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Peter Nugent

Peter E. Nugent , Ph.D.
Data & Analytics Group
Phone: (510) 486-6942
Fax: (510) 486-5812
1 Cyclotron Road
Mail Stop 50B4206
Berkeley, CA 94720 US

Biographical Sketch

Peter Nugent is a Senior Scientist in LBNL's Computational Research Division and an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley. He is the Group Leader of the Computational Cosmology Center and the Team Leader for NERSC Analytics.  Peter joined NERSC after four years as a post-doc in the Lab's Physics Division to help strengthen the computational astrophysics activity at NERSC. Peter worked with Saul Perlmutter's Supernova Cosmology Project and used NERSC's supercomputers to perform thousands of supernova simulations. As the theorist in Saul's group, Peter conducted "spectrum synthesis," starting with a theory of an exploding supernova to create a theoretical spectrum and then compare that model with observed data. More recently, Peter architected and led the Deep Sky project. Deep Sky is one of the largest repositories of astronomical imaging data (over 80 TBs) and is the backbone of the Palomar Transient Factory, currently the largest source for the discovery of new astrophysical transients in the world. Deep Sky represents Peter's growing interest in data intensive science, a field that includes advanced algorithms, data management tools, storage and communication systems, along with  visualization. Peter earned his Ph.D. in physics, with a concentration in astronomy, from the University of Oklahoma.


Journal Articles

Friesen, B., Baron, E., Parrent, J. T., Thomas, R., C., Branch, D., Nugent, P., Hauschildt, P. H., Foley, R. J., Wright, D. E., Pan, Y.-C., Filippenko, A. V., Clubb, K. I., Silverman, J. M., Maeda, K. Shivvers, I., Kelly, P. L., Cohen, D. P., Rest, A., Kasen, D., "Optical and ultraviolet spectroscopic analysis of SN 2011fe at late times", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, February 27, 2017, 467:2392-2411, doi: 10.1093/mnras/stx241

We present optical spectra of the nearby Type Ia supernova SN 2011fe at 100, 205, 311, 349 and 578 d post-maximum light, as well as an ultraviolet (UV) spectrum obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope at 360 d post-maximum light. We compare these observations with synthetic spectra produced with the radiative transfer code phoenix. The day +100 spectrum can be well fitted with models that neglect collisional and radiative data for forbidden lines. Curiously, including these data and recomputing the fit yields a quite similar spectrum, but with different combinations of lines forming some of the stronger features. At day +205 and later epochs, forbidden lines dominate much of the optical spectrum formation; however, our results indicate that recombination, not collisional excitation, is the most influential physical process driving spectrum formation at these late times. Consequently, our synthetic optical and UV spectra at all epochs presented here are formed almost exclusively through recombination-driven fluorescence. Furthermore, our models suggest that the UV spectrum even as late as day +360 is optically thick and consists of permitted lines from several iron-peak species. These results indicate that the transition to the ‘nebular’ phase in Type Ia supernovae is complex and highly wavelength dependent.

Baron, E., Hoeflich, P., Friesen, B., Sullivan, M., Hsiao, E., Ellis, R. S., Gal-Yam, A., Howell, D. A., Nugent, P. E., Dominguez, I., Krisciunas, K., Phillips, M. M., Suntzeff, N., Wang, L., and Thomas, R. C., "Spectral models for early time SN 2011fe observations", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2015, 454:2549, doi: 10.1093/mnras/stv1951

We use observed UV through near-IR spectra to examine whether SN 2011fe can be understood in the framework of Branch-normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) and to examine its individual peculiarities. As a benchmark, we use a delayed-detonation model with a progenitor metallicity of Z/20. We study the sensitivity of features to variations in progenitor metallicity, the outer density profile, and the distribution of radioactive nickel. The effect of metallicity variations in the progenitor have a relatively small effect on the synthetic spectra. We also find that the abundance stratification of SN 2011fe resembles closely that of a delayed-detonation model with a transition density that has been fit to other Branch-normal SNe Ia. At early times, the model photosphere is formed in material with velocities that are too high, indicating that the photosphere recedes too slowly or that SN 2011fe has a lower specific energy in the outer ≈0.1 M than does the model. We discuss several explanations for the discrepancies. Finally, we examine variations in both the spectral energy distribution and in the colours due to variations in the progenitor metallicity, which suggests that colours are only weak indicators for the progenitor metallicity, in the particular explosion model that we have studied. We do find that the flux in the U band is significantly higher at maximum light in the solar metallicity model than in the lower metallicity model and the lower metallicity model much better matches the observed spectrum.

Goldstein, D. A., D'Andrea, C. B., Fischer, J. A., Foley, R. J., Gupta, R. R., Kessler, R., Kim, A. G., Nichol, R. C., Nugent, P. E., Papadopoulos, A., Sako, M., Smith, M., Sullivan, M., Thomas, R. C., Wester, W., Wolf, R. C., Abdalla, F. B., Banerji, M., Benoit-Levy, A., Bertin, E., Brooks, D., Carnero Rosell, A., Castander, F. J., da Costa, L. N., Covarrubias, R., DePoy, D. L., Desai, S., Diehl, H. T., Doel, P., Eifler, T. F., Fausti Neto, A., Finley, D. A., Flaugher, B., Fosalba, P., Frieman, J., Gerdes, D., Gruen, D., Gruendl, R. A., James, D., Kuehn, K., Kuropatkin, N., Lahav, O., Li, T. S., Maia, M. A. G., Makler, M., March, M., Marshall, J. L., Martini, P., Merritt, K. W., Miquel, R., Nord, B., Ogando, R., Plazas, A. A., Romer, A. K., Roodman, A., Sanchez, E., Scarpine, V., Schubnell, M., Sevilla-Noarbe, I., Smith, R. C., Soares-Santos, M., Sobreira, F., Suchyta, E., Swanson, M. E. C., Tarle, G., Thaler, J., and Walker, A. R., "Automated Transient Identification in the Dark Energy Survey", The Astronomical Journal, 2015, 150:82, doi: 10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/82

We describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factor of 13.4, while only 1.0% of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Here we characterize the algorithm’s performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility. An implementation of the algorithm and the training data used in this paper are available at at

Kim, A. G., Padmanabhan, N., Aldering, G., Allen, S. W., Baltay, C., Cahn, R. N., D'Andrea, C. B., Dalal, N., Dawson, K. S., Denney, K. D., Eisenstein, D. J., Finley, D. A., Freedman, W. L., Ho, S., Holz, D. E., Kasen, D., Kent, S. M., Kessler, R., Kuhlmann, S., Linder, E. V., Martini, P., Nugent, P. E., Perlmutter, S., Peterson, B. M., Riess, A. G., Rubin, D., Sako, M., Suntzeff, N. V., Suzuki, N., Thomas, R. C., Wood-Vasey, W. M., and Woosley, S. E., "Distance probes of dark energy", Astroparticle Physics, 2015, 63:2, doi: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2014.05.007

This document presents the results from the Distances subgroup of the Cosmic Frontier Community Planning Study (Snowmass 2013). We summarize the current state of the field as well as future prospects and challenges. In addition to the established probes using Type Ia supernovae and baryon acoustic oscillations, we also consider prospective methods based on clusters, active galactic nuclei, gravitational wave sirens and strong lensing time delays.

Saunders, C., Aldering, G., Antilogus, P., Aragon, C., Bailey, S., Baltay, C., Bongard, S., Buton, C., Canto, A., Cellier-Holzem, F., Childress, M., Chotard, N., Copin, Y., Fakhouri, H. K., Feindt, U., Gangler, E., Guy, J., Kerschhaggl, M., Kim, A. G., Kowalski, M., Nordin, J., Nugent, P., Paech, K., Pain, R., Pecontal, E., Pereira, R., Perlmutter, S., Rabinowitz, D., Rigault, M., Rubin, D., Runge, K., Scalzo, R., Smadja, G., Tao, C., Thomas, R. C., Weaver, B. A., and Wu, C., "Type Ia Supernova Distance Modulus Bias and Dispersion from K-correction Errors: A Direct Measurement Using Light Curve Fits to Observed Spectral Time Series", The Astrophysical Journal, 2015, 800:57, doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/800/1/57

We estimate systematic errors due to K-corrections in standard photometric analyses of high-redshift Type Ia supernovae. Errors due to K-correction occur when the spectral template model underlying the light curve fitter poorly represents the actual supernova spectral energy distribution, meaning that the distance modulus cannot be recovered accurately. In order to quantify this effect, synthetic photometry is performed on artificially redshifted spectrophotometric data from 119 low-redshift supernovae from the Nearby Supernova Factory, and the resulting light curves are fit with a conventional light curve fitter. We measure the variation in the standardized magnitude that would be fit for a given supernova if located at a range of redshifts and observed with various filter sets corresponding to current and future supernova surveys. We find significant variation in the measurements of the same supernovae placed at different redshifts regardless of filters used, which causes dispersion greater than ~0.05 mag for measurements of photometry using the Sloan-like filters and a bias that corresponds to a 0.03 shift in w when applied to an outside data set. To test the result of a shift in supernova population or environment at higher redshifts, we repeat our calculations with the addition of a reweighting of the supernovae as a function of redshift and find that this strongly affects the results and would have repercussions for cosmology. We discuss possible methods to reduce the contribution of the K-correction bias and uncertainty.

We present a sample of normal Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) from the Nearby Supernova Factory data set with spectrophotometry at sufficiently late phases to estimate the ejected mass using the bolometric light curve. We measure 56Ni masses from the peak bolometric luminosity, then compare the luminosity in the 56Co-decay tail to the expected rate of radioactive energy release from ejecta of a given mass. We infer the ejected mass in a Bayesian context using a semi-analytic model of the ejecta, incorporating constraints from contemporary numerical models as priors on the density structure and distribution of 56Ni throughout the ejecta. We find a strong correlation between ejected mass and light-curve decline rate, and consequently 56Ni mass, with ejected masses in our data ranging from 0.9 to 1.4 M. Most fast-declining (SALT2 x1 < -1) normal SNe Ia have significantly sub-Chandrasekhar ejected masses in our fiducial analysis.

S. Hachinger, P. A. Mazzali, M. Sullivan, R. S., K. Maguire, A. Gal-Yam, D. A. Howell, P. E., E. Baron, J. Cooke, I. Arcavi, D., B. Dilday, P. A. James, M. M. Kasliwal, S. R., E. O. Ofek, R. R. Laher, J. Parrent, J. Surace, O. Yaron, E. S. Walker, "The UV/optical spectra of the Type Ia supernova SN 2010jn: a bright supernova with outer layers rich in iron-group elements", Monthly Notices of the RAS, 2013, 429:2228-2248, doi: 10.1093/mnras/sts492

 Radiative transfer studies of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) hold the promise of constraining both the density profile of the SN ejecta and its stratification by element abundance which, in turn, may discriminate between different explosion mechanisms and progenitor classes. Here we analyse the Type Ia SN 2010jn (PTF10ygu) in detail, presenting and evaluating near-ultraviolet (near-UV) spectra from the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based optical spectra and light curves. SN 2010jn was discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) 15 d before maximum light, allowing us to secure a time series of four near-UV spectra at epochs from -10.5 to +4.8 d relative to B-band maximum. The photospheric near-UV spectra are excellent diagnostics of the iron-group abundances in the outer layers of the ejecta, particularly those at very early times. Using the method of `Abundance Tomography' we derive iron-group abundances in SN 2010jn with a precision better than in any previously studied SN Ia. Optimum fits to the data can be obtained if burned material is present even at high velocities, including significant mass fractions of iron-group elements. This is consistent with the slow decline rate (or high `stretch') of the light curve of SN 2010jn, and consistent with the results of delayed-detonation models. Early-phase UV spectra and detailed time-dependent series of further SNe Ia offer a promising probe of the nature of the SN Ia mechanism.



Parrent, J. T., Howell, D. A., Friesen, B., Thomas, R. C., Fesen, R. A., Milisavljevic, D., Bianco, F. B., Dilday, B., Nugent, P., Baron, E., Arcavi, I., Ben-Ami, S., Bersier, D., Bildsten, L., Bloom, J., Cao, Y., Cenko, S. B., Filippenko, A. V., Gal-Yam, A., Kasliwal, M. M., Konidaris, N., Kulkarni, S. R., Law, N. M., Levitan, D., Maguire, K., Mazzali, P. A., Ofek, E. O., Pan, Y., Polishook, D., Poznanski, D., Quimby, R. M., Silverman, J. M., Sternberg, A., Sullivan, M., Walker, E. S., Xu, Dong, Buton, C., Pereira, R., "Analysis of the Early-time Optical Spectra of SN 2011fe in M101", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2012, 752, doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/752/2/L26

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.

Joshua S. Bloom, Daniel Kasen, Ken J. Shen, Peter E. Nugent, Nathaniel R. Butler, Melissa L. Graham, D. Andrew Howell, Ulrich Kolb, Stefan Holmes, Carole A. Haswell, Vadim Burwitz, Juan Rodriguez, and Mark Sullivan, "SN 2010jp (PTF10aaxi): a jet in a Type II supernova", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, February 2012, 2181,

We present photometry and spectroscopy of the peculiar Type II supernova (SN) SN 2010jp, also named PTF10aaxi. The light curve exhibits a linear decline with a relatively low peak absolute magnitude of only −15.9 (unfiltered), and a low radioactive decay luminosity at late times, which suggests a low synthesized nickel mass of M (56 Ni) ≲ 0.003  M. Spectra of SN 2010jp display an unprecedented triple-peaked Hα line profile, showing (1) a narrow (full width at half-maximum >rsim800 km s−1) central component that suggests shock interaction with dense circumstellar material (CSM); (2) high-velocity blue and red emission features centred at −12 600 and +15 400 km s−1, respectively; and (3) very broad wings extending from −22 000 to +25 000 km s−1. These features persist over multiple epochs during the ∼100 d after explosion. We propose that this line profile indicates a bipolar jet-driven explosion, with the central component produced by normal SN ejecta and CSM interaction at mid and low latitudes, while the high-velocity bumps and broad-line wings arise in a non-relativistic bipolar jet. Two variations of the jet interpretation seem plausible: (1) a fast jet mixes 56Ni to high velocities in polar zones of the H-rich envelope; or (2) the reverse shock in the jet produces blue and red bumps in Balmer lines when a jet interacts with dense CSM. Jet-driven Type II SNe are predicted for collapsars resulting from a wide range of initial masses above 25 M, especially at subsolar metallicity. This seems consistent with the SN host environment, which is either an extremely low-luminosity dwarf galaxy or the very remote parts of an interacting pair of star-forming galaxies. It also seems consistent with the apparently low 56Ni mass that may accompany black hole formation. We speculate that the jet survives to produce observable signatures because the star’s H envelope was very low mass, having been mostly stripped away by the previous eruptive mass-loss indicated by the Type IIn features in the spectrum.

Joshua S. Bloom, Daniel Kasen, Ken J. Shen, Peter E. Nugent, Nathaniel R. Butler, Melissa L. Graham, D. Andrew Howell, Ulrich Kolb, Stefan Holmes, Carole A. Haswell, Vadim Burwitz, Juan Rodriguez, and Mark Sullivan, "A Compact Degenerate Primary-star Progenitor of SN 2011fe", Astrophysical Journal, January 2012, 744:L17,

While a white dwarf (WD) is, from a theoretical perspective, the most plausible primary star of a Type Ia supernova (SN Ia), many other candidates have not been formally ruled out. Shock energy deposited in the envelope of any exploding primary contributes to the early SN brightness and, since this radiation energy is degraded by expansion after the explosion, the diffusive luminosity depends on the initial primary radius. We present a new non-detection limit of the nearby SN Ia 2011fe, obtained at a time that appears to be just 4 hr after explosion, allowing us to directly constrain the initial primary radius (Rp ). Coupled with the non-detection of a quiescent X-ray counterpart and the inferred synthesized 56Ni mass, we show that Rp lsim0.02 R  (a factor of five smaller than previously inferred), that the average density of the primary must be ρ p > 104 g cm–3, and that the effective temperature must be less than a few × 105 K. This rules out hydrogen-burning main-sequence stars and giants. Constructing the helium-burning and carbon-burning main sequences, we find that such objects are also excluded. By process of elimination, we find that only degeneracy-supported compact objects—WDs and neutron stars—are viable as the primary star of SN 2011fe. With few caveats, we also restrict the companion (secondary) star radius to R c lsim 0.1 R , excluding Roche-lobe overflowing red giant and main-sequence companions to high significance.

Thomas, R. C.; Aldering, G.; Antilogus, P.; Aragon, C.; Bailey, S.; Baltay, C.; Bongard, S.; Buton, C.; Canto, A.; Childress, M.; Chotard, N.; Copin, Y.; Fakhouri, H. K.; Gangler, E.; Hsiao, E. Y.; Kerschhaggl, M.; Kowalski, M.; Loken, S.; Nugent, P.; Paech, K.; Pain, R.; Pecontal, E.; Pereira, R.; Perlmutter, S.; Rabinowitz, D.; Rigault, M.; Rubin, D.; Runge, K.; Scalzo, R.; Smadja, G.; Tao, C.; Weaver, B. A.; Wu, C.; (The Nearby Supernova Factory); Brown, P. J.; Milne, P. A., "Type Ia Supernova Carbon Footprints", Astrophysical Journal, December 2011, 743:27,

We present convincing evidence of unburned carbon at photospheric velocities in new observations of five Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) obtained by the Nearby Supernova Factory. These SNe are identified by examining 346 spectra from 124 SNe obtained before +2.5 days relative to maximum. Detections are based on the presence of relatively strong C II λ6580 absorption "notches" in multiple spectra of each SN, aided by automated fitting with the SYNAPPS code. Four of the five SNe in question are otherwise spectroscopically unremarkable, with ions and ejection velocities typical of SNe Ia, but spectra of the fifth exhibit high-velocity (v > 20, 000 km s–1) Si II and Ca II features. On the other hand, the light curve properties are preferentially grouped, strongly suggesting a connection between carbon-positivity and broadband light curve/color behavior: three of the five have relatively narrow light curves but also blue colors and a fourth may be a dust-reddened member of this family. Accounting for signal to noise and phase, we estimate that 22+10 – 6% of SNe Ia exhibit spectroscopic C II signatures as late as –5 days with respect to maximum. We place these new objects in the context of previously recognized carbon-positive SNe Ia and consider reasonable scenarios seeking to explain a physical connection between light curve properties and the presence of photospheric carbon. We also examine the detailed evolution of the detected carbon signatures and the surrounding wavelength regions to shed light on the distribution of carbon in the ejecta. Our ability to reconstruct the C II λ6580 feature in detail under the assumption of purely spherical symmetry casts doubt on a "carbon blobs" hypothesis, but does not rule out all asymmetric models. A low volume filling factor for carbon, combined with line-of-sight effects, seems unlikely to explain the scarcity of detected carbon in SNe Ia by itself.

Iair Arcavi, Avishay Gal-Yam, Ofer Yaron, Assaf Sternberg, Itay Rabinak, Eli Waxman, Mansi M. Kasliwal, Robert M. Quimby, Eran O. Ofek, Assaf Horesh, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, Alexei V. Filippenko, Jeffrey M. Silverman, S. Bradley Cenko, Weidong Li, Joshua S. Bloom, Mark Sullivan, Peter E. Nugent, Dovi Poznanski, Evgeny Gorbikov, Benjamin J. Fulton, D. Andrew Howell, David Bersier, Amedee Riou, Stephane Lamotte-Bailey, Thomas Griga, Judith G. Cohen, Stephan Hachinger, David Polishook, Dong Xu, Sagi Ben-Ami, Ilan Manulis, Emma S. Walker, Kate Maguire, Yen-Chen Pan, Thomas Matheson, Paolo A. Mazzali, Elena Pian, Derek B. Fox, Neil Gehrels, Nicholas Law, Philip James, Jonathan M. Marchant, Robert J. Smith, Chris J. Mottram, Robert M. Barnsley, Michael T. Kandrashoff and Kelsey I. Clubb, "SN 2011dh: Discovery of a Type IIb Supernova from a Compact Progenitor in the Nearby Galaxy M51", Astrophysical Journal, December 2011, 742:L18,

On 2011 May 31 UT a supernova (SN) exploded in the nearby galaxy M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy). We discovered this event using small telescopes equipped with CCD cameras and also detected it with the Palomar Transient Factory survey, rapidly confirming it to be a Type II SN. Here, we present multi-color ultraviolet through infrared photometry which is used to calculate the bolometric luminosity and a series of spectra. Our early-time observations indicate that SN 2011dh resulted from the explosion of a relatively compact progenitor star. Rapid shock-breakout cooling leads to relatively low temperatures in early-time spectra, compared to explosions of red supergiant stars, as well as a rapid early light curve decline. Optical spectra of SN 2011dh are dominated by H lines out to day 10 after explosion, after which He i lines develop. This SN is likely a member of the cIIb (compact IIb) class, with progenitor radius larger than that of SN 2008ax and smaller than the eIIb (extended IIb) SN 1993J progenitor. Our data imply that the object identified in pre-explosion Hubble Space Telescope images at the SN location is possibly a companion to the progenitor or a blended source, and not the progenitor star itself, as its radius (~1013 cm) would be highly inconsistent with constraints from our post-explosion spectra.

Nugent, Peter E.; Sullivan, Mark; Cenko, S. Bradley; Thomas, Rollin C.; Kasen, Daniel; Howell, D. Andrew; Bersier, David; Bloom, Joshua S.; Kulkarni, S. R.; Kandrashoff, Michael T.; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Silverman, Jeffrey M.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Howard, Andrew W.; Isaacson, Howard T.; Maguire, Kate; Suzuki, Nao; Tarlton, James E.; Pan, Yen-Chen; Bildsten, Lars; Fulton, Benjamin J.; Parrent, Jerod T.; Sand, David; Podsiadlowski, Philipp; Bianco, Federica B.; Dilday, Benjamin; Graham, Melissa L.; Lyman, Joe; James, Phil; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Law, Nicholas M.; Quimby, Robert M.; Hook, Isobel M.; Walker, Emma S.; Mazzali, Paolo; Pian, Elena; Ofek, Eran O.; Gal-Yam, Avishay; Poznanski, Dovi, "Supernova SN 2011fe from an exploding carbon-oxygen white dwarf star", Nature, December 2011, 480:344-347,

Type Ia supernovae have been used empirically as `standard candles' to demonstrate the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe even though fundamental details, such as the nature of their progenitor systems and how the stars explode, remain a mystery. There is consensus that a white dwarf star explodes after accreting matter in a binary system, but the secondary body could be anything from a main-sequence star to a red giant, or even another white dwarf. This uncertainty stems from the fact that no recent type Ia supernova has been discovered close enough to Earth to detect the stars before explosion. Here we report early observations of supernova SN 2011fe in the galaxy M101 at a distance from Earth of 6.4 megaparsecs. We find that the exploding star was probably a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, and from the lack of an early shock we conclude that the companion was probably a main-sequence star. Early spectroscopy shows high-velocity oxygen that slows rapidly, on a timescale of hours, and extensive mixing of newly synthesized intermediate-mass elements in the outermost layers of the supernova. A companion paper uses pre-explosion images to rule out luminous red giants and most helium stars as companions to the progenitor.

Li, Weidong; Bloom, Joshua S.; Podsiadlowski, Philipp; Miller, Adam A.; Cenko, S. Bradley; Jha, Saurabh W.; Sullivan, Mark; Howell, D. Andrew; Nugent, Peter E.; Butler, Nathaniel R.; Ofek, Eran O.; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Richards, Joseph W.; Stockton, Alan; Shih, Hsin-Yi; Bildsten, Lars; Shara, Michael M.; Bibby, Joanne; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Ganeshalingam, Mohan; Silverman, Jeffrey M.; Kulkarni, S. R.; Law, Nicholas M.; Poznanski, Dovi; Quimby, Robert M.; McCully, Curtis; Patel, Brandon; Maguire, Kate; Shen, Ken J., "Exclusion of a luminous red giant as a companion star to the progenitor of supernova SN 2011fe", Nature, December 2011, 480:348-350,

Type Ia supernovae are thought to result from a thermonuclear explosion of an accreting white dwarf in a binary system1, 2, but little is known of the precise nature of the companion star and the physical properties of the progenitor system. There are two classes of models1, 3: double-degenerate (involving two white dwarfs in a close binary system2, 4) and single-degenerate models5, 6. In the latter, the primary white dwarf accretes material from a secondary companion until conditions are such that carbon ignites, at a mass of 1.38 times the mass of the Sun. The type Ia supernova SN 2011fe was recently detected in a nearby galaxy7. Here we report an analysis of archival images of the location of SN 2011fe. The luminosity of the progenitor system (especially the companion star) is 10–100 times fainter than previous limits on other type Ia supernova progenitor systems8, 9, 10, allowing us to rule out luminous red giants and almost all helium stars as the mass-donating companion to the exploding white dwarf.

Corsi, A.; Ofek, E. O.; Frail, D. A.; Poznanski, D.; Arcavi, I.; Gal-Yam, A.; Kulkarni, S. R.; Hurley, K.; Mazzali, P. A.; Howell, D. A.; Kasliwal, M. M.; Green, Y.; Murray, D.; Sullivan, M.; Xu, D.; Ben-ami, S.; Bloom, J. S.; Cenko, S. B.; Law, N. M.; Nugent, P.; Quimby, R. M.; Pal'shin, V.; Cummings, J.; Connaughton, V.; Yamaoka, K.; Rau, A.; Boynton, W.; Mitrofanov, I.; Goldsten, J., "PTF 10bzf (SN 2010ah): A Broad-line Ic Supernova Discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory", Astrophysical Journal, November 2011, 741:76,

We present the discovery and follow-up observations of a broad-line Type Ic supernova (SN), PTF 10bzf (SN 2010ah), detected by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) on 2010 February 23. The SN distance is cong218 Mpc, greater than GRB 980425/SN 1998bw and GRB 060218/SN 2006aj, but smaller than the other SNe firmly associated with gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). We conducted a multi-wavelength follow-up campaign with Palomar 48 inch, Palomar 60 inch, Gemini-N, Keck, Wise, Swift, the Allen Telescope Array, Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy, Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, and Expanded Very Large Array. Here we compare the properties of PTF 10bzf with those of SN 1998bw and other broad-line SNe. The optical luminosity and spectral properties of PTF 10bzf suggest that this SN is intermediate, in kinetic energy and amount of 56Ni, between non-GRB-associated SNe like 2002ap or 1997ef, and GRB-associated SNe like 1998bw. No X-ray or radio counterpart to PTF 10bzf was detected. X-ray upper limits allow us to exclude the presence of an underlying X-ray afterglow as luminous as that of other SN-associated GRBs such as GRB 030329 or GRB 031203. Early-time radio upper limits do not show evidence for mildly relativistic ejecta. Late-time radio upper limits rule out the presence of an underlying off-axis GRB, with energy and wind density similar to the SN-associated GRB 030329 and GRB 031203. Finally, by performing a search for a GRB in the time window and at the position of PTF 10bzf, we find that no GRB in the interplanetary network catalog could be associated with this SN.

Levitan, David; Fulton, Benjamin J.; Groot, Paul J.; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.; Ofek, Eran O.; Prince, Thomas A.; Shporer, Avi; Bloom, Joshua S.; Cenko, S. Bradley; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Law, Nicholas M.; Nugent, Peter E.; Poznanski, Dovi; Quimby, Robert M.; Horesh, Assaf; Sesar, Branimir; Sternberg, Assaf, "PTF1 J071912.13+485834.0: An Outbursting AM CVn System Discovered by a Synoptic Survey", Astrophysical Journal, October 2011, 739:68,

We present extensive photometric and spectroscopic observations of PTF1 J071912.13+485834.0, an outbursting AM CVn system discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). AM CVn systems are stellar binaries with some of the smallest separations known and orbital periods ranging from 5 to 65 minutes. They are believed to be composed of a white dwarf accretor and a (semi-)degenerate He-rich donor and are considered to be the helium equivalents of cataclysmic variables (CVs). We have spectroscopically and photometrically identified an orbital period of 26.77 ± 0.02 minutes for PTF1 J071912.13+485834.0 and found a super-outburst recurrence time of greater than 65 days along with the presence of "normal" outbursts—rarely seen in AM CVn systems but well known in super-outbursting CVs. We present a long-term light curve over two super-cycles as well as high-cadence photometry of both outburst and quiescent stages, both of which show clear variability. We also compare both the outburst and quiescent spectra of PTF1 J071912.13+485834.0 to other known AM CVn systems, and use the quiescent phase-resolved spectroscopy to determine the origin of the photometric variability. Finally, we draw parallels between the different subclasses of SU UMa-type CVs and outbursting AM CVn systems. We conclude by predicting that the PTF may more than double the number of outbursting AM CVn systems known, which would greatly increase our understanding of AM CVn systems.

Cano, Z.; Bersier, D.; Guidorzi, C.; Kobayashi, S.; Levan, A. J.; Tanvir, N. R.; Wiersema, K.; D'Avanzo, P.; Fruchter, A. S.; Garnavich, P.; Gomboc, A.; Gorosabel, J.; Kasen, D.; Kopač, D.; Margutti, R.; Mazzali, P. A.; Melandri, A.; Mundell, C. G.; Nugent, P. E.; Pian, E.; Smith, R. J.; Steele, I.; Wijers, R. A. M. J.; Woosley, S. E., "XRF 100316D/SN 2010bh and the Nature of Gamma-Ray Burst Supernovae", Astrophysical Journal, October 2011, 740:41,

We present ground-based and Hubble Space Telescope optical and infrared observations of Swift XRF 100316D/SN 2010bh. It is seen that the optical light curves of SN 2010bh evolve at a faster rate than the archetype gamma-ray burst supernova (GRB-SN) 1998bw, but at a similar rate to SN 2006aj, an SN that was spectroscopically linked with XRF 060218, and at a similar rate to the non-GRB associated Type Ic SN 1994I. We estimate the rest-frame extinction of this event from our optical data to be E(B - V) = 0.18 ± 0.08 mag. We find the V-band absolute magnitude of SN 2010bh to be MV = -18.62 ± 0.08, which is the faintest peak V-band magnitude observed to date for spectroscopically confirmed GRB-SNe. When we investigate the origin of the flux at t - t 0 = 0.598 days, it is shown that the light is not synchrotron in origin, but is likely coming from the SN shock breakout. We then use our optical and infrared data to create a quasi-bolometric light curve of SN 2010bh, which we model with a simple analytical formula. The results of our modeling imply that SN 2010bh synthesized a nickel mass of M Ni ≈ 0.1 M sun, ejected M ej ≈ 2.2 M sun, and has an explosion energy of E k ≈ 1.4 × 1052erg. Thus, while SN 2010bh is an energetic explosion, the amount of nickel created during the explosion is much less than that of SN 1998bw and only marginally more than SN 1994I. Finally, for a sample of 22 GRB-SNe we check for a correlation between the stretch factors and luminosity factors in the R band and conclude that no statistically significant correlation exists.

Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program 11709.


Agüeros, Marcel A.; Covey, Kevin R.; Lemonias, Jenna J.; Law, Nicholas M.; Kraus, Adam; Batalha, Natasha; Bloom, Joshua S.; Cenko, S. Bradley; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.; Nugent, Peter E.; Ofek, Eran O.; Poznanski, Dovi; Quimby, Robert M., "The Factory and the Beehive. I. Rotation Periods for Low-mass Stars in Praesepe", Astrophysical Journal, October 2011, 740:110,

Stellar rotation periods measured from single-age populations are critical for investigating how stellar angular momentum content evolves over time, how that evolution depends on mass, and how rotation influences the stellar dynamo and the magnetically heated chromosphere and corona. We report rotation periods for 40 late-K to mid-M star members of the nearby, rich, intermediate-age (~600 Myr) open cluster Praesepe. These rotation periods were derived from ~200 observations taken by the Palomar Transient Factory of four cluster fields from 2010 February to May. Our measurements indicate that Praesepe's mass-period relation transitions from a well-defined singular relation to a more scattered distribution of both fast and slow rotators at ~0.6 M sun. The location of this transition is broadly consistent with expectations based on observations of younger clusters and the assumption that stellar spin-down is the dominant mechanism influencing angular momentum evolution at 600 Myr. However, a comparison to data recently published for the Hyades, assumed to be coeval to Praesepe, indicates that the divergence from a singular mass-period relation occurs at different characteristic masses, strengthening the finding that Praesepe is the younger of the two clusters. We also use previously published relations describing the evolution of rotation periods as a function of color and mass to evolve the sample of Praesepe periods in time. Comparing the resulting predictions to periods measured in M35 and NGC 2516 (~150 Myr) and for kinematically selected young and old field star populations suggests that stellar spin-down may progress more slowly than described by these relations.

Krisciunas, Kevin; Li, Weidong; Matheson, Thomas; Howell, D. Andrew; Stritzinger, Maximilian; Aldering, Greg; Berlind, Perry L.; Calkins, M.; Challis, Peter; Chornock, Ryan; Conley, Alexander; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Ganeshalingam, Mohan; Germany, Lisa; González, Sergio; Gooding, Samuel D.; Hsiao, Eric; Kasen, Daniel; Kirshner, Robert P.; Howie Marion, G. H.; Muena, Cesar; Nugent, Peter E.; Phelps, M.; Phillips, Mark M.; Qiu, Yulei; Quimby, Robert; Rines, K.; Silverman, Jeffrey M.; Suntzeff, Nicholas B.; Thomas, Rollin C.; Wang, Lifan, "The Most Slowly Declining Type Ia Supernova 2001ay", Astrophysical Journal, September 2011, 142:74,

We present optical and near-infrared photometry, as well as ground-based optical spectra and Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet spectra, of the Type Ia supernova (SN) 2001ay. At maximum light the Si II and Mg II lines indicated expansion velocities of 14,000 km s–1, while Si III and S II showed velocities of 9000 km s–1. There is also evidence for some unburned carbon at 12,000 km s–1. SN 2001ay exhibited a decline-rate parameter of Δm 15(B) = 0.68 ± 0.05 mag; this and the B-band photometry at t gsim +25 day past maximum make it the most slowly declining Type Ia SN yet discovered. Three of the four super-Chandrasekhar-mass candidates have decline rates almost as slow as this. After correction for Galactic and host-galaxy extinction, SN 2001ay had MB = –19.19 and MV = –19.17 mag at maximum light; thus, it was not overluminous in optical bands. In near-infrared bands it was overluminous only at the 2σ level at most. For a rise time of 18 days (explosion to bolometric maximum) the implied 56Ni yield was (0.58 ± 0.15)/α M , with α = L max/E Ni probably in the range 1.0-1.2. The 56Ni yield is comparable to that of many Type Ia SNe. The "normal" 56Ni yield and the typical peak optical brightness suggest that the very broad optical light curve is explained by the trapping of γ rays in the inner regions.

van Eyken, Julian C.; Ciardi, David R.; Rebull, Luisa M.; Stauffer, John R.; Akeson, Rachel L.; Beichman, Charles A.; Boden, Andrew F.; von Braun, Kaspar; Gelino, Dawn M.; Hoard, D. W.; Howell, Steve B.; Kane, Stephen R.; Plavchan, Peter; Ramírez, Solange V.; Bloom, Joshua S.; Cenko, S. Bradley; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.; Law, Nicholas M.; Nugent, Peter E.; Ofek, Eran O.; Poznanski, Dovi; Quimby, Robert M.; Grillmair, Carl J.; Laher, Russ; Levitan, David; Mattingly, Sean; Surace, Jason A., "The Palomar Transient Factory Orion Project: Eclipsing Binaries and Young Stellar Objects", Astrophysical Journal, August 2011, 142:60,

The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) Orion project is one of the experiments within the broader PTF survey, a systematic automated exploration of the sky for optical transients. Taking advantage of the wide (3fdg5 × 2fdg3) field of view available using the PTF camera installed at the Palomar 48 inch telescope, 40 nights were dedicated in 2009 December to 2010 January to perform continuous high-cadence differential photometry on a single field containing the young (7-10 Myr) 25 Ori association. Little is known empirically about the formation of planets at these young ages, and the primary motivation for the project is to search for planets around young stars in this region. The unique data set also provides for much ancillary science. In this first paper, we describe the survey and the data reduction pipeline, and present some initial results from an inspection of the most clearly varying stars relating to two of the ancillary science objectives: detection of eclipsing binaries and young stellar objects. We find 82 new eclipsing binary systems, 9 of which are good candidate 25 Ori or Orion OB1a association members. Of these, two are potential young W UMa type systems. We report on the possible low-mass (M-dwarf primary) eclipsing systems in the sample, which include six of the candidate young systems. Forty-five of the binary systems are close (mainly contact) systems, and one of these shows an orbital period among the shortest known for W UMa binaries, at 0.2156509 ± 0.0000071 days, with flat-bottomed primary eclipses, and a derived distance that appears consistent with membership in the general Orion association. One of the candidate young systems presents an unusual light curve, perhaps representing a semi-detached binary system with an inflated low-mass primary or a star with a warped disk, and may represent an additional young Orion member. Finally, we identify 14 probable new classical T-Tauri stars in our data, along with one previously known (CVSO 35) and one previously reported as a candidate weak-line T-Tauri star (SDSS J052700.12+010136.8).

Gal-Yam, Avishay; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Arcavi, Iair; Green, Yoav; Yaron, Ofer; Ben-Ami, Sagi; Xu, Dong; Sternberg, Assaf; Quimby, Robert M.; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.; Ofek, Eran O.; Walters, Richard; Nugent, Peter E.; Poznanski, Dovi; Bloom, Joshua S.; Cenko, S. Bradley; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Li, Weidong; Silverman, Jeffrey M.; Walker, Emma S.; Sullivan, Mark; Maguire, K.; Howell, D. Andrew; Mazzali, Paolo A.; Frail, Dale A.; Bersier, David; James, Phil A.; Akerlof, C. W.; Yuan, Fang; Law, Nicholas; Fox, Derek B.; Gehrels, Neil, "Real-time Detection and Rapid Multiwavelength Follow-up Observations of a Highly Subluminous Type II-P Supernova from the Palomar Transient Factory Survey", Astrophysical Journal, August 2011, 736:159,

The Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) is an optical wide-field variability survey carried out using a camera with a 7.8 deg2 field of view mounted on the 48 inch Oschin Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory. One of the key goals of this survey is to conduct high-cadence monitoring of the sky in order to detect optical transient sources shortly after they occur. Here, we describe the real-time capabilities of the PTF and our related rapid multiwavelength follow-up programs, extending from the radio to the γ-ray bands. We present as a case study observations of the optical transient PTF10vdl (SN 2010id), revealed to be a very young core-collapse (Type II-P) supernova having a remarkably low luminosity. Our results demonstrate that the PTF now provides for optical transients the real-time discovery and rapid-response follow-up capabilities previously reserved only for high-energy transients like gamma-ray bursts.

Kleiser, Io K. W.; Poznanski, Dovi; Kasen, Daniel; Young, Timothy R.; Chornock, Ryan; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Challis, Peter; Ganeshalingam, Mohan; Kirshner, Robert P.; Li, Weidong; Matheson, Thomas; Nugent, Peter E.; Silverman, Jeffrey M., "Peculiar Type II supernovae from blue supergiants", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, July 2011, 415:372-382,

The vast majority of Type II supernovae (SNeII) are produced by red supergiants, but SN 1987A revealed that blue supergiants (BSGs) can produce members of this class as well, albeit with some peculiar properties. This best-studied event revolutionized our understanding of SNe and linking it to the bulk of Type II events is essential. We present here the optical photometry and spectroscopy gathered for SN 2000cb, which is clearly not a standard SNII and yet is not a SN 1987A analogue. The light curve of SN 2000cb is reminiscent of that of SN 1987A in shape, with a slow rise to a late optical peak, but on substantially different time-scales. Spectroscopically, SN 2000cb resembles a normal SNII, but with ejecta velocities that far exceed those measured for SN 1987A or normal SNeII, above 18 000 km s−1 for Hα at early times. The red colours, high velocities, late photometric peak and our modelling of this object all point towards a scenario involving the high-energy explosion of a small-radius star, most likely a BSG, producing 0.1 M of 56Ni. Adding a similar object to the sample, SN 2005ci, we derive a rate of ∼2 per cent of the core-collapse rate for this loosely defined class of BSG explosions.

Levan, A. J.; Tanvir, N. R.; Cenko, S. B.; Perley, D. A.; Wiersema, K.; Bloom, J. S.; Fruchter, A. S.; Postigo, A. de Ugarte; O'Brien, P. T.; Butler, N.; van der Horst, A. J.; Leloudas, G.; Morgan, A. N.; Misra, K.; Bower, G. C.; Farihi, J.; Tunnicliffe, R. L.; Modjaz, M.; Silverman, J. M.; Hjorth, J.; Thöne, C.; Cucchiara, A.; Cerón, J. M. Castro; Castro-Tirado, A. J.; Arnold, J. A.; Bremer, M.; Brodie, J. P.; Carroll, T.; Cooper, M. C.; Curran, P. A.; Cutri, R. M.; Ehle, J.; Forbes, D.; Fynbo, J.; Gorosabel, J.; Graham, J.; Hoffman, D. I.; Guziy, S.; Jakobsson, P.; Kamble, A.; Kerr, T.; Kasliwal, M. M.; Kouveliotou, C.; Kocevski, D.; Law, N. M.; Nugent, P. E.; Ofek, E. O.; Poznanski, D.; Quimby, R. M.; Rol, E.; Romanowsky, A. J.; Sánchez-Ramírez, R.; Schulze, S.; Singh, N.; van Spaandonk, L.; Starling, R. L. C.; Strom, R. G.; Tello, J. C.; Vaduvescu, O.; Wheatley, P. J.; Wijers, R. A. M. J.; Winters, J. M.; Xu, D., "An Extremely Luminous Panchromatic Outburst from the Nucleus of a Distant Galaxy", Science, July 2011, 333:199-,

Variable x-ray and γ-ray emission is characteristic of the most extreme physical processes in the universe. We present multiwavelength observations of a unique γ-ray-selected transient detected by the Swift satellite, accompanied by bright emission across the electromagnetic spectrum, and whose properties are unlike any previously observed source. We pinpoint the event to the center of a small, star-forming galaxy at redshift z = 0.3534. Its high-energy emission has lasted much longer than any γ-ray burst, whereas its peak luminosity was ˜100 times higher than bright active galactic nuclei. The association of the outburst with the center of its host galaxy suggests that this phenomenon has its origin in a rare mechanism involving the massive black hole in the nucleus of that galaxy.

Quimby, R. M.; Kulkarni, S. R.; Kasliwal, M. M.; Gal-Yam, A.; Arcavi, I.; Sullivan, M.; Nugent, P.; Thomas, R.; Howell, D. A.; Nakar, E.; Bildsten, L.; Theissen, C.; Law, N. M.; Dekany, R.; Rahmer, G.; Hale, D.; Smith, R.; Ofek, E. O.; Zolkower, J.; Velur, V.; Walters, R.; Henning, J.; Bui, K.; McKenna, D.; Poznanski, D.; Cenko, S. B.; Levitan, D., "Hydrogen-poor superluminous stellar explosions", Nature, June 2011, 474:487-489,

Supernovae are stellar explosions driven by gravitational or thermonuclear energy that is observed as electromagnetic radiation emitted over weeks or more. In all known supernovae, this radiation comes from internal energy deposited in the outflowing ejecta by one or more of the following processes: radioactive decay of freshly synthesized elements (typically 56Ni), the explosion shock in the envelope of a supergiant star, and interaction between the debris and slowly moving, hydrogen-rich circumstellar material. Here we report observations of a class of luminous supernovae whose properties cannot be explained by any of these processes. The class includes four new supernovae that we have discovered and two previously unexplained events (SN 2005ap and SCP 06F6) that we can now identify as members of the same class. These supernovae are all about ten times brighter than most type Ia supernova, do not show any trace of hydrogen, emit significant ultraviolet flux for extended periods of time and have late-time decay rates that are inconsistent with radioactivity. Our data require that the observed radiation be emitted by hydrogen-free material distributed over a large radius (~1015 centimetres) and expanding at high speeds (>104 kilometres per second). These long-lived, ultraviolet-luminous events can be observed out to redshifts z>4.

Chotard, N.; Gangler, E.; Aldering, G.; Antilogus, P.; Aragon, C.; Bailey, S.; Baltay, C.; Bongard, S.; Buton, C.; Canto, A.; Childress, M.; Copin, Y.; Fakhouri, H. K.; Hsiao, E. Y.; Kerschhaggl, M.; Kowalski, M.; Loken, S.; Nugent, P.; Paech, K.; Pain, R.; Pecontal, E.; Pereira, R.; Perlmutter, S.; Rabinowitz, D.; Runge, K.; Scalzo, R.; Smadja, G.; Tao, C.; Thomas, R. C.; Weaver, B. A.; Wu, C.; Nearby Supernova Factory, "The reddening law of type Ia supernovae: separating intrinsic variability from dust using equivalent widths", Astronomy & Astrophysics, May 2011, 529:L4,

We employ 76 type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) with optical spectrophotometry within 2.5 days of B-band maximum light obtained by the Nearby Supernova Factory to derive the impact of Si and Ca features on the supernovae intrinsic luminosity and determine a dust reddening law. We use the equivalent width of Si ii λ4131 in place of the light curve stretch to account for first-order intrinsic luminosity variability. The resulting empirical spectral reddening law exhibits strong features that are associated with Ca ii and Si ii λ6355. After applying a correction based on the Ca ii H&K equivalent width we find a reddening law consistent with a Cardelli extinction law. Using the same input data, we compare this result to synthetic rest-frame UBVRI-like photometry to mimic literature observations. After corrections for signatures correlated with Si ii λ4131 and Ca ii H&K equivalent widths and introducing an empirical correlation between colors, we determine the dust component in each band. We find a value of the total-to-selective extinction ratio, RV = 2.8 ± 0.3. This agrees with the Milky Way value, in contrast to the low RVvalues found in most previous analyses. This result suggests that the long-standing controversy in interpreting SN Ia colors and their compatibility with a classical extinction law, which is critical to their use as cosmological probes, can be explained by the treatment of the dispersion in colors, and by the variability of features apparent in SN Ia spectra. 0.1051/0004-6361/201116723


Sullivan, M.; Kasliwal, M. M.; Nugent, P. E.; Howell, D. A.; Thomas, R. C.; Ofek, E. O.; Arcavi, I.; Blake, S.; Cooke, J.; Gal-Yam, A.; Hook, I. M.; Mazzali, P.; Podsiadlowski, P.; Quimby, R.; Bildsten, L.; Bloom, J. S.; Cenko, S. B.; Kulkarni, S. R.; Law, N.; Poznanski, D., "The Subluminous and Peculiar Type Ia Supernova PTF 09dav", Astrophysical Journal, May 2011, 732:118,

PTF 09dav is a peculiar subluminous Type Ia supernova (SN) discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). Spectroscopically, it appears superficially similar to the class of subluminous SN1991bg-like SNe, but it has several unusual features which make it stand out from this population. Its peak luminosity is fainter than any previously discovered SN1991bg-like SN Ia (MB ~ -15.5), but without the unusually red optical colors expected if the faint luminosity were due to extinction. The photospheric optical spectra have very unusual strong lines of Sc II and Mg I, with possible Sr II, together with stronger than average Ti II and low velocities of ~6000 km s-1. The host galaxy of PTF09dav is ambiguous. The SN lies either on the extreme outskirts (~41 kpc) of a spiral galaxy or in an very faint (MR >= -12.8) dwarf galaxy, unlike other 1991bg-like SNe which are invariably associated with massive, old stellar populations. PTF 09dav is also an outlier on the light-curve-width-luminosity and color-luminosity relations derived for other subluminous SNe Ia. The inferred 56Ni mass is small (0.019 ± 0.003 M sun), as is the estimated ejecta mass of 0.36 M sun. Taken together, these properties make PTF 09dav a remarkable event. We discuss various physical models that could explain PTF 09dav. Helium shell detonation or deflagration on the surface of a CO white dwarf can explain some of the features of PTF 09dav, including the presence of Sc and the low photospheric velocities, but the observed Si and Mg are not predicted to be very abundant in these models. We conclude that no single model is currently capable of explaining all of the observed signatures of PTF 09dav.

Barth, Aaron J.; Nguyen, My L.; Malkan, Matthew A.; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Li, Weidong; Gorjian, Varoujan; Joner, Michael D.; Bennert, Vardha Nicola; Botyanszki, Janos; Cenko, S. Bradley; Childress, Michael; Choi, Jieun; Comerford, Julia M.; Cucciara, Antonino; da Silva, Robert; Duchêne, Gaspard; Fumagalli, Michele; Ganeshalingam, Mohan; Gates, Elinor L.; Gerke, Brian F.; Griffith, Christopher V.; Harris, Chelsea; Hintz, Eric G.; Hsiao, Eric; Kandrashoff, Michael T.; Keel, William C.; Kirkman, David; Kleiser, Io K. W.; Laney, C. David; Lee, Jeffrey; Lopez, Liliana; Lowe, Thomas B.; Moody, J. Ward; Morton, Alekzandir; Nierenberg, A. M.; Nugent, Peter; Pancoast, Anna; Rex, Jacob; Rich, R. Michael; Silverman, Jeffrey M.; Smith, Graeme H.; Sonnenfeld, Alessandro; Suzuki, Nao; Tytler, David; Walsh, Jonelle L.; Woo, Jong-Hak; Yang, Yizhe; Zeisse, Carl, "Broad-line Reverberation in the Kepler-field Seyfert Galaxy Zw 229-015", Astrophysical Journal, May 2011, 732:121,

The Seyfert 1 galaxy Zw 229-015 is among the brightest active galaxies being monitored by the Kepler mission. In order to determine the black hole mass in Zw 229-015 from Hβ reverberation mapping, we have carried out nightly observations with the Kast Spectrograph at the Lick 3 m telescope during the dark runs from 2010 June through December, obtaining 54 spectroscopic observations in total. We have also obtained nightly V-band imaging with the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope at Lick Observatory and with the 0.9 m telescope at the Brigham Young University West Mountain Observatory over the same period. We detect strong variability in the source, which exhibited more than a factor of two change in broad Hβ flux. From cross-correlation measurements, we find that the Hβ light curve has a rest-frame lag of 3.86+0.69-0.90 days with respect to the V-band continuum variations. We also measure reverberation lags for Hα and Hγ and find an upper limit to the Hδ lag. Combining the Hβ lag measurement with a broad Hβ width of σline = 1590 ± 47 km s-1 measured from the rms variability spectrum, we obtain a virial estimate of M BH = 1.00+0.19-0.24 × 107 M sun for the black hole in Zw 229-015. As a Kepler target, Zw 229-015 will eventually have one of the highest-quality optical light curves ever measured for any active galaxy, and the black hole mass determined from reverberation mapping will serve as a benchmark for testing relationships between black hole mass and continuum variability characteristics in active galactic nuclei.

Childress, M.; Aldering, G.; Aragon, C.; Antilogus, P.; Bailey, S.; Baltay, C.; Bongard, S.; Buton, C.; Canto, A.; Chotard, N.; Copin, Y.; Fakhouri, H. K.; Gangler, E.; Kerschhaggl, M.; Kowalski, M.; Hsiao, E. Y.; Loken, S.; Nugent, P.; Paech, K.; Pain, R.; Pecontal, E.; Pereira, R.; Perlmutter, S.; Rabinowitz, D.; Runge, K.; Scalzo, R.; Thomas, R. C.; Smadja, G.; Tao, C.; Weaver, B. A.; Wu, C., "Keck Observations of the Young Metal-poor Host Galaxy of the Super-Chandrasekhar-mass Type Ia Supernova SN 2007if", Astrophysical Journal, May 2011, 733:3,

We present Keck LRIS spectroscopy and g-band photometry of the metal-poor, low-luminosity host galaxy of the super-Chandrasekhar-mass Type Ia supernova SN 2007if. Deep imaging of the host reveals its apparent magnitude to be mg = 23.15 ± 0.06, which at the spectroscopically measured redshift of z helio = 0.07450 ± 0.00015 corresponds to an absolute magnitude of Mg = -14.45 ± 0.06. Galaxy g - r color constrains the mass-to-light ratio, giving a host stellar mass estimate of log(M */M sun) = 7.32 ± 0.17. Balmer absorption in the stellar continuum, along with the strength of the 4000 Å break, constrains the age of the dominant starburst in the galaxy to be t burst = 123+165-77 Myr, corresponding to a main-sequence turnoff mass of M/M sun = 4.6+2.6-1.4. Using the R 23 method of calculating metallicity from the fluxes of strong emission lines, we determine the host oxygen abundance to be 12 + log(O/H)KK04 = 8.01 ± 0.09, significantly lower than any previously reported spectroscopically measured Type Ia supernova host galaxy metallicity. Our data show that SN 2007if is very likely to have originated from a young, metal-poor progenitor.

Cano, Z.; Bersier, D.; Guidorzi, C.; Margutti, R.; Svensson, K. M.; Kobayashi, S.; Melandri, A.; Wiersema, K.; Pozanenko, A.; van der Horst, A. J.; Pooley, G. G.; Fernandez-Soto, A.; Castro-Tirado, A. J.; Postigo, A. De Ugarte; Im, M.; Kamble, A. P.; Sahu, D.; Alonso-Lorite, J.; Anupama, G.; Bibby, J. L.; Burgdorf, M. J.; Clay, N.; Curran, P. A.; Fatkhullin, T. A.; Fruchter, A. S.; Garnavich, P.; Gomboc, A.; Gorosabel, J.; Graham, J. F.; Gurugubelli, U.; Haislip, J.; Huang, K.; Huxor, A.; Ibrahimov, M.; Jeon, Y.; Jeon, Y.-B.; Ivarsen, K.; Kasen, D.; Klunko, E.; Kouveliotou, C.; Lacluyze, A.; Levan, A. J.; Loznikov, V.; Mazzali, P. A.; Moskvitin, A. S.; Mottram, C.; Mundell, C. G.; Nugent, P. E.; Nysewander, M.; O'Brien, P. T.; Park, W.-K.; Peris, V.; Pian, E.; Reichart, D.; Rhoads, J. E.; Rol, E.; Rumyantsev, V.; Scowcroft, V.; Shakhovskoy, D.; Small, E.; Smith, R. J.; Sokolov, V. V.; Starling, R. L. C.; Steele, I.; Strom, R. G.; Tanvir, N. R.; Tsapras, Y.; Urata, Y.; Vaduvescu, O.; Volnova, A.; Volvach, A.; Wijers, R. A. M. J.; Woosley, S. E.; Young, D. R., "A tale of two GRB-SNe at a common redshift of z0.54", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, May 2011, 413:669-685,

We present ground-based and Hubble Space Telescope optical observations of the optical transients (OTs) of long-duration Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) 060729 and 090618, both at a redshift of z= 0.54. For GRB 060729, bumps are seen in the optical light curves (LCs), and the late-time broad-band spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of the OT resemble those of local Type Ic supernovae (SNe). For GRB 090618, the dense sampling of our optical observations has allowed us to detect well-defined bumps in the optical LCs, as well as a change in colour, that are indicative of light coming from a core-collapse SN. The accompanying SNe for both events are individually compared with SN1998bw, a known GRB supernova, and SN1994I, a typical Type Ic supernova without a known GRB counterpart, and in both cases the brightness and temporal evolution more closely resemble SN1998bw. We also exploit our extensive optical and radio data for GRB 090618, as well as the publicly available Swift-XRT data, and discuss the properties of the afterglow at early times. In the context of a simple jet-like model, the afterglow of GRB 090618 is best explained by the presence of a jet-break at t-to > 0.5 d. We then compare the rest-frame, peak V-band absolute magnitudes of all of the GRB and X-Ray Flash (XRF)-associated SNe with a large sample of local Type Ibc SNe, concluding that, when host extinction is considered, the peak magnitudes of the GRB/XRF-SNe cannot be distinguished from the peak magnitudes of non-GRB/XRF SNe.

Miller, Adam A.; Hillenbrand, Lynne A.; Covey, Kevin R.; Poznanski, Dovi; Silverman, Jeffrey M.; Kleiser, Io K. W.; Rojas-Ayala, Bárbara; Muirhead, Philip S.; Cenko, S. Bradley; Bloom, Joshua S.; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Filippenko, Alexei V.; Law, Nicholas M.; Ofek, Eran O.; Dekany, Richard G.; Rahmer, Gustavo; Hale, David; Smith, Roger; Quimby, Robert M.; Nugent, Peter; Jacobsen, Janet; Zolkower, Jeff; Velur, Viswa; Walters, Richard; Henning, John; Bui, Khanh; McKenna, Dan; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.; Klein, Christopher R.; Kandrashoff, Michael; Morton, Alekzandir, "Evidence for an FU Orionis-like Outburst from a Classical T Tauri Star", Astrophysical Journal, April 1, 2011, 730:80,

We present pre- and post-outburst observations of the new FU Orionis-like young stellar object PTF 10qpf (also known as LkHα 188-G4 and HBC 722). Prior to this outburst, LkHα 188-G4 was classified as a classical T Tauri star (CTTS) on the basis of its optical emission-line spectrum superposed on a K8-type photosphere and its photometric variability. The mid-infrared spectral index of LkHα 188-G4 indicates a Class II-type object. LkHα 188-G4 exhibited a steady rise by ~1 mag over ~11 months starting in August 2009, before a subsequent more abrupt rise of >3 mag on a timescale of ~2 months. Observations taken during the eruption exhibit the defining characteristics of FU Orionis variables: (1) an increase in brightness by gsim4 mag, (2) a bright optical/near-infrared reflection nebula appeared, (3) optical spectra are consistent with a G supergiant and dominated by absorption lines, the only exception being Hα which is characterized by a P Cygni profile, (4) near-infrared spectra resemble those of late K-M giants/supergiants with enhanced absorption seen in the molecular bands of CO and H2O, and (5) outflow signatures in H and He are seen in the form of blueshifted absorption profiles. LkHα 188-G4 is the first member of the FU Orionis-like class with a well-sampled optical to mid-infrared spectral energy distribution in the pre-outburst phase. The association of the PTF 10qpf outburst with the previously identified CTTS LkHα 188-G4 (HBC 722) provides strong evidence that FU Orionis-like eruptions represent periods of enhanced disk accretion and outflow, likely triggered by instabilities in the disk. The early identification of PTF 10qpf as an FU Orionis-like variable will enable detailed photometric and spectroscopic observations during its post-outburst evolution for comparison with other known outbursting objects.

Maguire, K.; Sullivan, M.; Thomas, R. C.; Nugent, P.; Howell, D. A.; Gal-Yam, A.; Arcavi, I.; Ben-Ami, S.; Blake, S.; Botyanszki, J.; Buton, C.; Cooke, J.; Ellis, R. S.; Hook, I. M.; Kasliwal, M. M.; Pan, Y.-C.; Pereira, R.; Podsiadlowski, P.; Sternberg, A.; Suzuki, N.; Xu, D.; Yaron, O.; Bloom, J. S.; Cenko, S. B.; Kulkarni, S. R.; Law, N.; Ofek, E. O.; Poznanski, D.; Quimby, R. M., "PTF10ops - a subluminous, normal-width light curve Type Ia supernova in the middle of nowhere", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, January 1, 2011, 418:747-758,

K.~R Poznanski Bloom Rebull Law Rahmer Nugent Walters Kulkarni Covey, "PTF10nvg: An Outbursting Class I Protostar in the Pelican/North American Nebula", \aj, January 1, 2011, 141:40,

Thomas, R. C., Nugent, P. E., and Meza, J. C., "SYNAPPS: Data-Driven Analysis for Supernova Spectroscopy", Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, January 1, 2011, 123:237-248, doi: 10.1086/658673

Kasliwal, Kulkarni, Gal-Yam, Yaron, Quimby, Ofek, Nugent, Poznanski, Jacobsen, Sternberg, Arcavi, Howell, Sullivan, Rich, Burke, Brimacombe, Milisavljevic, Fesen, Bildsten, Shen, Cenko, Bloom, Hsiao, Law, Gehrels, Immler, Dekany, Rahmer, Hale, Smith, Zolkower, Velur, Walters, Henning, Bui, McKenna, "Rapidly Decaying Supernova 2010X: A Candidate Ia Explosion", Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2010, 723 (1):L98-L102,

Kozłowski, Kochanek, Stern, Prieto, Stanek, Thompson, Assef, Drake, Szczygieł, Woźniak, Nugent, Ashby, Beshore, Brown, Dey, Griffith, Harrison, Jannuzi, Larson, Madsen, Pilecki, Pojmański, Skowron, Vestrand, Wren, "SDWFS-MT-1: A Self-obscured Luminous Supernova at z ~= 0.2", Astrophysical Journal, 2010, 722 (2):1624-1632,

R. Amanullah, C. Lidman, D. Rubin, G. Aldering, P. Astier, K. Barbary, M. S. Burns, A. Conley, K. S. Dawson, S. E. Deustua, M. Doi, S. Fabbro, L. Faccioli, H. K. Fakhouri, G. Folatelli, A. S. Fruchter, H. Furusawa, G. Garavini, G. Goldhaber, A. Goobar, D. E. Groom, I. Hook, D. A. Howell, N. Kashikawa, A. G. Kim, R. A. Knop, M. Kowalski, E. Linder, J. Meyers, T. Morokuma, S. Nobili, J. Nordin, P. Nugent, L. Östman, R. Pain, N. Panagia, S. Perlmutter, J. Raux, P. Ruiz-Lapuente, A. L. Spadafora, M. Strovink, N. Suzuki, L. Wang, W. M. Wood-Vasey, N. Yasuda, "Spectra and Hubble Space Telescope Light Curves of Six Type Ia Supernovae at 0.511 < z < 1.12 and the Union2 Compilation", Supernova Cosmology Project, Astrophysical Journal, January 2010, 716 (1):712-738,

P. a Leonard Conley Pain Nugent, "Toward a Cosmological Hubble Diagram for Type II-P Supernovae", \apj, January 1, 2006, 645:841-850,


A.~M Nugent Quimby Hook Gal-Yam Jacobsen Walters Smith, Galaxy Zoo Supernovae, \mnras, Pages: 1309-1319 January 1, 2011,

D. a Filippenko Li Poznanski, An Unusually Fast-Evolving Supernova, Science, Pages: 58- 2010,

I. a Ofek Cenko Poznanski J\ onsson Rahmer Velur McKenna Arcavi, Core-collapse Supernovae from the Palomar Transient Factory: Indications for a Different Population in Dwarf Galaxies, \apj, Pages: 777-784 2010,

N. a Silverman Marcy Yelda Smith, Discovery of Precursor Luminous Blue Variable Outbursts in Two Recent Optical Transients: The Fitfully Variable Missing Links UGC 2773-OT and SN 2009ip, \aj, Pages: 1451-1467 2010,

B.~D Quataert Nugent Metzger, Electromagnetic counterparts of compact object mergers powered by the radioactive decay of r-process nuclei, \mnras, Pages: 2650-2662 2010,

R.~A Bailey Childress Gal-Yam Loken Pereira Rau Tao Scalzo, Nearby Supernova Factory Observations of SN 2007if: First Total Mass Measurement of a Super-Chandrasekhar-Mass Progenitor, \apj, Pages: 1073-1094 2010,

S. a Nugent Darbha, Nickel-rich outflows produced by the accretion-induced collapse of white dwarfs: light curves and spectra, \mnras, Pages: 846-854 2010,

A.~A Bloom Ganeshalingam Smith Miller, SN 2008iy: an unusual Type IIn Supernova with an enduring 400-d rise time, \mnras, Pages: 305-317 2010,

E.~O Cenko Nugent Forster Law Shen Hale Walters Ofek, Supernova PTF 09UJ: A Possible Shock Breakout from a Dense Circumstellar Wind, \apj, Pages: 1396-1401 January 1, 2010,

D. a Poznanski, Type II-P Supernovae as Standard Candles: The SDSS-II Sample Revisited, \apj, Pages: 956-959 2010,

S.~B Morgan Castro-Tirado de Ugarte Postigo Kulkarni Starr Cenko, Unveiling the Origin of Grb 090709A: Lack of Periodicity in a Reddened Cosmological Long-Duration Gamma-Ray Burst, \aj, Pages: 224-234 2010,

S. a Baltay Chotard Nugent Perlmutter Runge Tao Bailey, Using spectral flux ratios to standardize SN Ia luminosities, \aap, Pages: L17-L20 January 1, 2009,

M. a Nugent Sullivan, The Mean Type Ia Supernova Spectrum Over the Past Nine Gigayears, \apjl, Pages: L76-L80 January 1, 2009,

P. a Nugent, Optimizing Type Ia supernova follow-up in future dark energy surveys, Journal of Physics Conference Series, Pages: 012011 January 1, 2008,

A. a Tanvir Dell Antonio Castro Cer\ on Antonelli Fynbo Nugent Thorsett Levan, Infrared and Optical Observations of GRB 030115 and its Extremely Red Host Galaxy: Implications for Dark Bursts, \apj, Pages: 471-482 January 1, 2006,