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Cosmological Fast Optical Transients with the Zwicky Transient Facility: A Search for Dirty Fireballs

Ho, Anna Y. Q. and Perley, Daniel A. and Yao, Yuhan and Svinkin, Dmitry and de Ugarte Postigo, A. and Perley, R. A. and Kann, D. Alexander and Burns, Eric and Andreoni, Igor and Bellm, Eric C. and Bissaldi, Elisabetta and Bloom, Joshua S. and Dekany, Richard and Drake, Andrew J. and Agüí Fernández, José Feliciano and Frederiks, Dmitry and Graham, Matthew J. and Hristov, Boyan A. and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Kumar, Harsh and Laher, Russ R. and Lysenko, Alexandra L. and Mailyan, Bagrat and Malacaria, Christian and Miller, A. A. and Poolakkil, S. and Riddle, Reed and Ridnaia, Anna and Rusholme, Ben and Savchenko, Volodymyr and Sollerman, Jesper and Thöne, Christina and Tsvetkova, Anastasia and Ulanov, Mikhail and von Kienlin, Andreas (2022) Cosmological Fast Optical Transients with the Zwicky Transient Facility: A Search for Dirty Fireballs. . (Unpublished)

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Dirty fireballs are a hypothesized class of relativistic massive-star explosions with an initial Lorentz factor Γ_(init) below the Γ_(init) ∼ 100 required to produce a long-duration gamma-ray burst (LGRB), but which could still produce optical emission resembling LGRB afterglows. Here we present the results of a search for on-axis optical afterglows using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Our search yielded seven optical transients that resemble on-axis LGRB afterglows in terms of their red colors (g−r > 0 mag), faint host galaxy (r > 23 mag), and rapid fading (dr/dt > 1 mag/day). Spectroscopy of the transient emission within a few days of discovery established cosmological distances (z = 0.876 to z = 2.9) for six events, tripling the number of afterglows with redshift measurements discovered by optical surveys without a γ-ray trigger. Upon a retrospective search, four events (ZTF20abbiixp/AT2020kym, ZTF21aagwbjr/AT2021buv, ZTF21aakruew/AT2021cwd, ZTF21abfmpwn/AT2021qbd) turned out to have a likely associated LGRB (GRB200524A, GRB210204A, GRB210212B, GRB210610B), while three did not (ZTF20aajnksq/AT2020blt, ZTF21aaeyldq/AT2021any, ZTF21aayokph/AT2021lfa). Our search revealed no definitive new class of events: the simplest explanation for the apparently "orphan" events is that they were regular LGRBs missed by high-energy satellites due to detector sensitivity and duty cycle, although it is possible that they were intrinsically faint in γ-rays or viewed slightly off-axis. We rule out a scenario in which dirty fireballs have a similar energy per solid angle to LGRBs and are an order of magnitude more common. In addition, we set the first direct constraint on the ratio of the opening angles of the material producing γ-rays and the material producing early optical afterglow emission, finding that they must be comparable.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ho, Anna Y. Q.0000-0002-9017-3567
Perley, Daniel A.0000-0001-8472-1996
Yao, Yuhan0000-0001-6747-8509
Svinkin, Dmitry0000-0002-2208-2196
Burns, Eric0000-0001-8018-5348
Andreoni, Igor0000-0002-8977-1498
Bellm, Eric C.0000-0001-8018-5348
Bloom, Joshua S.0000-0002-7777-216X
Dekany, Richard0000-0002-5884-7867
Agüí Fernández, José Feliciano0000-0001-6991-7616
Frederiks, Dmitry0000-0002-1153-6340
Graham, Matthew J.0000-0002-3168-0139
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Kumar, Harsh0000-0003-0871-4641
Laher, Russ R.0000-0003-2451-5482
Malacaria, Christian0000-0002-0380-0041
Miller, A. A.0000-0001-9515-478X
Riddle, Reed0000-0002-0387-370X
Ridnaia, Anna0000-0001-9477-5437
Rusholme, Ben0000-0001-7648-4142
Savchenko, Volodymyr0000-0001-6353-0808
Sollerman, Jesper0000-0003-1546-6615
Tsvetkova, Anastasia0000-0003-0292-6221
Additional Information:Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). We acknowledge with gratitude the contributions of the late Kevin Hurley in founding and maintaining the Interplanetary Network, which was essential for this work. A.Y.Q.H. would like to thank Ragnhild Lunnan for helpful comments on the manuscript; and Eliot Quataert, Dan Kasen, Andrew MacFadyen, and Paul Duffell for fruitful discussions about jet structure and dirty fireballs. D.A.P.’s contribution was performed in part at the Aspen Center for Physics, which is supported by National Science Foundation grant PHY-1607611. This work was partially supported by a grant from the Simons Foundation. D.F., A.T., and M.U. acknowledge support from RSF grant 21-12-00250. D.A.K. and J.F.A.F acknowledges support from Spanish National Research Project RTI2018-098104-J-I00 (GRBPhot). H.K. thanks the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, which is funded by LSSTC, NSF Cybertraining Grant #1829740, Brinson and Moore Foundations. J.F.A.F. acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades through the grant PRE2018-086507. 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 Grants No. AST-1440341 and AST-2034437 and a collaboration including current partners Caltech, IPAC, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Oskar Klein Center 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, IN2P3, University of Warwick, Ruhr University Bochum, Northwestern University and former partners the University of Washington, Los Alamos National Laboratories, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. 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. SED Machine is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1106171. Based on observations obtained at the international Gemini Observatory, a program of NSF’s NOIRLab, which is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. on behalf of the Gemini Observatory partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), National Research Council (Canada), Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (Chile), Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Argentina), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brazil), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea). The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.
Group:Astronomy Department, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Zwicky Transient Facility
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Russian Science Foundation21-12-00250
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)RTI2018-098104-J-I00
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MICIU)PRE2018-086507
ZTF partner institutionsUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220224-200924937
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113601
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:01 Mar 2022 19:17
Last Modified:01 Mar 2022 19:17

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