Laura Chomiuk - Michigan State University, USA

Laura Chomiuk
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Laura Chomiuk
Michigan State University, USA
East Lansing
United States

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (38)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (31)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (13)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (11)

Publications Authored By Laura Chomiuk

47 Tuc X9 is a low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, and was previously thought to be a cataclysmic variable. However, Miller-Jones et al. (2015) recently identified a radio counterpart to X9 (inferring a radio/X-ray luminosity ratio consistent with black hole LMXBs), and suggested that the donor star might be a white dwarf. Read More

It has recently been discovered that some, if not all, classical novae emit GeV gamma-rays during outburst, but the mechanics of this gamma-ray emission are still not well understood. We present here a comprehensive, multi-wavelength dataset---from radio to X-rays---for the most gamma-ray luminous classical nova to-date, V1324 Sco. Using this dataset, we show that V1324 Sco is a canonical dusty Fe-II type nova, with a bulk ejecta velocity of $1150 \pm 40~\rm km~s^{-1}$ and an ejecta mass of $2. Read More

We present a multi-wavelength study of the unidentified Fermi object, 3FGL J0212.1+5320. Within the 95% error ellipse, Chandra detects a bright X-ray source (i. Read More

Affiliations: 1Michigan St., 2Michigan St., 3Michigan St., 4Alberta, 5Warsaw, 6Michigan St., 7Michigan St., 8Michigan St.

We report the discovery of an eclipsing low-mass X-ray binary at the center of the 3FGL error ellipse of the unassociated Fermi/Large Area Telescope gamma-ray source 3FGL J0427.9-6704. Photometry from OGLE and the SMARTS 1. Read More

Our current understanding of galaxy evolution still has many uncertainties associated with the details of accretion, processing, and removal of gas across cosmic time. The next generation of radio telescopes will image the neutral hydrogen (HI) in galaxies over large volumes at high redshifts, which will provide key insights into these processes. We are conducting the COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey (CHILES) with the Karl G. Read More

Supernova remnants (SNRs) in Local Group galaxies offer unique insights into the origin of different types of supernovae. In order to take full advantage of these insights, one must understand the intrinsic and environmental diversity of SNRs in the context of their host galaxies. We introduce a semi-analytic model that reproduces the statistical properties of a radio continuum-selected SNR population, taking into account the detection limits of radio surveys, the range of SN kinetic energies, the measured ISM and stellar mass distribution in the host galaxy from multi-wavelength images and the current understanding of electron acceleration and field amplification in SNR shocks from first-principle kinetic simulations. Read More

We report the discovery and classification of SDSS~J053341.43+001434.1 (SDSS0533), an early-L dwarf first discovered during a powerful $\Delta V < -11$ magnitude flare observed as part of the ASAS-SN survey. Read More

Affiliations: 1SSL/UCB, 2ESO and Harvard, 3Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 4SSL/UCB, 5MSU, 6MSU

IGR J14091-6108 is a Galactic X-ray source known to have an iron emission line, a hard X-ray spectrum, and an optical counterpart. Here, we report on X-ray observations of the source with XMM-Newton and NuSTAR as well as optical spectroscopy with ESO/VLT and NOAO/SOAR. In the X-rays, this provides data with much better statistical quality than the previous observations, and this is the first report of the optical spectrum. Read More

We present newly obtained X-ray and radio observations of Tycho's supernova remnant using {\it Chandra} and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in 2015 and 2013/14, respectively. When combined with earlier epoch observations by these instruments, we now have time baselines for expansion measurements of the remnant of 12-15 year in the X-rays and 30 year in the radio. Read More

Searches for circumstellar material around Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are one of the most powerful tests of the nature of SN Ia progenitors, and radio observations provide a particularly sensitive probe of this material. Here we report radio observations for SNe Ia and their lower-luminosity thermonuclear cousins. We present the largest, most sensitive, and spectroscopically diverse study of prompt (delta t <~ 1 yr) radio observations of 85 thermonuclear SNe, including 25 obtained by our team with the unprecedented depth of the Karl G. Read More

Since the Fermi discovery of $\gamma$-rays from novae, one of the biggest questions in the field has been how novae generate such high-energy emission. Shocks must be a fundamental ingredient. Six months of radio observations of the 2012 nova V5589 Sgr with the VLA and 15 weeks of X-ray observations with Swift/XRT show that the radio emission consisted of: 1) a shock-powered, non-thermal flare; and 2) weak thermal emission from $10^{-5}$ M$_\odot$ of freely expanding, photoionized ejecta. Read More

We report here on key science topics for the Next Generation Very Large Array in the areas of time domain, fundamental physics, and cosmology. Key science cases considered are pulsars in orbit around the Galactic Center massive black hole, Sagittarius A*, electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves, and astrometric cosmology. These areas all have the potential for ground-breaking and transformative discovery. Read More

We present medium-resolution optical spectroscopy with the SOAR telescope of the O star secondary of the high-mass gamma-ray binary 1FGL J1018.6-5856 to help determine whether the primary is a neutron star or black hole. We find that the secondary has a low radial velocity semi-amplitude of 11-12 km/s, with consistent values obtained for H and He absorption lines. Read More

In quiescent low-mass X-ray binaries (qLMXBs) containing neutron stars, the origin of the thermal X-ray component may be either release of heat from the core of the neutron star, or continuing low-level accretion. In general, heat from the core should be stable on timescales $<10^4$ years, while continuing accretion may produce variations on a range of timescales. While some quiescent neutron stars (e. Read More

It has recently been discovered that some, if not all, classical novae emit GeV gamma-rays during outburst. Despite using an unreliable method to determine its distance, previous work showed that nova V1324 Sco was the most gamma-ray luminous of all gamma-ray-detected novae. We present here a different, more robust, method to determine the reddening and distance to V1324 Sco using high-resolution optical spectroscopy. Read More

The importance of shocks in nova explosions has been highlighted by Fermi's discovery of \gamma-ray producing novae. Over three years of multi-band VLA radio observations of the 2010 nova V1723 Aql show that shocks between fast and slow flows within the ejecta led to the acceleration of particles and the production of synchrotron radiation. Soon after the start of the eruption, shocks in the ejecta produced an unexpected radio flare, resulting in a multi-peaked radio light curve. Read More

Affiliations: 1Onsala Space Observatory, Sweden, 2Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, Netherlands, 3University of Manchester, UK, 4Michigan State University, USA, 5Michigan State University, USA

V959 Mon is a classical nova detected at GeV gamma-ray wavelengths on 2012 June 19. While classical novae are now routinely detected in gamma-rays, the origin of the shocks that produce relativistic particles has remained unknown. We carried out electronic European VLBI Network (e-EVN) observations that revealed a pair of compact synchrotron emission features in V959 Mon on 2012 Sep 18. Read More

Affiliations: 1Michigan St., 2Michigan St., 3NRL, 4Texas Tech, 5CRESST/Maryland, 6CRESST, 7Michigan St., 8CSIRO, 9CSIRO, 10Astrogeo, 11Michigan St., 12Michigan St., 13Michigan St., 14UNC, 15UNC

We present multiwavelength observations of the persistent Fermi-LAT unidentified gamma-ray source 1FGL J1417.7-4407, showing it is likely to be associated with a newly discovered X-ray binary containing a massive neutron star (nearly 2 M_sun) and a ~ 0.35 M_sun giant secondary with a 5. Read More

The thermal radio emission of novae during outburst enables us to derive fundamental quantities such as the ejected mass, kinetic energy, and density profile of the ejecta. Recent observations with newly-upgraded facilities such as the VLA and e-MERLIN are just beginning to reveal the incredibly complex processes of mass ejection in novae (ejections appear to often proceed in multiple phases and over prolonged timescales). Symbiotic stars can also exhibit outbursts, which are sometimes accompanied by the expulsion of material in jets. Read More

The Fermi LAT discovery that classical novae produce >100 MeV gamma-rays establishes that shocks and relativistic particle acceleration are key features of these events. These shocks are likely to be radiative due to the high densities of the nova ejecta at early times coincident with the gamma-ray emission. Thermal X-rays radiated behind the shock are absorbed by neutral gas and reprocessed into optical emission, similar to Type IIn (interacting) supernovae. Read More

Classical novae are the most common astrophysical thermonuclear explosions, occurring on the surfaces of white dwarf stars accreting gas from companions in binary star systems. Novae typically expel ~10^(-4) solar masses of material at velocities exceeding 1,000 kilometres per second. However, the mechanism of mass ejection in novae is poorly understood, and could be dominated by the impulsive flash of thermonuclear energy, prolonged optically thick winds, or binary interaction with the nova envelope. Read More

Radio observations of novae in outburst are of particular interest due to the physical parameters that may be retrieved from fitting the radio light curves. Most models that have fitted previous data assumed spherical symmetry however, it is becoming more and more clear that this is not the case. We explore morpho-kinematical techniques to retrieve the free-free radio light curves of non-spherical models and explore the effects of a non-spherical outburst on the physical parameters. Read More

We report optical photometric and SOAR spectroscopic observations of an X-ray source found within the localization error of the Fermi-LAT unidentified gamma-ray source J0523.5-2529. The optical data show periodic flux modulation and radial velocity variations indicative of a binary with a 16. Read More

We revisit the exquisite archival radio data for the Type Ic supernova SN 1994I and present a revised model for the SN radio emission and a pilot study that aims to constrain the rate of C-band radio transients within the face-on host galaxy, M51 (NGC 5194). We find that the temporal and spectral evolution of the SN\,1994I radio emission are well fit by a synchrotron self-absorption model and use this to estimate physical parameters. We compute a pre-explosion mass loss rate of $\dot{M}=3. Read More

The recurrent nova T Pyx underwent its sixth historical outburst in 2011, and became the subject of an intensive multi-wavelength observational campaign. We analyze data from the Swift and Suzaku satellites to produce a detailed X-ray light curve augmented by epochs of spectral information. X-ray observations yield mostly non-detections in the first four months of outburst, but both a super-soft and hard X-ray component rise rapidly after Day 115. Read More

Supernovae provide a backdrop from which we can probe the end state of stellar evolution in the final years before the progenitor star explodes. As the shock from the supernova expands, the timespan of mass loss history we are able to probe also extends, providing insight to rapid time-scale processes that govern the end state of massive stars. While supernovae transition into remnants on timescales of decades to centuries, observations of this phase are currently limited. Read More

Evidence for shocks in nova outflows include (1) multiple velocity components in the optical spectra; (2) keV X-ray emission weeks to months after the outburst; (3) early radio flare on timescales of months, in excess of that predicted from the freely expanding photo-ionized gas; and (4) ~ GeV gamma-rays. We present a 1D model for the shock interaction between the fast nova outflow and a dense external shell (DES) and its associated thermal X-ray, optical, and radio emission. The forward shock is radiative initially when the density of shocked gas is highest, at which times radio emission originates from the dense cooling layer immediately downstream of the shock. Read More

High-dispersion observations of the Na I D 5890, 5896 and K I 7665, 7699 interstellar lines, and the diffuse interstellar band at 5780 Angstroms in the spectra of 32 Type Ia supernovae are used as an independent means of probing dust extinction. We show that the dust extinction of the objects where the diffuse interstellar band at 5780 Angstroms is detected is consistent with the visual extinction derived from the supernova colors. This strongly suggests that the dust producing the extinction is predominantly located in the interstellar medium of the host galaxies and not in circumstellar material associated with the progenitor system. Read More

We present a new catalog of 404 M giant candidates found in the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS). The 2,400 deg$^2$ available in the UKIDSS Large Area Survey Data Release 8 resolve M giants through a volume four times larger than that of the entire Two Micron All Sky Survey. Combining near-infrared photometry with optical photometry and proper motions from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey yields an M giant candidate catalog with less M dwarf and quasar contamination than previous searches for similarly distant M giants. Read More

We present extensive radio and X-ray observations of SN\, 2012au, the energetic radio luminous supernova of type Ib that may be a link between subsets of hydrogen-poor superluminous and normal core-collapse supernovae. The observations closely follow models of synchrotron emission from shock heated circum-burst medium that has a wind density profile ($\rho \propto r^{-2}$). We infer a sub-relativistic velocity for the shock wave $v \approx 0. Read More

SN 2011fe is the nearest supernova of Type Ia (SN Ia) discovered in the modern multi-wavelength telescope era, and it also represents the earliest discovery of a SN Ia to date. As a normal SN Ia, SN 2011fe provides an excellent opportunity to decipher long-standing puzzles about the nature of SNe Ia. In this review, we summarize the extensive suite of panchromatic data on SN 2011fe, and gather interpretations of these data to answer four key questions: 1) What explodes in a SN Ia? 2) How does it explode? 3) What is the progenitor of SN 2011fe? and 4) How accurate are SNe Ia as standardizeable candles? Most aspects of SN 2011fe are consistent with the canonical picture of a massive CO white dwarf undergoing a deflagration-to-detonation transition. Read More

We report the discovery of a candidate stellar-mass black hole in the Milky Way globular cluster M62. We detected the black hole candidate, which we term M62-VLA1, in the core of the cluster using deep radio continuum imaging from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. Read More

The radio light curves of novae rise and fall over the course of months to years, allowing for detailed observations of the evolution of the nova shell. However, the main parameter determined by radio models of nova explosions - the mass of the ejecta - often seems to exceed theoretical expectations by an order of magnitude. With the recent technological improvements on the Karl G. Read More

High-resolution 21-cm HI deep fields provide spatially and kinematically resolved neutral gas maps at different redshifts, which are key to understanding galaxy evolution across cosmic time and testing predictions of cosmological simulations. Here we present results from a pilot for the COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey (CHILES) done with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). Read More

Novae, which are the sudden visual brightening triggered by runaway thermonuclear burning on the surface of an accreting white dwarf, are fairly common and bright events. Despite their astronomical significance as nearby laboratories for the study of nuclear burning and accretion phenomena, many aspects of these common stellar explosions are observationally not well-constrained and remain poorly understood. Radio observations, modeling and interpretation can potentially play a crucial role in addressing some of these puzzling issues. Read More

Despite being the prototype of its class, T Pyx is arguably the most unusual and poorly understood recurrent nova. Here, we use radio observations from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array to trace the evolution of the ejecta over the course of the 2011 outburst of T Pyx. Read More

We present multi-frequency radio observations of the 2010 nova event in the symbiotic binary V407 Cygni, obtained with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and spanning 1-45 GHz and 17-770 days following discovery. This nova---the first ever detected in gamma rays---shows a radio light curve dominated by the wind of the Mira giant companion, rather than the nova ejecta themselves. Read More

Hundreds of stellar-mass black holes likely form in a typical globular star cluster, with all but one predicted to be ejected through dynamical interactions. Some observational support for this idea is provided by the lack of X-ray-emitting binary stars comprising one black hole and one other star ("black-hole/X-ray binaries") in Milky Way globular clusters, even though many neutron-star/X-ray binaries are known. Although a few black holes have been seen in globular clusters around other galaxies, the masses of these cannot be determined, and some may be intermediate-mass black holes that form through exotic mechanisms. Read More

With a goal of searching for accreting intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), we report the results of ultra-deep Jansky VLA radio continuum observations of the cores of three Galactic globular clusters: M15, M19, and M22. We reach rms noise levels of 1.5-2. Read More

Classical nova events in symbiotic stars, although rare, offer a unique opportunity to probe the interaction between ejecta and a dense environment in stellar explosions. In this work, we use X-ray data obtained with Swift and Suzaku during the recent classical nova outburst in V407 Cyg to explore such an interaction. We find evidence of both equilibrium and non-equilibrium ionization plasmas at the time of peak X-ray brightness, indicating a strong asymmetry in the density of the emitting region. Read More

We present a summary of Swift and Suzaku X-ray observations of the 2010 nova outburst of the symbiotic star, V407 Cyg. The Suzaku spectrum obtained on day 30 indicates the presence of the supersoft component from the white dwarf surface, as well as optically thin component from the shock between the nova ejecta and the Mira wind. The Swift observations then allow us to track the evolution of both components from day 4 to day 150. Read More

We report unique EVLA observations of SN 2011fe representing the most sensitive radio study of a Type Ia supernova to date. Our data place direct constraints on the density of the surrounding medium at radii ~10^15-10^16 cm, implying an upper limit on the mass loss rate from the progenitor system of Mdot <~ 6 x 10^-10 Msol/yr (assuming a wind speed of 100 km/s), or expansion into a uniform medium with density n_CSM <~ 6 cm^-3. Drawing from the observed properties of non-conservative mass transfer among accreting white dwarfs, we use these limits on the density of the immediate environs to exclude a phase space of possible progenitors systems for SN 2011fe. Read More

The star formation rate (SFR) of the Milky Way remains poorly known, with often-quoted values ranging from 1 to 10 solar masses per year. This situation persists despite the potential for the Milky Way to serve as the ultimate SFR calibrator for external galaxies. We show that various estimates for the Galactic SFR are consistent with one another once they have been normalized to the same initial mass function (IMF) and massive star models, converging to 1. Read More

We present radio light curves and spectra of the classical nova V1723 Aql obtained with the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). This is the first paper to showcase results from the EVLA Nova Project, which comprises a team of observers and theorists utilizing the greatly enhanced sensitivity and frequency coverage of EVLA radio observations, along with observations at other wavelengths, to reach a deeper understanding of the energetics, morphology, and temporal characteristics of nova explosions. Our observations of V1723 Aql span 1-37 GHz in frequency, and we report on data from 14-175 days following the time of the nova explosion. Read More

Radio recombination lines (RRLs) are powerful, extinction-free diagnostics of the ionized gas in young, star-forming regions. Unfortunately, these lines are difficult to detect in external galaxies. We present the results of EVLA observations of the RRL and radio continuum emission at 33 GHz from NGC 253, a nearby nuclear starburst galaxy. Read More

We are undertaking a multi-frequency Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) survey of edge-on protoplanetary disks to probe the growth of solids in each disk, sedimentation of such material into the disk midplane, and the connection of these phenomena to the planet formation process. The projection of edge-on disk systems along our line of sight enables a study of the vertical stratification of large grains with fewer model dependencies than would be required for disks that are more face-on. Robust studies of the spatial distribution of grains up to ~1 cm in size are possible with the wavelength range and sensitivity of the EVLA. Read More

We present a global analysis of kinematics and metallicity in the nearest S0 galaxy, NGC 3115, along with implications for its assembly history. The data include high-quality wide-field imaging from Suprime-Cam on the Subaru telescope, and multi-slit spectra of the field stars and globular clusters (GCs) obtained using Keck-DEIMOS/LRIS and Magellan-IMACS. Within two effective radii, the bulge (as traced by the stars and metal-rich GCs) is flattened and rotates rapidly (v/sigma > 1. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2University of Wisconsin-Madison

We compile radio supernova remnant (SNR) samples from the literature for 19 nearby galaxies ranging from the SMC to Arp 220, and use this data to constrain the SNR luminosity function (LF) at 20 cm. We find that radio SNR populations are strikingly similar across galaxies. The LF can be described as a power law with constant index and scaling proportional to a galaxy's star formation rate (SFR). Read More


We survey four nearby irregular galaxies for radio supernova remnants (SNRs) using deep (1 sigma ~ 20 microJy), high resolution (~20 pc) VLA continuum data at 20, 6, and 3.6 cm. We identify discrete sources in these galaxies and use radio spectral indices and H alpha images to categorize them as SNRs, H II regions, or background radio galaxies. Read More