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iPTF Archival Search for Fast Optical Transients
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Number of Authors: 21
2018 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, ISSN 2041-8205, E-ISSN 2041-8213, Vol. 854, no 1, article id L13Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There has been speculation about a class of relativistic explosions with an initial Lorentz factor Gamma(init) 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. Here we report a search for such transients (that fade by 5-sigma 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 approximate to 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 Delta m = 2 mag in Delta t = 3 hr to be 680 yr(-1), with a 68% confidence interval of 119-2236 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 854, no 1, article id L13
Keyword [en]
catalogs, gamma-ray burst: general, stars: activity, stars: flare, stars: jets, surveys
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153757DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aaaa62ISI: 000424684500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153757DiVA, id: diva2:1193475
Available from: 2018-03-27 Created: 2018-03-27 Last updated: 2018-03-27Bibliographically approved

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Sollerman, Jesper
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Department of AstronomyThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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