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Journal Articles Nature Astronomy Year : 2018

Two peculiar fast transients in a strongly lensed host galaxy

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S. A. Rodney
  • Function : Author
I. Balestra
  • Function : Author
M. Bradac
  • Function : Author
G. Brammer
  • Function : Author
T. Broadhurst
  • Function : Author
G. B. Caminha
  • Function : Author
G. Chirivı
  • Function : Author
J. M. Diego
  • Function : Author
A. V. Filippenko
  • Function : Author
R. J. Foley
  • Function : Author
O. Graur
  • Function : Author
C. Grillo
  • Function : Author
S. Hemmati
  • Function : Author
J. Hjorth
  • Function : Author
A. Hoag
  • Function : Author
M. Jauzac
  • Function : Author
S. W. Jha
  • Function : Author
R. Kawamata
  • Function : Author
P. L. Kelly
  • Function : Author
C. Mccully
  • Function : Author
B. Mobasher
  • Function : Author
A. Molino
  • Function : Author
M. Oguri
  • Function : Author
A. G. Riess
  • Function : Author
P. Rosati
  • Function : Author
K. B. Schmidt
  • Function : Author
J. Selsing
  • Function : Author
K. Sharon
  • Function : Author
L. -G. Strolger
  • Function : Author
S. H. Suyu
  • Function : Author
T. Treu
  • Function : Author
B. J. Weiner
  • Function : Author
L. L. R. Williams
  • Function : Author
A. Zitrin
  • Function : Author

Abstract

A massive galaxy cluster can serve as a magnifying glass for distant stellar populations, as strong gravitational lensing magnifies background galaxies and exposes details that are otherwise undetectable. In time-domain astronomy, imaging programmes with a short cadence are able to detect rapidly evolving transients, previously unseen by surveys designed for slowly evolving supernovae. Here, we describe two unusual transient events discovered in a Hubble Space Telescope programme that combined these techniques with high-cadence imaging on a field with a strong-lensing galaxy cluster. These transients were faster and fainter than any supernovae, but substantially more luminous than a classical nova. We find that they can be explained as separate eruptions of a luminous blue variable star or a recurrent nova, or as an unrelated pair of stellar microlensing events. To distinguish between these hypotheses will require clarification of the cluster lens models, along with more high-cadence imaging of the field that could detect related transient episodes. This discovery suggests that the intersection of strong lensing with high-cadence transient surveys may be a fruitful path for future astrophysical transient studies.

Dates and versions

insu-03711229 , version 1 (01-07-2022)

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Cite

S. A. Rodney, I. Balestra, M. Bradac, G. Brammer, T. Broadhurst, et al.. Two peculiar fast transients in a strongly lensed host galaxy. Nature Astronomy, 2018, 2, pp.324-333. ⟨10.1038/s41550-018-0405-4⟩. ⟨insu-03711229⟩
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