Adam G. Riess

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Are you Adam G. Riess?

Claim your profile

Publications (229)1120.68 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Type Iax supernovae are stellar explosions that are spectroscopically similar to some type Ia supernovae at the time of maximum light emission, except with lower ejecta velocities. They are also distinguished by lower luminosities. At late times, their spectroscopic properties diverge from those of other supernovae, but their composition (dominated by iron-group and intermediate-mass elements) suggests a physical connection to normal type Ia supernovae. Supernovae of type Iax are not rare; they occur at a rate between 5 and 30 per cent of the normal type Ia rate. The leading models for type Iax supernovae are thermonuclear explosions of accreting carbon-oxygen white dwarfs that do not completely unbind the star, implying that they are 'less successful' versions of normal type Ia supernovae, where complete stellar disruption is observed. Here we report the detection of the luminous, blue progenitor system of the type Iax SN 2012Z in deep pre-explosion imaging. The progenitor system's luminosity, colours, environment and similarity to the progenitor of the Galactic helium nova V445 Puppis suggest that SN 2012Z was the explosion of a white dwarf accreting material from a helium-star companion. Observations over the next few years, after SN 2012Z has faded, will either confirm this hypothesis or perhaps show that this supernova was actually the explosive death of a massive star.
    Nature 08/2014; 512(7512):54-6. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) was a multi-cycle treasury program on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that surveyed a total area of ~0.25 deg^2 with ~900 HST orbits spread across 5 fields over 3 years. Within these survey images we discovered 65 supernovae (SN) of all types, out to z~2.5. We classify ~24 of these as Type Ia SN (SN Ia) based on host galaxy redshifts and SN photometry (supplemented by grism spectroscopy of 6 SN). Here we present a measurement of the volumetric SN Ia rate as a function of redshift, reaching for the first time beyond z=2 and putting new constraints on SN Ia progenitor models. Our highest redshift bin includes detections of SN that exploded when the universe was only ~3 Gyr old and near the peak of the cosmic star formation history. This gives the CANDELS high redshift sample unique leverage for evaluating the fraction of SN Ia that explode promptly after formation (<500 Myr). Combining the CANDELS rates with all available SN Ia rate measurements in the literature we find that this prompt SNIa fraction is f=0.48 +0.08 -0.09 (stat) +0.04 -0.13 (syst), consistent with a delay time distribution that follows a simple t^{-1} power law for all times t>40 Myr. However, a mild tension is apparent between ground-based low-z surveys and space-based high-z surveys. When the rate measurements from HST surveys are examined in isolation, the rarity of SN Ia detections at z>1.5 hints that prompt progenitors in the early universe may in fact be relatively rare, accounting for as little as ~5% of all SN Ia explosions - though further analysis and larger samples will be needed to examine that suggestion.
    01/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present cosmological constraints from a joint analysis of type Ia supernova (SN Ia) observations obtained by the SDSS-II and SNLS collaborations. The data set includes several low-redshift samples (z<0.1), all 3 seasons from the SDSS-II (0.05 < z < 0.4), and 3 years from SNLS (0.2 <z < 1) and totals \ntotc spectroscopically confirmed type Ia supernovae with high quality light curves. We have followed the methods and assumptions of the SNLS 3-year data analysis except for the following important improvements: 1) the addition of the full SDSS-II spectroscopically-confirmed SN Ia sample in both the training of the SALT2 light curve model and in the Hubble diagram analysis (\nsdssc SNe), 2) inter-calibration of the SNLS and SDSS surveys and reduced systematic uncertainties in the photometric calibration, performed blindly with respect to the cosmology analysis, and 3) a thorough investigation of systematic errors associated with the SALT2 modeling of SN Ia light-curves. We produce recalibrated SN Ia light-curves and associated distances for the SDSS-II and SNLS samples. The large SDSS-II sample provides an effective, independent, low-z anchor for the Hubble diagram and reduces the systematic error from calibration systematics in the low-z SN sample. For a flat LCDM cosmology we find Omega_m=0.295+-0.034 (stat+sys), a value consistent with the most recent CMB measurement from the Planck and WMAP experiments. Our result is 1.8sigma (stat+sys) different than the previously published result of SNLS 3-year data. The change is due primarily to improvements in the SNLS photometric calibration. When combined with CMB constraints, we measure a constant dark-energy equation of state parameter w=-1.018+-0.057 (stat+sys) for a flat universe. Adding BAO distance measurements gives similar constraints: w=-1.027+-0.055.
    01/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We use a newly developed observing mode on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), spatial scanning, to increase source sampling a thousand-fold and measure changes in source positions to a precision of 20--40 microarcseconds, more than an order of magnitude better than attainable in pointed observations. This observing mode can usefully measure the parallaxes of bright stars at distances of up to 5 kpc, a factor of ten farther than achieved thus far with HST. Long-period classical Cepheid variable stars in the Milky Way, nearly all of which reside beyond 1 kpc, are especially compelling targets for parallax measurements from scanning, as they may be used to anchor a determination of the Hubble constant to ~1%. We illustrate the method by measuring to high precision the parallax of a classical Cepheid, SY Aurigae, at a distance of more than 2 kpc, using 5 epochs of spatial-scan data obtained at intervals of 6 months. Rapid spatial scans also enable photometric measurements of bright Milky Way Cepheids---which would otherwise saturate even in the shortest possible pointed observations---on the same flux scale as extragalactic Cepheids, which is a necessity for reducing a leading source of systematic error in the Hubble constant. We demonstrate this capability with photometric measurements of SY Aur on the same system used for Cepheids in Type Ia supernova host galaxies. While the technique and results presented here are preliminary, an ongoing program with HST is collecting such parallax measurements for another 18 Cepheids to produce a better anchor for the distance scale.
    01/2014; 785(2).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Systematic errors associated with astrophysical data used to probe fundamental astrophysical questions, such as SNeIa observations used to constrain dark energy theories, are now rivaling and exceeding the statistical errors associated with these measurements. ACCESS: Absolute Color Calibration Experiment for Standard Stars is a series of rocket-borne sub-orbital missions and ground-based experiments designed to enable improvements in the precision of the astrophysical flux scale through the transfer of absolute laboratory detector standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to a network of stellar standards with a calibration accuracy of 1% and a spectral resolving power of 500 across the 0.35 ‑ 1.7μm bandpass. Achieving this level of accuracy requires characterization and stability of the instrument and detector including a thermal background that contributes less than 1% to the flux per resolution element in the NIR. We will present the instrument and calibration status with a focus on the thermal mechanical design and associated performance data. The detector control and performance will be presented in a companion poster (Morris, et al). NASA APRA sounding rocket grant NNX08AI65G supports this work.
    01/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ACCESS, Absolute Color Calibration Experiment for Standard Stars, is a series of rocket-borne sub-orbital missions and ground-based experiments that will enable improvements in the precision of the astrophysical flux scale through the transfer of absolute laboratory detector standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to a network of stellar standards with a calibration accuracy of 1% and a spectral resolving power of 500 across the 0.35 to 1.7 micron bandpass (companion poster, Kaiser et al.). The flight detector and detector spare have been selected and integrated with their electronics and flight mount. The controller electronics have been flight qualified. Vibration testing to launch loads and thermal vacuum testing of the detector, mount, and housing have been successfully performed. Further improvements to the flight controller housing have been made. A cryogenic ground test system has been built. Dark current and read noise tests have been performed, yielding results consistent with the initial characterization tests of the detector performed by Goddard Space Flight Center’s Detector Characterization Lab (DCL). Detector control software has been developed and implemented for ground testing. Performance and integration of the detector and controller with the flight software will be presented. NASA APRA sounding rocket grant NNX08AI65G supports this work.
    01/2014;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report observations of three gravitationally lensed supernovae (SNe) in the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH) Multi-Cycle Treasury program. These objects, SN CLO12Car (z = 1.28), SN CLN12Did (z = 0.85), and SN CLA11Tib (z = 1.14), are located behind three different clusters, MACSJ1720.2+3536 (z = 0.391), RXJ1532.9+3021 (z = 0.345), and Abell 383 (z = 0.187), respectively. Each SN was detected in Hubble Space Telescope (HST) optical and infrared images. Based on photometric classification, we find that SNe CLO12Car and CLN12Did are likely to be Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), while SN CLA11Tib is probably a core-collapse SN. Using multi-color light-curve fits to determine a standardized SN Ia luminosity distance, we infer that SN CLO12Car was approximately 1.0 +/- 0.2 mag brighter than field SNe Ia at a similar redshift and ascribe this to gravitational lens magnification. Similarly, SN CLN12Did is approximately 0.2 +/- 0.2 mag brighter than field SNe Ia. We derive independent estimates of the predicted magnification from CLASH strong+weak lensing maps of the clusters: 0.83 +/- 0.16 mag for SN CLO12Car, 0.28 +/- 0.08 mag for SN CLN12Did, and 0.43 +/- 0.11 mag for SN CLA11Tib. The two SNe Ia provide a new test of the cluster lens model predictions: we find that the magnifications based on the SN Ia brightness and those predicted by the lens maps are consistent. Our results herald the promise of future observations of samples of cluster-lensed SNe Ia (from the ground or space) to help illuminate the dark-matter distribution in clusters of galaxies, through the direct determination of absolute magnifications.
    12/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present optical photometric and spectroscopic coverage of the superluminous supernova (SLSN) PS1-11ap, discovered with the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey at z = 0.524. This intrinsically blue transient rose slowly to reach a peak magnitude of M_u = -21.4 mag and bolometric luminosity of 8 x 10^43 ergs^-1 before settling onto a relatively shallow gradient of decline. The observed decline is significantly slower than those of the superluminous type Ic SNe which have been the focus of much recent attention. Spectroscopic similarities with the lower redshift SN2007bi and a decline rate similar to 56Co decay timescale initially indicated that this transient could be a candidate for a pair instability supernova (PISN) explosion. Overall the transient appears quite similar to SN2007bi and the lower redshift object PTF12dam. The extensive data set, from 30 days before peak to 230 days after, allows a detailed and quantitative comparison with published models of PISN explosions. We find that the PS1-11ap data do not match these model explosion parameters well, supporting the recent claim that these SNe are not pair instability explosions. We show that PS1-11ap has many features in common with the faster declining superluminous Ic supernovae and the lightcurve evolution can also be quantitatively explained by the magnetar spin down model. At a redshift of z = 0.524 the observer frame optical coverage provides comprehensive restframe UV data and allows us to compare it with the superluminous SNe recently found at high redshifts between z = 2-4. While these high-z explosions are still plausible PISN candidates, they match the photometric evolution of PS1-11ap and hence could be counterparts to this lower redshift transient.
    10/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the supernova (SN) sample and Type-Ia SN (SN Ia) rates from the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH). Using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), we have imaged 25 galaxy-cluster fields and parallel fields of non-cluster galaxies. We report a sample of 27 SNe discovered in the parallel fields. Of these SNe, ~11 are classified as SN Ia candidates, including four SN Ia candidates at redshifts z > 1.2. We measure volumetric SN Ia rates to redshift 1.8 and add the first upper limit on the SN Ia rate in the range 1.8 < z < 2.4. The results are consistent with the rates measured by the HST/GOODS and Subaru Deep Field SN surveys. We model these results together with previous measurements at z < 1 from the literature. The best-fitting SN Ia delay-time distribution (DTD; the distribution of times that elapse between a short burst of star formation and subsequent SN Ia explosions) is a power law with an index of -1.00 +0.06(0.09) -0.06(0.10) (statistical) +0.12 -0.08 (systematic), where the statistical uncertainty is a result of the 68% and 95% (in parentheses) statistical uncertainties reported for the various SN Ia rates (from this work and from the literature), and the systematic uncertainty reflects the range of possible cosmic star-formation histories. We also test DTD models produced by an assortment of published binary population synthesis (BPS) simulations. The shapes of all BPS double-degenerate DTDs are consistent with the volumetric SN Ia measurements, when the DTD models are scaled up by factors of 3-9. In contrast, all BPS single-degenerate DTDs are ruled out by the measurements at a >99% significance level.
    10/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and ground-based optical and near-infrared observations of SN 2005hk and SN 2008A, typical members of the Type Iax class of supernovae (SNe). These objects are peculiar cousins of normal Type Ia SNe, with SN 2002cx as the prototype. Here we focus on late-time observations, where these objects deviate most dramatically from normal SNe Ia. Instead of the dominant nebular emission lines that are observed in normal SNe Ia at late phases (and indeed, in SNe of all other types), spectra of SNe 2005hk and 2008A show lines of Fe II, Ca II, and Fe I more than a year past maximum light, along with narrow [Fe II] and [Ca II] emission. We use spectral features to constrain the temperature and density of the ejecta, and find high densities at late times, with n_e >~ 10^9 cm^-3. Such high densities should yield enhanced cooling of the ejecta, making these objects good candidates to observe the expected "infrared catastrophe," a generic feature of SN Ia models. However, our HST photometry of SN 2008A does not match the predictions of an infrared catastrophe. Moreover, our HST observations rule out a "pure deflagration" model for these peculiar SNe, showing no evidence for unburned material at late times. We derive an upper limit of 0.14 solar masses of low-density oxygen in SN 2008A nearly 600 days after maximum light, at odds with the pure deflagration prediction. We argue that the observed late-time line velocities (shifts and widths), of order ~500 km/s, imply the explosion did not fully disrupt the white dwarf. Failed deflagration explosion models, leaving behind a bound remnant, can match some of the observed properties of SNe Iax, but no published model is consistent with all of our observations of SNe 2005hk and 2008A.
    09/2013; 786(2).
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    09/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aims. We investigate the degree of improvement in dark energy constraints that can be achieved by extending Type Ia Supernova (SN Ia) samples to redshifts z > 1.5 with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), particularly in the ongoing CANDELS and CLASH multi-cycle treasury programs. Methods. Using the popular CPL parametrization of the dark energy, w = w0 +wa(1-a), we generate mock SN Ia samples that can be projected out to higher redshifts. The synthetic datasets thus generated are fitted to the CPL model, and we evaluate the improvement that a high-z sample can add in terms of ameliorating the statistical and systematic uncertainties on cosmological parameters. Results. In an optimistic but still very achievable scenario, we find that extending the HST sample beyond CANDELS+CLASH to reach a total of 28 SN Ia at z > 1.0 could improve the uncertainty in the wa parameter by up to 21%. The corresponding improvement in the figure of merit (FoM) would be as high as 28%. Finally, we consider the use of high-redshift SN Ia samples to detect non-cosmological evolution in SN Ia luminosities with redshift, finding that such tests could be undertaken by future spacebased infrared surveys using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 09/2013; 557(A64). · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this work we analyze the mass distribution of MACSJ1206.2-0847, especially focusing on the halo properties of its cluster members. The cluster appears relaxed in its X-ray emission, but has significant amounts of intracluster light which is not centrally concentrated, suggesting that galaxy-scale interactions are still ongoing despite the overall relaxed state. The cluster lenses 12 background galaxies into multiple images and one galaxy at $z=1.033$ into a giant arc and its counterimage. The multiple image positions and the surface brightness distribution (SFB) of the arc which is bent around several cluster members are sensitive to the cluster galaxy halo properties. We model the cluster mass distribution with a NFW profile and the galaxy halos with two parameters for the mass normalization and extent of a reference halo assuming scalings with their observed NIR--light. We match the multiple image positions at an r.m.s. level of $0.85\arcsec$ and can reconstruct the SFB distribution of the arc in several filters to a remarkable accuracy based on this cluster model. The length scale where the enclosed galaxy halo mass is best constrained is about 5 effective radii -- a scale in between those accessible to dynamical and field strong lensing mass estimates on one hand and galaxy--galaxy weak lensing results on the other hand. The velocity dispersion and halo size of a galaxy with $m_{\rm 160W,AB}=19.2$ or $M_{\rm B,Vega}=-20.7$ are $\sigma=150 \rm kms^{-1}$ and $r\approx 26\pm 6 \rm kpc$, indicating that the halos of the cluster galaxies are tidally stripped. We also reconstruct the unlensed source (which is smaller by a factor of $\sim5.8$ in area), demonstrating the increase of morphological information due to lensing and conclude that this galaxy has likely star--forming spiral arms with a red (older) central component.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2013; 774(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Past analyses of Type Ia Supernovae (SNe Ia) have identified an irreducible scatter of 5-10% in distance widely attributed to an intrinsic dispersion in luminosity. Another, equally valid, source of this scatter is intrinsic dispersion in color. Misidentification of the true source of this scatter can bias both the retrieved color-luminosity relation and cosmological parameter measurements. The size of this bias depends on the magnitude of the intrinsic color dispersion relative to the distribution of colors that correlate with distance. We produce a realistic simulation of a misattribution of intrinsic scatter, and find a negative bias in the recovered color-luminosity relation, beta, of dbeta -1.0 (~33%) and a positive bias in the equation of state parameter, w, of dw +0.04 (~4%). We re-analyze current published data sets with the assumptions that the distance scatter is predominantly the result of color. Unlike previous analyses, we find that the data are consistent with a Milky Way reddening law R_V=3.1, and that a Milky Way dust model better predicts the asymmetric color-luminosity trends than the conventional luminosity scatter hypothesis. We also determine that accounting for color variation reduces the correlation between various Host galaxy properties and Hubble residuals by ~20%.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2013; · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of a Type Ia supernova (SN) at redshift $z = 1.914$ from the CANDELS multi-cycle treasury program on the \textit{Hubble Space Telescope (HST)}. This SN was discovered in the infrared using the Wide-Field Camera 3, and it is the highest-redshift Type Ia SN yet observed. We classify this object as a SN\,Ia by comparing its light curve and spectrum with those of a large sample of Type Ia and core-collapse supernovae (SNe). Its apparent magnitude is consistent with that expected from the $\Lambda$CDM concordance cosmology. We discuss the use of spectral evidence for classification of $z > 1.5$ SNe\,Ia using {\it HST} grism simulations, finding that spectral data alone can frequently rule out SNe\,II, but distinguishing between SNe\,Ia and SNe\,Ib/c can require prohibitively long exposures. In such cases, a quantitative analysis of the light curve may be necessary for classification. Our photometric and spectroscopic classification methods can aid the determination of SN rates and cosmological parameters from the full high-redshift CANDELS SN sample.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2013; 768(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Improvements in the astrophysical flux scale are needed to answer fundamental scientific questions ranging from cosmology to stellar physics. In particular, the precise calibration of the flux scale across the visible-NIR bandpass is fundamental to the precise determination of dark energy parameters based on SNeIa photometry. ACCESS, Absolute Color Calibration Experiment for Standard Stars, is a series of rocket-borne sub-orbital missions and ground-based experiments that will enable improvements in the precision of the astrophysical flux scale through the transfer of absolute laboratory detector standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to a network of stellar standards with a calibration accuracy of 1% and a spectral resolving power of 500 across the 0.35 to 1.7 micron bandpass. The telescope is a Dall-Kirkham Cassegrain with a 15.5-inch primary. The spectrograph is a Rowland circle design, with the grating operating as a low order (m=1-4) echelle, a Fery prism provides cross dispersion, and a HST/WFC3 heritage HAWAII-1R HgCdTe detector is used across the full spectral bandpass. The telescope mirrors have received their flight coatings. The flight detector and detector spare have been integrated with their electronics and flight mount. The controller electronics have been flight qualified. Vibration testing to launch loads and thermal vacuum testing of the detector, mount, and housing have been performed. Detector characterization testing is in progress (Morris et al.). Fabrication, integration, and automation of the ground-based calibration subsystems are also in progress. The ACCESS design, calibration strategy, and ground-based integration and test results will be presented. Launch is expected this year. NASA sounding rocket grant NNX08AI65G and DOE DE-FG02-07ER41506 support this work.
    01/2013;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH) is a 524-orbit multi-cycle treasury program to observe 25 galaxy clusters each in 16 broadband filters with WFC3 and ACS. One of the many science goals of CLASH is the detection and analysis of supernovae at both intermediate and high redshifts. We present HST ACS and WFC3 observations of several high redshift supernovae discovered in the CLASH fields, and discuss results from the supernova light curves and properties of the supernova host galaxies.
    01/2013;

Publication Stats

9k Citations
1,120.68 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2014
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1996–2013
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Notre Dame
      • Department of Physics
      South Bend, Indiana, United States
    • Carnegie Institute
      Pasadena, Texas, United States
  • 2000–2012
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2011
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
  • 2009–2010
    • University of Chicago
      • Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
    • Gemini Observatory
      Hilo, Hawaii, United States
  • 1997–2009
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 2008
    • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
      Batavia, Illinois, United States
    • Western Kentucky University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Kentucky, United States
  • 2004
    • National Optical Astronomy Observatory
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 1998
    • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
      Berkeley, California, United States