Celestial phenomena that change over time such as exploding stars, mysterious objects that suddenly light up and variable stars are new frontiers in astronomical research, with telescopes that can rapidly scan the sky revealing thousands of such objects.
The largest release of data from relatively nearby supernovae (massive explosions of stars), containing three years of data from the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS telescope (IfA) over Haleakalā on Maui, is made publicly available via the Young Supernova Experiment (YSE). The project, which began in 2019, has surveyed more than 1,500 square degrees of the sky every three days, detecting thousands of new cosmic flares and other fleeting astrophysical outbursts, dozens of them just days or hours after the explosion.
The newly released data contains information on nearly 2,000 supernovae and other luminous variable objects with observations of multiple colors. He is also the first to widely use multicolor imaging to classify supernovae and estimate their distances.
Astrophysicists use large imaging surveys — systematic studies of large regions of the sky over time — and different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum for many scientific goals. Some are used to study distant galaxies and how they have evolved through cosmic time, or to look at certain regions of the sky of particular interest, such as the Andromeda galaxy.
“Pan-STARRS produces a steady stream of fleeting detections, observing large areas of the sky every clear night with two telescopes,” said Mark Hooper, IfA principal investigator. With more than a decade of observations, Pan-STARRS operates one of the best-calibrated systems in astronomy, with a detailed reference image of the visible still sky from Haleakalā. This enables rapid detection and tracking of supernovae and other transient events, well-suited for programs such as YSE to build the required sample. For analysis and release of this important data.
YSE is designed to find active astrophysical “transient” sources such as supernovae, tidal disturbance events, and kilonovas (highly energetic explosions). These transients develop rapidly, rising to their maximum brightness and then fading after a few days or months.
Images are transferred from Pan-STARRS to UH’s IT Center for raw processing and scientific calibration by the Pan-STARRS image processing pipeline. High-level processing and detailed analysis and storage were then performed using computing systems at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) for Astrophysical Surveys (CAPS), University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and Center for Dark Cosmology. (DARK) at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
The survey and the tools used for data analysis are an important introduction to the Vera C Observatory survey. The Rubin Observatory will scan the entire sky every three nights, detecting so many variable and explosive objects that detailed follow-up observations will be impossible. Being able to classify these objects from survey data alone will be vital to selecting the most interesting objects for astronomers to target with other telescopes.
Gautham Narayan, CAPS Deputy Director, is leading the cosmological analysis of the data sample and fellow former CAPS alumnus Patrick Aliu is lead author of the paper, “Small Supernova Experiment Data Release 1 (YSE DR1): Light Curves and Photoclassification of the 1975 Supernova.”
“Much of the time-domain world is unknown. We still don’t know the ancestral systems of many of the most common classes of transients, such as Type Ia supernovae, while continuing to use these sources to try to understand the history of the expansion of our universe,” Narayan said. “We’ve also seen an electromagnetic counterpart.” For a binary neutron star merger. There are many types of transients that are theoretically predicted, but have never been seen.”
Ken Chambers, Director of Pan-STARRS, added, “This collaboration with the Young Supernova Experiment makes exceptional use of Pan-STARRS’s ability to routinely scan the sky for transient phenomena and moving objects. We have provided an unprecedented sample of small supernovae.” “The peak of its brightness will be an important resource for supernova researchers and cosmologists for many years. Looking into the future, Pan-STARRS will remain an important resource in the Northern Hemisphere to complement the Rubin Observatory in the Southern Hemisphere.”
This pioneering effort is a collaboration between UH, UCSC, DARK, NCSA, the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and the University of Hawaii. The collaboration used Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope and data pipeline to collect and process images, DARK’s analysis of data on its computing cluster, UCSC’s survey organization and data hosting, and NCSA and UIUC’s analysis.