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Minutes-duration optical flares with supernova luminosities

Ho, Anna Y. Q., Perley, Daniel A., Chen, Ping, Schulze, Steve, Dhillon, Vik, Kumar, Harsh, Suresh, Aswin, Swain, Vishwajeet, Bremer, Michael, Smartt, Stephen J., Anderson, Joseph P., Anupama, G. C., Awiphan, Supachai, Barway, Sudhanshu, Bellm, Eric C., Ben-Ami, Sagi, Bhalerao, Varun, de Boer, Thomas, Brink, Thomas G., Burruss, Rick, Chandra, Poonam, Chen, Ting-Wan, Chen, Wen-Ping, Cooke, Jeff, Coughlin, Michael W., Das, Kaustav K., Drake, Andrew J., Filippenko, Alexei V., Freeburn, James, Fremling, Christoffer, Fulton, Michael D., Gal-Yam, Avishay, Galbany, Lluís, Gao, Hua, Graham, Matthew J., Gromadzki, Mariusz, Gutiérrez, Claudia P., Hinds, K-Ryan, Inserra, Cosimo ORCID:, A J, Nayana, Karambelkar, Viraj, Kasliwal, Mansi M., Kulkarni, Shri, Müller-Bravo, Tomás E., Magnier, Eugene A., Mahabal, Ashish A., Moore, Thomas, Ngeow, Chow-Choong, Nicholl, Matt, Ofek, Eran O., Omand, Conor M. B., Onori, Francesca, Pan, Yen-Chen, Pessi, Priscila J., Petitpas, Glen, Polishook, David, Poshyachinda, Saran, Pursiainen, Miika, Riddle, Reed, Rodriguez, Antonio C., Rusholme, Ben, Segre, Enrico, Sharma, Yashvi, Smith, Ken W., Sollerman, Jesper, Srivastav, Shubham, Strotjohann, Nora Linn, Suhr, Mark, Svinkin, Dmitry, Wang, Yanan, Wiseman, Philip, Wold, Avery, Yang, Sheng, Yang, Yi, Yao, Yuhan, Young, David R. and Zheng, WeiKang 2023. Minutes-duration optical flares with supernova luminosities. Nature 623 (7989) , 927–931. 10.1038/s41586-023-06673-6

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In recent years, certain luminous extragalactic optical transients have been observed to last only a few days1. Their short observed duration implies a different powering mechanism from the most common luminous extragalactic transients (supernovae), whose timescale is weeks2. Some short-duration transients, most notably AT2018cow (ref. 3), show blue optical colours and bright radio and X-ray emission4. Several AT2018cow-like transients have shown hints of a long-lived embedded energy source5, such as X-ray variability6,7, prolonged ultraviolet emission8, a tentative X-ray quasiperiodic oscillation9,10 and large energies coupled to fast (but subrelativistic) radio-emitting ejecta11,12. Here we report observations of minutes-duration optical flares in the aftermath of an AT2018cow-like transient, AT2022tsd (the ‘Tasmanian Devil’). The flares occur over a period of months, are highly energetic and are probably nonthermal, implying that they arise from a near-relativistic outflow or jet. Our observations confirm that, in some AT2018cow-like transients, the embedded energy source is a compact object, either a magnetar or an accreting black hole.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 0028-0836
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 December 2023
Date of Acceptance: 25 September 2023
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2024 16:40

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