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  1. ABSTRACT

    Contemporary reverberation mapping campaigns are employing wide-area photometric data and high-multiplex spectroscopy to efficiently monitor hundreds of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). However, the interaction of the window function(s) imposed by the observation cadence with the reverberation lag and AGN variability time-scales (intrinsic to each source over a range of luminosities) impact our ability to recover these fundamental physical properties. Time dilation effects due to the sample source redshift distribution introduce added complexity. We present comprehensive analysis of the implications of observational cadence, seasonal gaps, and campaign baseline duration (i.e. the survey window function) for reverberation lag recovery. We find that the presence of a significant seasonal gap dominates the efficacy of any given campaign strategy for lag recovery across the parameter space, particularly for those sources with observed-frame lags above 100 d. Using the Australian Dark Energy Survey as a baseline, we consider the implications of this analysis for the 4MOST/Time-Domain Extragalactic Survey campaign providing concurrent follow-up of the Legacy Survey of Space and Time deep-drilling fields, as well as upcoming programmes. We conclude that the success of such surveys will be critically limited by the seasonal visibility of some potential field choices, but show significant improvement from extending themore »baseline. Optimizing the sample selection to fit the window function will improve survey efficacy.

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  2. Abstract

    We present early observations and analysis of the double-peaked Type IIb supernova (SN IIb) SN 2021zby. TESS captured the prominent early shock-cooling peak of SN 2021zby within the first ∼10 days after explosion with a 30 minute cadence. We present optical and near-infrared spectral series of SN 2021zby, including three spectra during the shock-cooling phase. Using a multiband model fit, we find that the inferred properties of its progenitor are consistent with a red supergiant or yellow supergiant, with an envelope mass of ∼0.30–0.65Mand an envelope radius of ∼120–300R. These inferred progenitor properties are similar to those of other SNe IIb with a double-peaked feature, such as SNe 1993J, 2011dh, 2016gkg, and 2017jgh. This study further validates the importance of the high cadence and early coverage in resolving the shape of the shock-cooling light curve, while the multiband observations, particularly UV, are also necessary to fully constrain the progenitor properties.

  3. 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
  4. Abstract We present the 30 minutes cadence Kepler/K2 light curve of the Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) SN 2018agk, covering approximately one week before explosion, the full rise phase, and the decline until 40 days after peak. We additionally present ground-based observations in multiple bands within the same time range, including the 1 day cadence DECam observations within the first ∼5 days after the first light. The Kepler early light curve is fully consistent with a single power-law rise, without evidence of any bump feature. We compare SN 2018agk with a sample of other SNe Ia without early excess flux from the literature. We find that SNe Ia without excess flux have slowly evolving early colors in a narrow range ( g − i ≈ −0.20 ± 0.20 mag) within the first ∼10 days. On the other hand, among SNe Ia detected with excess, SN 2017cbv and SN 2018oh tend to be bluer, while iPTF16abc’s evolution is similar to normal SNe Ia without excess in g − i . We further compare the Kepler light curve of SN 2018agk with companion-interaction models, and rule out the existence of a typical nondegenerate companion undergoing Roche lobe overflow at viewing angles smallermore »than 45°.« less
  5. Abstract We present optical follow-up imaging obtained with the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Nickel Telescope, Swope Telescope, and Thacher Telescope of the LIGO/Virgo gravitational wave (GW) signal from the neutron star–black hole (NSBH) merger GW190814. We searched the GW190814 localization region (19 deg 2 for the 90th percentile best localization), covering a total of 51 deg 2 and 94.6% of the two-dimensional localization region. Analyzing the properties of 189 transients that we consider as candidate counterparts to the NSBH merger, including their localizations, discovery times from merger, optical spectra, likely host galaxy redshifts, and photometric evolution, we conclude that none of these objects are likely to be associated with GW190814. Based on this finding, we consider the likely optical properties of an electromagnetic counterpart to GW190814, including possible kilonovae and short gamma-ray burst afterglows. Using the joint limits from our follow-up imaging, we conclude that a counterpart with an r -band decline rate of 0.68 mag day −1 , similar to the kilonova AT 2017gfo, could peak at an absolute magnitude of at most −17.8 mag (50% confidence). Our data are not constraining for “red” kilonovae and rule out “blue” kilonovae with M >more »0.5 M ⊙ (30% confidence). We strongly rule out all known types of short gamma-ray burst afterglows with viewing angles <17° assuming an initial jet opening angle of ∼5.°2 and explosion energies and circumburst densities similar to afterglows explored in the literature. Finally, we explore the possibility that GW190814 merged in the disk of an active galactic nucleus, of which we find four in the localization region, but we do not find any candidate counterparts among these sources.« less
  6. Abstract Periodically variable quasars have been suggested as close binary supermassive black holes. We present a systematic search for periodic light curves in 625 spectroscopically confirmed quasars with a median redshift of 1.8 in a 4.6 deg2 overlapping region of the Dark Energy Survey Supernova (DES-SN) fields and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 (SDSS-S82). Our sample has a unique 20-year long multi-color (griz) light curve enabled by combining DES-SN Y6 observations with archival SDSS-S82 data. The deep imaging allows us to search for periodic light curves in less luminous quasars (down to r ∼23.5 mag) powered by less massive black holes (with masses ≳ 108.5M⊙) at high redshift for the first time. We find five candidates with significant (at >99.74% single-frequency significance in at least two bands with a global p-value of ∼7 × 10−4–3× 10−3 accounting for the look-elsewhere effect) periodicity with observed periods of ∼3–5 years (i.e., 1–2 years in rest frame) having ∼4–6 cycles spanned by the observations. If all five candidates are periodically variable quasars, this translates into a detection rate of ${\sim }0.8^{+0.5}_{-0.3}$% or ${\sim }1.1^{+0.7}_{-0.5}$ quasar per deg2. Our detection rate is 4–80 times larger than those found by previous searches using shallower surveys over largermore »areas. This discrepancy is likely caused by differences in the quasar populations probed and the survey data qualities. We discuss implications on the future direct detection of low-frequency gravitational waves. Continued photometric monitoring will further assess the robustness and characteristics of these candidate periodic quasars to determine their physical origins.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We report the identification of a low-mass active galactic nucleus (AGN), DES J0218−0430, in a redshift z = 0.823 galaxy in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Supernova field. We select DES J0218−0430 as an AGN candidate by characterizing its long-term optical variability alone based on DES optical broad-band light curves spanning over 6 yr. An archival optical spectrum from the fourth phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows both broad Mg ii and broad H β lines, confirming its nature as a broad-line AGN. Archival XMM–Newton X-ray observations suggest an intrinsic hard X-ray luminosity of $L_{{\rm 2-12\, keV}}\approx 7.6\pm 0.4\times 10^{43}$ erg s−1, which exceeds those of the most X-ray luminous starburst galaxies, in support of an AGN driving the optical variability. Based on the broad H β from SDSS spectrum, we estimate a virial black hole (BH) mass of M• ≈ 106.43–106.72 M⊙ (with the error denoting the systematic uncertainty from different calibrations), consistent with the estimation from OzDES, making it the lowest mass AGN with redshift > 0.4 detected in optical. We estimate the host galaxy stellar mass to be M* ≈ 1010.5 ± 0.3 M⊙ based on modelling the multiwavelength spectral energy distribution. DES J0218−0430 extends the M•–M* relation observed in luminous AGNs at z ∼ 1 tomore »masses lower than being probed by previous work. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using optical variability to identify low-mass AGNs at higher redshift in deeper synoptic surveys with direct implications for the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time at Vera C. Rubin Observatory.« less