An early peak in the radio light curve of short-duration gamma-ray burst 200826A
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 503:2 (2021) 2966-2972
Abstract:We present the results of radio observations from the eMERLIN telescope combined with X-ray data from Swift for the short-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB) 200826A, located at a redshift of 0.71. The radio light curve shows evidence of a sharp rise, a peak around 4–5 d post-burst, followed by a relatively steep decline. We provide two possible interpretations based on the time at which the light curve reached its peak. (1) If the light curve peaks earlier, the peak is produced by the synchrotron self-absorption frequency moving through the radio band, resulting from the forward shock propagating into a wind medium and (2) if the light curve peaks later, the turnover in the light curve is caused by a jet break. In the former case we find a minimum equipartition energy of ∼3 × 1047 erg and bulk Lorentz factor of ∼5, while in the latter case we estimate the jet opening angle of ∼9–16°. Due to the lack of data, it is impossible to determine which is the correct interpretation, however due to its relative simplicity and consistency with other multiwavelength observations which hint at the possibility that GRB 200826A is in fact a long GRB, we prefer the scenario one over scenario two.
Bow-shocks, nova shells, disc winds and tilted discs: the Nova-Like V341 Ara Has It All
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 501:2 (2021) 1951-1969
Abstract:V341 Ara was recently recognized as one of the closest (d ≃ 150 pc) and brightest (V ≃ 10) nova-like cataclysmic variables. This unique system is surrounded by a bright emission nebula, likely to be the remnant of a recent nova eruption. Embedded within this nebula is a prominent bow shock, where the system’s accretion disc wind runs into its own nova shell. In order to establish its fundamental properties, we present the first comprehensive multiwavelength study of the system. Long-term photometry reveals quasi-periodic, super-orbital variations with a characteristic time-scale of 10–16 d and typical amplitude of ≃1 mag. High-cadence photometry from theTransiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) reveals for the first time both the orbital period and a ‘negative superhump’ period. The latter is usually interpreted as the signature of a tilted accretion disc. We propose a recently developed disc instability model as a plausible explanation for the photometric behaviour. In our spectroscopic data, we clearly detect antiphased absorption and emission-line components. Their radial velocities suggest a high mass ratio, which in turn implies an unusually low white-dwarf mass. We also constrain the wind mass-loss rate of the system from the spatially resolved [O III] emission produced in the bow shock; this can be used to test and calibrate accretion disc wind models. We suggest a possible association between V341 Ara and a ‘guest star’ mentioned in Chinese historical records in AD 1240. If this marks the date of the system’s nova eruption, V341 Ara would be the oldest recovered nova of its class and an excellent laboratory for testing nova theory.
Measuring the distance to the black hole candidate X-ray binary MAXI J1348–630 using H I absorption
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters Oxford University Press 501:1 (2020) L60-L64
Abstract:We present neutral hydrogen (H I) absorption spectra of the black hole candidate X-ray binary (XRB) MAXI J1348–630 using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and MeerKAT. The ASKAP H I spectrum shows a maximum negative radial velocity (with respect to the local standard of rest) of −31 ± 4 km s−1 for MAXI J1348–630, as compared to −50 ± 4 km s−1 for a stacked spectrum of several nearby extragalactic sources. This implies a most probable distance of 2.2+0.5−0.6 kpc for MAXI J1348–630, and a strong upper limit of the tangent point distance at 5.3 ± 0.1 kpc. Our preferred distance implies that MAXI J1348–630 reached 17 ± 10 per cent of the Eddington luminosity at the peak of its outburst, and that the source transited from the soft to the hard X-ray spectral state at 2.5 ± 1.5 per cent of the Eddington luminosity. The MeerKAT H I spectrum of MAXI J1348–630 (obtained from the older, low-resolution 4k mode) is consistent with the re-binned ASKAP spectrum, highlighting the potential of the eventual capabilities of MeerKAT for XRB spectral line studies.
Radio afterglows of very high-energy gamma-ray bursts 190829A and 180720B
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 496:3 (2020) 3326-3335
Abstract:We present high-cadence multifrequency radio observations of the long gamma-ray burst (GRB) 190829A, which was detected at photon energies above 100 GeV by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.). Observations with the Meer Karoo Array Telescope (MeerKAT, 1.3 GHz) and Arcminute Microkelvin Imager – Large Array (AMI-LA, 15.5 GHz) began one day post-burst and lasted nearly 200 d. We used complementary data from Swift X-Ray Telescope (XRT), which ran to 100 d post-burst. We detected a likely forward shock component with both MeerKAT and XRT up to over 100 d post-burst. Conversely, the AMI-LA light curve appears to be dominated by reverse shock emission until around 70 d post-burst when the afterglow flux drops below the level of the host galaxy. We also present previously unpublished observations of the other H.E.S.S.-detected GRB, GRB 180720B from AMI-LA, which shows likely forward shock emission that fades in less than 10 d. We present a comparison between the radio emission from the three GRBs with detected very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission and a sensitivity-limited radio afterglow sample. GRB 190829A has the lowest isotropic radio luminosity of any GRB in our sample, but the distribution of luminosities is otherwise consistent, as expected, with the VHE GRBs being drawn from the same parent distribution as the other radio-detected long GRBs.
MKT J170456.2-482100: the first transient discovered by MeerKAT
MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 491:1 (2020) 560-575