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Real-time discovery of AT2020xnd: a fast, luminous ultraviolet transient with minimal radioactive ejecta

Perley, Daniel A. and Ho, Anna Y. Q. and Yao, Yuhan and Fremling, Christoffer and Anderson, Joseph P. and Schulze, Steve and Kumar, Harsh and Anupama, G. C. and Barway, Sudhanshu and Bellm, Eric C. and Bhalerao, Varun and Chen, Ting-Wan and Duev, Dmitry A. and Galbany, Lluís and Graham, Matthew J. and Gromadzki, Mariusz and Gutiérrez, Claudia P. and Ihanec, Nada and Inserram, Cosimo and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Kool, Erik C. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Laher, Russ R. and Masci, Frank J. and Neill, James D. and Nicholl, Matt and Pursiainen, Miika and van Roestel, Joannes C. and Sharma, Yashvi and Sollerman, Jesper and Walters, Richard and Wiseman, Philip (2021) Real-time discovery of AT2020xnd: a fast, luminous ultraviolet transient with minimal radioactive ejecta. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 508 (4). pp. 5138-5147. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab2785.

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The many unusual properties of the enigmatic AT2018cow suggested that at least some subset of the empirical class of fast blue optical transients (FBOTs) represents a genuinely new astrophysical phenomenon. Unfortunately, the intrinsic rarity and fleeting nature of these events have made it difficult to identify additional examples early enough to acquire the observations necessary to constrain theoretical models. We present here the Zwicky Transient Facility discovery of AT2020xnd (ZTF20acigmel, the ‘Camel’) at z = 0.243, the first unambiguous AT2018cow analogue to be found and confirmed in real time. AT2018cow and AT2020xnd share all key observational properties: a fast optical rise, sustained high photospheric temperature, absence of a second peak attributable to ejection of a radioactively heated stellar envelope, extremely luminous radio, millimetre, and X-ray emission, and a dwarf-galaxy host. This supports the argument that AT2018cow-like events represent a distinct phenomenon from slower-evolving radio-quiet supernovae, likely requiring a different progenitor or a different central engine. The sample properties of the four known members of this class to date disfavour tidal disruption models but are consistent with the alternative model of an accretion powered jet following the direct collapse of a massive star to a black hole. Contextual filtering of alert streams combined with rapid photometric verification using multiband imaging provides an efficient way to identify future members of this class, even at high redshift.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Perley, Daniel A.0000-0001-8472-1996
Ho, Anna Y. Q.0000-0002-9017-3567
Yao, Yuhan0000-0001-6747-8509
Fremling, Christoffer0000-0002-4223-103X
Anderson, Joseph P.0000-0003-0227-3451
Schulze, Steve0000-0001-6797-1889
Kumar, Harsh0000-0003-0871-4641
Anupama, G. C.0000-0003-3533-7183
Barway, Sudhanshu0000-0002-3927-5402
Bellm, Eric C.0000-0001-8018-5348
Bhalerao, Varun0000-0002-6112-7609
Chen, Ting-Wan0000-0002-1066-6098
Duev, Dmitry A.0000-0001-5060-8733
Galbany, Lluís0000-0002-1296-6887
Graham, Matthew J.0000-0002-3168-0139
Gromadzki, Mariusz0000-0002-1650-1518
Gutiérrez, Claudia P.0000-0003-2375-2064
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Kool, Erik C.0000-0002-7252-3877
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Laher, Russ R.0000-0003-2451-5482
Masci, Frank J.0000-0002-8532-9395
Neill, James D.0000-0002-0466-1119
Nicholl, Matt0000-0002-2555-3192
Pursiainen, Miika0000-0003-4663-4300
van Roestel, Joannes C.0000-0002-2626-2872
Sharma, Yashvi0000-0003-4531-1745
Sollerman, Jesper0000-0003-1546-6615
Walters, Richard0000-0002-1835-6078
Wiseman, Philip0000-0002-3073-1512
Additional Information:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 September 21. Received 2021 September 21; in original form 2021 February 17. Published: 09 October 2021. We thank the referee for a constructive report that substantially improved the paper. Based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope 48-inch and the 60-inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Zwicky Transient Facility project. ZTF is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AST-2034437 and a collaboration including Caltech, IPAC, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University, the University of Maryland, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron and Humboldt University, the TANGO Consortium of Taiwan, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Trinity College Dublin, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and IN2P3, France. Operations are conducted by COO, IPAC, and UW. The Liverpool Telescope is operated on the island of La Palma by Liverpool John Moores University in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias with financial support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. The SED Machine is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1106171. Based on observations collected at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere under ESO programme(s) 106.21U2 and 106.216C. We thank Stephane Blondin for helpful comments. This work was supported by the GROWTH (Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen) project funded by the NSF under PIRE grant 1545949. GROWTH is a collaborative project among California Institute of Technology (USA), University of Maryland College Park (USA), University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (USA), Texas Tech University (USA), San Diego State University (USA), University of Washington (USA), Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), National Central University (Taiwan), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (India), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India), Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), The Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University (Sweden), Humboldt University (Germany), Liverpool John Moores University (UK), and University of Sydney (Australia). The GROWTH India telescope is a 70-cm telescope with a 0∘7 field of view, set up by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay with support from the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. It is located at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (Hanle), operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA). GROWTH-India project is supported by SERB and administered by IUSSTF. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the NSF, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, University of Basel, University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington. The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys (PS1) have been made possible through contributions of the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, The Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, Queen’s University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA under grant NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the NSF under grant AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, and Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE). The Legacy Surveys consist of three individual and complementary projects: the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey (DECaLS; NSF’s OIR Lab Proposal ID 2014B-0404; PIs: David Schlegel and Arjun Dey), the Beijing-Arizona Sky Survey (BASS; NSF’s OIR Lab Proposal ID 2015A-0801; PIs: Zhou Xu and Xiaohui Fan), and the Mayall z-band Legacy Survey (MzLS; NSF’s OIR Lab Proposal ID 2016A-0453; PI: Arjun Dey). DECaLS, BASS and MzLS together include data obtained, respectively, at the Blanco telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, The NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NSF’s OIR Lab); the Bok telescope, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona; and the Mayall telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, NSF’s OIR Lab. The Legacy Surveys project is honoured to be permitted to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak), a mountain with particular significance to the Tohono O’odham Nation. This project used data obtained with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which was constructed by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics at the Ohio State University, the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundacao Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundacao Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico and the Ministerio da Ciencia, Tecnologia e Inovacao, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Collaborating Institutions in the Dark Energy Survey. The Collaborating Institutions are Argonne National Laboratory, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Cambridge, Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas-Madrid, the University of Chicago, University College London, the DES-Brazil Consortium, the University of Edinburgh, the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Institut de Ciencies de l’Espai (IEEC/CSIC), the Institut de Fisica d’Altes Energies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat Munchen and the associated Excellence Cluster Universe, the University of Michigan, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the University of Nottingham, the Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Portsmouth, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, the University of Sussex, and Texas A&M University. The Legacy Surveys imaging of the DESI footprint is supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH1123, by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility under the same contract; and by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Division of Astronomical Sciences under Contract No. AST-0950945 to NOAO. LG was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 839090. This work has been partially supported by the Spanish grant PGC2018-095317-B-C21 within the European Funds for Regional Development (FEDER). LG acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (MICIU) under the 2019 Ramón y Cajal program RYC2019-027683 and from the Spanish MICIU project PID2020-115253GA-I00. HK thanks the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, which is funded by LSSTC, NSF Cybertraining Grant #1829740, the Brinson Foundation, and the Moore Foundation; his participation in the program has benefited this work. ECK acknowledges support from the GREAT research environment funded by Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Research Council, under project number 2016-06012, and support from The Wenner-Gren Foundations. MN is supported by a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowship. MG is supported by the Polish NCN MAESTRO grant 2014/14/A/ST9/00121. T-WC acknowledges the EU Funding under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant H2020-MSCA-IF-2018-842471. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. This research has made use of the VizieR catalogue access tool, CDS, Strasbourg, France (DOI : 10.26093/cds/vizier). The original description of the VizieR service was published in A&AS 143, 23. Some of the data that contributed to this paper were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and NASA. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. Data Availability: Photometry is provided in Table 1. Reduced LRIS spectra are available on WISErep. All P48, Liverpool Telescope, Swift, Keck, NTT, and VLT observations will be available online via their respective telescope archives.
Group:Astronomy Department, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Zwicky Transient Facility
Funding AgencyGrant Number
ZTF partner institutionsUNSPECIFIED
Indo-US Science and Technology ForumUNSPECIFIED
Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Science and Technology (India)UNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Participating InstitutionsUNSPECIFIED
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Higher Education Funding Council for EnglandUNSPECIFIED
University of MarylandUNSPECIFIED
Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE)UNSPECIFIED
Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaborationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
Marie Curie Fellowship839090
Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER)PGC2018-095317-B-C21
Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER)UNSPECIFIED
Ramón y Cajal ProgrammeRYC2019-027683
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MICIU)PID2020-115253GA-I00
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research Council2016-06012
Wenner-Gren FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Royal Astronomical SocietyUNSPECIFIED
National Science Centre (Poland)2014/14/A/ST9/00121
Marie Curie Fellowship842471
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:supernovae: individual: AT2020xnd – transients: supernovae
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210520-145957441
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Daniel A Perley, Anna Y Q Ho, Yuhan Yao, Christoffer Fremling, Joseph P Anderson, Steve Schulze, Harsh Kumar, G C Anupama, Sudhanshu Barway, Eric C Bellm, Varun Bhalerao, Ting-Wan Chen, Dmitry A Duev, Lluís Galbany, Matthew J Graham, Mariusz Gromadzki, Claudia P Gutiérrez, Nada Ihanec, Cosimo Inserra, Mansi M Kasliwal, Erik C Kool, S R Kulkarni, Russ R Laher, Frank J Masci, James D Neill, Matt Nicholl, Miika Pursiainen, Joannes van Roestel, Yashvi Sharma, Jesper Sollerman, Richard Walters, Philip Wiseman, Real-time discovery of AT2020xnd: a fast, luminous ultraviolet transient with minimal radioactive ejecta, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 508, Issue 4, December 2021, Pages 5138–5147,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109217
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 May 2021 17:54
Last Modified:20 Dec 2021 18:34

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