The mystery of photometric twins DES17X1boj and DES16E2bjy

DES Collaboration, C. Frohmaier, C. B. D'Andrea, E. Macaulay, E. Swann, B. P. Thomas, M. Vincenzi, S. Avila

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We present an analysis of DES17X1boj and DES16E2bjy, two peculiar transients discovered by the Dark Energy Survey (DES). They exhibit nearly identical double-peaked light curves that reach very different maximum luminosities (Mr = −15.4 and −17.9, respectively). The light-curve evolution of these events is highly atypical and has not been reported before. The transients are found in different host environments: DES17X1boj was found near the nucleus of a spiral galaxy, while DES16E2bjy is located in the outskirts of a passive red galaxy. Early photometric data are well fitted with a blackbody and the resulting moderate photospheric expansion velocities (1800  km s−1 for DES17X1boj and 4800  km s−1 for DES16E2bjy) suggest an explosive or eruptive origin. Additionally, a feature identified as high-velocity Ca II absorption (⁠v ≈ 9400 km s−1) in the near-peak spectrum of DES17X1boj may imply that it is a supernova. While similar light-curve evolution suggests a similar physical origin for these two transients, we are not able to identify or characterize the progenitors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5576–5589
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date13 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • astro-ph.HE
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/R000506/1


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