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  1. Abstract

    We present preexplosion optical and infrared (IR) imaging at the site of the type II supernova (SN II) 2023ixf in Messier 101 at 6.9 Mpc. We astrometrically registered a ground-based image of SN 2023ixf to archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Spitzer Space Telescope (Spitzer), and ground-based near-IR images. A single point source is detected at a position consistent with the SN at wavelengths ranging from HSTRband to Spitzer 4.5μm. Fitting with blackbody and red supergiant (RSG) spectral energy distributions (SEDs), we find that the source is anomalously cool with a significant mid-IR excess. We interpret this SED as reprocessed emission in a 8600Rcircumstellar shell of dusty material with a mass ∼5 × 10−5Msurrounding alog(L/L)=4.74±0.07andTeff=3920160+200K RSG. This luminosity is consistent with RSG models of initial mass 11M, depending on assumptions of rotation and overshooting. In addition, the counterpart was significantly variable in preexplosion Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5μm imaging, exhibiting ∼70% variability in both bands correlated across 9 yr and 29 epochs of imaging. The variations appear to have a timescale of 2.8 yr, which is consistent withκ-mechanism pulsations observed in RSGs, albeit with a much larger amplitude than RSGs such asαOrionis (Betelgeuse).

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Abstract We present the optical photometric and spectroscopic analysis of two Type Iax supernovae (SNe), 2018cni and 2020kyg. SN 2018cni is a bright Type Iax SN ( M V ,peak = −17.81 ± 0.21 mag), whereas SN 2020kyg ( M V ,peak = −14.52 ± 0.21 mag) is a faint one. We derive 56 Ni mass of 0.07 and 0.002 M ⊙ and ejecta mass of 0.48 and 0.14 M ⊙ for SNe 2018cni and 2020kyg, respectively. A combined study of the bright and faint Type Iax SNe in R / r -band reveals that the brighter objects tend to have a longer rise time. However, the correlation between the peak luminosity and decline rate shows that bright and faint Type Iax SNe exhibit distinct behavior. Comparison with standard deflagration models suggests that SN 2018cni is consistent with the deflagration of a CO white dwarf, whereas the properties of SN 2020kyg can be better explained by the deflagration of a hybrid CONe white dwarf. The spectral features of both the SNe point to the presence of similar chemical species but with different mass fractions. Our spectral modeling indicates stratification at the outer layers and mixed inner ejecta for both of the SNe. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    We present high-cadence ultraviolet through near-infrared observations of the Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) 2023bee atD= 32 ± 3 Mpc, finding excess flux in the first days after explosion, particularly in our 10 minutes cadence TESS light curve and Swift UV data. Compared to a few other normal SNe Ia with early excess flux, the excess flux in SN 2023bee is redder in the UV and less luminous. We present optical spectra of SN 2023bee, including two spectra during the period where the flux excess is dominant. At this time, the spectra are similar to those of other SNe Ia but with weaker Siii, Cii,and Caiiabsorption lines, perhaps because the excess flux creates a stronger continuum. We compare the data to several theoretical models on the origin of early excess flux in SNe Ia. Interaction with either the companion star or close-in circumstellar material is expected to produce a faster evolution than observed. Radioactive material in the outer layers of the ejecta, either from double detonation explosion or from a56Ni clump near the surface, cannot fully reproduce the evolution either, likely due to the sensitivity of early UV observable to the treatment of the outer part of ejecta in simulation. We conclude that no current model can adequately explain the full set of observations. We find that a relatively large fraction of nearby, bright SNe Ia with high-cadence observations have some amount of excess flux within a few days of explosion. Considering potential asymmetric emission, the physical cause of this excess flux may be ubiquitous in normal SNe Ia.

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  4. Abstract Tidal disruption events (TDEs) offer a unique way to study dormant black holes. While the number of observed TDEs has grown thanks to the emergence of wide-field surveys in the past few decades, questions regarding the nature of the observed optical, UV, and X-ray emission remain. We present a uniformly selected sample of 30 spectroscopically classified TDEs from the Zwicky Transient Facility Phase I survey operations with follow-up Swift UV and X-ray observations. Through our investigation into correlations between light-curve properties, we recover a shallow positive correlation between the peak bolometric luminosity and decay timescales. We introduce a new spectroscopic class of TDE, TDE-featureless, which are characterized by featureless optical spectra. The new TDE-featureless class shows larger peak bolometric luminosities, peak blackbody temperatures, and peak blackbody radii. We examine the differences between the X-ray bright and X-ray faint populations of TDEs in this sample, finding that X-ray bright TDEs show higher peak blackbody luminosities than the X-ray faint subsample. This sample of optically selected TDEs is the largest sample of TDEs from a single survey yet, and the systematic discovery, classification, and follow-up of this sample allows for robust characterization of TDE properties, an important stepping stone looking forward toward the Rubin era. 
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  5. Abstract

    We present an analysis of ground-based and JWST observations of SN 2022pul, a peculiar “03fg-like” (or “super-Chandrasekhar”) Type Ia supernova (SN Ia), in the nebular phase at 338 days postexplosion. Our combined spectrum continuously covers 0.4–14μm and includes the first mid-infrared spectrum of a 03fg-like SN Ia. Compared to normal SN Ia 2021aefx, SN 2022pul exhibits a lower mean ionization state, asymmetric emission-line profiles, stronger emission from the intermediate-mass elements (IMEs) argon and calcium, weaker emission from iron-group elements (IGEs), and the first unambiguous detection of neon in a SN Ia. A strong, broad, centrally peaked [Neii] line at 12.81μm was previously predicted as a hallmark of “violent merger” SN Ia models, where dynamical interaction between two sub-MChwhite dwarfs (WDs) causes disruption of the lower-mass WD and detonation of the other. The violent merger scenario was already a leading hypothesis for 03fg-like SNe Ia; in SN 2022pul it can explain the large-scale ejecta asymmetries seen between the IMEs and IGEs and the central location of narrow oxygen and broad neon. We modify extant models to add clumping of the ejecta to reproduce the optical iron emission better, and add mass in the innermost region (<2000 km s−1) to account for the observed narrow [Oi]λλ6300, 6364 emission. A violent WD–WD merger explains many of the observations of SN 2022pul, and our results favor this model interpretation for the subclass of 03fg-like SNe Ia.

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    We present a photometric and spectroscopic analysis of the ultraluminous and slowly evolving 03fg-like Type Ia SN 2021zny. Our observational campaign starts from ∼5.3 h after explosion (making SN 2021zny one of the earliest observed members of its class), with dense multiwavelength coverage from a variety of ground- and space-based telescopes, and is concluded with a nebular spectrum ∼10 months after peak brightness. SN 2021zny displayed several characteristics of its class, such as the peak brightness (MB = −19.95 mag), the slow decline (Δm15(B) = 0.62 mag), the blue early-time colours, the low ejecta velocities, and the presence of significant unburned material above the photosphere. However, a flux excess for the first ∼1.5 d after explosion is observed in four photometric bands, making SN 2021zny the third 03fg-like event with this distinct behaviour, while its +313 d spectrum shows prominent [O i] lines, a very unusual characteristic of thermonuclear SNe. The early flux excess can be explained as the outcome of the interaction of the ejecta with $\sim 0.04\, \mathrm{M_{\odot }}$ of H/He-poor circumstellar material at a distance of ∼1012 cm, while the low ionization state of the late-time spectrum reveals low abundances of stable iron-peak elements. All our observations are in accordance with a progenitor system of two carbon/oxygen white dwarfs that undergo a merger event, with the disrupted white dwarf ejecting carbon-rich circumstellar material prior to the primary white dwarf detonation.

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  7. Abstract Seeing pristine material from the donor star in a type Ia supernova (SN Ia) explosion can reveal the nature of the binary system. In this paper, we present photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2020esm, one of the best-studied SNe of the class of “super-Chandrasekhar” SNe Ia (SC SNe Ia), with data obtained −12 to +360 days relative to peak brightness, obtained from a variety of ground- and space-based telescopes. Initially misclassified as a type II supernova, SN 2020esm peaked at M B = −19.9 mag, declined slowly (Δ m 15 ( B ) = 0.92 mag), and had particularly blue UV and optical colors at early times. Photometrically and spectroscopically, SN 2020esm evolved similarly to other SC SNe Ia, showing the usual low ejecta velocities, weak intermediate-mass elements, and the enhanced fading at late times, but its early spectra are unique. Our first few spectra (corresponding to a phase of ≳10 days before peak) reveal a nearly pure carbon/oxygen atmosphere during the first days after explosion. This composition can only be produced by pristine material, relatively unaffected by nuclear burning. The lack of H and He may further indicate that SN 2020esm is the outcome of the merger of two carbon/oxygen white dwarfs. Modeling its bolometric light curve, we find an 56 Ni mass of 1.23 − 0.14 + 0.14 M ☉ and an ejecta mass of 1.75 − 0.20 + 0.32 M ☉ , in excess of the Chandrasekhar mass. Finally, we discuss possible progenitor systems and explosion mechanisms of SN 2020esm and, in general, the SC SNe Ia class. 
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  8. Abstract

    We present observations of a peculiar hydrogen- and helium-poor stripped-envelope (SE) supernova (SN) 2020wnt, primarily in the optical and near-infrared (near-IR). Its peak absolute bolometric magnitude of −20.9 mag (Lbol, peak= (6.8 ± 0.3) × 1043erg s−1) and a rise time of 69 days are reminiscent of hydrogen-poor superluminous SNe (SLSNe I), luminous transients potentially powered by spinning-down magnetars. Before the main peak, there is a brief peak lasting <10 days post explosion, likely caused by interaction with circumstellar medium (CSM) ejected ∼years before the SN explosion. The optical spectra near peak lack a hot continuum and Oiiabsorptions, which are signs of heating from a central engine; they quantitatively resemble those of radioactivity-powered hydrogen/helium-poor Type Ic SESNe. At ∼1 yr after peak, nebular spectra reveal a blue pseudo-continuum and narrow Oirecombination lines associated with magnetar heating. Radio observations rule out strong CSM interactions as the dominant energy source at +266 days post peak. Near-IR observations at +200–300 days reveal carbon monoxide and dust formation, which causes a dramatic optical light-curve dip. Pair-instability explosion models predict slow light curve and spectral features incompatible with observations. SN 2020wnt is best explained as a magnetar-powered core-collapse explosion of a 28Mpre-SN star. The explosion kinetic energy is significantly larger than the magnetar energy at peak, effectively concealing the magnetar-heated inner ejecta until well after peak. SN 2020wnt falls into a continuum between normal SNe Ic and SLSNe I, and demonstrates that optical spectra at peak alone cannot rule out the presence of a central engine.

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  9. 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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  10. Abstract We present photometric and spectroscopic observations of Supernova 2020oi (SN 2020oi), a nearby (∼17 Mpc) type-Ic supernova (SN Ic) within the grand-design spiral M100. We undertake a comprehensive analysis to characterize the evolution of SN 2020oi and constrain its progenitor system. We detect flux in excess of the fireball rise model δ t ≈ 2.5 days from the date of explosion in multiband optical and UV photometry from the Las Cumbres Observatory and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, respectively. The derived SN bolometric luminosity is consistent with an explosion with M ej = 0.81 ± 0.03 M ⊙ , E k = 0.79 ± 0.09 × 10 51 erg s −1 , and M Ni56 = 0.08 ± 0.02 M ⊙ . Inspection of the event’s decline reveals the highest Δ m 15,bol reported for a stripped-envelope event to date. Modeling of optical spectra near event peak indicates a partially mixed ejecta comparable in composition to the ejecta observed in SN 1994I, while the earliest spectrum shows signatures of a possible interaction with material of a distinct composition surrounding the SN progenitor. Further, Hubble Space Telescope pre-explosion imaging reveals a stellar cluster coincident with the event. From the cluster photometry, we derive the mass and age of the SN progenitor using stellar evolution models implemented in the BPASS library. Our results indicate that SN 2020oi occurred in a binary system from a progenitor of mass M ZAMS ≈ 9.5 ± 1.0 M ⊙ , corresponding to an age of 27 ± 7 Myr. SN 2020oi is the dimmest SN Ic event to date for which an early-time flux excess has been observed, and the first in which an early excess is unlikely to be associated with shock cooling. 
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