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  1. Abstract

    We present the densely sampled early light curve of the Type II supernova (SN) 2023ixf, first observed within hours of explosion in the nearby Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 101; 6.7 Mpc). Comparing these data to recently updated models of shock-cooling emission, we find that the progenitor likely had a radius of 410 ± 10R. Our estimate is model dependent but consistent with a red supergiant. These models provide a good fit to the data starting about 1 day after the explosion, despite the fact that the classification spectrum shows signatures of circumstellar material around SN 2023ixf during that time. Photometry during the first day after the explosion, provided almost entirely by amateur astronomers, does not agree with the shock-cooling models or a simple power-law rise fit to data after 1 day. We consider the possible causes of this discrepancy, including precursor activity from the progenitor star, circumstellar interaction, and emission from the shock before or after it breaks out of the stellar surface. The very low luminosity (−11 mag >M> −14 mag) and short duration of the initial excess lead us to prefer a scenario related to prolonged emission from the SN shock traveling through the progenitor system.

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    We report on analysis using the JWST to identify a candidate progenitor star of the Type II-plateau (II-P) supernova SN 2022acko in the nearby, barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. To our knowledge, our discovery represents the first time JWST has been used to localize a progenitor system in pre-explosion archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images. We astrometrically registered a JWST NIRCam image from 2023 January, in which the SN was serendipitously captured, to pre-SN HST F160W and F814W images from 2017 and 2004, respectively. An object corresponding precisely to the SN position has been isolated with reasonable confidence. That object has a spectral energy distribution (SED) and overall luminosity consistent with a single-star model having an initial mass possibly somewhat less than the canonical 8 M⊙ theoretical threshold for core collapse (although masses as high as 9 M⊙ for the star are also possible); however, the star’s SED and luminosity are inconsistent with that of a super-asymptotic giant branch star that might be a forerunner of an electron-capture SN. The properties of the progenitor alone imply that SN 2022acko is a relatively normal SN II-P, albeit most likely a low-luminosity one. The progenitor candidate should be confirmed with follow-up HST imaging at late times, when the SN has sufficiently faded. This potential use of JWST opens a new era of identifying SN progenitor candidates at high spatial resolution.

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  3. Abstract

    We present very early photometric and spectroscopic observations of the Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) 2023bee, starting about 8 hr after the explosion, which reveal a strong excess in the optical and nearest UV (UandUVW1) bands during the first several days of explosion. This data set allows us to probe the nature of the binary companion of the exploding white dwarf and the conditions leading to its ignition. We find a good match to the Kasen model in which a main-sequence companion star stings the ejecta with a shock as they buzz past. Models of double detonations, shells of radioactive nickel near the surface, interaction with circumstellar material, and pulsational delayed detonations do not provide good matches to our light curves. We also observe signatures of unburned material, in the form of carbon absorption, in our earliest spectra. Our radio nondetections place a limit on the mass-loss rate from the putative companion that rules out a red giant but allows a main-sequence star. We discuss our results in the context of other similar SNe Ia in the literature.

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  4. Abstract

    We present photometric and spectroscopic data of SN 2018lab, a low-luminosity Type IIP supernova (LLSN) with aV-band peak luminosity of −15.1 ± 0.1 mag. SN 2018lab was discovered by the Distance Less Than 40 Mpc (DLT40) SN survey only 0.73 days post-explosion, as determined by observations from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). TESS observations of SN 2018lab yield a densely sampled, fast-rising, early-time light curve likely powered by ejecta–circumstellar medium (CSM) interaction. The blueshifted, broadened flash feature in the earliest spectra (<2 days) of SN 2018lab provides further evidence for ejecta–CSM interaction. The early emission features in the spectra of SN 2018lab are well described by models of a red supergiant progenitor with an extended envelope and a close-in CSM. As one of the few LLSNe with observed flash features, SN 2018lab highlights the need for more early spectra to explain the diversity of the flash feature morphology of Type II SNe.

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  5. Abstract

    We present five far- and near-ultraviolet spectra of the Type II plateau supernova, SN 2022acko, obtained 5, 6, 7, 19, and 21 days after explosion, all observed with the Hubble Space Telescope/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. The first three epochs are earlier than any Type II plateau supernova has been observed in the far-ultraviolet revealing unprecedented characteristics. These three spectra are dominated by strong lines, primarily from metals, which contrasts with the featureless early optical spectra. The flux decreases over the initial time series as the ejecta cool and line blanketing takes effect. We model this unique data set with the non–local thermodynamic equilibrium radiation transport codeCMFGEN, finding a good match to the explosion of a low-mass red supergiant with energyEkin= 6 × 1050erg. With these models we identify, for the first time, the ions that dominate the early ultraviolet spectra. We present optical photometry and spectroscopy, showing that SN 2022acko has a peak absolute magnitude ofV= − 15.4 mag and plateau length of ∼115 days. The spectra closely resemble those of SN 2005cs and SN 2012A. Using the combined optical and ultraviolet spectra, we report the fraction of flux as a function of bluest wavelength on days 5, 7, and 19. We create a spectral time-series of Type II supernovae in the ultraviolet, demonstrating the rapid decline of flux over the first few weeks of evolution. Future observations of Type II supernovae are required to map out the landscape of exploding red supergiants, with and without circumstellar material, which is best revealed in high-quality ultraviolet spectra.

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  6. Abstract

    We analyze pre-explosion near- and mid-infrared (IR) imaging of the site of SN 2023ixf in the nearby spiral galaxy M101 and characterize the candidate progenitor star. The star displays compelling evidence of variability with a possible period of ≈1000 days and an amplitude of Δm≈ 0.6 mag in extensive monitoring with the Spitzer Space Telescope since 2004, likely indicative of radial pulsations. Variability consistent with this period is also seen in the near-IRJandKsbands between 2010 and 2023, up to just 10 days before the explosion. Beyond the periodic variability, we do not find evidence for any IR-bright pre-supernova outbursts in this time period. The IR brightness (MKs=10.7mag) and color (JKs= 1.6 mag) of the star suggest a luminous and dusty red supergiant. Modeling of the phase-averaged spectral energy distribution (SED) yields constraints on the stellar temperature (Teff=35001400+800K) and luminosity (logL/L=5.1±0.2). This places the candidate among the most luminous Type II supernova progenitors with direct imaging constraints, with the caveat that many of these rely only on optical measurements. Comparison with stellar evolution models gives an initial mass ofMinit= 17 ± 4M. We estimate the pre-supernova mass-loss rate of the star between 3 and 19 yr before explosion from the SED modeling atṀ3×105to 3 × 10−4Myr−1for an assumed wind velocity ofvw= 10 km s−1, perhaps pointing to enhanced mass loss in a pulsation-driven wind.

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  7. Abstract

    SN 2018aoz is a Type Ia SN with aB-band plateau and excess emission in infant-phase light curves ≲1 day after the first light, evidencing an over-density of surface iron-peak elements as shown in our previous study. Here, we advance the constraints on the nature and origin of SN 2018aoz based on its evolution until the nebular phase. Near-peak spectroscopic features show that the SN is intermediate between two subtypes of normal Type Ia: core normal and broad line. The excess emission may be attributable to the radioactive decay of surface iron-peak elements as well as the interaction of ejecta with either the binary companion or a small torus of circumstellar material. Nebular-phase limits on Hαand Heifavor a white dwarf companion, consistent with the small companion size constrained by the low early SN luminosity, while the absence of [Oi] and Heidisfavors a violent merger of the progenitor. Of the two main explosion mechanisms proposed to explain the distribution of surface iron-peak elements in SN 2018aoz, the asymmetric Chandrasekhar-mass explosion is less consistent with the progenitor constraints and the observed blueshifts of nebular-phase [Feii] and [Niii]. The helium-shell double-detonation explosion is compatible with the observed lack of C spectral features, but current 1D models are incompatible with the infant-phase excess emission,BmaxVmaxcolor, and weak strength of nebular-phase [Caii]. Although the explosion processes of SN 2018aoz still need to be more precisely understood, the same processes could produce a significant fraction of Type Ia SNe that appear to be normal after ∼1 day.

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  8. 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.

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  9. Abstract

    We present JWST near-infrared (NIR) and mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopic observations of the nearby normal Type Ia supernova (SN) SN 2021aefx in the nebular phase at +255 days past maximum light. Our Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) and Mid Infrared Instrument observations, combined with ground-based optical data from the South African Large Telescope, constitute the first complete optical+NIR+MIR nebular SN Ia spectrum covering 0.3–14μm. This spectrum unveils the previously unobserved 2.5−5μm region, revealing strong nebular iron and stable nickel emission, indicative of high-density burning that can constrain the progenitor mass. The data show a significant improvement in sensitivity and resolution compared to previous Spitzer MIR data. We identify numerous NIR and MIR nebular emission lines from iron-group elements as well as lines from the intermediate-mass element argon. The argon lines extend to higher velocities than the iron-group elements, suggesting stratified ejecta that are a hallmark of delayed-detonation or double-detonation SN Ia models. We present fits to simple geometric line profiles to features beyond 1.2μm and find that most lines are consistent with Gaussian or spherical emission distributions, while the [Ariii] 8.99μm line has a distinctively flat-topped profile indicating a thick spherical shell of emission. Using our line profile fits, we investigate the emissivity structure of SN 2021aefx and measure kinematic properties. Continued observations of SN 2021aefx and other SNe Ia with JWST will be transformative to the study of SN Ia composition, ionization structure, density, and temperature, and will provide important constraints on SN Ia progenitor and explosion models.

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    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 between the subluminous ‘91bg-like’ events and normal SNe Ia, and for which nebular-phase spectra are rare.

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