M. M. Kasliwal

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States

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Publications (348)1368.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present extensive observations of the Type Ib/c SN2013ge from -13 to +457 days, including spectra and Swift UV-optical photometry beginning 2-4 days post explosion. This makes SN2013ge one of the best observed normal Type Ib/c SN at early times, when the light curve is particularly sensitive to the progenitor configuration and mixing of radioactive elements. These early observations reveal two distinct light curve components in the UV bands. The first component rises over 4-5 days and is visible for a week post-explosion. Spectra of the first component have a blue continuum and show a plethora of high velocity (~14,000 km/s) but narrow (~3500 km/s) features, indicating that the line forming region is restricted. The explosion parameters estimated for the bulk explosion are standard for Type Ib/c SN, while detailed analysis of optical and NIR spectra identify weak He features at early times, and nebular spectra show evidence for mixing and asymmetry in the bulk ejecta. In addition, SN2013ge exploded in a low metallicity environment and we have obtained some of the deepest radio and X-ray limits for a Type Ib/c SN to date that constrain the progenitor mass-loss rate. We are left with two distinct progenitor scenarios for SN2013ge depending on our interpretation of the early emission. If the first component is cooling envelope emission, then the progenitor of SN2013ge possessed a low-mass extended envelope. Alternatively, if the first component is due to outwardly mixed Ni-56 then our observations are consistent with the asymmetric ejection of a small amount of mass ahead of the bulk explosion. Current models for the collision of a SN shock with a binary companion cannot reproduce both the timescale and luminosity of the early emission in SN2013ge. Finally, we find that the spectra of the first component of SN2013ge are similar to those of the rapidly-declining SN2002bj.
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    ABSTRACT: The IceCube neutrino observatory pursues a follow-up program selecting interesting neutrino events in real-time and issuing alerts for electromagnetic follow-up observations. In March 2012, the most significant neutrino alert during the first three years of operation was issued by IceCube. In the follow-up observations performed by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), a Type IIn supernova (SN) PTF12csy was found 0.2∘ away from the neutrino alert direction, with an error radius of 0.54∘. It has a redshift of z=0.0684, corresponding to a luminosity distance of about 300Mpc and the Pan-STARRS1 survey shows that its explosion time was at least 158 days (in host galaxy rest frame) before the neutrino alert, so that a causal connection is unlikely. The a posteriori significance of the chance detection of both the neutrinos and the SN at any epoch is 2.2σ within IceCube's 2011/12 data acquisition season. Also, a complementary neutrino analysis reveals no long-term signal over the course of one year. Therefore, we consider the SN detection coincidental and the neutrinos uncorrelated to the SN. However, the SN is unusual and interesting by itself: It is luminous and energetic, bearing strong resemblance to the SN IIn 2010jl, and shows signs of interaction of the SN ejecta with a dense circumstellar medium. High-energy neutrino emission is expected in models of diffusive shock acceleration, but at a low, non-detectable level for this specific SN. In this paper, we describe the SN PTF12csy and present both the neutrino and electromagnetic data, as well as their analysis.
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    ABSTRACT: Type Ia supernovae are destructive explosions of carbon oxygen white dwarfs. Although they are used empirically to measure cosmological distances, the nature of their progenitors remains mysterious, One of the leading progenitor models, called the single degenerate channel, hypothesizes that a white dwarf accretes matter from a companion star and the resulting increase in its central pressure and temperature ignites thermonuclear explosion. Here we report observations of strong but declining ultraviolet emission from a Type Ia supernova within four days of its explosion. This emission is consistent with theoretical expectations of collision between material ejected by the supernova and a companion star, and therefore provides evidence that some Type Ia supernovae arise from the single degenerate channel.
    Nature 05/2015; 521(7552). DOI:10.1038/nature14440 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The TMT Detailed Science Case describes the transformational science that the Thirty Meter Telescope will enable. Planned to begin science operations in 2024, TMT will open up opportunities for revolutionary discoveries in essentially every field of astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology, seeing much fainter objects much more clearly than existing telescopes. Per this capability, TMT's science agenda fills all of space and time, from nearby comets and asteroids, to exoplanets, to the most distant galaxies, and all the way back to the very first sources of light in the Universe. More than 150 astronomers from within the TMT partnership and beyond offered input in compiling the new 2015 Detailed Science Case. The contributing astronomers represent the entire TMT partnership, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of California, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) and US associate partner, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).
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    ABSTRACT: We present ultraviolet (UV) observations of six nearby Type~Ia supernovae (SNe~Ia) obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, three of which were also observed in the near-IR (NIR) with Wide-Field Camera~3. UV observations with the Swift satellite, as well as ground-based optical and near-infrared data provide complementary information. The combined data-set covers the wavelength range $0.2$--$2~\mu$m. By also including archival data of SN 2014J, we analyse a sample spanning observed colour excesses up to $E(B-V)=1.4~$mag. We study the wavelength dependent extinction of each individual SN and find a diversity of reddening laws when characterised by the total-to-selective extinction $R_V$. In particular, we note that for the two SNe with $E(B-V)\gtrsim1~$mag, for which the colour excess is dominated by dust extinction, we find $R_V=1.4\pm0.1$ and $R_V=2.8\pm0.1$. Adding UV photometry reduces the uncertainty of fitted $R_V$ by $\sim50\,$% allowing us to also measure $R_V$ of individual low-extinction objects which point to a similar diversity, currently not accounted for in the analyses when SNe~Ia are used for studying the expansion history of the universe.
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    ABSTRACT: We report here the discovery by the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) of iPTF14yb, a luminous ($M_{r}\approx-27.8$ mag), cosmological (redshift 1.9733), rapidly fading optical transient. We demonstrate, based on probabilistic arguments and a comparison with the broader population, that iPTF14yb is the optical afterglow of the long-duration gamma-ray burst GRB 140226A. This marks the first unambiguous discovery of a GRB afterglow prior to (and thus entirely independent of) an associated high-energy trigger. We estimate the rate of iPTF14yb-like sources (i.e., cosmologically distant relativistic explosions) based on iPTF observations, inferring an all-sky value of $\Re_{\mathrm{rel}}=610$ yr$^{-1}$ (68% confidence interval of 110-2000 yr$^{-1}$). Our derived rate is consistent (within the large uncertainty) with the all-sky rate of on-axis GRBs derived by the Swift satellite. Finally, we briefly discuss the implications of the nondetection to date of bona fide "orphan" afterglows (i.e., those lacking detectable high-energy emission) on GRB beaming and the degree of baryon loading in these relativistic jets.
    04/2015; 803(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/803/2/L24
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    ABSTRACT: We present near-infrared (NIR) time-series spectroscopy, as well as complementary ultraviolet (UV), optical, and NIR data, of the Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) iPTF13ebh, which was discovered within two days from the estimated time of explosion. The first NIR spectrum was taken merely 2.3 days after explosion and may be the earliest NIR spectrum yet obtained of a SN Ia. The most striking features in the spectrum are several NIR C I lines, and the C I {\lambda}1.0693 {\mu}m line is the strongest ever observed in a SN Ia. Interestingly, no strong optical C II counterparts were found, even though the optical spectroscopic time series began early and is densely-cadenced. Except at the very early epochs, within a few days from the time of explosion, we show that the strong NIR C I compared to the weaker optical C II appears to be general in SNe Ia. iPTF13ebh is a fast decliner with {\Delta}m15(B) = 1.79 $\pm$ 0.01, and its absolute magnitude obeys the linear part of the width-luminosity relation. It is therefore categorized as a "transitional" event, on the fast-declining end of normal SNe Ia as opposed to subluminous/91bg-like objects. iPTF13ebh shows NIR spectroscopic properties that are distinct from both the normal and subluminous/91bg-like classes, bridging the observed characteristics of the two classes. These NIR observations suggest composition and density of the inner core similar to that of 91bg-like events, and a deep reaching carbon burning layer not observed in slower declining SNe Ia. There is also a substantial difference between the explosion times inferred from the early-time light curve and the velocity evolution of the Si II {\lambda}0.6355 {\mu}m line, implying a long dark phase of ~ 4 days.
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    ABSTRACT: PTF11iqb was initially classified as a TypeIIn event caught very early after explosion. It showed narrow Wolf-Rayet (WR) spectral features on day 2, but the narrow emission weakened quickly and the spectrum morphed to resemble those of Types II-L and II-P. At late times, Halpha emission exhibited a complex, multipeaked profile reminiscent of SN1998S. In terms of spectroscopic evolution, we find that PTF11iqb was a near twin of SN~1998S, although with weaker interaction with circumstellar material (CSM) at early times, and stronger CSM interaction at late times. We interpret the spectral changes as caused by early interaction with asymmetric CSM that is quickly (by day 20) enveloped by the expanding SN ejecta photosphere, but then revealed again after the end of the plateau when the photosphere recedes. The light curve can be matched with a simple model for weak CSM interaction added to the light curve of a normal SN~II-P. This plateau requires that the progenitor had an extended H envelope like a red supergiant, consistent with the slow progenitor wind speed indicated by narrow emission. The cool supergiant progenitor is significant because PTF11iqb showed WR features in its early spectrum --- meaning that the presence of such WR features in an early SN spectrum does not necessarily indicate a WR-like progenitor. [abridged] Overall, PTF11iqb bridges SNe~IIn with weaker pre-SN mass loss seen in SNe II-L and II-P, implying a continuum between these types.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2015; 449(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stv354 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has greatly expanded the number and energy window of observations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). However, the coarse localizations of tens to a hundred square degrees provided by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) instrument have posed a formidable obstacle to locating the bursts' host galaxies, measuring their redshifts, and tracking their panchromatic afterglows. We have built a target of opportunity mode for the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) in order to perform targeted searches for Fermi afterglows. Here, we present the results of one year of this program: eight afterglow discoveries, two of which (GRBs 130702A and 140606B) were at low redshift (z=0.145 and 0.384 respectively) and had spectroscopically confirmed broad-line type Ic supernovae. We present our broadband follow-up including spectroscopy as well as X-ray, UV, optical, millimeter, and radio observations. We study possible selection effects in the context of the total Fermi and Swift GRB samples. We identify one new outlier on the Amati relation. We find that two bursts are consistent with a mildly relativistic shock breaking out from the progenitor star, rather than the ultra-relativistic internal shock mechanism that powers standard cosmological bursts. Finally, in the context of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), we discuss how we will continue to expand this effort to find optical counterparts of binary neutron star mergers that may soon be detected by Advanced LIGO and Virgo.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2015; 806(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/806/1/52 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The radius and surface composition of an exploding massive star, as well as the explosion energy per unit mass, can be measured using early UV observations of core collapse supernovae (SNe). We present the first results from a simultaneous GALEX/PTF search for early UV emission from SNe. Six Type II SNe and one Type II superluminous SN (SLSN-II) are clearly detected in the GALEX NUV data. We compare our detection rate with theoretical estimates based on early, shock-cooling UV light curves calculated from models that fit existing Swift and GALEX observations well, combined with volumetric SN rates. We find that our observations are in good agreement with calculated rates assuming that red supergiants (RSGs) explode with fiducial radii of 500 R_solar, explosion energies of 10^51 erg, and ejecta masses of 10 M_solar. Exploding blue supergiants and Wolf-Rayet stars are poorly constrained. We describe how such observations can be used to derive the progenitor radius, surface composition and explosion energy per unit mass of such SN events, and we demonstrate why UV observations are critical for such measurements. We use the fiducial RSG parameters to estimate the detection rate of SNe during the shock-cooling phase (<1d after explosion) for several ground-based surveys (PTF, ZTF, and LSST). We show that the proposed wide-field UV explorer ULTRASAT mission, independent of host galaxy extinction, is expected to find >100 SNe per year (~0.5 SN per deg^2), down to an NUV detection limit of 21.5 mag AB. Our pilot GALEX/PTF project thus convincingly demonstrates that a dedicated, systematic SN survey at the NUV band is a compelling method to study how massive stars end their life.
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    ABSTRACT: Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are one of the most tantalizing mysteries of the radio sky; their progenitors and origins remain unknown and until now no rapid multiwavelength follow-up of an FRB has been possible. New instrumentation has decreased the time between observation and discovery from years to seconds, and enables polarimetry to be performed on FRBs for the first time. We have discovered an FRB (FRB 140514) in real-time on 14 May, 2014 at 17:14:11.06 UTC at the Parkes radio telescope and triggered follow-up at other wavelengths within hours of the event. FRB 140514 was found with a dispersion measure (DM) of 562.7(6) cm$^{-3}$ pc, giving an upper limit on source redshift of $z \lesssim 0.5$. FRB 140514 was found to be 21$\pm$7% (3-$\sigma$) circularly polarized on the leading edge with a 1-$\sigma$ upper limit on linear polarization $<10%$. We conclude that this polarization is intrinsic to the FRB. If there was any intrinsic linear polarization, as might be expected from coherent emission, then it may have been depolarized by Faraday rotation caused by passing through strong magnetic fields and/or high density environments. FRB 140514 was discovered during a campaign to re-observe known FRB fields, and lies close to a previous discovery, FRB 110220; based on the difference in DMs of these bursts and time-on-sky arguments, we attribute the proximity to sampling bias and conclude that they are distinct objects. Follow-up conducted by 12 telescopes observing from X-ray to radio wavelengths was unable to identify a variable multiwavelength counterpart, allowing us to rule out models in which FRBs originate from nearby ($z < 0.3$) supernovae and long duration gamma-ray bursts.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2014; 447(1). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu2419 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present imaging and spectroscopy of a hydrogen-poor superluminous supernova (SLSN) discovered by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory, iPTF 13ajg. At a redshift of z = 0.7403, derived from narrow absorption lines, iPTF 13ajg peaked at an absolute magnitude of M u, AB = –22.5, one of the most luminous supernovae to date. The observed bolometric peak luminosity of iPTF 13ajg is 3.2 × 1044 erg s–1, while the estimated total radiated energy is 1.3 × 1051 erg. We detect narrow absorption lines of Mg I, Mg II, and Fe II, associated with the cold interstellar medium in the host galaxy, at two different epochs with X-shooter at the Very Large Telescope. From Voigt profile fitting, we derive the column densities log N(Mg I) =11.94 ± 0.06, log N(Mg II) =14.7 ± 0.3, and log N(Fe II) =14.25 ± 0.10. These column densities, as well as the Mg I and Mg II equivalent widths of a sample of hydrogen-poor SLSNe taken from the literature, are at the low end of those derived for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) whose progenitors are also thought to be massive stars. This suggests that the environments of hydrogen-poor SLSNe and GRBs are different. From the nondetection of Fe II fine-structure absorption lines, we derive a lower limit on the distance between the supernova and the narrow-line absorbing gas of 50 pc. The neutral gas responsible for the absorption in iPTF 13ajg exhibits a single narrow component with a low velocity width, ΔV = 76 km s–1, indicating a low-mass host galaxy. No host galaxy emission lines are detected, leading to an upper limit on the unobscured star formation rate (SFR) of SFR. Late-time imaging shows the iPTF 13ajg host galaxy to be faint, with g AB 27.0 and R AB ≥ 26.0 mag, corresponding to M B, Vega –17.7 mag.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2014; 797(1):24. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/797/1/24 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SN 2014J in M82 is the closest Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) in decades. The proximity allows for detailed studies of supernova physics and provides insights into the circumstellar and interstellar environment. In this work we analyze Spitzer mid-IR data of SN 2014J in the 3.6 and 4.5 {\mu}m wavelength range, together with several other nearby and well-studied SNe Ia. We compile the first composite mid-IR light-curve templates from our sample of SNe Ia, spanning the range from before peak brightness well into the nebular phase. Our observations indicate that SNe Ia form a very homogeneous class of objects at these wavelengths. Using the low-reddening supernovae for comparison, we constrain possible thermal emission from circumstellar dust around the highly reddened SN 2014J. We also study SNe 2006X and 2007le, where the presence of matter in the circumstellar environment has been suggested. No significant mid-IR excess is detected, allowing us to place the most constraining upper limits to date on the amount of pre-existing dust in the circumstellar environment of any SN Ia. For SN 2014J, $M_{dust} < 10^{-5}$ M$_{\odot}$ within $r_{dust} \sim 10^{17}$ cm, which is insufficient to account for the observed extinction. Similar limits are obtained for SNe 2006X and 2007le.
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    ABSTRACT: We study the very early lighcturves of supernova 2014J (SN2014J) using the high-cadence broad-band imaging data obtained by the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), which fortuitously observed M82 around the time of the explosion, starting in November 2013 with up to 20 observations per night. These observations are complemented by observations in two narrow-band filters used in an H$\alpha$ survey of nearby galaxies by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) that also captured the first days of the brightening of the supernova. The evolution of the lightcurves is consistent with the expected signal from the cooling of shock heated material of large scale dimensions, $\ge$ $1 R_{\odot}$. This could be due to heated material of the progenitor, a companion star or pre-existing circumstellar environment, e.g., in the form of an accretion disk. Structure seen in the lightcurves during the first days after explosion could also originate from radioactive material in the outer parts of an exploding white dwarf, as suggested from the early detection of gamma-rays. The model degeneracy translates into a systematic uncertainty of $\pm 0.3$ days on the estimate of the first light from SN2014J.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2014; 799(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/106 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present imaging and spectroscopy of a hydrogen-poor superluminous supernova (SLSN) discovered by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory: iPTF13ajg. At a redshift of z=0.7403, derived from narrow absorption lines, iPTF13ajg peaked at an absolute magnitude M(u,AB)=-22.5, one of the most luminous supernovae to date. The uBgRiz light curves, obtained with the P48, P60, NOT, DCT, and Keck telescopes, and the nine-epoch spectral sequence secured with the Keck and the VLT (covering 3 rest-frame months), are tied together photometrically to provide an estimate of the flux evolution as a function of time and wavelength. The observed bolometric peak luminosity of iPTF13ajg is 3.2x10^44 erg/s, while the estimated total radiated energy is 1.3x10^51 erg. We detect narrow absorption lines of Mg I, Mg II, and Fe II, associated with the cold interstellar medium in the host galaxy, at two different epochs with X-shooter at the VLT. From Voigt-profile fitting, we derive the column densities log N(Mg I)=11.94+-0.06, log N(Mg II)=14.7+-0.3, and log N(Fe II)=14.25+-0.10. These column densities, as well as the Mg I and Mg II equivalent widths of a sample of hydrogen-poor SLSNe taken from the literature, are at the low end of those derived for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), whose progenitors are also thought to be massive stars. This suggests that the environments of SLSNe and GRBs are different. From the nondetection of Fe II fine-structure absorption lines, we derive a strict lower limit on the distance between the supernova and the narrow-line absorbing gas of 50 pc. No host-galaxy emission lines are detected, leading to an upper limit on the unobscured star-formation rate of SFR([OII])<0.07 Msun/yr. Late-time imaging shows the host galaxy of iPTF13ajg to be faint, with g(AB)~27.0 and R(AB)>=26.0 mag, which roughly corresponds to M(B,Vega) >~ -17.7 mag. [abridged]
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    ABSTRACT: We present an investigation of the optical spectra of 264 low-redshift (z < 0.2) Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory, an untargeted transient survey. We focus on velocity and pseudo-equivalent width measurements of the Si ii 4130, 5972, and 6355 Å lines, as well those of the Ca ii near-infrared (NIR) triplet, up to +5 days relative to the SN B-band maximum light. We find that a high-velocity component of the Ca ii NIR triplet is needed to explain the spectrum in ∼95 per cent of SNe Ia observed before −5 days, decreasing to ∼80 per cent at maximum. The average velocity of the Ca ii high-velocity component is ∼8500 km s−1 higher than the photospheric component. We confirm previous results that SNe Ia around maximum light with a larger contribution from the high-velocity component relative to the photospheric component in their Ca ii NIR feature have, on average, broader light curves and lower Ca ii NIR photospheric velocities. We find that these relations are driven by both a stronger high-velocity component and a weaker contribution from the photospheric Ca ii NIR component in broader light curve SNe Ia. We identify the presence of C ii in very-early-time SN Ia spectra (before −10 days), finding that >40 per cent of SNe Ia observed at these phases show signs of unburnt material in their spectra, and that C ii features are more likely to be found in SNe Ia having narrower light curves.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2014; 444(4). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1607 · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical and near-infrared (NIR) photometry and spectroscopy as well as modelling of the lightcurves of the Type IIb supernova (SN) 2011dh. Our extensive dataset spans 2 years, and complemented with Spitzer mid-infrared (MIR) data, we use it to build a 3-732 days optical to MIR bolometric lightcurve. To model the <400 days bolometric lightcurve we use a hydrodynamical model grid and a bolometric correction determined with steady-state NLTE modelling. We obtain similar results using the <100 days and <400 days bolometric lightcurves, and using the latter we find a helium core mass of 3.1 (+0.7-0.4) solar masses for SN 2011dh. We present 100-500 days bolometric and photometric lightcurves for the Jerkstrand et al. (2014) steady-state NLTE models, and the preferred 12 solar masses (initial mass) model shows a good overall agreement with the observed lightcurves. We find an excess in the K and the MIR bands developing between 100 and 250 days, during which an increase in the optical decline rate is also observed. A local origin of the excess is suggested by the depth of the HeI 2.058 micron absorption. Steady-state NLTE models with a modest dust opacity in the core, turned on during this period, reproduce the observed behaviour, but an additional excess in the Spitzer 4.5 micron band remains. Assuming this excess to be caused by CO fundamental band emission is consistent with the CO first overtone band emission detected at 206 days, and possibly at 89 days. We also extend our analysis to SNe 1993J and 2008ax, and the initial masses of ~15 solar masses found for SNe 2011dh, 1993J and 2008ax, by hydrodynamical modelling and steady-state NLTE modelling of nebular spectra (Jerkstrand et al. 2014), suggest that all of these Type IIb SNe originates from binary systems, as previously established for SN 1993J.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2014; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424592 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since the discovery of the unusual prototype SN 2002cx, the eponymous class of low-velocity, hydrogen-poor supernovae has grown to include at most another two dozen members identified from several heterogeneous surveys, in some cases ambiguously. Here we present the results of a systematic study of 1077 hydrogen-poor supernovae discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory, leading to nine new members of this peculiar class. Moreover we find there are two distinct subclasses based on their spectroscopic, photometric, and host galaxy properties: The "SN 2002cx-like" supernovae tend to be in later-type or more irregular hosts, have more varied and generally dimmer luminosities, have longer rise times, and lack a Ti II trough when compared to the "SN 2002es-like" supernovae. None of our objects show helium, and we counter a previous claim of two such events. We also find that these transients comprise 5.6+17-3.7% (90% confidence) of all SNe Ia, lower compared to earlier estimates. Combining our objects with the literature sample, we propose that these subclasses have two distinct physical origins.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2014; 799(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/52 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The explosive fate of massive Wolf-Rayet stars (WRSs) is a key open question in stellar physics. An appealing option is that hydrogen-deficient WRSs are the progenitors of some hydrogen-poor supernova explosions of types IIb, Ib and Ic (ref. 2). A blue object, having luminosity and colours consistent with those of some WRSs, has recently been identified in pre-explosion images at the location of a supernova of type Ib (ref. 3), but has not yet been conclusively determined to have been the progenitor. Similar work has so far only resulted in non-detections. Comparison of early photometric observations of type Ic supernovae with theoretical models suggests that the progenitor stars had radii of less than 10(12) centimetres, as expected for some WRSs. The signature of WRSs, their emission line spectra, cannot be probed by such studies. Here we report the detection of strong emission lines in a spectrum of type IIb supernova 2013cu (iPTF13ast) obtained approximately 15.5 hours after explosion (by 'flash spectroscopy', which captures the effects of the supernova explosion shock breakout flash on material surrounding the progenitor star). We identify Wolf-Rayet-like wind signatures, suggesting a progenitor of the WN(h) subclass (those WRSs with winds dominated by helium and nitrogen, with traces of hydrogen). The extent of this dense wind may indicate increased mass loss from the progenitor shortly before its explosion, consistent with recent theoretical predictions.
    Nature 05/2014; 509(7501):471-4. DOI:10.1038/nature13304 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical photometry and spectroscopy of the broad-lined Type Ic supernova (SNIc-BL) PTF10qts, which was discovered as part of the Palomar Transient Factory. The supernova was located in a dwarf galaxy of magnitude $r=21.1$ at a redshift $z=0.0907$. We find that the $R$-band light curve is a poor proxy for bolometric data and use photometric and spectroscopic data to construct and constrain the bolometric light curve. The derived bolometric magnitude at maximum light is $M_{\rm bol} = -18.51\pm0.2$ mag, comparable to that of SN 1998bw ($M_{\rm bol} = -18.7$ mag) which was associated with a gamma-ray burst (GRB). PTF10qts is one of the most luminous SNIc-BL observed without an accompanying GRB. We estimate the physical parameters of the explosion using data from our programme of follow-up observations, finding that it produced a larger mass of radioactive nickel compared to other SNeIc-BL with similar inferred ejecta masses and kinetic energies. The progenitor of the event was likely a $\sim20$M$_{\odot}$ star.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 05/2014; 442(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1017 · 5.23 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
1,368.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2015
    • California Institute of Technology
      • • Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy
      • • Department of Astronomy
      • • Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
      Pasadena, California, United States
    • Pomona College
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Claremont, California, United States
  • 2014
    • AlbaNova University Center
      Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2012–2014
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      • Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 2011–2014
    • Carnegie Institute
      Pasadena, Texas, United States
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
      • Department of Physics
      Santa Barbara, California, United States
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      • Department of Astrophysics
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 2009–2014
    • Weizmann Institute of Science
      • Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics
      Israel
    • Swinburne University of Technology
      • Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2013
    • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
    • Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
      Goleta, California, United States
  • 2006
    • Instituto De Astrofisica De Andalucia
      Granata, Andalusia, Spain
    • Princeton University
      • Department of Astrophysical Sciences
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States