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[en] We conducted a search for occultations of bright stars by Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) to estimate the density of subkilometer KBOs in the sky. We report here the first results of this occultation survey of the outer solar system conducted in 2007 June and 2008 June/July at the MMT Observatory using Megacam, the large MMT optical imager. We used Megacam in a novel shutterless continuous-readout mode to achieve high-precision photometry at 200 Hz, which with point-spread function convolution results in an effective sampling of ∼30 Hz. We present an analysis of 220 star hours of data at a signal-to-noise ratio of 25 or greater, taken from images of fields within 3 deg. of the ecliptic plane. The survey efficiency is greater than 10% for occultations by KBOs of diameter d ≥ 0.7 km, and we report no detections in our data set. We set a new 95% confidence level upper limit for the surface density Σ N(d) of KBOs larger than 1 km: Σ N(d ≥ 1 km) ≤ 2.0 x 108 deg-2, and for KBOs larger than 0.7 km Σ N(d ≥ 0.7 km) ≤ 4.8 x 108 deg-2.
[en] We present a densely sampled, homogeneous set of light curves of 64 low-redshift (z ≲ 0.05) stripped-envelope supernovae (SNe of Type IIb, Ib, Ic, and Ic-BL). These data were obtained between 2001 and 2009 at the Fred L. Whipple Observatory (FLWO) on Mount Hopkins in Arizona, with the optical FLWO 1.2 m and the near-infrared (NIR) Peters Automated Infrared 1.3 m telescopes. Our data set consists of 4543 optical photometric measurements on 61 SNe, including a combination of U BV RI, U BV r′i′, and u′ BV r′i′, and 1919 JHKs NIR measurements on 25 SNe. This sample constitutes the most extensive multi-color data set of stripped-envelope SNe to date. Our photometry is based on template-subtracted images to eliminate any potential host-galaxy light contamination. This work presents these photometric data, compares them with data in the literature, and estimates basic statistical quantities: date of maximum, color, and photometric properties. We identify promising color trends that may permit the identification of stripped-envelope SN subtypes from their photometry alone. Many of these SNe were observed spectroscopically by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) SN group, and the spectra are presented in a companion paper. A thorough exploration that combines the CfA photometry and spectroscopy of stripped-envelope core-collapse SNe will be presented in a follow-up paper
[en] We present 645 optical spectra of 73 supernovae (SNe) of Types IIb, Ib, Ic, and broad-lined Ic. All of these types are attributed to the core collapse of massive stars, with varying degrees of intact H and He envelopes before explosion. The SNe in our sample have a mean redshift (cz) = 4200 km s–1. Most of these spectra were gathered at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) between 2004 and 2009. For 53 SNe, these are the first published spectra. The data coverage ranges from mere identification (1-3 spectra) for a few SNe to extensive series of observations (10-30 spectra) that trace the spectral evolution for others, with an average of 9 spectra per SN. For 44 SNe of the 73 SNe presented here, we have well-determined dates of maximum light to determine the phase of each spectrum. Our sample constitutes the most extensive spectral library of stripped-envelope SNe to date. We provide very early coverage (as early as 30 days before V-band max) for photospheric spectra, as well as late-time nebular coverage when the innermost regions of the SN are visible (as late as 2 yr after explosion, while for SN 1993J, we have data as late as 11.6 yr). This data set has homogeneous observations and reductions that allow us to study the spectroscopic diversity of these classes of stripped SNe and to compare these to SNe-gamma-ray bursts. We undertake these matters in follow-up papers.
[en] We present follow-up optical imaging and spectroscopy of one of the light echoes of η Carinae's nineteenth century Great Eruption discovered by Rest et al. By obtaining images and spectra at the same light echo position between 2011 and 2014, we follow the evolution of the Great Eruption on a 3 yr timescale. We find remarkable changes in the photometric and spectroscopic evolution of the echo light. The i-band light curve shows a decline of ∼0.9 mag in ∼1 yr after the peak observed in early 2011 and a flattening at later times. The spectra show a pure-absorption early G-type stellar spectrum at peak, but a few months after peak the lines of the Ca II triplet develop strong P-Cygni profiles and we see the appearance of [Ca II] 7291, 7324 doublet in emission. These emission features and their evolution in time resemble those observed in the spectra of some Type IIn supernovae and supernova impostors. Most surprisingly, starting ∼300 days after peak brightness, the spectra show strong molecular transitions of CN at ≳ 6800 Å. The appearance of these CN features can be explained if the ejecta are strongly nitrogen enhanced, as is observed in modern spectroscopic studies of the bipolar Homunculus nebula. Given the spectroscopic evolution of the light echo, velocities of the main features, and detection of strong CN, we are likely seeing ejecta that contributes directly to the Homunculus nebula
[en] We analyzed data accumulated during 2005 and 2006 by the Taiwan-American Occultation Survey (TAOS) in order to detect short-period variable stars (periods of ∼<1 hr) such as δ Scuti. TAOS is designed for the detection of stellar occultation by small-size Kuiper Belt Objects and is operating four 50 cm telescopes at an effective cadence of 5 Hz. The four telescopes simultaneously monitor the same patch of the sky in order to reduce false positives. To detect short-period variables, we used the fast Fourier transform algorithm (FFT) in as much as the data points in TAOS light curves are evenly spaced. Using FFT, we found 41 short-period variables with amplitudes smaller than a few hundredths of a magnitude and periods of about an hour, which suggest that they are low-amplitude δ Scuti stars. The light curves of TAOS δ Scuti stars are accessible online at the Time Series Center Web site (http://timemachine.iic.harvard.edu).
[en] The Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey project is designed for the detection of stellar occultations by small-size Kuiper Belt Objects, and it has monitored selected fields along the ecliptic plane by using four telescopes with a 3 deg2 field of view on the sky since 2005. We have analyzed data accumulated during 2005-2012 to detect variable stars. Sixteen fields with observations of more than 100 epochs were examined. We recovered 85 variables among a total of 158 known variable stars in these 16 fields. Most of the unrecovered variables are located in the fields observed less frequently. We also detected 58 variable stars which are not listed in the International Variable Star Index of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. These variable stars are classified as 3 RR Lyrae, 4 Cepheid, 1 δ Scuti, 5 Mira, 15 semi-regular, and 27 eclipsing binaries based on the periodicity and the profile of the light curves.
[en] The nearby Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) SN 2011fe in M101 (cz = 241 km s–1) provides a unique opportunity to study the early evolution of a 'normal' SN Ia, its compositional structure, and its elusive progenitor system. We present 18 high signal-to-noise spectra of SN 2011fe during its first month beginning 1.2 days post-explosion and with an average cadence of 1.8 days. This gives a clear picture of how various line-forming species are distributed within the outer layers of the ejecta, including that of unburned material (C+O). We follow the evolution of C II absorption features until they diminish near maximum light, showing overlapping regions of burned and unburned material between ejection velocities of 10,000 and 16,000 km s–1. This supports the notion that incomplete burning, in addition to progenitor scenarios, is a relevant source of spectroscopic diversity among SNe Ia. The observed evolution of the highly Doppler-shifted O I λ7774 absorption features detected within 5 days post-explosion indicates the presence of O I with expansion velocities from 11,500 to 21,000 km s–1. The fact that some O I is present above C II suggests that SN 2011fe may have had an appreciable amount of unburned oxygen within the outer layers of the ejecta.
[en] While it is generally accepted that Type Ia supernovae are the result of the explosion of a carbon-oxygen white dwarf accreting mass in a binary system, the details of their genesis still elude us, and the nature of the binary companion is uncertain. Kasen points out that the presence of a non-degenerate companion in the progenitor system could leave an observable trace: a flux excess in the early rise portion of the light curve caused by the ejecta impact with the companion itself. This excess would be observable only under favorable viewing angles, and its intensity depends on the nature of the companion. We searched for the signature of a non-degenerate companion in three years of Supernova Legacy Survey data by generating synthetic light curves accounting for the effects of shocking and comparing true and synthetic time series with Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests. Our most constraining result comes from noting that the shocking effect is more prominent in the rest-frame B than V band: we rule out a contribution from white dwarf-red giant binary systems to Type Ia supernova explosions greater than 10% at the 2σ, and greater than 20% at the 3σ level.
[en] The Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey (TAOS) project has collected more than a billion photometric measurements since 2005 January. These sky survey data-covering timescales from a fraction of a second to a few hundred days-are a useful source to study stellar variability. A total of 167 star fields, mostly along the ecliptic plane, have been selected for photometric monitoring with the TAOS telescopes. This paper presents our initial analysis of a search for periodic variable stars from the time-series TAOS data on one particular TAOS field, No. 151 (R.A. = 17h30m6.s7, decl. = 27017'30'', J2000), which had been observed over 47 epochs in 2005. A total of 81 candidate variables are identified in the 3 deg2 field, with magnitudes in the range 8 < R < 16. On the basis of the periodicity and shape of the light curves, 29 variables, 15 of which were previously unknown, are classified as RR Lyrae, Cepheid, δ Scuti, SX Phonencis, semi-regular, and eclipsing binaries.
[en] We present a study on GRB 071112C X-ray and optical light curves. In these two wavelength ranges, we have found different temporal properties. The R-band light curve showed an initial rise followed by a single power-law decay, while the X-ray light curve was described by a single power-law decay plus a flare-like feature. Our analysis shows that the observed temporal evolution cannot be described by the external shock model in which the X-ray and optical emission are produced by the same emission mechanism. No significant color changes in multi-band light curves and a reasonable value of the initial Lorentz factor (Γ0 = 275 ± 20) in a uniform interstellar medium support the afterglow onset scenario as the correct interpretation for the early R band rise. The result suggests that the optical flux is dominated by afterglow. Our further investigations show that the X-ray flux could be created by an additional feature related to energy injection and X-ray afterglow. Different theoretical interpretations indicate the additional feature in X-ray can be explained by either late internal dissipation or local inverse-Compton scattering in the external shock.