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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 of 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.

  2. Abstract

    In the local universe, OH megamasers (OHMs) are detected almost exclusively in infrared-luminous galaxies, with a prevalence that increases with IR luminosity, suggesting that they trace gas-rich galaxy mergers. Given the proximity of the rest frequencies of OH and the hyperfine transition of neutral atomic hydrogen (Hi), radio surveys to probe the cosmic evolution of Hiin galaxies also offer exciting prospects for exploiting OHMs to probe the cosmic history of gas-rich mergers. Using observations for the Looking At the Distant Universe with the MeerKAT Array (LADUMA) deep Hisurvey, we report the first untargeted detection of an OHM atz> 0.5, LADUMA J033046.20−275518.1 (nicknamed “Nkalakatha”). The host system, WISEA J033046.26−275518.3, is an infrared-luminous radio galaxy whose optical redshiftz≈ 0.52 confirms the MeerKAT emission-line detection as OH at a redshiftzOH= 0.5225 ± 0.0001 rather than Hiat lower redshift. The detected spectral line has 18.4σpeak significance, a width of 459 ± 59 km s−1, and an integrated luminosity of (6.31 ± 0.18 [statistical] ± 0.31 [systematic]) × 103L, placing it among the most luminous OHMs known. The galaxy’s far-infrared luminosityLFIR= (1.576 ±0.013) × 1012Lmarks it as an ultraluminous infrared galaxy; its ratio of OH and infrared luminosities is similar to those for lower-redshiftmore »OHMs. A comparison between optical and OH redshifts offers a slight indication of an OH outflow. This detection represents the first step toward a systematic exploitation of OHMs as a tracer of galaxy growth at high redshifts.

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  3. ABSTRACT Measurements of large-scale structure are interpreted using theoretical predictions for the matter distribution, including potential impacts of baryonic physics. We constrain the feedback strength of baryons jointly with cosmology using weak lensing and galaxy clustering observables (3 × 2pt) of Dark Energy Survey (DES) Year 1 data in combination with external information from baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) and Planck cosmic microwave background polarization. Our baryon modelling is informed by a set of hydrodynamical simulations that span a variety of baryon scenarios; we span this space via a Principal Component (PC) analysis of the summary statistics extracted from these simulations. We show that at the level of DES Y1 constraining power, one PC is sufficient to describe the variation of baryonic effects in the observables, and the first PC amplitude (Q1) generally reflects the strength of baryon feedback. With the upper limit of Q1 prior being bound by the Illustris feedback scenarios, we reach $\sim 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ improvement in the constraint of $S_8=\sigma _8(\Omega _{\rm m}/0.3)^{0.5}=0.788^{+0.018}_{-0.021}$ compared to the original DES 3 × 2pt analysis. This gain is driven by the inclusion of small-scale cosmic shear information down to 2.5 arcmin, which was excluded in previous DES analyses that did not model baryonicmore »physics. We obtain $S_8=0.781^{+0.014}_{-0.015}$ for the combined DES Y1+Planck EE+BAO analysis with a non-informative Q1 prior. In terms of the baryon constraints, we measure $Q_1=1.14^{+2.20}_{-2.80}$ for DES Y1 only and $Q_1=1.42^{+1.63}_{-1.48}$ for DESY1+Planck EE+BAO, allowing us to exclude one of the most extreme AGN feedback hydrodynamical scenario at more than 2σ.« less
  4. Abstract We measure the projected number density profiles of galaxies and the splashback feature in clusters selected by the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect from the Advanced Atacama Cosmology Telescope (AdvACT) survey using galaxies observed by the Dark Energy Survey (DES). The splashback radius is consistent with CDM-only simulations and is located at 2.4 − 0.4 + 0.3 Mpc h − 1 . We split the galaxies on color and find significant differences in their profile shapes. Red and green-valley galaxies show a splashback-like minimum in their slope profile consistent with theory, while the bluest galaxies show a weak feature at a smaller radius. We develop a mapping of galaxies to subhalos in simulations and assign colors based on infall time onto their hosts. We find that the shift in location of the steepest slope and different profile shapes can be mapped to the average time of infall of galaxies of different colors. The steepest slope traces a discontinuity in the phase space of dark matter halos. By relating spatial profiles to infall time, we can use splashback as a clock to understand galaxy quenching. We find that red galaxies have on average been in clusters over 3.2 Gyr, green galaxies about 2.2more »Gyr, while blue galaxies have been accreted most recently and have not reached apocenter. Using the full radial profiles, we fit a simple quenching model and find that the onset of galaxy quenching occurs after a delay of about a gigayear and that galaxies quench rapidly thereafter with an exponential timescale of 0.6 Gyr.« less
  5. Abstract Binary supermassive black holes (BSBHs) are expected to be a generic byproduct from hierarchical galaxy formation. The final coalescence of BSBHs is thought to be the loudest gravitational wave (GW) siren, yet no confirmed BSBH is known in the GW-dominated regime. While periodic quasars have been proposed as BSBH candidates, the physical origin of the periodicity has been largely uncertain. Here we report discovery of a periodicity (P=1607±7 days) at 99.95% significance (with a global p-value of ∼10−3 accounting for the look elsewhere effect) in the optical light curves of a redshift 1.53 quasar, SDSS J025214.67−002813.7. Combining archival Sloan Digital Sky Survey data with new, sensitive imaging from the Dark Energy Survey, the total ∼20-yr time baseline spans ∼4.6 cycles of the observed 4.4-yr (restframe 1.7-yr) periodicity. The light curves are best fit by a bursty model predicted by hydrodynamic simulations of circumbinary accretion disks. The periodicity is likely caused by accretion rate modulation by a milli-parsec BSBH emitting GWs, dynamically coupled to the circumbinary accretion disk. A bursty hydrodynamic variability model is statistically preferred over a smooth, sinusoidal model expected from relativistic Doppler boost, a kinematic effect proposed for PG1302−102. Furthermore, the frequency dependence of the variability amplitudes disfavors Dopplermore »boost, lending independent support to the circumbinary accretion variability hypothesis. Given our detection rate of one BSBH candidate from circumbinary accretion variability out of 625 quasars, it suggests that future large, sensitive synoptic surveys such as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time may be able to detect hundreds to thousands of candidate BSBHs from circumbinary accretion with direct implications for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.« less
  6. Abstract Periodically variable quasars have been suggested as close binary supermassive black holes. We present a systematic search for periodic light curves in 625 spectroscopically confirmed quasars with a median redshift of 1.8 in a 4.6 deg2 overlapping region of the Dark Energy Survey Supernova (DES-SN) fields and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 (SDSS-S82). Our sample has a unique 20-year long multi-color (griz) light curve enabled by combining DES-SN Y6 observations with archival SDSS-S82 data. The deep imaging allows us to search for periodic light curves in less luminous quasars (down to r ∼23.5 mag) powered by less massive black holes (with masses ≳ 108.5M⊙) at high redshift for the first time. We find five candidates with significant (at >99.74% single-frequency significance in at least two bands with a global p-value of ∼7 × 10−4–3× 10−3 accounting for the look-elsewhere effect) periodicity with observed periods of ∼3–5 years (i.e., 1–2 years in rest frame) having ∼4–6 cycles spanned by the observations. If all five candidates are periodically variable quasars, this translates into a detection rate of ${\sim }0.8^{+0.5}_{-0.3}$% or ${\sim }1.1^{+0.7}_{-0.5}$ quasar per deg2. Our detection rate is 4–80 times larger than those found by previous searches using shallower surveys over largermore »areas. This discrepancy is likely caused by differences in the quasar populations probed and the survey data qualities. We discuss implications on the future direct detection of low-frequency gravitational waves. Continued photometric monitoring will further assess the robustness and characteristics of these candidate periodic quasars to determine their physical origins.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We present new Gemini/GMOS optical spectroscopy of 16 extreme variability quasars (EVQs) that dimmed by more than 1.5 mag in the g band between the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the Dark Energy Survey epochs (separated by a few years in the quasar rest frame). These EVQs are selected from quasars in the SDSS Stripe 82 region, covering a redshift range of 0.5 < z < 2.1. Nearly half of these EVQs brightened significantly (by more than 0.5 mag in the g band) in a few years after reaching their previous faintest state, and some EVQs showed rapid (non-blazar) variations of greater than 1–2 mag on time-scales of only months. To increase sample statistics, we use a supplemental sample of 33 EVQs with multi-epoch spectra from SDSS that cover the broad Mg ii λ2798 line. Leveraging on the large dynamic range in continuum variability between the multi-epoch spectra, we explore the associated variations in the broad Mg ii line, whose variability properties have not been well studied before. The broad Mg ii flux varies in the same direction as the continuum flux, albeit with a smaller amplitude, which indicates at least some portion of Mg ii is reverberating to continuum changes. However, themore »full width at half-maximum (FWHM) of Mg ii does not vary accordingly as continuum changes for most objects in the sample, in contrast to the case of the broad Balmer lines. Using the width of broad Mg ii to estimate the black hole mass with single epoch spectra therefore introduces a luminosity-dependent bias.« less
  8. ABSTRACT We report the identification of a low-mass active galactic nucleus (AGN), DES J0218−0430, in a redshift z = 0.823 galaxy in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Supernova field. We select DES J0218−0430 as an AGN candidate by characterizing its long-term optical variability alone based on DES optical broad-band light curves spanning over 6 yr. An archival optical spectrum from the fourth phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows both broad Mg ii and broad H β lines, confirming its nature as a broad-line AGN. Archival XMM–Newton X-ray observations suggest an intrinsic hard X-ray luminosity of $L_{{\rm 2-12\, keV}}\approx 7.6\pm 0.4\times 10^{43}$ erg s−1, which exceeds those of the most X-ray luminous starburst galaxies, in support of an AGN driving the optical variability. Based on the broad H β from SDSS spectrum, we estimate a virial black hole (BH) mass of M• ≈ 106.43–106.72 M⊙ (with the error denoting the systematic uncertainty from different calibrations), consistent with the estimation from OzDES, making it the lowest mass AGN with redshift > 0.4 detected in optical. We estimate the host galaxy stellar mass to be M* ≈ 1010.5 ± 0.3 M⊙ based on modelling the multiwavelength spectral energy distribution. DES J0218−0430 extends the M•–M* relation observed in luminous AGNs at z ∼ 1 tomore »masses lower than being probed by previous work. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using optical variability to identify low-mass AGNs at higher redshift in deeper synoptic surveys with direct implications for the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time at Vera C. Rubin Observatory.« less