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  1. Abstract

    We present the discovery of the first millimeter afterglow of a short-durationγ-ray burst (SGRB) and the first confirmed afterglow of an SGRB localized by the GUANO system on Swift. Our Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) detection of SGRB 211106A establishes an origin in a faint host galaxy detected in Hubble Space Telescope imaging at 0.7 ≲z≲ 1.4. From the lack of a detectable optical afterglow, coupled with the bright millimeter counterpart, we infer a high extinction,AV≳ 2.6 mag along the line of sight, making this one of the most highly dust-extincted SGRBs known to date. The millimeter-band light curve captures the passage of the synchrotron peak from the afterglow forward shock and reveals a jet break attjet=29.24.0+4.5days. For a presumed redshift ofz= 1, we infer an opening angle,θjet= (15.°5 ± 1.°4), and beaming-corrected kinetic energy oflog(EK/erg)=51.8±0.3, making this one of the widest and most energetic SGRB jets known to date. Combining all published millimeter-band upper limits in conjunction with the energetics for a large sample of SGRBs, we find that energetic outflows in high-density environments are more likely to have detectable millimeter counterparts. Concerted afterglow searches with ALMA shouldmore »yield detection fractions of 24%–40% on timescales of ≳2 days at rates of ≈0.8–1.6 per year, outpacing the historical discovery rate of SGRB centimeter-band afterglows.

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  2. ABSTRACT

    Evidence is mounting that recent multiwavelength detections of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) in star-forming galaxies comprise a new class of transients, whose origin is yet to be understood. We show that hydrogen-rich collapsing stars that launch relativistic jets near the central engine can naturally explain the entire set of FBOT observables. The jet–star interaction forms a mildly relativistic shocked jet (inner cocoon) component, which powers cooling emission that dominates the high velocity optical signal during the first few weeks, with a typical energy of ∼1050–1051 erg. During this time, the cocoon radial energy distribution implies that the optical light curve exhibits a fast decay of $L \,\, \buildrel\propto \over \sim \,\,t^{-2.4}$. After a few weeks, when the velocity of the emitting shell is ∼0.01 c, the cocoon becomes transparent, and the cooling envelope governs the emission. The interaction between the cocoon and the dense circumstellar winds generates synchrotron self-absorbed emission in the radio bands, featuring a steady rise on a month time-scale. After a few months the relativistic outflow decelerates, enters the observer’s line of sight, and powers the peak of the radio light curve, which rapidly decays thereafter. The jet (and the inner cocoon) becomes optically thinmore »to X-rays ∼day after the collapse, allowing X-ray photons to diffuse from the central engine that launched the jet to the observer. Cocoon cooling emission is expected at higher volumetric rates than gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) by a factor of a few, similar to FBOTs. We rule out uncollimated outflows, however, both GRB jets and failed collimated jets are compatible with all observables.

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  3. Abstract

    Calcium-rich (Ca-rich) transients are a new class of supernovae (SNe) that are known for their comparatively rapid evolution, modest peak luminosities, and strong nebular calcium emission lines. Currently, the progenitor systems of Ca-rich transients remain unknown. Although they exhibit spectroscopic properties not unlike core-collapse Type Ib/c SNe, nearly half are found in the outskirts of their host galaxies, which are predominantly elliptical, suggesting a closer connection to the older stellar populations of SNe Ia. In this paper, we present a compilation of publicly available multiwavelength observations of all known and/or suspected host galaxies of Ca-rich transients ranging from far-UV to IR, and use these data to characterize their stellar populations withprospector. We estimate several galaxy parameters including integrated star formation rate, stellar mass, metallicity, and age. For nine host galaxies, the observations are sensitive enough to obtain nonparametric star formation histories, from which we recover SN rates and estimate probabilities that the Ca-rich transients in each of these host galaxies originated from a core-collapse versus Type Ia-like explosion. Our work supports the notion that the population of Ca-rich transients do not come exclusively from core-collapse explosions, and must either be only from white dwarf stars or a mixed populationmore »of white dwarf stars with other channels, potentially including massive star explosions. Additional photometry and explosion site spectroscopy of larger samples of Ca-rich host galaxies will improve these estimates and better constrain the ratio of white dwarf versus massive star progenitors of Ca-rich transients.

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  4. Abstract

    The discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart to the binary neutron star (NS) merger GW170817 has opened the era of gravitational-wave multimessenger astronomy. Rapid identification of the optical/infrared kilonova enabled a precise localization of the source, which paved the way to deep multiwavelength follow-up and its myriad of related science results. Fully exploiting this new territory of exploration requires the acquisition of electromagnetic data from samples of NS mergers and other gravitational-wave sources. After GW170817, the frontier is now to map the diversity of kilonova properties and provide more stringent constraints on the Hubble constant, and enable new tests of fundamental physics. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time can play a key role in this field in the 2020s, when an improved network of gravitational-wave detectors is expected to reach a sensitivity that will enable the discovery of a high rate of merger events involving NSs (∼tens per year) out to distances of several hundred megaparsecs. We design comprehensive target-of-opportunity observing strategies for follow-up of gravitational-wave triggers that will make the Rubin Observatory the premier instrument for discovery and early characterization of NS and other compact-object mergers, and yet unknown classes of gravitational-wave events.

  5. Abstract

    For the first ∼3 yrs after the binary neutron star merger event GW 170817, the radio and X-ray radiation has been dominated by emission from a structured relativistic off-axis jet propagating into a low-density medium withn< 0.01 cm−3. We report on observational evidence for an excess of X-ray emission atδt> 900 days after the merger. WithLx≈ 5 × 1038erg s−1at 1234 days, the recently detected X-ray emission represents a ≥3.2σ(Gaussian equivalent) deviation from the universal post-jet-break model that best fits the multiwavelength afterglow at earlier times. In the context ofJetFitafterglow models, current data represent a departure with statistical significance ≥3.1σ, depending on the fireball collimation, with the most realistic models showing excesses at the level of ≥3.7σ. A lack of detectable 3 GHz radio emission suggests a harder broadband spectrum than the jet afterglow. These properties are consistent with the emergence of a new emission component such as synchrotron radiation from a mildly relativistic shock generated by the expanding merger ejecta, i.e., a kilonova afterglow. In this context, we present a set of ab initio numerical relativity binary neutron star (BNS) merger simulations that show that an X-ray excess supports the presence of a high-velocity tail in the mergermore »ejecta, and argues against the prompt collapse of the merger remnant into a black hole. Radiation from accretion processes on the compact-object remnant represents a viable alternative. Neither a kilonova afterglow nor accretion-powered emission have been observed before, as detections of BNS mergers at this phase of evolution are unprecedented.

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  6. Abstract We present panchromatic observations and modeling of calcium-strong supernovae (SNe) 2021gno in the star-forming host-galaxy NGC 4165 and 2021inl in the outskirts of elliptical galaxy NGC 4923, both monitored through the Young Supernova Experiment transient survey. The light curves of both, SNe show two peaks, the former peak being derived from shock cooling emission (SCE) and/or shock interaction with circumstellar material (CSM). The primary peak in SN 2021gno is coincident with luminous, rapidly decaying X-ray emission ( L x = 5 × 10 41 erg s −1 ) detected by Swift-XRT at δ t = 1 day after explosion, this observation being the second-ever detection of X-rays from a calcium-strong transient. We interpret the X-ray emission in the context of shock interaction with CSM that extends to r < 3 × 10 14 cm. Based on X-ray modeling, we calculate a CSM mass M CSM = (0.3−1.6) × 10 −3 M ⊙ and density n = (1−4) × 10 10 cm −3 . Radio nondetections indicate a low-density environment at larger radii ( r > 10 16 cm) and mass-loss rate of M ̇ < 10 − 4 M ⊙ yr −1 . SCE modeling of both primary light-curvemore »peaks indicates an extended-progenitor envelope mass M e = 0.02−0.05 M ⊙ and radius R e = 30−230 R ⊙ . The explosion properties suggest progenitor systems containing either a low-mass massive star or a white dwarf (WD), the former being unlikely given the lack of local star formation. Furthermore, the environments of both SNe are consistent with low-mass hybrid He/C/O WD + C/O WD mergers.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  7. Abstract Initially classified as a Type Ib supernova (SN), ∼100 days after the explosion SN 2014C made a transition to a Type II SN, presenting a gradual increase in the H α emission. This has been interpreted as evidence of interaction between the SN shock wave and a massive shell previously ejected from the progenitor star. In this paper we present numerical simulations of the propagation of the SN shock through the progenitor star and its wind, as well as the interaction of the SN ejecta with the massive shell. To determine with high precision the structure and location of the shell, we couple a genetic algorithm to a hydrodynamic and a bremsstrahlung radiation transfer code. We iteratively modify the density stratification and location of the shell by minimizing the variance between X-ray observations and synthetic predictions computed from the numerical model, allowing the shell structure to be completely arbitrary. By assuming spherical symmetry, we found that our best-fit model has a shell mass of 2.6 M ⊙ ; extends from 1.6 × 10 16 cm to 1.87 × 10 17 cm, implying that it was ejected ∼ 60/( v w /100 km s −1 ) yr before the SNmore »explosion; and has a density stratification with an average behavior ∼ r −3 but presenting density fluctuations larger than one order of magnitude. Finally, we predict that if the density stratification follows the same power-law behavior, the SN will break out from the shell by mid-2022, i.e., 8.5 yr after explosion.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  8. ABSTRACT We present observations of SN 2020fqv, a Virgo-cluster type II core-collapse supernova (CCSN) with a high temporal resolution light curve from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) covering the time of explosion; ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) starting 3.3 d post-explosion; ground-based spectroscopic observations starting 1.1 d post-explosion; along with extensive photometric observations. Massive stars have complicated mass-loss histories leading up to their death as CCSNe, creating circumstellar medium (CSM) with which the SNe interact. Observations during the first few days post-explosion can provide important information about the mass-loss rate during the late stages of stellar evolution. Model fits to the quasi-bolometric light curve of SN 2020fqv reveal  0.23 M⊙ of CSM confined within  1450 R⊙ (1014 cm) from its progenitor star. Early spectra (<4 d post-explosion), both from HST and ground-based observatories, show emission features from high-ionization metal species from the outer, optically thin part of this CSM. We find that the CSM is consistent with an eruption caused by the injection of ∼5 × 1046 erg into the stellar envelope ∼300 d pre-explosion, potentially from a nuclear burning instability at the onset of oxygen burning. Light-curve fitting, nebular spectroscopy, and pre-explosion HST imaging consistently point to a red supergiant (RSG)more »progenitor with $M_{\rm ZAMS}\approx 13.5\!-\!15 \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, typical for SN II progenitor stars. This finding demonstrates that a typical RSG, like the progenitor of SN 2020fqv, has a complicated mass-loss history immediately before core collapse.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 30, 2023
  9. Abstract We present deep X-ray and radio observations of the fast blue optical transient (FBOT) AT 2020xnd/ZTF 20acigmel at z = 0.2433 from 13 days to 269 days after explosion. AT 2020xnd belongs to the category of optically luminous FBOTs with similarities to the archetypal event AT 2018cow. AT 2020xnd shows luminous radio emission reaching L ν ≈ 8 × 10 29 erg s −1 Hz −1 at 20 GHz and 75 days post-explosion, accompanied by luminous and rapidly fading soft X-ray emission peaking at L X ≈ 6 × 10 42 erg s −1 . Interpreting the radio emission in the context of synchrotron radiation from the explosion’s shock interaction with the environment, we find that AT 2020xnd launched a high-velocity outflow ( v ∼ 0.1 c –0.2 c ) propagating into a dense circumstellar medium (effective M ̇ ≈ 10 − 3 M ⊙ yr −1 for an assumed wind velocity of v w = 1000 km s −1 ). Similar to AT 2018cow, the detected X-ray emission is in excess compared to the extrapolated synchrotron spectrum and constitutes a different emission component, possibly powered by accretion onto a newly formed black hole or neutron star. These propertiesmore »make AT 2020xnd a high-redshift analog to AT 2018cow, and establish AT 2020xnd as the fourth member of the class of optically luminous FBOTs with luminous multiwavelength counterparts.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  10. Abstract We present the complete set of Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 and its optical counterpart AT 2017gfo. Including deep template imaging in F814W, F110W, F140W, and F160W at 3.4 yr post-merger, we reanalyze the full light curve of AT 2017gfo across 12 bands from 5 to 1273 rest-frame days after merger. We obtain four new detections of the short γ -ray burst 170817A afterglow from 109 to 170 rest-frame days post-merger. These detections are consistent with the previously observed β = −0.6 spectral index in the afterglow light curve with no evidence for spectral evolution. We also analyze our limits in the context of kilonova afterglow or IR dust echo emission but find that our limits are not constraining for these models. We use the new data to construct deep optical and IR stacks, reaching limits of M = −6.3 to −4.6 mag, to analyze the local environment around AT 2017gfo and low surface brightness features in its host galaxy NGC 4993. We rule out the presence of any globular cluster at the position of AT 2017gfo to 2.3 × 10 4 L ⊙ , including those with the reddest V − Hmore »colors. Finally, we analyze the substructure of NGC 4993 in deep residual imaging and find shell features that extend up to 71.″8 (14.2 kpc) from NGC 4993. The shells have a cumulative stellar mass of 6.3 × 10 8 M ⊙ , roughly 2% of NGC 4993, and mass-weighted ages of >3 Gyr. We conclude that it was unlikely that the GW170817 progenitor system formed in the galaxy merger.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023