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    Rapid identification of the optical counterparts of neutron star (NS) merger events discovered by gravitational wave detectors may require observing a large error region and sifting through a large number of transients to identify the object of interest. Given the expense of spectroscopic observations, a question arises: How can we utilize photometric observations for candidate prioritization, and what kinds of photometric observations are needed to achieve this goal? NS merger kilonova exhibits low ejecta mass (∼5 × 10−2 M⊙) and a rapidly evolving photospheric radius (with a velocity ∼0.2c). As a consequence, these sources display rapid optical-flux evolution. Indeed, selection based on fast flux variations is commonly used for young supernovae and NS mergers. In this study, we leverage the best currently available flux-limited transient survey – the Zwicky Transient Facility Bright Transient Survey – to extend and quantify this approach. We focus on selecting transients detected in a 3-day cadence survey and observed at a one-day cadence. We explore their distribution in the phase space defined by g–r, $\dot{g}$, and $\dot{r}$. Our analysis demonstrates that for a significant portion of the time during the first week, the kilonova AT 2017gfo stands out in this phase space. It is important to note that this investigation is subject to various biases and challenges; nevertheless, it suggests that certain photometric observations can be leveraged to identify transients with the highest probability of being fast-evolving events. We also find that a large fraction (≈75 per cent) of the transient candidates with $\vert\dot{g}\vert>0.7$ mag d−1, are cataclysmic variables or active galactic nuclei with radio counterparts.

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  2. Abstract

    SN 1987A was an unusual hydrogen-rich core-collapse supernova originating from a blue supergiant star. Similar blue supergiant explosions remain a small family of events, and are broadly characterized by their long rises to peak. The Zwicky Transient Facility Census of the Local Universe (CLU) experiment aims to construct a spectroscopically complete sample of transients occurring in galaxies from the CLU galaxy catalog. We identify 13 long-rising (>40 days) Type II supernovae from the volume-limited CLU experiment during a 3.5 yr period from 2018 June to 2021 December, approximately doubling the previously known number of these events. We present photometric and spectroscopic data of these 13 events, finding peakr-band absolute magnitudes ranging from −15.6 to −17.5 mag and the tentative detection of Baiilines in nine events. Using our CLU sample of events, we derive a long-rising Type II supernova rate of1.370.30+0.26×106Mpc−3yr−1, ≈1.4% of the total core-collapse supernova rate. This is the first volumetric rate of these events estimated from a large, systematic, volume-limited experiment.

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  3. 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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  4. Abstract

    We report observations of the optical counterpart of the long gamma-ray burst (GRB) GRB 230812B and its associated supernova (SN) SN 2023pel. The proximity (z= 0.36) and high energy (Eγ,iso∼ 1053erg) make it an important event to study as a probe of the connection between massive star core collapse and relativistic jet formation. With a phenomenological power-law model for the optical afterglow, we find a late-time flattening consistent with the presence of an associated SN. SN 2023pel has an absolute peakr-band magnitude ofMr= −19.46 ± 0.18 mag (about as bright as SN 1998bw) and evolves on quicker timescales. Using a radioactive heating model, we derive a nickel mass powering the SN ofMNi= 0.38 ± 0.01Mand a peak bolometric luminosity ofLbol∼ 1.3 × 1043erg s−1. We confirm SN 2023pel’s classification as a broad-line Type Ic SN with a spectrum taken 15.5 days after its peak in therband and derive a photospheric expansion velocity ofvph= 11,300 ± 1600 km s−1at that phase. Extrapolating this velocity to the time of maximum light, we derive the ejecta massMej= 1.0 ± 0.6Mand kinetic energyEKE=1.31.2+3.3×1051erg. We find that GRB 230812B/SN 2023pel has SN properties that are mostly consistent with the overall GRB-SN population. The lack of correlations found in the GRB-SN population between SN brightness andEγ,isofor their associated GRBs across a broad range of 7 orders of magnitude provides further evidence that the central engine powering the relativistic ejecta is not coupled to the SN powering mechanism in GRB-SN systems.

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  5. Abstract

    We report the discovery of ZTF J0127+5258, a compact mass-transferring binary with an orbital period of 13.7 minutes. The system contains a white dwarf accretor, which likely originated as a post–common envelope carbon–oxygen (CO) white dwarf, and a warm donor (Teff,donor= 16,400 ± 1000 K). The donor probably formed during a common envelope phase between the CO white dwarf and an evolving giant that left behind a helium star or white dwarf in a close orbit with the CO white dwarf. We measure gravitational wave–driven orbital inspiral with ∼51σsignificance, which yields a joint constraint on the component masses and mass transfer rate. While the accretion disk in the system is dominated by ionized helium emission, the donor exhibits a mixture of hydrogen and helium absorption lines. Phase-resolved spectroscopy yields a donor radial velocity semiamplitude of 771 ± 27 km s−1, and high-speed photometry reveals that the system is eclipsing. We detect a Chandra X-ray counterpart withLX∼ 3 × 1031erg s−1. Depending on the mass transfer rate, the system will likely either evolve into a stably mass-transferring helium cataclysmic variable, merge to become an R CrB star, or explode as a Type Ia supernova in the next million years. We predict that the Laser Space Interferometer Antenna (LISA) will detect the source with a signal-to-noise ratio of 24 ± 6 after 4 yr of observations. The system is the first LISA-loud mass-transferring binary with an intrinsically luminous donor, a class of sources that provide the opportunity to leverage the synergy between optical and infrared time domain surveys, X-ray facilities, and gravitational-wave observatories to probe general relativity, accretion physics, and binary evolution.

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  6. The science enabled by the deep and high‐cadence survey that will be performed by the Vera Rubin Observatory has led to an increase of survey and follow‐up capabilities around the world. The infrared, has however, not match this growth due to the challenges caused by the atmospheric and the cost of large detector arrays. In this paper, we present solutions to resolve these challenges and a path toward an Antarctic observatory capable matching the volumetric speed of the Vera Rubin Observatory survey in the infrared k‐band. We will detail the current state of infrared survey telescopes, demonstrate the benefits of Antarctic high‐plateau for such observations, and show some of the development made in detector technologies to make large detector arrays a reality for such application.

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  7. Abstract

    We present a search for extragalactic fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) during Phase I of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). We identify 38 candidates with durations above half-maximum light 1 day <t1/2< 12 days, of which 28 have blue (gr≲ −0.2 mag) colors at peak light. Of the 38 transients (28 FBOTs), 19 (13) can be spectroscopically classified as core-collapse supernovae (SNe): 11 (8) H- or He-rich (Type II/IIb/Ib) SNe, 6 (4) interacting (Type IIn/Ibn) SNe, and 2 (1) H&He-poor (Type Ic/Ic-BL) SNe. Two FBOTs (published previously) had predominantly featureless spectra and luminous radio emission: AT2018lug (The Koala) and AT2020xnd (The Camel). Seven (five) did not have a definitive classification: AT 2020bdh showed tentative broad Hαin emission, and AT 2020bot showed unidentified broad features and was 10 kpc offset from the center of an early-type galaxy. Ten (eight) have no spectroscopic observations or redshift measurements. We present multiwavelength (radio, millimeter, and/or X-ray) observations for five FBOTs (three Type Ibn, one Type IIn/Ibn, one Type IIb). Additionally, we search radio-survey (VLA and ASKAP) data to set limits on the presence of radio emission for 24 of the transients. All X-ray and radio observations resulted in nondetections; we rule out AT2018cow-like X-ray and radio behavior for five FBOTs and more luminous emission (such as that seen in the Camel) for four additional FBOTs. We conclude that exotic transients similar to AT2018cow, the Koala, and the Camel represent a rare subset of FBOTs and use ZTF’s SN classification experiments to measure the rate to be at most 0.1% of the local core-collapse SN rate.

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  8. null (Ed.)
  9. Ellis, Simon C. ; d'Orgeville, Céline (Ed.)
    Many areas of astronomical research rely on deep blue wide-field imaging. Mauna Kea enjoys the very best UV transparency from the ground and the Keck telescopes with 10 meter f/1.75 primaries are well suited to a prime focus camera with a large angular field. Swinburne University leads a proposal to provide a camera (KWFI, for Keck Wide Field Imager) that is optimized in the UV but works well to 1μm wavelength. Keck has interchangeable top end modules, of which one is now unused and easily capable of housing the required corrector lens and detector enclosure. This paper concentrates on details of the KWFI optical design. 
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