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The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
We present and analyze spectra of the Type IIn supernova 1994W obtained between 18 and 202 days after explosion. During the first 100 days the line profiles are composed of three major components: (i) narrow P Cygni lines with absorption minima at −700 km s−1; (ii) broad emission lines with blue velocity at zero intensity ~ 4000 km s−1; (iii) broad, smooth, extended wings most apparent in Hα. These components are identified with the expanding circumstellar (CS) envelope , shocked cool gas in the forward postshock region, and multiple Thomson scattering in the CS envelope, respectively. The absence of broad P Cygni lines from the supernova (SN) is the result of the formation of an optically thick, cool, dense shell at the interface of the ejecta and the CS envelope. Models of the SN deceleration and Thomson scattering wings are used to recover the Thomson optical depth of the CS envelope, τT ≥ 2.5 during first month, its density (n ~ 109 cm-3) and radial extent, ~ (4 — 5) × 1015 cm. The plateau-like SN light curve, which we reproduce by a hydrodynamical model, is powered by a combination of internal energy leakage after the explosion of an extended presupernova (~ 1015 cm) and subsequent luminosity from circumstellar interaction. We recover the pre-explosion kinematics of the CS envelope and find it to be close to homologous expansion with outmost velocity ≈ 1100 km s-1 and a kinematic age of ~ 1.5 yr. The high mass (≈ 0.4 M⊙) and kinetic energy (≈ 2 × 1048 erg) of the CS envelope combined with small age strongly suggest that the CS envelope was explosively ejected only a few years before the SN explosion.
Optical data in the V-band gathered with the 8.2m ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the radio interferometric position of PSR 1706-44 are presented. The pulsar is close to a bright star in projection and was not detected. The pulsar magnitude limit must be fainter than V=24.5 for a distance of ≤ from the bright star. In the outer gap model for an aligned rotor the optical flux should scale with the gammaray flux. For pulsars which emit pulsed gamma-rays but are not detected in the optical bands, the synchrotron cutoff frequency for the tertiary photons must be well below the optical frequencies and the magnetic and spin axes may be misaligned.
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