G. Narayan

Queen's University Belfast, Béal Feirste, N Ireland, United Kingdom

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Publications (76)271.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present Hubble Space Telescope rest-frame ultraviolet imaging of the host galaxies of 16 hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), including 11 events from the Pan-STARRS Medium Deep Survey. Taking advantage of the superb angular resolution of HST, we characterize the galaxies' morphological properties, sizes and star formation rate densities. We determine the SN locations within the host galaxies through precise astrometric matching, and measure physical and host-normalized offsets, as well as the SN positions within the cumulative distribution of UV light pixel brightness. We find that the host galaxies of H-poor SLSNe are irregular, compact dwarf galaxies, with a median half-light radius of just 0.9 kpc. The UV-derived star formation rate densities are high ( ~ 0.1 M_sun/yr/kpc^2), suggesting that SLSNe form in overdense environments. Their locations trace the UV light of their host galaxies, with a distribution intermediate between that of LGRBs (which are strongly clustered on the brightest regions of their hosts) and a uniform distribution (characteristic of normal core-collapse SNe). Taken together, this strengthens the picture that SLSN progenitors require different conditions than those of ordinary core-collapse SNe to form, and that they explode in broadly similar galaxies as do LGRBs. However, the locations of SLSNe are less clustered on the brightest regions than are LGRBs, suggesting a different and potentially lower-mass progenitor population for SLSNe than LGRBs.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: UV and optical photometry of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) at low redshift have revealed the existence of two distinct color groups, NUV-red and NUV-blue events. The color curves differ primarily by an offset, with the NUV-blue u- color curves bluer than the NUV-red curves by 0.4 mag. For a sample of 23 low-z SNe~Ia observed with Swift, the NUV-red group dominates by a ratio of 2:1. We compare rest-frame UV/optical spectrophotometry of intermediate and high-z SNe Ia with UVOT photometry and HST spectrophotometry of low-z SNe Ia, finding that the same two color groups exist at higher-z, but with the NUV-blue events as the dominant group. Within each red/blue group, we do not detect any offset in color for different redshifts, providing insight into how SN~Ia UV emission evolves with redshift. Through spectral comparisons of SNe~Ia with similar peak widths and phase, we explore the wavelength range that produces the UV/OPT color differences. We show that the ejecta velocity of NUV-red SNe is larger than that of NUV-blue objects by roughly 12% on average. This velocity difference can explain some of the UV/optical color difference, but differences in the strengths of spectral features seen in meanspectra require additional explanation. Because of the different b-v colors for these groups, NUV-red SNe will have their extinction underestimated using common techniques. This, in turn, leads to under-estimation of the optical luminosity of the NUV-blue SNe~Ia, in particular, for the high-redshift cosmological sample. Not accounting for this effect should thus produce a distance bias that increases with redshift and could significantly bias measurements of cosmological parameters.
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Type Iax supernovae (SNe Iax) are thermonuclear explosions that are related to SNe Ia, but are physically distinct. The most important differences are that SNe Iax have significantly lower luminosity (1% - 50% that of typical SNe Ia), lower ejecta mass (~0.1 - 0.5 M_sun), and may leave a bound remnant. The most extreme SN Iax is SN 2008ha, which peaked at M_V = -14.2 mag, about 5 mag below that of typical SNe Ia. Here, we present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of UGC 12682, the host galaxy of SN 2008ha, taken 4.1 years after the peak brightness of SN 2008ha. In these deep, high-resolution images, we detect a source coincident (0.86 HST pixels; 0.043"; 1.1 sigma) with the position of SN 2008ha with M_F814W = -5.4 mag. We determine that this source is unlikely to be a chance coincidence, but that scenario cannot be completely ruled out. If this source is directly related to SN 2008ha, it is either the luminous bound remnant of the progenitor white dwarf or its companion star. The source is consistent with being an evolved >3 M_sun initial mass star, and is significantly redder than the SN Iax 2012Z progenitor system, the first detected progenitor system for a thermonuclear SN. If this source is the companion star for SN 2008ha, there is a diversity in SN Iax progenitor systems, perhaps related to the diversity in SN Iax explosions. If the source is the bound remnant of the white dwarf, it must have expanded significantly. Regardless of the nature of this source, we constrain the progenitor system of SN 2008ha to have an age of <80 Myr.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2014; 792(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CfAIR2 is a large homogeneously reduced set of near-infrared (NIR) light curves for Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) obtained with the 1.3m PAIRITEL (Peters Automated InfraRed Imaging TELescope). This data set includes 4607 measurements of 94 SN Ia and 4 additional SN Iax observed from 2005-2011 at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. CfAIR2 includes JHKs photometric measurements for 88 normal and 6 spectroscopically peculiar SN Ia in the nearby universe, with a median redshift of z~0.021 for the normal SN Ia. CfAIR2 data span the range from -13 days to +127 days from maximum in the B-band. More than half of the light curves begin before the time of maximum and the coverage typically contains ~13-18 epochs of observation, depending on the filter. We present extensive tests that verify the fidelity of the CfAIR2 data pipeline, including comparison to the excellent data of the Carnegie Supernova Project. CfAIR2 contributes to a firm local anchor for supernova cosmology studies in the NIR. Because SN Ia are approximately standard candles in the NIR and are less vulnerable to the vexing problems of extinction by dust, CfAIR2 will help us develop more precise and accurate extragalactic distance probes to improve our knowledge of cosmological parameters, including dark energy and its potential time variation.
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In the past decade, several rapidly-evolving transients have been discovered whose timescales and luminosities are not easily explained by traditional supernovae (SN) models. The sample size of these objects has remained small due, at least in part, to the challenge of detecting short timescale transients with traditional survey cadences. Here we present the results from a search within the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey (PS1-MDS) for rapidly-evolving and luminous transients. We identify 10 new transients with a time above half-maximum of less than 12 days and -16.5 > M > -20 mag. This increases the number of known events in this region of SN phase space by roughly a factor of three. The median redshift of the PS1-MDS sample is z=0.275 and they all exploded in star forming galaxies. In general, the transients possess faster rise than decline timescale and blue colors at maximum light (g - r < -0.2). Best fit blackbodies reveal photospheric temperatures/radii that expand/cool with time and explosion spectra taken near maximum light are dominated by a blue continuum, consistent with a hot, optically thick, ejecta. We find it difficult to reconcile the short timescale, high peak luminosity (L > 10^43 erg/s), and lack of UV line blanketing observed in many of these transients with an explosion powered mainly by the radioactive decay of Ni-56. Rather, we find that many are consistent with either (1) cooling envelope emission from the explosion of a star with a low-mass extended envelope which ejected very little (<0.03 M_sun) radioactive material, or (2) a shock breakout within a dense, optically thick, wind surrounding the progenitor star. After calculating the detection efficiency for objects with rapid timescales in the PS1-MDS we find a volumetric rate of 3000 - 5500 events/yr/Gpc^3 (1-6% of the core-collapse SN rate at z=0.2).
    05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, the advent of wide-field sky surveys which obtain deep multi-band imaging has presented a new path for indirectly characterizing the progenitor populations of core-collapse supernovae (SN): systematic light curve studies. We assemble a set of 76 grizy-band Type IIP SN light curves from Pan-STARRS1 (PS1), obtained over a constant survey program of 4 years and classified using both spectroscopy and machine learning-based photometric techniques. We develop and apply a new Bayesian model for the full multi-band evolution of each light curve in the sample. We find no evidence for the existence of a discontinuous sub-population of fast-declining explosions (historically referred to as "Type IIL" SNe). However, we identify a highly significant continuous relation between the plateau phase decay rate and peak luminosity among our SNe IIP. These results argue in favor of a single predominant explosion parameter, likely determined by initial stellar mass, controlling the most significant observational outcomes of red supergiant explosions. We compare each light curve to physical models from hydrodynamic simulations to estimate progenitor initial masses and other properties of the PS1 Type IIP SN sample. We show that correction of certain systematic discrepancies between modeled and observed SN IIP light curve properties, and an expanded grid of progenitor mass and explosion energy ranges, are needed to enable robust progenitor inferences from multi-band light curve samples of this kind. This work will serve as a pathfinder for photometric studies of core-collapse SNe to be conducted through future wide field transient searches.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical spectroscopy and optical/near-IR photometry of 31 host galaxies of hydrogen-poor superluminous supernovae (SLSNe), including 15 events from the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey. Our sample spans the redshift range 0.1 < z < 1.6 and is the first comprehensive host galaxy study of this specific subclass of cosmic explosions. Combining the multi-band photometry and emission-line measurements, we determine the luminosities, stellar masses, star formation rates and metallicities. We find that as a whole, the hosts of SLSNe are a low-luminosity ( ~ -17.3 mag), low stellar mass (<M_*> ~ 2 x 10^8 Msun) population, with a high median specific star formation rate ( ~ 2 Gyr^{-1}). The median metallicity of our spectroscopic sample is low, 12 + log(O/H) ~ 8.35 ~ 0.45 Z_sun, although at least one host galaxy has solar metallicity. The host galaxies of H-poor SLSNe are statistically distinct from the hosts of GOODS core-collapse SNe (which cover a similar redshift range), but resemble the host galaxies of long-duration gamma-ray bursts (LGRBs) in terms of stellar mass, SFR, sSFR and metallicity. This result indicates that the environmental causes leading to massive stars forming either SLSNe or LGRBs are similar, and in particular that SLSNe are more effectively formed in low metallicity environments. We speculate that the key ingredient is large core angular momentum, leading to a rapidly spinning magnetar in SLSNe and an accreting black hole in LGRBs.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2013; 787(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Super-luminous supernovae that radiate more than 10(44) ergs per second at their peak luminosity have recently been discovered in faint galaxies at redshifts of 0.1-4. Some evolve slowly, resembling models of 'pair-instability' supernovae. Such models involve stars with original masses 140-260 times that of the Sun that now have carbon-oxygen cores of 65-130 solar masses. In these stars, the photons that prevent gravitational collapse are converted to electron-positron pairs, causing rapid contraction and thermonuclear explosions. Many solar masses of (56)Ni are synthesized; this isotope decays to (56)Fe via (56)Co, powering bright light curves. Such massive progenitors are expected to have formed from metal-poor gas in the early Universe. Recently, supernova 2007bi in a galaxy at redshift 0.127 (about 12 billion years after the Big Bang) with a metallicity one-third that of the Sun was observed to look like a fading pair-instability supernova. Here we report observations of two slow-to-fade super-luminous supernovae that show relatively fast rise times and blue colours, which are incompatible with pair-instability models. Their late-time light-curve and spectral similarities to supernova 2007bi call the nature of that event into question. Our early spectra closely resemble typical fast-declining super-luminous supernovae, which are not powered by radioactivity. Modelling our observations with 10-16 solar masses of magnetar-energized ejecta demonstrates the possibility of a common explosion mechanism. The lack of unambiguous nearby pair-instability events suggests that their local rate of occurrence is less than 6 × 10(-6) times that of the core-collapse rate.
    Nature 10/2013; 502(7471):346-9. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We probe the systematic uncertainties from 112 Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) in the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) sample along with 201 SN Ia from a combination of low-redshift surveys. The companion paper by Rest et al. (2013) describes the photometric measurements and cosmological inferences from the PS1 sample. The largest systematic uncertainty stems from the photometric calibration of the PS1 and low-z samples. We increase the sample of observed Calspec standards from 7 to 10 used to define the PS1 calibration system. The PS1 and SDSS-II calibration systems are compared and discrepancies up to ~0.02 mag are recovered. We find uncertainties in the proper way to treat intrinsic colors and reddening produce differences in the recovered value of w up to 3%. We estimate masses of host galaxies of PS1 supernovae and detect an insignificant difference in distance residuals of the full sample of 0.040\pm0.031 mag for host galaxies with high and low masses. Assuming flatness in our analysis of only SNe measurements, we find w = -1.015^{+0.319}_{-0.201} (Stat) ^{+0.164}_{-0.122) (Sys). With additional constraints from BAO, CMB(Planck) and H0 measurements, we find w = -1.186^{+0.076}_{-0.065} and \Omega_M= 0.277^{+0.010}_{-0.012} (statistical and systematic errors added in quadrature). One of the largest total systematic uncertainties when combining measurements from different cosmological probes is the choice of CMB data to include in the analysis. Using WMAP9 data instead of Planck, we see a shift of \Delta w = +0.044.
    10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present griz light curves of 146 spectroscopically confirmed Type Ia Supernovae (0.03<z<0.65) discovered during the first 1.5 years of the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey. The Pan-STARRS1 natural photometric system is determined by a combination of on-site measurements of the instrument response function and observations of spectrophotometric standard stars. We have investigated spatial and time variations in the photometry, and we find that the systematic uncertainties in the photometric system are currently 1.2% without accounting for the uncertainty in the HST Calspec definition of the AB system. We discuss our efforts to minimize the systematic uncertainties in the photometry. A Hubble diagram is constructed with a subset of 112 SNe Ia (out of the 146) that pass our light curve quality cuts. The cosmological fit to 313 SNe Ia (112 PS1 SNe Ia + 201 low-z SNe Ia), using only SNe and assuming a constant dark energy equation of state and flatness, yields w = -1.015^{+0.319}_{-0.201}(Stat)+{0.164}_{-0.122}(Sys). When combined with BAO+CMB(Planck)+H0, the analysis yields \Omega_M = 0.277^{+0.010}_{-0.012} and w = -1.186^{+0.076}_{-0.065} including all identified systematics, as spelled out in the companion paper by Scolnic et al. (2013a). The value of w is inconsistent with the cosmological constant value of -1 at the 2.4 sigma level. This tension has been seen in other high-z SN surveys and endures after removing either the BAO or the H0 constraint. If we include WMAP9 CMB constraints instead of those from Planck, we find w = -1.142^{+0.076}_{-0.087}, which diminishes the discord to <2 sigma. We cannot conclude whether the tension with flat CDM is a feature of dark energy, new physics, or a combination of chance and systematic errors. The full Pan-STARRS1 supernova sample will be 3 times as large as this initial sample, which should provide more conclusive results.
    10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Pan-STARRS1 discovery of the long-lived and blue transient PS1-11af, which was also detected by GALEX with coordinated observations in the near-ultraviolet (NUV) band. PS1-11af is associated with the nucleus of an early-type galaxy at redshift z=0.4046 that exhibits no evidence for star formation or AGN activity. Four epochs of spectroscopy reveal a pair of transient broad absorption features in the UV on otherwise featureless spectra. Despite the superficial similarity of these features to P-Cygni absorptions of supernovae (SNe), we conclude that PS1-11af is not consistent with the properties of known types of SNe. Blackbody fits to the spectral energy distribution are inconsistent with the cooling, expanding ejecta of a SN, and the velocities of the absorption features are too high to represent material in homologous expansion near a SN photosphere. However, the constant blue colors and slow evolution of the luminosity are similar to previous optically-selected tidal disruption events (TDEs). The shape of the optical light curve is consistent with models for TDEs, but the minimum accreted mass necessary to power the observed luminosity is only ~0.002M_sun, which points to a partial disruption model. A full disruption model predicts higher bolometric luminosities, which would require most of the radiation to be emitted in a separate component at high energies where we lack observations. In addition, the observed temperature is lower than that predicted by pure accretion disk models for TDEs and requires reprocessing to a constant, lower temperature. Three deep non-detections in the radio with the VLA over the first two years after the event set strict limits on the production of any relativistic outflow comparable to Swift J1644+57, even if off-axis.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2013; 780(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present observations and analysis of PS1-10bzj, a superluminous supernova (SLSN) discovered in the Pan-STARRS Medium Deep Survey at a redshift z = 0.650. Spectroscopically, PS1-10bzj is similar to the hydrogen-poor SLSNe 2005ap and SCP 06F6, though with a steeper rise and lower peak luminosity (M_bol = -21.4 mag) than previous events. We construct a bolometric light curve, and show that while PS1-10bzj's energetics were less extreme than previous events, its luminosity still cannot be explained by radioactive nickel decay alone. We explore both a magnetar spin-down and circumstellar interaction scenario and find that either can fit the data. PS1-10bzj is located in the Extended Chandra Deep Field South and the host galaxy is imaged in a number of surveys, including with the Hubble Space Telescope. The host is a compact dwarf galaxy (M_B ~ -18 mag, diameter < 800 pc), with a low stellar mass (M_* ~ 2.4 * 10^7 M_sun), young stellar population (\tau_* ~ 5 Myr), and a star formation rate of ~ 2-3 M_sun/yr. The specific star formation rate is the highest seen in a SLSN host so far (~ 100 Gyr^{-1}). We detect the [O III]\lambda 4363 line, and find a low metallicity: 12+(O/H) = 7.8 +/- 0.2 (~ 0.1 Z_sun). Together, this indicates that at least some of the progenitors of SLSNe come from young, low-metallicity populations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2013; 771(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Pan-STARRS1 discovery of PS1-10afx, a unique hydrogen-deficient superluminous supernova (SLSN) at z=1.388. The light curve peaked at z_P1=21.7 mag, making PS1-10afx comparable to the most luminous known SNe, with M_u = -22.3 mag. Our extensive optical and NIR observations indicate that the bolometric light curve of PS1-10afx rose on the unusually fast timescale of ~12 d to the extraordinary peak luminosity of 4.1e44 erg/s (M_bol = -22.8 mag) and subsequently faded rapidly. Equally important, the SED is unusually red for a SLSN, with a color temperature of 6800 K near maximum light, in contrast to previous H-poor SLSNe, which are bright in the UV. The spectra more closely resemble those of a normal SN Ic than any known SLSN, with a photospheric velocity of 11,000 km/s and evidence for line blanketing in the rest-frame UV. Despite the fast rise, these parameters imply a very large emitting radius (>5e15 cm). We demonstrate that no existing theoretical model can satisfactorily explain this combination of properties: (i) a nickel-powered light curve cannot match the combination of high peak luminosity with the fast timescale; (ii) models powered by the spindown energy of a rapidly-rotating magnetar predict significantly hotter and faster ejecta; and (iii) models invoking shock breakout through a dense circumstellar medium cannot explain the observed spectra or color evolution. The host galaxy is well detected in pre-explosion imaging with a luminosity near L*, a star formation rate of 15 M_sun/yr, and is fairly massive (2e10 M_sun), with a stellar population age of 1e8 yr, also in contrast to the dwarf hosts of known H-poor SLSNe. PS1-10afx is distinct from known examples of SLSNe in its spectra, colors, light-curve shape, and host galaxy properties, suggesting that it resulted from a different channel than other hydrogen-poor SLSNe.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2013; 767(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the independent discovery of the transient PS1-12cht by the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey at coordinates: 03:33:04.148 -28:12:49.41 (J2000) (absolute uncertainty 0.1" in each) on 2012 Nov. 28.37 UT at z_P1=21.9 mag (AB), before rising to a peak near g_P1=19.3 mag in early December. The light curve has been relatively flat at redder wavelengths, declining by 0.15 mag in z_P1 over the last 35 days.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Pan-STARRS1 discovery and light curves, and follow-up MMT and Gemini spectroscopy of an ultra-luminous supernova (ULSN; dubbed PS1-11bam) at a redshift of z=1.566 with a peak brightness of M_UV=-22.3 mag. PS1-11bam is one of the highest redshift spectroscopically-confirmed SNe known to date. The spectrum is characterized by broad absorption features typical of previous ULSNe (e.g., CII, SiIII), and by strong and narrow MgII and FeII absorption lines from the interstellar medium (ISM) of the host galaxy, confirmed by an [OII]3727 emission line at the same redshift. The equivalent widths of the FeII2600 and MgII2803 lines are in the top quartile of the quasar intervening absorption system distribution, but are weaker than those of gamma-ray burst intrinsic absorbers (i.e., GRB host galaxies). We also detect the host galaxy in pre-explosion Pan-STARRS1 data and find that its UV spectral energy distribution is best fit with a young stellar population age of tau~15-45 Myr and a stellar mass of M \sim (1.1-2.6)x10^9 M_sun (for Z=0.05-1 Z_sun). The star formation rate inferred from the UV continuum and [OII]3727 emission line is ~10 M_sun/yr, higher than in any previous ULSN host. PS1-11bam provides the first direct demonstration that ULSNe can serve as probes of the interstellar medium in distant galaxies. At the present, the depth and red sensitivity of PS1 are uniquely suited to finding such events at cosmologically interesting redshifts (z~1-2); the future combination of LSST and 30-m class telescopes promises to extend this technique to z~4.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 06/2012; 755(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present multi-band optical photometry of 94 spectroscopically-confirmed Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) in the redshift range 0.0055 to 0.073, obtained between 2006 and 2011. There are a total of 5522 light curve points. We show that our natural system SN photometry has a precision of roughly 0.03 mag or better in BVr'i', 0.06 mag in u', and 0.07 mag in U for points brighter than 17.5 mag and estimate that it has a systematic uncertainty of 0.014, 0.010, 0.012, 0.014, 0.046, and 0.073 mag in BVr'i'u'U, respectively. Comparisons of our standard system photometry with published SN Ia light curves and comparison stars reveal mean agreement across samples in the range of ~0.00-0.03 mag. We discuss the recent measurements of our telescope-plus-detector throughput by direct monochromatic illumination by Cramer et al (in prep.). This technique measures the whole optical path through the telescope, auxiliary optics, filters, and detector under the same conditions used to make SN measurements. Extremely well-characterized natural-system passbands (both in wavelength and over time) are crucial for the next generation of SN Ia photometry to reach the 0.01 mag accuracy level. The current sample of low-z SN Ia is now sufficiently large to remove most of the statistical sampling error from the dark energy error budget. But pursuing the dark-energy systematic errors by determining highly-accurate detector passbands, combining optical and near-infrared (NIR) photometry and spectra, using the nearby sample to illuminate the population properties of SN Ia, and measuring the local departures from the Hubble flow will benefit from larger, carefully measured nearby samples.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 05/2012; 200(2):12-26. · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CBET 3066 available at Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams.
    Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams. 03/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the early discovery and spectroscopic confirmation of a low-redshift type Ia supernova (designated PS1-12rg) in the galaxy UGC 7228 (cz=7568 km/s; Falco et al. 1999, PASP, 111, 438) by the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey. The object was first detected on 2012 March 11.50 UT at the coordinates RA = 12:13:37.309 Dec = +46:29:00.48 (J2000) with an approximate brightness of zP1=22.8 mag (AB) and rose to iP1=16.99 mag by 2012 March 21.47.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 03/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The flare of radiation from the tidal disruption and accretion of a star can be used as a marker for supermassive black holes that otherwise lie dormant and undetected in the centres of distant galaxies. Previous candidate flares have had declining light curves in good agreement with expectations, but with poor constraints on the time of disruption and the type of star disrupted, because the rising emission was not observed. Recently, two 'relativistic' candidate tidal disruption events were discovered, each of whose extreme X-ray luminosity and synchrotron radio emission were interpreted as the onset of emission from a relativistic jet. Here we report a luminous ultraviolet-optical flare from the nuclear region of an inactive galaxy at a redshift of 0.1696. The observed continuum is cooler than expected for a simple accreting debris disk, but the well-sampled rise and decay of the light curve follow the predicted mass accretion rate and can be modelled to determine the time of disruption to an accuracy of two days. The black hole has a mass of about two million solar masses, modulo a factor dependent on the mass and radius of the star disrupted. On the basis of the spectroscopic signature of ionized helium from the unbound debris, we determine that the disrupted star was a helium-rich stellar core.
    Nature 01/2012; 485(7397):217-20. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on our serendipitous pre-discovery detection and detailed follow-up of the broad-lined Type Ic supernova (SN) 2010ay at z = 0.067 imaged by the Pan-STARRS1 3pi survey just ~4 days after explosion. The SN had a peak luminosity, M_R ~ -20.2 mag, significantly more luminous than known GRB-SNe and one of the most luminous SNe Ib/c ever discovered. The absorption velocity of SN 2010ay is v_Si ~ 19,000 km/s at ~40 days after explosion, 2-5 times higher than other broad-lined SNe and similar to the GRB-SN 2010bh at comparable epochs. Moreover, the velocity declines ~2 times slower than other SNe Ic-BL and GRB-SNe. Assuming that the optical emission is powered by radioactive decay, the peak magnitude implies the synthesis of an unusually large mass of 56 Ni, M_Ni = 0.9 M_solar. Modeling of the light-curve points to a total ejecta mass, M_ej ~ 4.7 M_sol, and total kinetic energy, E_K ~ 11x10^51 ergs. The ratio of M_Ni to M_ej is ~2 times as large for SN 2010ay as typical GRB-SNe and may suggest an additional energy reservoir. The metallicity (log(O/H)_PP04 + 12 = 8.19) of the explosion site within the host galaxy places SN 2010ay in the low-metallicity regime populated by GRB-SNe, and ~0.5(0.2) dex lower than that typically measured for the host environments of normal (broad-lined) Ic supernovae. We constrain any gamma-ray emission with E_gamma < 6x10^{48} erg (25-150 keV) and our deep radio follow-up observations with the Expanded Very Large Array rule out relativistic ejecta with energy, E > 10^48 erg. We therefore rule out the association of a relativistic outflow like those which accompanied SN 1998bw and traditional long-duration GRBs, but place less-stringent constraints on a weak afterglow like that seen from XRF 060218. These observations challenge the importance of progenitor metallicity for the production of a GRB, and suggest that other parameters also play a key role.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2011; 756(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

413 Citations
271.93 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • Queen's University Belfast
      • Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC)
      Béal Feirste, N Ireland, United Kingdom
  • 2008–2013
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • AlbaNova University Center
      Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2011–2012
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 2007–2011
    • Harvard University
      • Department of Physics
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien
      Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Texas A&M University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      College Station, Texas, United States