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Rapidly evolving transients in the Dark Energy Survey Article uri icon


  • Pursiainen, M., Childress, M., Smith, M., Prajs, S., Sullivan, M., Davis, T. M., Foley, R. J., Asorey, J., Calcino, J., Carollo, D., Curtin, C., D'Andrea, C. B., Glazebrook, K., Gutierrez, C., Hinton, S. R., Hoormann, J. K., Inserra, C., Kessler, R., King, A., Kuehn, K., Lewis, G. F., Lidman, C., Macaulay, E., Möller, A., Nichol, R. C., et al


  • We present the results of a search for rapidly evolving transients in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova Programme. These events are characterized by fast light-curve evolution (rise to peak in ?10 d and exponential decline in ?30 d after peak). We discovered 72 events, including 37 transients with a spectroscopic redshift from host galaxy spectral features. The 37 events increase the total number of rapid optical transients by more than a factor of two. They are found at a wide range of redshifts (0.05 Mg > -22.25). The multiband photometry is well fit by a blackbody up to few weeks after peak. The events appear to be hot (T ˜ 10 000-30 000 K) and large (R ˜ 1014 - 2 × 1015 cm) at peak, and generally expand and cool in time, though some events show evidence for a receding photosphere with roughly constant temperature. Spectra taken around peak are dominated by a blue featureless continuum consistent with hot, optically thick ejecta. We compare our events with a previously suggested physical scenario involving shock breakout in an optically thick wind surrounding a core-collapse supernova, we conclude that current models for such a scenario might need an additional power source to describe the exponential decline. We find that these transients tend to favour star-forming host galaxies, which could be consistent with a core-collapse origin. However, more detailed modelling of the light curves is necessary to determine their physical origin.

publication date

  • 2018