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  1. ABSTRACT The early phases of the observed evolution of the supernovae (SNe) are expected to be dominated by the shock breakout and ‘flash’ ionization of the surrounding circumstellar medium. This material arises from the last stages of the evolution of the progenitor, such that photometry and spectroscopy of SNe at early times can place vital constraints on the latest and fastest evolutionary phases leading up to stellar death. These signatures are erased by the expansion of the ejecta within ∼5 d after explosion. Here we present the earliest constraints, to date, on the polarization of 10 transients discovered by the Zwickymore »Transient Facility (ZTF), between 2018 June and 2019 August. Rapid polarimetric follow-up was conducted using the Liverpool Telescope RINGO3 instrument, including three SNe observed within <1 d of detection by the ZTF. The limits on the polarization within the first 5 d of explosion, for all SN types, is generally $\lt 2{ per\ cent}$, implying early asymmetries are limited to axial ratios >0.65 (assuming an oblate spheroidal configuration). We also present polarimetric observations of the Type I Superluminous SN 2018bsz and Type II SN 2018hna, observed around and after maximum light.« less
  2. Gaia16aye was a binary microlensing event discovered in the direction towards the northern Galactic disc and was one of the first microlensing events detected and alerted to by the Gaia space mission. Its light curve exhibited five distinct brightening episodes, reaching up to I  = 12 mag, and it was covered in great detail with almost 25 000 data points gathered by a network of telescopes. We present the photometric and spectroscopic follow-up covering 500 days of the event evolution. We employed a full Keplerian binary orbit microlensing model combined with the motion of Earth and Gaia around the Sun tomore »reproduce the complex light curve. The photometric data allowed us to solve the microlensing event entirely and to derive the complete and unique set of orbital parameters of the binary lensing system. We also report on the detection of the first-ever microlensing space-parallax between the Earth and Gaia located at L2. The properties of the binary system were derived from microlensing parameters, and we found that the system is composed of two main-sequence stars with masses 0.57 ± 0.05 M ⊙ and 0.36 ± 0.03 M ⊙ at 780 pc, with an orbital period of 2.88 years and an eccentricity of 0.30. We also predict the astrometric microlensing signal for this binary lens as it will be seen by Gaia as well as the radial velocity curve for the binary system. Events such as Gaia16aye indicate the potential for the microlensing method of probing the mass function of dark objects, including black holes, in directions other than that of the Galactic bulge. This case also emphasises the importance of long-term time-domain coordinated observations that can be made with a network of heterogeneous telescopes.« less
  3. Context. The ESA Gaia mission provides a unique time-domain survey for more than 1.6 billion sources with G ≲ 21 mag. Aims. We showcase stellar variability in the Galactic colour-absolute magnitude diagram (CaMD). We focus on pulsating, eruptive, and cataclysmic variables, as well as on stars that exhibit variability that is due to rotation and eclipses. Methods. We describe the locations of variable star classes, variable object fractions, and typical variability amplitudes throughout the CaMD and show how variability-related changes in colour and brightness induce “motions”. To do this, we use 22 months of calibrated photometric, spectro-photometric, and astrometric Gaiamore »data of stars with a significant parallax. To ensure that a large variety of variable star classes populate the CaMD, we crossmatched Gaia sources with known variable stars. We also used the statistics and variability detection modules of the Gaia variability pipeline. Corrections for interstellar extinction are not implemented in this article. Results. Gaia enables the first investigation of Galactic variable star populations in the CaMD on a similar, if not larger, scale as was previously done in the Magellanic Clouds. Although the observed colours are not corrected for reddening, distinct regions are visible in which variable stars occur. We determine variable star fractions to within the current detection thresholds of Gaia . Finally, we report the most complete description of variability-induced motion within the CaMD to date. Conclusions. Gaia enables novel insights into variability phenomena for an unprecedented number of stars, which will benefit the understanding of stellar astrophysics. The CaMD of Galactic variable stars provides crucial information on physical origins of variability in a way that has previously only been accessible for Galactic star clusters or external galaxies. Future Gaia data releases will enable significant improvements over this preview by providing longer time series, more accurate astrometry, and additional data types (time series BP and RP spectra, RVS spectra, and radial velocities), all for much larger samples of stars.« less