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  1. Abstract

    We report the discovery of Pavo, a faint (MV= −10.0), star-forming, irregular, and extremely isolated dwarf galaxy atD≈ 2 Mpc. Pavo was identified in Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey imaging via a novel approach that combines low surface brightness galaxy search algorithms and machine-learning candidate classifications. Follow-up imaging with the Inamori-Magellan Areal Camera and Spectrograph on the 6.5 m Magellan Baade telescope revealed a color–magnitude diagram (CMD) with an old stellar population, in addition to the young population that dominates the integrated light, and a tip of the red giant branch distance estimate of1.990.22+0.20Mpc. The blue population of stars in the CMD is consistent with the youngest stars having formed no later than 150 Myr ago. We also detected no Hαemission with SOAR telescope imaging, suggesting that we may be witnessing a temporary low in Pavo’s star formation. We estimate the total stellar mass of Pavo to belogM*/M=5.6±0.2and measure an upper limit on its Higas mass of 1.0 × 106Mbased on the HIPASS survey. Given these properties, Pavo’s closest analog is Leo P (D= 1.6 Mpc), previously the only known isolated, star-forming, Local Volume dwarf galaxy in this mass range. However, Pavo appears to be even more isolated, with no other known galaxy residing within over 600 kpc. As surveys and search techniques continue to improve, we anticipate an entire population of analogous objects being detected just outside the Local Group.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024

    Understanding the natal kicks received by neutron stars (NSs) during formation is a critical component of modelling the evolution of massive binaries. Natal kicks are an integral input parameter for population synthesis codes, and have implications for the formation of double NS systems and their subsequent merger rates. However, many of the standard observational kick distributions that are used are obtained from samples created only from isolated NSs. Kick distributions derived in this way overestimate the intrinsic NS kick distribution. For NSs in binaries, we can only directly estimate the effect of the natal kick on the binary system, instead of the natal kick received by the NS itself. Here, for the first time, we present a binary kick distribution for NSs with low-mass companions. We compile a catalogue of 145 NSs in low-mass binaries with the best available constraints on proper motion, distance, and systemic radial velocity. For each binary, we use a three-dimensional approach to estimate its binary kick. We discuss the implications of these kicks on system formation, and provide a parametric model for the overall binary kick distribution, for use in future theoretical modelling work. We compare our results with other work on isolated NSs and NSs in binaries, finding that the NS kick distributions fit using only isolated pulsars underestimate the fraction of NSs that receive low kicks. We discuss the implications of our results on modelling double NS systems, and provide suggestions on how to use our results in future theoretical works.

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  4. Abstract We present the discovery of a new optical/X-ray source likely associated with the Fermi γ -ray source 4FGL J1408.6–2917. Its high-amplitude periodic optical variability, large spectroscopic radial-velocity semiamplitude, evidence for optical emission lines and flaring, and X-ray properties together imply the source is probably a new black widow millisecond pulsar binary. We compile the properties of the 41 confirmed and suspected field black widows, finding a median secondary mass of 0.027 ± 0.003 M ⊙ . Considered jointly with the more massive redback millisecond pulsar binaries, we find that the “spider” companion mass distribution remains strongly bimodal, with essentially zero systems having companion masses of between ∼0.07 and 0.1 M ⊙ . X-ray emission from black widows is typically softer and less luminous than in redbacks, consistent with less efficient particle acceleration in the intrabinary shock in black widows, excepting a few systems that appear to have more efficient “redback-like” shocks. Together black widows and redbacks dominate the census of the fastest spinning field millisecond pulsars in binaries with known companion types, making up ≳80% of systems with P spin < 2 ms. Similar to redbacks, the neutron star masses in black widows appear on average significantly larger than the canonical 1.4 M ⊙ , and many of the highest-mass neutron stars claimed to date are black widows with M NS ≳ 2.1 M ⊙ . Both of these observations are consistent with an evolutionary picture where spider millisecond pulsars emerge from short orbital period progenitors that had a lengthy period of mass transfer initiated while the companion was on the main sequence, leading to fast spins and high masses. 
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  5. Abstract

    The conditions under which accreting neutron stars launch radio-emitting jets and/or outflows are still poorly understood. The ultracompact X-ray binary X1850–087, located in the globular cluster NGC 6712, is a persistent atoll-type X-ray source that has previously shown unusual radio-continuum variability. Here we present the results of a pilot radio-monitoring program of X1850–087 undertaken with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, with simultaneous or quasi-simultaneous Swift/XRT data obtained at each epoch. The binary is clearly detected in the radio in two of the six new epochs. When combined with previous data, these results suggest that X1850–087 shows radio emission at a slightly elevated hard-state X-ray luminosity ofLX≳ 2 × 1036erg s−1, but no radio emission in its baseline hard stateLX∼ 1036erg s−1. No clear X-ray spectral changes are associated with this factor of ≳10 radio variability. At all detected epochs, X1850–087 has a flat to inverted radio spectral index, more consistent with the partially absorbed optically thick synchrotron of a compact jet rather than the evolving optically thick to thin emission associated with transient expanding synchrotron-emitting ejecta. If the radio emission in X1850–087 is indeed due to a compact jet, then it is plausibly being launched and quenched in the hard state on timescales as short as a few days. Future radio monitoring of X1850–087 could help elucidate the conditions under which compact jets are produced around hard-state accreting neutron stars.

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  6. Abstract

    We present new radial velocity measurements from the Magellan and the Anglo-Australian Telescopes for 175 previously known and 121 newly confirmed globular clusters (GCs) around NGC 5128, the nearest accessible massive early-type galaxy atD= 3.8 Mpc. Remarkably, 28 of these newly confirmed GCs are at projected radii>50(≳54 kpc), extending to ∼130 kpc, in the outer halo where few GCs had been confirmed in previous work. We identify several subsets of GCs that spatially trace halo substructures that are visible in red giant branch star maps of the galaxy. In some cases, these subsets of GCs are kinematically cold, and may be directly associated with and originate from these specific stellar substructures. From a combined kinematic sample of 645 GCs, we see evidence for coherent rotation at all radii, with a higher rotation amplitude for the metal-rich GC subpopulation. Using the tracer mass estimator, we measure a total enclosed mass of 2.5 ± 0.3 × 1012Mwithin ∼120 kpc, an estimate that will be sharpened with forthcoming dynamical modeling. The combined power of stellar mapping and GC kinematics makes NGC 5128 an ongoing keystone for understanding galaxy assembly at mass scales inaccessible in the Local Group.

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    Weakly accreting black hole X-ray binaries launch compact radio jets that persist even in the quiescent spectral state, at X-ray luminosities ≲ 10−5 of the Eddington luminosity. However, radio continuum emission has been detected from only a few of these quiescent systems, and little is known about their radio variability. Jet variability can lead to misclassification of accreting compact objects in quiescence, and affects the detectability of black hole X-ray binaries in next-generation radio surveys. Here we present the results of a radio monitoring campaign of A0620 − 00, one of the best-studied and least-luminous known quiescent black hole X-ray binaries. We observed A0620 − 00 at 9.8 GHz using the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array on 31 epochs from 2017 to 2020, detecting the source $\sim 75{{\ \rm per\, cent}}$ of the time. We see significant variability over all time-scales sampled, and the observed flux densities follow a lognormal distribution with μ = 12.5 μJy and σ = 0.22 dex. In no epoch was A0620 − 00 as bright as in 2005 (51 ± 7 μJy), implying either that this original detection was obtained during an unusually bright flare, or that the system is fading in the radio over time. We present tentative evidence that the quiescent radio emission from A0620 − 00 is less variable than that of V404 Cyg, the only other black hole binary with comparable data. Given that V404 Cyg has a jet radio luminosity ∼20 times higher than A0620 − 00, this comparison could suggest that less luminous jets are less variable in quiescence.

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  8. Abstract

    We present the study of multiwavelength observations of an unidentified Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) source, 4FGL J1910.7−5320, a new candidate redback millisecond pulsar binary. In the 4FGL 95% error region of 4FGL J1910.7−5320, we find a possible binary with a 8.36 hr orbital period from the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey, confirmed by optical spectroscopy using the SOAR telescope. This optical source was recently independently discovered as a redback pulsar by the TRAPUM project, confirming our prediction. We fit the optical spectral energy distributions of 4FGL J1910.7−5320 with a blackbody model, inferring a maximum distance of 4.1 kpc by assuming that the companion fills its Roche lobe with a radius ofR= 0.7R. Using a 12.6 ks Chandra X-ray observation, we identified an X-ray counterpart for 4FGL J1910.7−5320, with a spectrum that can be described by an absorbed power law with a photon index of 1.0 ± 0.4. The spectrally hard X-ray emission shows tentative evidence for orbital variability. Using more than 12 yr of Fermi-LAT data, we refined the position of theγ-ray source, and the optical candidate still lies within the 68% positional error circle. In addition to 4FGL J1910.7−5320, we find a variable optical source with a periodic signal of 4.28 hr inside the 4FGL catalog 95% error region of another unidentified Fermi source, 4FGL J2029.5−4237. However, theγ-ray source does not have a significant X-ray counterpart in an 11.7 ks Chandra observation, with a 3σflux upper limit of 2.4 × 10−14erg cm−2s−1(0.3–7 keV). Moreover, the optical source is outside our updated Fermi-LAT 95% error circle. These observational facts all suggest that this new redback millisecond pulsar powers the gamma-ray source 4FGL J1910.7−5320 while 4FGL J2029.5−4237 is unlikely theγ-ray counterpart to the 4.28 hr variable.

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  9. Abstract

    We analyze pre-explosion near- and mid-infrared (IR) imaging of the site of SN 2023ixf in the nearby spiral galaxy M101 and characterize the candidate progenitor star. The star displays compelling evidence of variability with a possible period of ≈1000 days and an amplitude of Δm≈ 0.6 mag in extensive monitoring with the Spitzer Space Telescope since 2004, likely indicative of radial pulsations. Variability consistent with this period is also seen in the near-IRJandKsbands between 2010 and 2023, up to just 10 days before the explosion. Beyond the periodic variability, we do not find evidence for any IR-bright pre-supernova outbursts in this time period. The IR brightness (MKs=10.7mag) and color (JKs= 1.6 mag) of the star suggest a luminous and dusty red supergiant. Modeling of the phase-averaged spectral energy distribution (SED) yields constraints on the stellar temperature (Teff=35001400+800K) and luminosity (logL/L=5.1±0.2). This places the candidate among the most luminous Type II supernova progenitors with direct imaging constraints, with the caveat that many of these rely only on optical measurements. Comparison with stellar evolution models gives an initial mass ofMinit= 17 ± 4M. We estimate the pre-supernova mass-loss rate of the star between 3 and 19 yr before explosion from the SED modeling atṀ3×105to 3 × 10−4Myr−1for an assumed wind velocity ofvw= 10 km s−1, perhaps pointing to enhanced mass loss in a pulsation-driven wind.

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  10. Abstract

    We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging of the site of SN 2015bh in the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 2770 taken between 2017 and 2019, nearly four years after the peak of the explosion. In 2017–2018, the transient fades steadily in optical filters before declining more slowly toF814W= −7.1 mag in 2019, ≈4 mag below the level of its eruptive luminous blue variable (LBV) progenitor observed with HST in 2008–2009. The source fades at a constant color ofF555WF814W= 0.4 mag until 2018, similar to SN 2009ip and consistent with a spectrum dominated by interaction of the ejecta with circumstellar material (CSM). A deep optical spectrum obtained in 2021 lacks signatures of ongoing interaction (LHα≲ 1038erg s−1for broadened emission ≲2000 km s−1), but indicates the presence of a nearby Hiiregion (≲300 pc). The color evolution of the fading source makes it unlikely that emission from a scattered-light echo or binary OB companion of the progenitor contributes significantly to the flattening of the late-time light curve. The remaining emission in 2019 may plausibly be attributed an evolved/inflated companion or an unresolved (≲3 pc), young stellar cluster. Importantly, the color evolution of SN 2015bh rules out scenarios in which the surviving progenitor is obscured by nascent dust and does not clearly indicate a transition to a hotter, optically faint state. The simplest explanation is that the massive progenitor did not survive. SN 2015bh likely represents a remarkable example of the terminal explosion of a massive star preceded by decades of end-stage eruptive variability.

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