop from the optically thick phase to the radioactively powered tail. The velocities derived from the absorption in H α are also unusually high with the blue edge tracing the fastest moving gas initially at 20 000 km s−1, and then declining approximately linearly to 15 000 km s−1 overmore »∼100 d. The dwarf host galaxy of the SN indicates a low-metallicity progenitor which may also contribute to the weakness of the metal lines in its spectra. We examine SN 2016gsd with reference to similarly luminous, linear Type II SNe such as SNe 1979C and 1998S, and discuss the interpretation of its observational characteristics. We compare the observations with a model produced by the jekyll code and find that a massive star with a depleted and inflated hydrogen envelope struggles to reproduce the high luminosity and extreme linearity of SN 2016gsd. Instead, we suggest that the influence of interaction between the SN ejecta and circumstellar material can explain the majority of the observed properties of the SN. The high velocities and strong H α absorption present throughout the evolution of the SN may imply a circumstellar medium configured in an asymmetric geometry.« less
  5. ABSTRACT At 66 Mpc, AT2019qiz is the closest optical tidal disruption event (TDE) to date, with a luminosity intermediate between the bulk of the population and the faint-and-fast event iPTF16fnl. Its proximity allowed a very early detection and triggering of multiwavelength and spectroscopic follow-up well before maximum light. The velocity dispersion of the host galaxy and fits to the TDE light curve indicate a black hole mass ≈106 M⊙, disrupting a star of ≈1 M⊙. By analysing our comprehensive UV, optical, and X-ray data, we show that the early optical emission is dominated by an outflow, with a luminosity evolution L ∝ t2, consistent withmore »a photosphere expanding at constant velocity (≳2000 km s−1), and a line-forming region producing initially blueshifted H and He ii profiles with v = 3000–10 000 km s−1. The fastest optical ejecta approach the velocity inferred from radio detections (modelled in a forthcoming companion paper from K. D. Alexander et al.), thus the same outflow may be responsible for both the fast optical rise and the radio emission – the first time this connection has been observed in a TDE. The light-curve rise begins 29 ± 2 d before maximum light, peaking when the photosphere reaches the radius where optical photons can escape. The photosphere then undergoes a sudden transition, first cooling at constant radius then contracting at constant temperature. At the same time, the blueshifts disappear from the spectrum and Bowen fluorescence lines (N iii) become prominent, implying a source of far-UV photons, while the X-ray light curve peaks at ≈1041 erg s−1. Assuming that these X-rays are from prompt accretion, the size and mass of the outflow are consistent with the reprocessing layer needed to explain the large optical to X-ray ratio in this and other optical TDEs, possibly favouring accretion-powered over collision-powered outflow models.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We present and analyse a new tidal disruption event (TDE), AT2017eqx at redshift z = 0.1089, discovered by Pan-STARRS and ATLAS. The position of the transient is consistent with the nucleus of its host galaxy; the spectrum shows a persistent blackbody temperature T ≳ 20 000 K with broad H i and He ii emission; and it peaks at a blackbody luminosity of L ≈ 1044 erg s−1. The lines are initially centred at zero velocity, but by 100 d, the H i lines disappear while the He ii develops a blueshift of ≳ 5000 km s−1. Both the early- and late-time morphologies have been seen in other TDEs, but themore »complete transition between them is unprecedented. The evolution can be explained by combining an extended atmosphere, undergoing slow contraction, with a wind in the polar direction becoming visible at late times. Our observations confirm that a lack of hydrogen a TDE spectrum does not indicate a stripped star, while the proposed model implies that much of the diversity in TDEs may be due to the observer viewing angle. Modelling the light curve suggests AT2017eqx resulted from the complete disruption of a solar-mass star by a black hole of ∼106.3 M⊙. The host is another Balmer-strong absorption galaxy, though fainter and less centrally concentrated than most TDE hosts. Radio limits rule out a relativistic jet, while X-ray limits at 500 d are among the deepest for a TDE at this phase.« less
  7. Aims . We present a comprehensive dataset of optical and near-infrared photometry and spectroscopy of type Ia supernova (SN) 2016hnk, combined with integral field spectroscopy (IFS) of its host galaxy, MCG -01-06-070, and nearby environment. Our goal with this complete dataset is to understand the nature of this peculiar object. Methods . Properties of the SN local environment are characterized by means of single stellar population synthesis applied to IFS observations taken two years after the SN exploded. We performed detailed analyses of SN photometric data by studying its peculiar light and color curves. SN 2016hnk spectra were compared tomore »other 1991bg-like SNe Ia, 2002es-like SNe Ia, and Ca-rich transients. In addition, we used abundance stratification modeling to identify the various spectral features in the early phase spectral sequence and also compared the dataset to a modified non-LTE model previously produced for the sublumnious SN 1999by. Results . SN 2016hnk is consistent with being a subluminous ( M B  = −16.7 mag, s B V =0.43 ± 0.03), highly reddened object. The IFS of its host galaxy reveals both a significant amount of dust at the SN location, residual star formation, and a high proportion of old stellar populations in the local environment compared to other locations in the galaxy, which favors an old progenitor for SN 2016hnk. Inspection of a nebular spectrum obtained one year after maximum contains two narrow emission lines attributed to the forbidden [Ca  II ] λ λ 7291,7324 doublet with a Doppler shift of 700 km s −1 . Based on various observational diagnostics, we argue that the progenitor of SN 2016hnk was likely a near Chandrasekhar-mass ( M Ch ) carbon-oxygen white dwarf that produced 0.108 M ⊙ of 56 Ni. Our modeling suggests that the narrow [Ca  II ] features observed in the nebular spectrum are associated with 48 Ca from electron capture during the explosion, which is expected to occur only in white dwarfs that explode near or at the M Ch limit.« less