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  1. Abstract

    We present a comprehensive optical and near-infrared census of the fields of 90 short gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) discovered in 2005–2021, constituting all short GRBs for which host galaxy associations are feasible (≈60% of the total Swift short GRB population). We contribute 274 new multi-band imaging observations across 58 distinct GRBs and 26 spectra of their host galaxies. Supplemented by literature and archival survey data, the catalog contains 542 photometric and 42 spectroscopic data sets. The photometric catalog reaches 3σdepths of ≳24–27 mag and ≳23–26 mag for the optical and near-infrared bands, respectively. We identify host galaxies for 84 bursts, in which the most robust associations make up 56% (50/90) of events, while only a small fraction, 6.7%, have inconclusive host associations. Based on new spectroscopy, we determine 18 host spectroscopic redshifts with a range ofz≈ 0.15–1.5 and find that ≈23%–41% of Swift short GRBs originate fromz> 1. We also present the galactocentric offset catalog for 84 short GRBs. Taking into account the large range of individual measurement uncertainties, we find a median of projected offset of ≈7.7 kpc, for which the bursts with the most robust associations have a smaller median of ≈4.8 kpc. Our catalog captures more high-redshiftmore »and low-luminosity hosts, and more highly offset bursts than previously found, thereby diversifying the population of known short GRB hosts and properties. In terms of locations and host luminosities, the populations of short GRBs with and without detectable extended emission are statistically indistinguishable. This suggests that they arise from the same progenitors, or from multiple progenitors, which form and evolve in similar environments. All of the data products are available on the Broadband Repository for Investigating Gamma-Ray Burst Host Traits website.

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  2. Abstract We present high-cadence optical and ultraviolet light curves of the normal Type Ia supernova (SN) 2021aefx, which shows an early bump during the first two days of observation. This bump may be a signature of interaction between the exploding white dwarf and a nondegenerate binary companion, or it may be intrinsic to the white dwarf explosion mechanism. In the case of the former, the short duration of the bump implies a relatively compact main-sequence companion star, although this conclusion is viewing-angle dependent. Our best-fit companion-shocking and double-detonation models both overpredict the UV luminosity during the bump, and existing nickel-shell models do not match the strength and timescale of the bump. We also present nebular spectra of SN 2021aefx, which do not show the hydrogen or helium emission expected from a nondegenerate companion, as well as a radio nondetection that rules out all symbiotic progenitor systems and most accretion disk winds. Our analysis places strong but conflicting constraints on the progenitor of SN 2021aefx; no current model can explain all of our observations.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Abstract We present a population of 19 radio-luminous supernovae (SNe) with emission reaching L ν ∼ 10 26 –10 29 erg s −1 Hz −1 in the first epoch of the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) at 2–4 GHz. Our sample includes one long gamma-ray burst, SN 2017iuk/GRB 171205A, and 18 core-collapse SNe detected at ≈1–60 yr after explosion. No thermonuclear explosion shows evidence for bright radio emission, and hydrogen-poor progenitors dominate the subsample of core-collapse events with spectroscopic classification at the time of explosion (79%). We interpret these findings in the context of the expected radio emission from the forward shock interaction with the circumstellar medium (CSM). We conclude that these observations require a departure from the single wind–like density profile (i.e., ρ CSM ∝ r −2 ) that is expected around massive stars and/or from a spherical Newtonian shock. Viable alternatives include the shock interaction with a detached, dense shell of CSM formed by a large effective progenitor mass-loss rate, M ̇ ∼ 10 − 4 – 10 − 1 M ⊙ yr −1 (for an assumed wind velocity of 1000 km s −1 ); emission from an off-axis relativistic jet entering our line of sight; ormore »the emergence of emission from a newly born pulsar-wind nebula. The relativistic SN 2012ap that is detected 5.7 and 8.5 yr after explosion with L ν ∼ 10 28 erg s −1 Hz −1 might constitute the first detections of an off-axis jet+cocoon system in a massive star. However, none of the VLASS SNe with archival data points are consistent with our model off-axis jet light curves. Future multiwavelength observations will distinguish among these scenarios. Our VLASS source catalogs, which were used to perform the VLASS cross-matching, are publicly available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4895112 .« less
  4. Abstract We present high-cadence optical, ultraviolet (UV), and near-infrared data of the nearby ( D ≈ 23 Mpc) Type II supernova (SN) 2021yja. Many Type II SNe show signs of interaction with circumstellar material (CSM) during the first few days after explosion, implying that their red supergiant (RSG) progenitors experience episodic or eruptive mass loss. However, because it is difficult to discover SNe early, the diversity of CSM configurations in RSGs has not been fully mapped. SN 2021yja, first detected within ≈ 5.4 hours of explosion, shows some signatures of CSM interaction (high UV luminosity and radio and x-ray emission) but without the narrow emission lines or early light-curve peak that can accompany CSM. Here we analyze the densely sampled early light curve and spectral series of this nearby SN to infer the properties of its progenitor and CSM. We find that the most likely progenitor was an RSG with an extended envelope, encompassed by low-density CSM. We also present archival Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the host galaxy of SN 2021yja, which allows us to place a stringent upper limit of ≲ 9 M ☉ on the progenitor mass. However, this is in tension with some aspects of themore »SN evolution, which point to a more massive progenitor. Our analysis highlights the need to consider progenitor structure when making inferences about CSM properties, and that a comprehensive view of CSM tracers should be made to give a fuller view of the last years of RSG evolution.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  5. 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 clustermore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  6. ABSTRACT We report on Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations of the fast and blue optical transient (FBOT), AT 2018cow. At ∼62 Mpc, AT 2018cow is the first relatively nearby FBOT. The nature of AT 2018cow is not clear, although various hypotheses from a tidal disruption event to different kinds of supernovae have been suggested. It had a very fast rise time (3.5 d) and an almost featureless blue spectrum, although high photospheric velocities (40 000 km s−1) were suggested early on. The X-ray luminosity was very high, ∼1.4 × 1043 erg s−1, larger than those of ordinary supernovae (SNe), and more consistent with those of SNe associated with gamma-ray bursts. Variable hard X-ray emission hints at a long-lived ‘central engine.’ It was also fairly radio luminous, with a peak 8.4-GHz spectral luminosity of ∼4 × 1028 erg s−1 Hz−1, allowing us to make VLBI observations at ages between 22 and 287 d. We do not resolve AT 2018cow. Assuming a circularly symmetric source, our observations constrain the average apparent expansion velocity to be ${\lt}0.49\, c$ by t = 98 d (3σ limit). We also constrain the proper motion of AT 2018cow to be ${\lt}0.51\, c$. Since the radio emission generally traces the fastest ejecta, our observations make the presence of a long-lived relativistic jet with a lifetime of more than 1 monthmore »very unlikely.« less
  7. ABSTRACT AT 2018hyz (= ASASSN-18zj) is a tidal disruption event (TDE) located in the nucleus of a quiescent E+A galaxy at a redshift of z = 0.04573, first detected by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). We present optical+UV photometry of the transient, as well as an X-ray spectrum and radio upper limits. The bolometric light curve of AT 2018hyz is comparable to other known TDEs and declines at a rate consistent with a t−5/3 at early times, emitting a total radiated energy of E = 9 × 1050 erg. An excess bump appears in the UV light curve about 50 d after bolometric peak, followed by a flattening beyond 250 d. We detect a constant X-ray source present for at least 86 d. The X-ray spectrum shows a total unabsorbed flux of ∼4 × 10−14 erg cm−2 s−1 and is best fit by a blackbody plus power-law model with a photon index of Γ = 0.8. A thermal X-ray model is unable to account for photons >1 keV, while a radio non-detection favours inverse-Compton scattering rather than a jet for the non-thermal component. We model the optical and UV light curves using the Modular Open-Source Fitter for Transients (MOSFiT) and find a best fit for a black hole of 5.2 × 106 M⊙ disrupting a 0.1 M⊙ star; themore »model suggests the star was likely only partially disrupted, based on the derived impact parameter of β = 0.6. The low optical depth implied by the small debris mass may explain how we are able to see hydrogen emission with disc-like line profiles in the spectra of AT 2018hyz (see our companion paper).« less