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    Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) arise from the thermonuclear explosion in binary systems involving carbon–oxygen white dwarfs (WDs). The pathway of WDs acquiring mass may produce circumstellar material (CSM). Observing SNe Ia within a few hours to a few days after the explosion can provide insight into the nature of CSM relating to the progenitor systems. In this paper, we propose a CSM model to investigate the effect of ejecta−CSM interaction on the early-time multiband light curves of SNe Ia. By varying the mass-loss history of the progenitor system, we apply the ejecta−CSM interaction model to fit the optical and ultraviolet (UV) photometric data of eight SNe Ia with early excess. The photometric data of SNe Ia in our sample can be well matched by our CSM model except for the UV-band light curve of iPTF14atg, indicating its early excess may not be due to the ejecta−CSM interaction. Meanwhile, the CSM interaction can generate synchrotron radiation from relativistic electrons in the shocked gas, making radio observations a distinctive probe of CSM. The radio luminosity based on our models suggests that positive detection of the radio signal is only possible within a few days after the explosion at higher radio frequencies (e.g. ∼250 GHz); at lower frequencies (e.g. ∼1.5 GHz), the detection is difficult. These models lead us to conclude that a multimessenger approach that involves UV, optical, and radio observations of SNe Ia a few days past explosion is needed to address many of the outstanding questions concerning the progenitor systems of SNe Ia.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 9, 2024
  2. Abstract

    We present six epochs of optical spectropolarimetry of the Type II supernova (SN) 2023ixf ranging from ∼2 to 15 days after the explosion. Polarimetry was obtained with the Kast double spectrograph on the Shane 3 m telescope at Lick Observatory, representing the earliest such observations ever captured for an SN. We observe a high continuum polarizationpcont≈ 1% on days +1.4 and +2.5 before dropping to 0.5% on day +3.5, persisting at that level up to day +14.5. Remarkably, this change coincides temporally with the disappearance of highly ionized “flash” features. The decrease of the continuum polarization is accompanied by a ∼70° rotation of the polarization position angle (PA) as seen across the continuum. The early evolution of the polarization may indicate different geometric configurations of the electron-scattering atmosphere as seen before and after the disappearance of the emission lines associated with highly ionized species (e.g., Heii, Civ, and Niii), which are likely produced by elevated mass loss shortly prior to the SN explosion. We interpret the rapid change of polarization and PA from days +2.5 to +4.5 as the time when the SN ejecta emerge from the dense asymmetric circumstellar material (CSM). The temporal evolution of the continuum polarization and the PA is consistent with an aspherical SN explosion that exhibits a distinct geometry compared to the CSM. The rapid follow-up spectropolarimetry of SN 2023ixf during the shock ionization phase reveals an exceptionally asymmetric mass-loss process leading up to the explosion.

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  3. Abstract

    Accurate distance determination to astrophysical objects is essential for the understanding of their intrinsic brightness and size. The distance to SN 1987A has been previously measured by the expanding photosphere method and by using the angular size of the circumstellar rings with absolute sizes derived from light curves of narrow UV emission lines, with reported distances ranging from 46.77 to 55 kpc. In this study, we independently determined the distance to SN 1987A using photometry and imaging polarimetry observations of AT 2019xis, a light echo of SN 1987A, by adopting a radiative transfer model of the light echo developed in Ding et al. We obtained distances to SN 1987A in the range from 49.09 ± 2.16 kpc to 59.39 ± 3.27 kpc, depending on the interstellar polarization and extinction corrections, which are consistent with the literature values. This study demonstrates the potential of using light echoes as a tool for distance determination to astrophysical objects in the Milky Way, up to kiloparsec level scales.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024

    AST3-2 is the second of the three Antarctic Survey Telescopes, aimed at wide-field time-domain optical astronomy. It is located at Dome A, Antarctica, which is by many measures the best optical astronomy site on the Earth’s surface. Here we present the data from the AST3-2 automatic survey in 2016 and the photometry results. The median 5σ limiting magnitude in i-band is 17.8 mag and the light-curve precision is 4 mmag for bright stars. The data release includes photometry for over 7 million stars, from which over 3500 variable stars were detected, with 70 of them newly discovered. We classify these new variables into different types by combining their light-curve features with stellar properties from surveys such as StarHorse.

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    The radiance of sky brightness differs principally with wavelength passband. Atmospheric scattering of sunlight causes the radiation in the near-infrared band. The Antarctic is a singular area of the planet, marked by an unparalleled climate and geographical conditions, including the coldest temperatures and driest climate on Earth, which leads it to be the best candidate site for observing in infrared bands. At present, there are still no measurements of night-sky brightness at DOME A. We have developed the Near-Infrared Sky Brightness Monitor (NISBM) in the J, H, and Ks bands for measurements at DOME A. The instruments were installed at DOME A in 2019 and early results of NIR sky brightness from 2019 January–April have been obtained. The variation of sky background brightness with solar elevation and scanning angle is analysed. The zenith sky flux intensity for the early night at DOME A in the J band is in the 600–1100 μJy arcsec−2 range, that in the H band is between 1100 and 2600 μJy arcsec−2, and that in the Ks band is in the range ∼200–900 μJy arcsec−2. This result shows that the sky brightness in J and H bands is close to that of Ali in China and Mauna Kea in the USA. The sky brightness in the Ks band is much better than that in Ali, China and Mauna Kea, USA. This shows that, from our early results, DOME A is a good site for astronomical observation in the Ks band.

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  6. Abstract

    We investigate the potential of using a sample of very high-redshift (2 ≲z≲ 6) (VHZ) Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) attainable by JWST on constraining cosmological parameters. At such high redshifts, the age of the universe is young enough that the VHZ SN Ia sample comprises the very first SNe Ia of the universe, with progenitors among the very first generation of low-mass stars that the universe has made. We show that the VHZ SNe Ia can be used to disentangle systematic effects due to the luminosity distance evolution with redshifts intrinsic to SN Ia standardization. Assuming that the systematic evolution can be described by a linear or logarithmic formula, we found that the coefficients of this dependence can be determined accurately and decoupled from cosmological models. Systematic evolution as large as 0.15 mag and 0.45 mag out toz= 5 can be robustly separated from popular cosmological models for linear and logarithmic evolution, respectively. The VHZ SNe Ia will lay the foundation for quantifying the systematic redshift evolution of SN Ia luminosity distance scales. When combined with SN Ia surveys at comparatively lower redshifts, the VHZ SNe Ia allow for the precise measurement of the history of the expansion of the universe fromz∼ 0 to the epoch approaching reionization.

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  7. Abstract

    We apply the color–magnitude intercept calibration method (CMAGIC) to the Nearby Supernova Factory SNe Ia spectrophotometric data set. The currently existing CMAGIC parameters are the slope and intercept of a straight line fit to the linear region in the color–magnitude diagram, which occurs over a span of approximately 30 days after maximum brightness. We define a new parameter,ωXY, the size of the “bump” feature near maximum brightness for arbitrary filtersXandY. We find a significant correlation between the slope of the linear region,βXY, in the CMAGIC diagram andωXY. These results may be used to our advantage, as they are less affected by extinction than parameters defined as a function of time. Additionally,ωXYis computed independently of templates. We find that current empirical templates are successful at reproducing the features described in this work, particularly SALT3, which correctly exhibits the negative correlation between slope and “bump” size seen in our data. In 1D simulations, we show that the correlation between the size of the “bump” feature andβXYcan be understood as a result of chemical mixing due to large-scale Rayleigh–Taylor instabilities.

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    This paper presents a new optical imaging survey of four deep drilling fields (DDFs), two Galactic and two extragalactic, with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the 4-m Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). During the first year of observations in 2021, >4000 images covering 21 deg2 (seven DECam pointings), with ∼40 epochs (nights) per field and 5 to 6 images per night per filter in g, r, i, and/or z have become publicly available (the proprietary period for this program is waived). We describe the real-time difference-image pipeline and how alerts are distributed to brokers via the same distribution system as the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). In this paper, we focus on the two extragalactic deep fields (COSMOS and ELAIS-S1) characterizing the detected sources, and demonstrating that the survey design is effective for probing the discovery space of faint and fast variable and transient sources. We describe and make publicly available 4413 calibrated light curves based on difference-image detection photometry of transients and variables in the extragalactic fields. We also present preliminary scientific analysis regarding the Solar system small bodies, stellar flares and variables, Galactic anomaly detection, fast-rising transients and variables, supernovae, and active Galactic nuclei.

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  9. Abstract

    Image subtraction is essential for transient detection in time-domain astronomy. The point-spread function (PSF), photometric scaling, and sky background generally vary with time and across the field of view for imaging data taken with ground-based optical telescopes. Image subtraction algorithms need to match these variations for the detection of flux variability. An algorithm that can be fully parallelized is highly desirable for future time-domain surveys. Here we introduce the saccadic fast Fourier transform (SFFT) algorithm we developed for image differencing. SFFT uses aδ-function basis for kernel decomposition, and the image subtraction is performed in Fourier space. This brings about a remarkable improvement in computational performance of about an order of magnitude compared to other published image subtraction codes. SFFT can accommodate the spatial variations in wide-field imaging data, including PSF, photometric scaling, and sky background. However, the flexibility of theδ-function basis may also make it more prone to overfitting. The algorithm has been tested extensively on real astronomical data taken by a variety of telescopes. Moreover, the SFFT code allows for the spatial variations of the PSF and sky background to be fitted by spline functions.

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    We present ultraviolet (UV) to near-infrared (NIR) observations and analysis of the nearby Type Ia supernova SN 2021fxy. Our observations include UV photometry from Swift/UVOT, UV spectroscopy from HST/STIS, and high-cadence optical photometry with the Swope 1-m telescope capturing intranight rises during the early light curve. Early B − V colours show SN 2021fxy is the first ‘shallow-silicon’ (SS) SN Ia to follow a red-to-blue evolution, compared to other SS objects which show blue colours from the earliest observations. Comparisons to other spectroscopically normal SNe Ia with HST UV spectra reveal SN 2021fxy is one of several SNe Ia with flux suppression in the mid-UV. These SNe also show blueshifted mid-UV spectral features and strong high-velocity Ca ii features. One possible origin of this mid-UV suppression is the increased effective opacity in the UV due to increased line blanketing from high velocity material, but differences in the explosion mechanism cannot be ruled out. Among SNe Ia with mid-UV suppression, SNe 2021fxy and 2017erp show substantial similarities in their optical properties despite belonging to different Branch subgroups, and UV flux differences of the same order as those found between SNe 2011fe and 2011by. Differential comparisons to multiple sets of synthetic SN Ia UV spectra reveal this UV flux difference likely originates from a luminosity difference between SNe 2021fxy and 2017erp, and not differing progenitor metallicities as suggested for SNe 2011by and 2011fe. These comparisons illustrate the complicated nature of UV spectral formation, and the need for more UV spectra to determine the physical source of SNe Ia UV diversity.

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