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Title: iPTF Archival Search for Fast Optical Transients

Abstract

There has been speculation about a class of relativistic explosions with an initial Lorentz factor Γinit smaller than that of classical gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). These "dirty fireballs" would lack prompt GRB emission but could be pursued via their optical afterglow, appearing as transients that fade overnight. We report a search for such transients (that fade by 5-σ in magnitude overnight) in four years of archival photometric data from the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF). Our search criteria yielded 50 candidates. Of these, two were afterglows to GRBs that had been found in dedicated follow-up observations to triggers from the Fermi GRB Monitor. Another (iPTF14yb) was a GRB afterglow discovered serendipitously. Eight were spurious artifacts of reference image subtraction, and one was an asteroid. The remaining 38 candidates have red stellar counterparts in external catalogs. The photometric and spectroscopic properties of the counterparts identify these transients as strong flares from M dwarfs of spectral type M3-M7 at distances of d ≈ 0.15-2.1 kpc; three counterparts were already spectroscopically classified as late-type M stars. With iPTF14yb as the only confirmed relativistic outflow discovered independently of a high-energy trigger, we constrain the all-sky rate of transients that peak at m = 18 andmore » fade by Δm = 2 mag in Δt = 3 hr to be 680 yr-1, with a 68% confidence interval of 1119-2236 yr-1. This implies that the rate of visible dirty fireballs is at most comparable to that of the known population of long-duration GRBs.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [5];  [1];  [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [8]; ORCiD logo [9]; ORCiD logo [7];  [10]; ORCiD logo [10]; ORCiD logo [8]; ORCiD logo [11] more »;  [12] « less
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Cahill Center for Astrophysics
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Merced, CA (United States)
  4. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States). Astrophysics Science Division; Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Joint Space-Science Inst.
  5. Liverpool John Moores Univ., Liverpool (United Kingdom). Astrophysics Research Inst.
  6. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States). Dept. of Astronomy
  7. Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (United States). Dept. of Physics
  8. Weizmann Inst. of Science, Rehovot (Israel). Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics
  9. Inst. of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), Granada (Spain)
  10. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
  11. Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Oskar Klein Centre and Dept. of Astronomy
  12. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). LIGO Lab.
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) (SC-21); National Science Foundation (NSF); Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Spain)
OSTI Identifier:
1456997
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; DGE1144469; AYA 2014-58381-P; IJCI-2015-261; 1545949
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 854; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS

Citation Formats

Ho, Anna Y. Q., Kulkarni, S. R., Nugent, Peter E., Zhao, Weijie, Rusu, Florin, Cenko, S. Bradley, Ravi, Vikram, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Perley, Daniel A., Adams, Scott M., Bellm, Eric C., Brady, Patrick, Fremling, Christoffer, Gal-Yam, Avishay, Kann, David Alexander, Kaplan, David, Laher, Russ R., Masci, Frank, Ofek, Eran O., Sollerman, Jesper, and Urban, Alex. iPTF Archival Search for Fast Optical Transients. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aaaa62.
Ho, Anna Y. Q., Kulkarni, S. R., Nugent, Peter E., Zhao, Weijie, Rusu, Florin, Cenko, S. Bradley, Ravi, Vikram, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Perley, Daniel A., Adams, Scott M., Bellm, Eric C., Brady, Patrick, Fremling, Christoffer, Gal-Yam, Avishay, Kann, David Alexander, Kaplan, David, Laher, Russ R., Masci, Frank, Ofek, Eran O., Sollerman, Jesper, & Urban, Alex. iPTF Archival Search for Fast Optical Transients. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aaaa62.
Ho, Anna Y. Q., Kulkarni, S. R., Nugent, Peter E., Zhao, Weijie, Rusu, Florin, Cenko, S. Bradley, Ravi, Vikram, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Perley, Daniel A., Adams, Scott M., Bellm, Eric C., Brady, Patrick, Fremling, Christoffer, Gal-Yam, Avishay, Kann, David Alexander, Kaplan, David, Laher, Russ R., Masci, Frank, Ofek, Eran O., Sollerman, Jesper, and Urban, Alex. Fri . "iPTF Archival Search for Fast Optical Transients". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aaaa62. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1456997.
@article{osti_1456997,
title = {iPTF Archival Search for Fast Optical Transients},
author = {Ho, Anna Y. Q. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Nugent, Peter E. and Zhao, Weijie and Rusu, Florin and Cenko, S. Bradley and Ravi, Vikram and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Perley, Daniel A. and Adams, Scott M. and Bellm, Eric C. and Brady, Patrick and Fremling, Christoffer and Gal-Yam, Avishay and Kann, David Alexander and Kaplan, David and Laher, Russ R. and Masci, Frank and Ofek, Eran O. and Sollerman, Jesper and Urban, Alex},
abstractNote = {There has been speculation about a class of relativistic explosions with an initial Lorentz factor Γinit smaller than that of classical gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). These "dirty fireballs" would lack prompt GRB emission but could be pursued via their optical afterglow, appearing as transients that fade overnight. We report a search for such transients (that fade by 5-σ in magnitude overnight) in four years of archival photometric data from the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF). Our search criteria yielded 50 candidates. Of these, two were afterglows to GRBs that had been found in dedicated follow-up observations to triggers from the Fermi GRB Monitor. Another (iPTF14yb) was a GRB afterglow discovered serendipitously. Eight were spurious artifacts of reference image subtraction, and one was an asteroid. The remaining 38 candidates have red stellar counterparts in external catalogs. The photometric and spectroscopic properties of the counterparts identify these transients as strong flares from M dwarfs of spectral type M3-M7 at distances of d ≈ 0.15-2.1 kpc; three counterparts were already spectroscopically classified as late-type M stars. With iPTF14yb as the only confirmed relativistic outflow discovered independently of a high-energy trigger, we constrain the all-sky rate of transients that peak at m = 18 and fade by Δm = 2 mag in Δt = 3 hr to be 680 yr-1, with a 68% confidence interval of 1119-2236 yr-1. This implies that the rate of visible dirty fireballs is at most comparable to that of the known population of long-duration GRBs.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/aaaa62},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal. Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 854,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: The (∆t,∆m) for the 41 candidates that show significant (5-σ) intra-night fading (asteroids and artifacts of bad subtractions have been removed). The grey unlabeled points are a sample of GRB afterglows from Kann et al. (2010). For candidates with > 2 points in their light curves, we showmore » the change in magnitude from the first observation after 3 hours to the last observation before 9 hours (times measured since the burst): ∆t = tend − tstart and ∆m = mend − mstart. M-dwarf flares typically fade faster and are detected in Pan-STARRS (see Table 1) with a characteristic red color. Thus, in our sample, filtering out sources with red hosts exclusively identifies iPTF14yb, the GRB discovered serendipitously by iPTF, as well as two afterglows found in follow-up to Fermi GRB triggers. PTF11agg is shown for reference. There is one M-dwarf with a ∆t below the lower limit on the plot.« less

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