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  1. 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
  2. Abstract A thermonuclear explosion triggered by a He-shell detonation on a carbon–oxygen white-dwarf core has been predicted to have strong UV line blanketing at early times due to the iron-group elements produced during He-shell burning. We present the photometric and spectroscopic observations of SN 2016dsg, a subluminous peculiar Type I supernova consistent with a thermonuclear explosion involving a thick He shell. With a redshift of 0.04, the i -band peak absolute magnitude is derived to be around −17.5. The object is located far away from its host, an early-type galaxy, suggesting it originated from an old stellar population. The spectra collected after the peak are unusually red, show strong UV line blanketing and weak O i λ 7773 absorption lines, and do not evolve significantly over 30 days. An absorption line around 9700–10500 Å is detected in the near-infrared spectrum and is likely from the unburnt He in the ejecta. The spectroscopic evolution is consistent with the thermonuclear explosion models for a sub-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf with a thick He shell, while the photometric evolution is not well described by existing models.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 28, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT The ultraviolet (UV) and near-infrared (NIR) photometric and optical spectroscopic observations of SN 2020acat covering ∼250 d after explosion are presented here. Using the fast rising photometric observations, spanning from the UV to NIR wavelengths, a pseudo-bolometric light curve was constructed and compared to several other well-observed Type IIb supernovae (SNe IIb). SN 2020acat displayed a very short rise time reaching a peak luminosity of $\mathrm{{\rm Log}_{10}}(L) = 42.49 \pm 0.17 \, \mathrm{erg \, s^{-1}}$ in only ∼14.6 ± 0.3 d. From modelling of the pseudo-bolometric light curve, we estimated a total mass of 56Ni synthesized by SN 2020acat of MNi = 0.13 ± 0.03 M⊙, with an ejecta mass of Mej = 2.3 ± 0.4 M⊙ and a kinetic energy of Ek = 1.2 ± 0.3 × 1051 erg. The optical spectra of SN 2020acat display hydrogen signatures well into the transitional period (≳ 100 d), between the photospheric and the nebular phases. The spectra also display a strong feature around 4900  Å that cannot be solely accounted for by the presence of the Fe ii 5018 line. We suggest that the Fe ii feature was augmented by He i 5016 and possibly by the presence of N ii 5005. From both photometric and spectroscopic analysis, we inferred that the progenitor of SN 2020acat was an intermediate-mass compact star with an MZAMS of 15–20 M⊙.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 27, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT Photometric and spectroscopic data for two Low Luminosity Type IIP Supernovae (LL SNe IIP) 2020cxd and 2021aai are presented. SN 2020cxd was discovered 2 d after explosion at an absolute magnitude of Mr  = −14.02 ± 0.21 mag, subsequently settling on a plateau which lasts for ∼120 d. Through the luminosity of the late light curve tail, we infer a synthesized 56Ni mass of (1.8 ± 0.5) × 10−3 M⊙. During the early evolutionary phases, optical spectra show a blue continuum ($T\, \gt $8000 K) with broad Balmer lines displaying a P Cygni profile, while at later phases, Ca ii, Fe ii, Sc ii, and Ba ii lines dominate the spectra. Hydrodynamical modelling of the observables yields $R\, \simeq$ 575 R⊙ for the progenitor star, with Mej  = 7.5 M⊙ and $E\, \simeq$ 0.097 foe emitted during the explosion. This low-energy event originating from a low-mass progenitor star is compatible with both the explosion of a red supergiant (RSG) star and with an Electron Capture Supernova arising from a super asymptotic giant branch star. SN 2021aai reaches a maximum luminosity of Mr  = −16.57 ± 0.23 mag (correcting for AV = 1.92 mag), at the end of its remarkably long plateau (∼140 d). The estimated 56Ni mass is (1.4 ± 0.5) × 10−2 M⊙. The expansion velocities are compatible with those of other LL SNe IIP (few 103 km s−1). The physicalmore »parameters obtained through hydrodynamical modelling are $R\, \simeq$ 575 R⊙, Mej = 15.5 M⊙, and E = 0.4 foe. SN 2021aai is therefore interpreted as the explosion of an RSG, with properties that bridge the class of LL SNe IIP with standard SN IIP events.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 24, 2023
  5. Abstract We present a high-cadence short term photometric and spectroscopic monitoring campaign of a type Ibn SN 2019wep, which is one of the rare SN Ibn after SNe 2010al and 2019uo to display signatures of flash ionization (He ii , C iii , N iii ). We compare the decline rates and rise time of SN 2019wep with other SNe Ibn and fast transients. The post-peak decline in all bands (0.1 mag day −1 ) are consistent with SNe Ibn but less than the fast transients. On the other hand, the Δ m 15 values are slightly lower than the average values for SNe Ibn but consistent with the fast transients. The rise time is typically shorter than SNe Ibn but longer than fast transients. SN 2019wep lies at the fainter end of SNe Ibn but possesses an average luminosity among the fast transients sample. The peculiar color evolution places it between SNe Ib and the most extreme SNe Ibn. The bolometric light-curve modeling shows resemblance with SN 2019uo with ejecta masses consistent with SNe Ib. SN 2019wep belongs to the P cygni subclass of SNe Ibn and shows faster evolution in line velocities as compared to the emission subclass.more »The post-maximum spectra show close resemblance with ASASSN-15ed hinting it to be of SN Ib nature. The low He i CSM velocities and residual H α further justifies it and provide evidence of an intermittent progenitor between Wolf-Rayet and LBV stars.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  6. ABSTRACT SN 2018hti was a very nearby (z = 0.0614) superluminous supernova with an exceedingly bright absolute magnitude of −21.7 mag in r band at maximum. The densely sampled pre-maximum light curves of SN 2018hti show a slow luminosity evolution and constrain the rise time to ∼50 rest-frame d. We fitted synthetic light curves to the photometry to infer the physical parameters of the explosion of SN 2018hti for both the magnetar and the CSM-interaction scenarios. We conclude that one of two mechanisms could be powering the luminosity of SN 2018hti; interaction with ∼10 M⊙ of circumstellar material or a magnetar with a magnetic field of Bp∼ 1.3 × 1013 G, and initial period of Pspin∼ 1.8 ms. From the nebular spectrum modelling we infer that SN 2018hti likely results from the explosion of a ${\sim}40\, \mathrm{M}_\odot$ progenitor star.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 7, 2023
  7. Abstract On 2019 August 14 at 21:10:39 UTC, the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration (LVC) detected a possible neutron star–black hole merger (NSBH), the first ever identified. An extensive search for an optical counterpart of this event, designated GW190814, was undertaken using the Dark Energy Camera on the 4 m Victor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Target of Opportunity interrupts were issued on eight separate nights to observe 11 candidates using the 4.1 m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope’s Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph in order to assess whether any of these transients was likely to be an optical counterpart of the possible NSBH merger. Here, we describe the process of observing with SOAR, the analysis of our spectra, our spectroscopic typing methodology, and our resultant conclusion that none of the candidates corresponded to the gravitational wave merger event but were all instead other transients. Finally, we describe the lessons learned from this effort. Application of these lessons will be critical for a successful community spectroscopic follow-up program for LVC observing run 4 (O4) and beyond.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  8. Abstract We present observations of three core-collapse supernovae (CCSNe) in elliptical hosts, detected by the Zwicky Transient Facility Bright Transient Survey (BTS). SN 2019ape is a SN Ic that exploded in the main body of a typical elliptical galaxy. Its properties are consistent with an explosion of a regular SN Ic progenitor. A secondary g -band light-curve peak could indicate interaction of the ejecta with circumstellar material (CSM). An H α -emitting source at the explosion site suggests a residual local star formation origin. SN 2018fsh and SN 2020uik are SNe II which exploded in the outskirts of elliptical galaxies. SN 2020uik shows typical spectra for SNe II, while SN 2018fsh shows a boxy nebular H α profile, a signature of CSM interaction. We combine these 3 SNe with 7 events from the literature and analyze their hosts as a sample. We present multi-wavelength photometry of the hosts, and compare this to archival photometry of all BTS hosts. Using the spectroscopically complete BTS, we conclude that 0.3 % − 0.1 + 0.3 of all CCSNe occur in elliptical galaxies. We derive star formation rates and stellar masses for the host galaxies and compare them to the properties of other SNmore »hosts. We show that CCSNe in ellipticals have larger physical separations from their hosts compared to SNe Ia in elliptical galaxies, and discuss implications for star-forming activity in elliptical galaxies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  9. ABSTRACT The observed diversity in Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) – the thermonuclear explosions of carbon–oxygen white dwarf stars used as cosmological standard candles – is currently met with a variety of explosion models and progenitor scenarios. To help improve our understanding of whether and how often different models contribute to the occurrence of SNe Ia and their assorted properties, we present a comprehensive analysis of seven nearby SNe Ia. We obtained one to two epochs of optical spectra with Gemini Observatory during the nebular phase (>200 d past peak) for each of these events, all of which had time series of photometry and spectroscopy at early times (the first ∼8 weeks after explosion). We use the combination of early- and late-time observations to assess the predictions of various models for the explosion (e.g. double-detonation, off-centre detonation, stellar collisions), progenitor star (e.g. ejecta mass, metallicity), and binary companion (e.g. another white dwarf or a non-degenerate star). Overall, we find general consistency in our observations with spherically symmetric models for SN Ia explosions, and with scenarios in which the binary companion is another degenerate star. We also present an in-depth analysis of SN 2017fzw, a member of the subgroup of SNe Ia which appear to be transitional betweenmore »the subluminous ‘91bg-like’ events and normal SNe Ia, and for which nebular-phase spectra are rare.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 22, 2023
  10. Abstract Rapidly evolving transients, or objects that rise and fade in brightness on timescales two to three times shorter than those of typical Type Ia or Type II supernovae (SNe), have uncertain progenitor systems and powering mechanisms. Recent studies have noted similarities between rapidly evolving transients and Type Ibn SNe, which are powered by ejecta interacting with He-rich circumstellar material (CSM). In this work we present multiband photometric and spectroscopic observations from Las Cumbres Observatory and Swift of four fast-evolving Type Ibn SNe. We compare these observations with those of rapidly evolving transients identified in the literature. We discuss several common characteristics between these two samples, including their light curve and color evolution as well as their spectral features. To investigate a common powering mechanism we construct a grid of analytical model light curves with luminosity inputs from CSM interaction as well as 56 Ni radioactive decay. We find that models with ejecta masses of ≈1–3 M ⊙ , CSM masses of ≈0.2–1 M ⊙ , and CSM radii of ≈20–65 au can explain the diversity of peak luminosities, rise times, and decline rates observed in Type Ibn SNe and rapidly evolving transients. This suggests that a common progenitor system—themore »core collapse of a high-mass star within a dense CSM shell—can reproduce the light curves of even the most luminous and fast-evolving objects, such as AT 2018cow. This work is one of the first to reproduce the light curves of both SNe Ibn and other rapidly evolving transients with a single model.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023