Recent Postings from Galactic

The GALEX Ultraviolet Virgo Cluster Survey (GUViCS). IV: The role of the cluster environment on galaxy evolution

We study the role of the environment on galaxy evolution using a sample of 868 galaxies in the Virgo cluster and in its surrounding regions selected from the GUViCS Survey with the purpose of understanding the origin of the red sequence in dense environments. We collected multifrequency data covering the whole electromagnetic spectrum for most of the galaxies. We identify the different dynamical substructures composing the Virgo cluster and we calculate the local density of galaxies using different methods. We then study the distribution of galaxies belonging to the red sequence, the green valley, and the blue cloud within the different cluster substructures. Our analysis indicates that all the most massive galaxies are slow rotators and are the dominant galaxies of the different cluster substructures generally associated with a diffuse X-ray emission. They are probably the result of major merging events that occurred at early epochs. Slow rotators of lower stellar mass are also preferentially located within the different high-density substructures of the cluster. They are virialised within the cluster, thus Virgo members since its formation. They have been shaped by gravitational perturbations occurring within the infalling groups that later formed the cluster. On the contrary, low-mass star-forming systems are extremely rare in the inner regions of the Virgo cluster A, where the density of the intergalactic medium is at its maximum. Our ram pressure stripping models consistently indicate that these star-forming systems can be rapidly deprived of their interstellar medium during their interaction with the intergalactic medium. The lack of gas quenches their star formation activity transforming them into quiescent dwarf ellipticals. This mild transformation does not perturb the kinematic properties of these galaxies which still have rotation curves typical of star-forming systems.

Local Group dSph radio survey with ATCA (III): Constraints on Particle Dark Matter

We performed a deep search for radio synchrotron emissions induced by weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) annihilation or decay in six dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies of the Local Group. Observations were conducted with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) at 16 cm wavelength, with an rms sensitivity better than 0.05 mJy/beam in each field. In this work, we first discuss the uncertainties associated with the modeling of the expected signal, such as the shape of the dark matter (DM) profile and the dSph magnetic properties. We then investigate the possibility that point-sources detected in the proximity of the dSph optical center might be due to the emission from a DM cuspy profile. No evidence for an extended emission over a size of few arcmin (which is the DM halo size) has been detected. We present the associated bounds on the WIMP parameter space for different annihilation/decay final states and for different astrophysical assumptions. If the confinement of electrons and positrons in the dSph is such that the majority of their power is radiated within the dSph region, we obtain constraints on the WIMP annihilation rate which are well below the thermal value for masses up to few TeV. On the other hand, for conservative assumptions on the dSph magnetic properties, the bounds can be dramatically relaxed. We show however that, within the next 10 years and regardless of the astrophysical assumptions, it will be possible to progressively close in on the full parameter space of WIMPs by searching for radio signals in dSphs with SKA and its precursors.

Local Group dSph radio survey with ATCA (III): Constraints on Particle Dark Matter [Cross-Listing]

We performed a deep search for radio synchrotron emissions induced by weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) annihilation or decay in six dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies of the Local Group. Observations were conducted with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) at 16 cm wavelength, with an rms sensitivity better than 0.05 mJy/beam in each field. In this work, we first discuss the uncertainties associated with the modeling of the expected signal, such as the shape of the dark matter (DM) profile and the dSph magnetic properties. We then investigate the possibility that point-sources detected in the proximity of the dSph optical center might be due to the emission from a DM cuspy profile. No evidence for an extended emission over a size of few arcmin (which is the DM halo size) has been detected. We present the associated bounds on the WIMP parameter space for different annihilation/decay final states and for different astrophysical assumptions. If the confinement of electrons and positrons in the dSph is such that the majority of their power is radiated within the dSph region, we obtain constraints on the WIMP annihilation rate which are well below the thermal value for masses up to few TeV. On the other hand, for conservative assumptions on the dSph magnetic properties, the bounds can be dramatically relaxed. We show however that, within the next 10 years and regardless of the astrophysical assumptions, it will be possible to progressively close in on the full parameter space of WIMPs by searching for radio signals in dSphs with SKA and its precursors.

Molecular line emission in NGC1068 imaged with ALMA: II. The chemistry of the dense molecular gas

We present a detailed analysis of ALMA Bands 7 and 9 data of CO, HCO+, HCN and CS, augmented with Plateau de Bure Interferometer (PdBI) data of the ~ 200 pc circumnuclear disk (CND) and the ~ 1.3 kpc starburst ring (SB ring) of NGC~1068, a nearby (D = 14 Mpc) Seyfert 2 barred galaxy. We aim at determining the physical characteristics of the dense gas present in the CND and whether the different line intensity ratios we find within the CND as well as between the CND and the SB ring are due to excitation effects (gas density and temperature differences) or to a different chemistry. We estimate the column densities of each species in Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE). We then compute large one-dimensional non-LTE radiative transfer grids (using RADEX) by using first only the CO transitions, and then all the available molecules in order to constrain the densities, temperatures and column densities within the CND. We finally present a preliminary set of chemical models to determine the origin of the gas. We find that in general the gas in the CND is very dense (> 10^5 cm^-3) and hot (T> 150K), with differences especially in the temperature across the CND. The AGN position has the lowest CO/HCO+, CO/HCN and CO/CS column density ratios. RADEX analyses seem to indicate that there is chemical differentiation across the CND. We also find differences between the chemistry of the SB ring and some regions of the CND; the SB ring is also much colder and less dense than the CND. Chemical modelling does not succeed in reproducing all the molecular ratios with one model per region, suggesting the presence of multi-gas phase components. The LTE, RADEX and chemical analyses all indicate that more than one gas-phase component is necessary to uniquely fit all the available molecular ratios within the CND.

Millimeter-wave Spectral Line Surveys toward the Galactic Circumnuclear Disk and Sgr A*

We have performed unbiased spectral line surveys at 3 mm band toward the Galactic circumnuclear disk (CND) and Sgr A* using the Nobeyama Radio Observatory (NRO) 45 m radio telescope. The target positions are two tangential points of the CND and the direction of Sgr A*. We have obtained three wide-band spectra which cover the frequency range from 81.3 GHz to 115.8 GHz, detecting 46 molecular lines from 30 species including 10 rare isotopomers and four hydrogen recombination lines. Each line profile consists of multiple velocity components which arise from the CND, +50 km/s and +20 km/s clouds (GMCs), and the foreground spiral arms. We define the specific velocity ranges which represent the CND and the GMCs toward each direction, and classify the detected lines into three categories: the CND-/GMC-/HBD-types, based on the line intensities integrated over the defined velocity ranges. The CND- and GMC-types are the lines which mainly trace the CND and the GMCs, respectively. The HBD-type possesses the both characteristics of the CND-/GMC-types. We also present the lists of line intensities and other parameters, as well as intensity ratios, which must be useful to investigate the difference between nuclear environments of our Galaxy and of others.

Measuring Galaxy Clustering and the Evolution of [CII] Mean Intensity with far-IR Line Intensity Mapping During 0.5 < z < 1.5

Infrared fine-structure emission lines from trace metals are powerful diagnostics of the interstellar medium in galaxies. We explore the possibility of studying the redshifted far-IR fine-structure line emission using the three-dimensional (3-D) power spectra obtained with an imaging spectrometer. The intensity mapping approach measures the spatio-spectral fluctuations due to line emission from all galaxies, including those below the individual detection threshold. The technique provides 3-D measurements of galaxy clustering and moments of the galaxy luminosity function. Furthermore, the linear portion of the power spectrum can be used to measure the total line emission intensity including all sources through cosmic time with redshift information naturally encoded. Total line emission, when compared to the total star formation activity and/or other line intensities reveals evolution of the interstellar conditions of galaxies in aggregate. As a case study, we consider measurement of [CII] autocorrelation in the 0.5 < z < 1.5 epoch, where interloper lines are minimized, using far-IR/submm balloon-borne and future space-borne instruments with moderate and high sensitivity, respectively. In this context, we compare the intensity mapping approach to blind galaxy surveys based on individual detections. We find that intensity mapping is nearly always the best way to obtain the total line emission because blind, wide-field galaxy surveys lack sufficient depth and deep pencil beams do not observe enough galaxies in the requisite luminosity and redshift bins. Also, intensity mapping is often the most efficient way to measure the power spectrum shape, depending on the details of the luminosity function and the telescope aperture.

A Dynamically Collapsing Core and a Precursor of a Core in a Filament Supported by Turbulent and Magnetic Pressures

To study physical properties of the natal filament gas around the cloud core harboring an exceptionally young low-mass protostar GF9-2, we carried out J=1-0 line observations of 12CO, 13CO, and C18O molecules using the Nobeyama 45m telescope. The mapping area covers ~1/5 of the whole filament. Our 13CO and C18O maps clearly demonstrate that the core formed at the local density maxima of the filament, and the internal motions of the filament gas are totally governed by turbulence with Mach number of ~2. We estimated the scale height of the filament to be H = 0.3 ~ 0.7 pc, yielding the central density of n_c = 700 ~4200 cm^-3. Our analysis adopting an isothermal cylinder model shows that the filament is supported by the turbulent and magnetic pressures against the radial and axial collapse due to self-gravity. Since both the dissipation time scales of the turbulence and the transverse magnetic fields can be comparable to the free-fall time of the filament gas of 10^6 years, we conclude that the local decay of the supersonic turbulence made the filament gas locally unstable, hence making the core collapse. Furthermore, we newly detected a gas condensation with velocity width enhancement to ~0.3 pc south-west of the GF9-2 core. The condensation has a radius of ~0.15 pc and an LTE mass of ~5 Msun. Its internal motion is turbulent with Mach number of ~3, suggestive of a gravitationally unbound state. Considering the uncertainties in our estimates, however, we propose that the condensation is a precursor of a cloud core which would have been produced by the collision of the two gas components identified in the filament.

The VLA-COSMOS Survey: V. 324 MHz continuum observations

We present 90 cm VLA imaging of the COSMOS field, comprising a circular area of 3.14 square degrees at 8.0"x6.0" angular resolution with an average rms of 0.5 mJy/beam. The extracted catalog contains 182 sources (down to 5.5sigma), 30 of which are multi-component sources. Using Monte Carlo artificial source simulations we derive the completeness of the catalog, and we show that our 90 cm source counts agree very well with those from previous studies. Using X-ray, NUV-NIR and radio COSMOS data to investigate the population mix of our 90 cm radio sample, we find that our sample is dominated by active galactic nuclei (AGN). The average 90-20 cm spectral index (S_nu~nu**alpha, where S_nu is the flux density at frequency nu, and alpha the spectral index) of our 90 cm selected sources is -0.70, with an interquartile range of -0.90 to -0.53. Only a few ultra-steep-spectrum sources are present in our sample, consistent with results in the literature for similar fields. Our data do not show clear steepening of the spectral index with redshift. Nevertheless, our sample suggests that sources with spectral indices steeper than -1 all lie at z>1, in agreement with the idea that ultra-steep-spectrum radio sources may trace intermediate-redshift galaxies (z>1).

Simulating multiple merger pathways to the central kinematics of early-type galaxies

Two-dimensional integral field surveys such as ATLAS^3D are producing rich observational data sets yielding insights into galaxy formation. These new kinematic observations have highlighted the need to understand the evolutionary mechanisms leading to a spectrum of fast-rotators and slow-rotators in early-type galaxies. We address the formation of slow and fast rotators through a series of controlled, comprehensive hydrodynamical simulations sampling idealized galaxy merger scenarios constructed from model spiral galaxies. Idealized and controlled simulations of this sort complement the more ‘realistic’ cosmological simulations by isolating and analyzing the effects of specific parameters, as we do in this paper. We recreate minor and major binary mergers, binary merger trees with multiple progenitors, and multiple sequential mergers. Within each of these categories of formation history, we correlate progenitor gas fraction, mass ratio, orbital pericenter, orbital ellipticity, and spin with remnant kinematic properties. We create kinematic profiles of these 95 simulations comparable to ATLAS^3D data. By constructing remnant profiles of the projected specific angular momentum (lambda_R = <R|V|> / <sqrt(V^2+sigma^2)>, triaxiality, and measuring the incidences of kinematic twists and kinematically decoupled cores, we distinguish between varying formation scenarios. We find that binary mergers nearly always form fast rotators. Slow rotators can be formed from zero initial angular momentum configurations and gas-poor mergers, but are not as round as the ATLAS^3D galaxies. Remnants of binary merger trees are triaxial slow rotators. Sequential mergers form round slow rotators that most resemble the ATLAS^3D rotators.

Velocity Bias from the Small Scale Clustering of SDSS-III BOSS Galaxies

We present the measurements and modelling of the projected and redshift-space clustering of CMASS galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey Data Release 11. For a volume-limited luminous red galaxy sample in the redshift range of $0.48<z<0.55$, we perform halo occupation distribution modelling of the small- and intermediate-scale ($0.1$–$60h^{-1}{\rm {Mpc}}$) projected and redshift-space two-point correlation functions, with an accurate model built on high resolution $N$-body simulations. To interpret the measured redshift-space distortions, the distribution of galaxy velocities must differ from that of the dark matter inside haloes of $\sim 10^{13}$–$10^{14}h^{-1}{\rm M_{\odot}}$, i.e. the data require the existence of galaxy velocity bias. Most notably, central galaxies on average are not at rest with respect to the core of their host haloes (defined by the inner 25% of particles around the halo potential minimum), but rather move around it with a 1D velocity dispersion of $0.22^{+0.03}_{-0.04}$ times that of the dark matter, implying a spatial offset from the centre at the level of $\lesssim$1% of the halo virial radius. The luminous satellite galaxies move more slowly than the dark matter, with velocities $0.86^{+0.08}_{-0.03}$ times those of the dark matter, which suggests that the velocity and spatial distributions of these satellites cannot both be unbiased. The constraints mainly arise from the Fingers-of-God effect at nonlinear scales and the smoothing to the Kaiser effect in the translinear regime; the robustness of the results is demonstrated by a variety of tests. In addition, no clear evidence is found for a strong luminosity dependence of the velocity bias. We discuss the implications of the existence of galaxy velocity bias for investigations of galaxy formation and cosmology.

The tilt of the velocity ellipsoid in the Milky Way disk

Accurate determination of the local dark matter density is important for understanding the nature and distribution of dark matter in the universe. This requires that the local velocity distribution is characterised correctly. Here, we present a kinematic study of 16,276 SEGUE G-type dwarf stars in the solar neighbourhood, with which we determine the shape of the velocity ellipsoid in the meridional plane. We separate our G-dwarf stars based on their [Fe/H] and [alpha/Fe] abundances and estimate the best-fitting Milky Way model independently for each sub-sample using a maximum-likelihood method that accounts for possible contaminants. We show that the different subpopulations yield consistent results only when we allow the velocity ellipsoid in the disk to be tilted, demonstrating that the common assumption of decoupled radial and vertical motions in the disk is incorrect. Further, we the find that the tilt angle alpha of the velocity ellipsoid increases with height |z| from 5{\deg} at 0.5 kpc to 14{\deg} at 2.0 kpc, consistent with pointing toward the Galactic centre at an angle tan(alpha) ~ |z|/R. We also confirm earlier findings that the subpopulations behave almost isothermally both radially and vertically, about 39 (20) km/s for the chemically-young, metal-rich disk stars to about 60 (48) km/s for the chemically-old, metal-poor disk stars. We conclude that the coupling between radial and vertical motion captured in the velocity ellipsoid tilt cannot be ignored when considering dynamical models of the solar neighbourhood. In a subsequent paper, we will develop a new modelling scheme informed by these results and make an improved determination of the local dark matter density.

The Discovery of a Very Massive Star in W49

Very massive stars (M>100 M$_{\odot}$) are very rare objects, but have a strong influence on their environment. The formation of this kind of objects is of prime importance in star formation, but observationally still poorly constrained. We report on the identification of a very massive star in the central cluster of the star-forming region W49. We investigate near-infrared K-band spectroscopic observations of W49 from VLT/ISAAC together with JHK images obtained with NTT/SOFI and LBT/LUCI. We derive a spectral type of W49nr1, the brightest star in the dense core of the central cluster of W49. On the basis of its K-band spectrum, W49nr1 is classified as an O2-3.5If* star with a K-band absolute magnitude of -6.27$\pm$0.10 mag. The effective temperature and bolometric correction are estimated from stars of similar spectral type. After comparison to the Geneva evolutionary models, we find an initial mass between 100 M$_{\odot}$ and 180 M$_{\odot}$. Varying the extinction law results in a larger initial mass range of 90 – 250 M$_{\odot}$.

A giant radio halo in the cool core cluster CL1821+643

Giant radio halos are Mpc-size sources found in some merging galaxy clusters. The synchrotron emitting electrons are thought to be (re)accelerated by plasma turbulence induced by the merging of two massive clusters. Cool core galaxy clusters have a low temperature core, likely an indication that a major merger has not recently occurred. CL1821+643 is one of the strongest cool core clusters known so far. Surprisingly, we detect a giant radio halo with a largest linear size of $\sim$ 1.1 Mpc. We discuss the radio and X-ray properties of the cluster in the framework of the proposed models for giant radio halos. If a merger is causing the radio emission, despite the presence of a cool-core, we suggest that it should be off-axis, or in an early phase, or a minor one.

CO in Hickson Compact Group galaxies with enhanced warm \htwo\ emission: Evidence for galaxy evolution?

Galaxies in Hickson Compact Groups (HCGs) are believed to experience morphological transformations from blue, star-forming galaxies to red, early-type galaxies. Galaxies with a high ratio between the luminosities of the warm H2 to the 7.7mu PAH emission ("Molecular Hydrogen Emission Galaxies", MOHEGs) are predominantly in an intermediate phase, the green valley. Their enhanced H2 emission suggests that the molecular gas is affected in the transition. We study the properties of the molecular gas traced by CO in galaxies in HCGs with measured warm H2 emission in order to look for evidence of the perturbations affecting the warm H2 in the kinematics, morphology and mass of the molecular gas. We analyzed the molecular gas mass derived from CO(1-0), MH2, and its kinematics, and then compared it to the mass of the warm molecular gas, the stellar mass and star formation rate (SFR). Our results are the following. (i) The mass ratio between the CO-derived and the warm H2 molecular gas is in the same range as for field galaxies. (ii) Some galaxies, mostly MOHEGs, have very broad CO linewidths of up to 1000 kms. The line shapes are irregular and show various components. (iii) The mapped objects show asymmetric distributions of the cold molecular gas. (iv) The star formation efficiency (= SFR/MH2) of galaxies in HCGs is similar to isolated galaxies. No significant difference between MOHEGs and non-MOHEGs or between early-types and spirals has been found. (v) The molecular gas masses, MH2, and MH2/LK are lower in MOHEGs (predominantly early-types) than in non-MOHEGs (predominantly spirals). This trend remains when comparing MOHEGs and non-MOHEGs of the same morphological type. The differences in the molecular gas properties of MOHEGs support the view that they are suffering perturbations of the molecular gas, as well as a decrease in the molecular gas content and associated SFR.

A cluster finding algorithm based on the multi-band identification of red-sequence galaxies

We present a new algorithm, CAMIRA, to identify clusters of galaxies in wide-field imaging survey data. We base our algorithm on the stellar population synthesis model to predict colours of red-sequence galaxies at a given redshift for an arbitrary set of bandpass filters, with additional calibration using a sample of spectroscopic galaxies to improve the accuracy of the model prediction. We run the algorithm on ~11960 deg^2 of imaging data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 8 to construct a catalogue of 71743 clusters in the redshift range 0.1<z<0.6 with richness after correcting for the incompleteness of the richness estimate greater than 20. We cross-match the cluster catalogue with external cluster catalogues to find that our photometric cluster redshift estimates are accurate with low bias and scatter, and that the corrected richness correlates well with X-ray luminosities and temperatures. We use the publicly available Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey (CFHTLenS) shear catalogue to calibrate the mass-richness relation from stacked weak lensing analysis. Stacked weak lensing signals are detected significantly for 8 subsamples of the SDSS clusters divided by redshift and richness bins, which are then compared with model predictions including miscentring effects to constrain mean halo masses of individual bins. We find the richness correlates well with the halo mass, such that the corrected richness limit of 20 corresponds to the cluster virial mass limit of about 1 \times 10^14 M_Sun/h for the SDSS DR8 cluster sample.

Fluctuations of differential number counts of radio continuum sources

We investigate the differential number counts of sources in radio continuum surveys, including all terms at linear order in cosmological perturbations. Our framework does not assume a specific gauge condition. This general approach allows us to recover gauge invariance explicitly. With the complete derivations of the covariant volume integral on the past light cone, we have identified several contributions in the number counts. To clarify their underlying physics, we present each contributions in terms of scalar, vector and tensor modes. This theoretical framework promises to be widely applicable to continuum radio galaxy surveys to model the expected angular power spectrum and two-point correlation.

Is there a "too big to fail" problem in the field?

We use the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) 21cm survey to measure the number density of galaxies as a function of their rotational velocity, Vrot,HI (as inferred from the width of their 21cm emission line). Based on the measured velocity function we statistically connect galaxies with their host halos, via abundance matching. In a LCDM cosmology, low-velocity galaxies are expected to be hosted by halos that are significantly more massive than indicated by the measured galactic velocity; allowing lower mass halos to host ALFALFA galaxies would result in a vast overestimate of their number counts. We then seek observational verification of this predicted trend, by analyzing the kinematics of a literature sample of field dwarf galaxies. We find that galaxies with Vrot,HI<25 km/s are kinematically incompatible with their predicted LCDM host halos, in the sense that hosts are too massive to be accommodated within the measured galactic rotation curves. This issue is analogous to the "too big to fail" problem faced by the bright satellites of the Milky Way, but here it concerns extreme dwarf galaxies in the field. Consequently, solutions based on satellite-specific processes are not applicable in this context. Our result confirms the findings of previous studies based on optical survey data, and addresses a number of observational systematics present in these works. Furthermore, we point out the assumptions and uncertainties that could strongly affect our conclusions. We show that the two most important among them, namely baryonic effects on the abundances and rotation curves of halos, do not seem capable of resolving the reported discrepancy.

Coronene and pyrene (5, 7)-member ring defects: Infrared spectra, energetics and alternative formation pathways

PAHs are known to be one of the carriers of the ubiquitous aromatic IR bands. The IR spectra of many objects show IR emission features derived from PAH molecules of different size. Still some of the characteristics of the emitting population remain unclear. The emission bands show details which cannot be explained so far. These unidentified IR features require further laboratory and observational investigations. We present a theoretical study of the IR spectra of PAHs containing (5,7)-member ring defects, focusing on pyrene and coronene. Using density functional theory, we investigate the effects of such defects on the IR spectra of pyrene and coronene and their cations and anions. In addition, we explore parts of the potential energy surface of the neutral species and discuss alternative formation pathways. The addition of (5,7)-membered ring defects in pyrene and coronene results in a change of the IR spectra, both molecules lose their typical spectroscopic signature. We find shifts in the positions of the band as well as different intensities and a rise in the number of features. The boundaries in terms of the size of the PAHs exhibiting a (5,7)-membered ring defect are studied and shown. Investigation of the minimal energy pathway leads to a result of 8.21 eV for pyrene and 8.41 eV for coronene as minimum activation barriers for the transformation from ground state to defected state. Whereas pyrene retains some of its symmetry due to the symmetry exhibited by the Stone-Wales defect itself, coronene loses much more of its symmetry. The formation of these (5,7)-ring defects in PAHs may be well supported in AGB stars or PNe. Those environments strongly enable the transition from the ground state to the defect state. Therefore the knowledge of the IR spectra of these molecules will support future investigations aiming for a thorough understanding of the unidentified IR emission bands.

Deriving physical parameters of unresolved star clusters. II. The degeneracies of age, mass, extinction, and metallicity

This paper is the second of a series that investigates the stochasticity and degeneracy problems that hinder the derivation of the age, mass, extinction, and metallicity of unresolved star clusters in external galaxies when broad-band photometry is used. While Paper I concentrated on deriving age, mass, and extinction of star clusters for one fixed metallicity, we here derive these parameters in case when metallicity is let free to vary. The results were obtained using several different filter systems ($UBVRI$, $UBVRIJHK$, GALEX+$UBVRI$), which allowed to optimally reduce the different degeneracies between the cluster physical parameters. The age, mass, and extinction of a sample of artificial star clusters were derived by comparing their broad-band integrated magnitudes with the magnitudes of a large grid of cluster models with various metallicities. A large collection of artificial clusters was studied to model the different degeneracies in the age, mass, extinction, and metallicity parameter space when stochasticity is taken into account in the cluster models. We show that, without prior knowledge on the metallicity, the optical bands ($UBVRI$) fail to allow a correct derivation of the age, mass, and extinction because of the strong degeneracies between models of different metallicities. Adding near-infrared information ($UBVRI$+$JHK$) slightly helps in improving the parameter derivation, except for the metallicity. Adding ultraviolet data (GALEX+$UBVRI$) helps significantly in deriving these parameters and allows constraining the metallicity when the photometric errors have a Gaussian distribution with standard deviations 0.05 mag for $UBVRI$ and 0.15 mag for the GALEX bands.

Shapley Supercluster Survey (ShaSS): Galaxy Evolution from Filaments to Cluster Cores

We present an overview of a multi-wavelength survey of the Shapley supercluster (SSC; z=0.05) covering a contiguous area of 260 h^{-2}_{70} Mpc^2 including the supercluster core. The main aim of the survey is to quantify the influence of cluster-scale mass assembly on galaxy evolution in one of the most massive structures in the local Universe. The Shapley supercluster survey (ShaSS) includes nine Abell clusters (A3552, A3554, A3556, A3558, A3559, A3560, A3562, AS0724, AS0726) and two poor clusters (SC1327- 312, SC1329-313) showing evidence of cluster-cluster interactions. Optical (ugri) and near-infrared (K) imaging acquired with the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) allow us to study the galaxy population down to m*+6 at the supercluster redshift. A dedicated spectroscopic survey with AAOmega on the Anglo-Australian Telescope provides a magnitude-limited sample of redshifts of supercluster members with 80% completeness at m*+2.5. We discuss the scientific aspects of the survey and describe its main characteristics. We derive the galaxy density across the whole area of the survey, demonstrating that all (sub-)structures within this area are embedded in a single network of clusters, groups and filaments. The stellar mass density in the core of the SSC is always higher than 9E09 M_sun Mpc^-3, which is about 40 times the cosmic stellar mass density for galaxies in the local Universe. We find a new filamentary structure (7 Mpc long in projection) connecting the SSC core to the cluster A3559, as well as previously unidentified density peaks. We perform a weak-lensing analysis of the central 1 sqdeg field of the survey to test the feasibility of mapping the dark matter distribution in the SSC with our data. We obtain for the central cluster A3558 a mass of M_500~7.63E14 M_sun, in agreement with X-ray based estimates.

Shapley Supercluster Survey (ShaSS): Galaxy Evolution from Filaments to Cluster Cores [Replacement]

We present an overview of a multi-wavelength survey of the Shapley supercluster (SSC; z=0.05) covering a contiguous area of 260 h^{-2}_{70} Mpc^2 including the supercluster core. The main aim of the survey is to quantify the influence of cluster-scale mass assembly on galaxy evolution in one of the most massive structures in the local Universe. The Shapley supercluster survey (ShaSS) includes nine Abell clusters (A3552, A3554, A3556, A3558, A3559, A3560, A3562, AS0724, AS0726) and two poor clusters (SC1327- 312, SC1329-313) showing evidence of cluster-cluster interactions. Optical (ugri) and near-infrared (K) imaging acquired with the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) allow us to study the galaxy population down to m*+6 at the supercluster redshift. A dedicated spectroscopic survey with AAOmega on the Anglo-Australian Telescope provides a magnitude-limited sample of redshifts of supercluster members with 80% completeness at m*+2.5. We discuss the scientific aspects of the survey and describe its main characteristics. We derive the galaxy density across the whole area of the survey, demonstrating that all (sub-)structures within this area are embedded in a single network of clusters, groups and filaments. The stellar mass density in the core of the SSC is always higher than 9E09 M_sun Mpc^-3, which is about 40 times the cosmic stellar mass density for galaxies in the local Universe. We find a new filamentary structure (7 Mpc long in projection) connecting the SSC core to the cluster A3559, as well as previously unidentified density peaks. We perform a weak-lensing analysis of the central 1 sqdeg field of the survey to test the feasibility of mapping the dark matter distribution in the SSC with our data. We obtain for the central cluster A3558 a mass of M_500~7.63E14 M_sun, in agreement with X-ray based estimates.

Properties of Star Clusters - II: Scale Height Evolution of Clusters

Until now it has been impossible to observationally measure how star cluster scale height evolves beyond 1Gyr as only small samples have been available. Here we establish a novel method to determine the scale height of a cluster sample using modelled distributions and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests. This allows us to determine the scale height with a 25% accuracy for samples of 38 clusters or more. We apply our method to investigate the temporal evolution of cluster scale height, using homogeneously selected sub-samples of Kharchenko et al. (MWSC), Dias et al. (DAML02), WEBDA, and Froebrich et al. (FSR). We identify a linear relationship between scale height and log(age/yr) of clusters, considerably different from field stars. The scale height increases from about 40pc at 1Myr to 75pc at 1Gyr, most likely due to internal evolution and external scattering events. After 1Gyr, there is a marked change of the behaviour, with the scale height linearly increasing with log(age/yr) to about 550pc at 3.5Gyr. The most likely interpretation is that the surviving clusters are only observable because they have been scattered away from the mid-plane in their past. A detailed understanding of this observational evidence can only be achieved with numerical simulations of the evolution of cluster samples in the Galactic Disk. Furthermore, we find a weak trend of an age-independent increase in scale height with galactocentric distance. There are no significant temporal or spatial variations of the cluster distribution zero point. We determine the Sun’s vertical displacement from the Galactic Plane as $Z_\odot=18.5\pm1.2$pc.

Circumbinary Ring, Circumstellar disks and accretion in the binary system UY Aurigae

Recent exo-planetary surveys reveal that planets can orbit and survive around binary stars. This suggests that some fraction of young binary systems which possess massive circumbinary disks (CB) may be in the midst of planet formation. However, there are very few CB disks detected. We revisit one of the known CB disks, the UY Aurigae system, and probe 13CO 2-1, C18O 2-1, SO 5(6)-4(5) and 12CO 3-2 line emission and the thermal dust continuum. Our new results confirm the existence of the CB disk. In addition, the circumstellar (CS) disks are clearly resolved in dust continuum at 1.4 mm. The spectral indices between the wavelengths of 0.85 mm and 6 cm are found to be surprisingly low, being 1.6 for both CS disks. The deprojected separation of the binary is 1.26" based on our 1.4 mm continuum data. This is 0.07" (10 AU) larger than in earlier studies. Combining the fact of the variation of UY Aur B in $R$ band, we propose that the CS disk of an undetected companion UY Aur Bb obscures UY Aur Ba. A very complex kinematical pattern inside the CB disk is observed due to a mixing of Keplerian rotation of the CB disk, the infall and outflow gas. The streaming gas accreting from the CB ring toward the CS disks and possible outflows are also identified and resolved. The SO emission is found to be at the bases of the streaming shocks. Our results suggest that the UY Aur system is undergoing an active accretion phase from the CB disk to the CS disks. The UY Aur B might also be a binary system, making the UY Aur a triple system.

Big Fish in Small Ponds: Massive Stars in the Low Mass Clusters of M83

We have used multi-wavelength Hubble Space Telescope WFC3 data of the starbursting spiral galaxy M83 in order to measure variations in the upper end of the stellar initial mass function (uIMF) using the production rate of ionizing photons in unresolved clusters with ages $\leq$ 8 Myr. As in earlier papers on M51 and NGC 4214, the upper end of the stellar IMF in M83 is consistent with an universal IMF, and stochastic sampling of the stellar populations in the $\lessapprox$ 10$^{3}$ Msun clusters are responsible for any deviations in this universality. The ensemble cluster population, as well as individual clusters, also imply that the most massive star in a cluster does not depend on the cluster mass. In fact, we have found that these small clusters seem to have an over-abundance of ionizing photons when compared to an expected universal or truncated IMF. This also suggests that the presence of massive stars in these clusters does not affect the star formation in a destructive way.

Do cloud-cloud collisions trigger high-mass star formation? I. Small cloud collisions

We performed sub-parsec (~0.06pc) scale simulations of two idealised molecular clouds with different masses undergoing a collision. Gas clumps with density greater than 1e-20 g/cm3 (0.3e4 cm-3) were identified as pre-stellar cores and tracked through the simulation. The colliding system showed a partial gas arc morphology with core formation in the oblique shock-front at the collision interface. These characteristics support NANTEN observations of objects suspected to be colliding giant molecular clouds (GMCs). We investigated the effect of turbulence and collision speed on the resulting core population and compared the cumulative mass distribution to cores in observed GMCs. Our results suggest that a faster relative velocity increases the number of cores formed but that cores grow via accretion predominately while in the shock front, leading to a slower shock being more important for core growth. The core masses obey a power law relation with index gamma = -1.6, in good agreement with observations. This suggests that core production through collisions should follow a similar mass distribution as quiescent formation, albeit at a higher mass range. If cores can be supported against collapse during their growth, the estimated ram pressure from gas infall is of the right order to counter the radiation pressure and form a star of 100Msun.

Linking the X-ray and infrared properties of star-forming galaxies at z<1.5

We present the most complete study to date of the X-ray emission from star-formation in high redshift (median z=0.7; z<1.5), IR-luminous (L_IR=10^10-10^13 L_sun) galaxies detected by Herschel’s PACS and SPIRE instruments. For our purpose we take advantage of the deepest X-ray data to date, the Chandra deep fields (North and South). Sources which host AGN are removed from our analysis by means of multiple AGN indicators. We find an AGN fraction of 18+/-2 per cent amongst our sample and note that AGN entirely dominate at values of log[L_X/L_IR]>-3 in both hard and soft X-ray bands. From the sources which are star-formation dominated, only a small fraction are individually X-ray detected and for the bulk of the sample we calculate average X-ray luminosities through stacking. We find an average soft X-ray to infrared ratio of log[L_SX/L_IR]=-4.3 and an average hard X-ray to infrared ratio of log[L_HX/L_IR]=-3.8. We report that the X-ray/IR correlation is approximately linear through the entire range of L_IR and z probed and, although broadly consistent with the local (z<0.1) one, it does display some discrepancies. We suggest that these discrepancies are unlikely to be physical, i.e. due to an intrinsic change in the X-ray properties of star-forming galaxies with cosmic time, as there is no significant evidence for evolution of the L_X/L_IR ratio with redshift. Instead they are possibly due to selection effects and remaining AGN contamination. We also examine whether dust obscuration in the galaxy plays a role in attenuating X-rays from star-formation, by investigating changes in the L_X/L_IR ratio as a function of the average dust temperature. We conclude that X-rays do not suffer any measurable attenuation in the host galaxy.

On the electron-ion temperature ratio established by collisionless shocks

Astrophysical shocks are often collisionless shocks, in which the changes in plasma flow and temper- atures across the shock are established not through Coulomb interactions, but through electric and mag- netic fields. An open question about collisionless shocks is whether electrons and ions each establish their own post-shock temperature (non-equilibration of temperatures), or whether they quickly equilibrate in the shock region. Here we provide a simple relation for the minimal amount of equilibration to expect. The basic assumption is that the enthalpy-flux of the electrons is conserved separately, but that all parti- cle species should undergo the same density jump across the the shock, in order for the plasma to remain charge neutral. This assumption results in an analytic treatment of electron-ion equilibration that agrees with observations of collisionless shocks: at low Mach numbers < 2 the electrons and ions are close to equilibration, whereas for Mach numbers above M ~ 60 the electron-ion temperature ratio scales with the particle masses T_i/T_e = m_i/m_e. In between these two extremes the electron-ion temperature ratio scales as T_i/T_e ~1/M^2. This scaling is in agreement with observational data at low Mach number, but for supernova remnants the relation requires that the inferred Mach numbers for the observations are over- estimated, perhaps as a result of upstream heating in the cosmic-ray precursor. In addition to predicting a minimal electron/ion temperature ratio, we also heuristically incorporate ion-electron heat exchange at the shock, quantified with a dimensionless parameter {\xi}. Comparing the model to existing observations in the solar system and supernova remnants suggests that the data are best described by {\xi} ~ 5%, but also provides a hint that the Mach number of some supernova remnant shocks has been overestimated.

Surface chemistry in the Interstellar Medium II. $\mathrm{H}_2$ formation on dust with random temperature fluctuations

The $\mathrm{H}_2$ formation on grains is known to be sensitive to dust temperature, which is also known to fluctuate for small grain sizes due to photon absorption. We aim at exploring the consequences of simultaneous fluctuations of the dust temperature and the adsorbed H-atom population on the $\mathrm{H}_2$ formation rate under the full range of astrophysically relevant UV intensities and gas conditions. The master equation approach is generalized to coupled fluctuations in both the grain’s temperature and its surface population and solved numerically. The resolution can be simplified in the case of the Eley-Rideal mechanism, allowing a fast computation. For the Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism, it remains computationally expensive, and accurate approximations are constructed. We find the Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism to become an efficient formation mechanism in unshielded photon dominated region (PDR) edge conditions when taking those fluctuations into account, despite hot average dust temperatures. It reaches an importance comparable to the Eley-Rideal mechanism. However, we show that a simpler rate equation treatment gives qualitatively correct observable results in full cloud simulations under most astrophysically relevant conditions. Typical differences are a factor of 2-3 on the intensities of the $\mathrm{H}_2$ $v=0$ lines. We also find that rare fluctuations in cloud cores are sufficient to significantly reduce the formation efficiency. Our detailed analysis confirms that the usual approximations used in numerical models are adequate when interpreting observations, but a more sophisticated statistical analysis is required if one is interested in the details of surface processes.

The Direct Collapse of a Massive Black Hole Seed Under the Influence of an Anisotropic Lyman-Werner Source

The direct collapse model of supermassive black hole seed formation provides an attractive solution to the origin of the quasars now routinely observed at $z \gtrsim 6$. We use the adaptive mesh refinement code Enzo to simulate the collapse of gas at high redshift, including a nine species chemical model of H, He, and H$_2$. The direct collapse model requires that the gas cools predominantly via atomic hydrogen. To this end we simulate the effect of an anisotropic radiation source on the collapse of a halo at high redshift. The radiation source is placed at a distance of 3 kpc (physical) from the collapsing object. The source is set to emit monochromatically in the center of the Lyman-Werner (LW) band only at $12.8 \ \rm{eV}$. The LW radiation emitted from the high redshift source is followed self-consistently using ray tracing techniques. We find that, due to self-shielding, a small amount of H$_2$ is able to form at the very center of the collapsing halo even under very strong LW radiation. Furthermore, we find that a radiation source, emitting $> 10^{54}\ (\sim10^3\ \rm{J_{21}})$ photons per second is required to cause the collapse of a clump of $\rm{M \sim 10^5}$ M$_{\odot}$. The resulting accretion rate onto the collapsing object is $\sim 0.25$ M$_{\odot}$ $\rm{yr^{-1}}$. Our results display significant differences, compared to the isotropic radiation field case, in terms of H$_2$ fraction at an equivalent radius. These differences will significantly effect the dynamics of the collapse. With the inclusion of a strong anisotropic radiation source, the final mass of the collapsing object is found to be $\rm{M \sim 10^5}$ M$_{\odot}$. This is consistent with predictions for the formation of a supermassive star or quasi-star leading to a supermassive black hole.

Too Many, Too Few, or Just Right? The Predicted Number and Distribution of Milky Way Dwarf Galaxies

We predict the spatial distribution and number of Milky Way dwarf galaxies to be discovered in the DES and LSST surveys, by completeness correcting the observed SDSS dwarf population. We apply most massive in the past, earliest forming, and earliest infall toy models to a set of dark matter-only simulated Milky Way/M31 halo pairs from Exploring the Local Volume In Simulations (ELVIS). The observed spatial distribution of Milky Way dwarfs in the LSST-era will discriminate between the earliest infall and other simplified models for how dwarf galaxies populate dark matter subhalos. Inclusive of all toy models and simulations, at 90% confidence we predict a total of 37-114 L $\gtrsim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ dwarfs and 131-782 L $\lesssim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ dwarfs within 300 kpc. These numbers of L $\gtrsim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ dwarfs are dramatically lower than previous predictions, owing primarily to our use of updated detection limits and the decreasing number of SDSS dwarfs discovered per sky area. For an effective $r_{\rm limit}$ of 25.8 mag, we predict: 3-13 L $\gtrsim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ and 9-99 L $\lesssim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ dwarfs for DES, and 18-53 L $\gtrsim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ and 53-307 L $\lesssim 10^3$L$_{\odot}$ dwarfs for LSST. These enormous predicted ranges ensure a coming decade of near-field excitement with these next generation surveys.

The hunt for the Milky Way's accreted disc

The Milky Way is expected to host an accreted disc of stars and dark matter. This forms as massive >1:10 mergers are preferentially dragged towards the disc plane by dynamical friction and then tidally shredded. The accreted disc likely contributes only a tiny fraction of the Milky Way’s thin and thick stellar disc. However, it is interesting because: (i) its associated `dark disc’ has important implications for experiments hoping to detect a dark matter particle in the laboratory; and (ii) the presence or absence of such a disc constrains the merger history of our Galaxy. In this work, we develop a chemo-dynamical template to hunt for the accreted disc. We apply our template to the high-resolution spectroscopic sample from Ruchti et al. (2011), finding at present no evidence for accreted stars. Our results are consistent with a quiescent Milky Way with no >1:10 mergers since the disc formed and a correspondingly light `dark disc’. However, we caution that while our method can robustly identify accreted stars, our incomplete stellar sample makes it more challenging to definitively rule them out. Larger unbiased stellar samples will be required for this.

Exploring Halo Substructure with Giant Stars: The Nature of the Triangulum-Andromeda Stellar Features

As large-scale stellar surveys have become available over the past decade, the ability to detect and characterize substructures in the Galaxy has increased dramatically. These surveys have revealed the Triangulum-Andromeda (TriAnd) region to be rich with substructure in the distance range 20-30 kpc, and the relation of these features to each other — if any — remains unclear. This complex situation motivates this re-examination of the TriAnd region with a photometric and spectroscopic survey of M giants. An exploration using 2MASS photometry reveals not only the faint sequence in M giants detected by Rocha-Pinto et al. (2004) spanning the range $100^{\circ}<l<160^{\circ}$ and $-50^{\circ}<b<-15^{\circ}$ but, in addition, a second, brighter and more densely populated M giant sequence. These two sequences are likely associated with the two distinct main-sequences discovered (and labeled TriAnd1 and TriAnd2) by Martin et al. (2007) in an optical survey in the direction of M31, where TriAnd2 is the optical counterpart of the fainter RGB/AGB sequence of Rocha-Pinto et al. (2004). Here, the age, distance, and metallicity ranges for TriAnd1 and TriAnd2 are estimated by simultaneously fitting isochrones to the 2MASS RGB tracks and the optical MS/MSTO features. The two populations are clearly distinct in age and distance: the brighter sequence (TriAnd1) is younger (6-10 Gyr) and closer (distance of $\sim$ 15-21 kpc), while the fainter sequence (TriAnd2) is older (10-12 Gyr) and is at an estimated distance of $\sim$ 24-32 kpc. A comparison with simulations demonstrates that the differences and similarities between TriAnd1 and TriAnd2 can simultaneously be explained if they represent debris originating from the disruption of the same dwarf galaxy, but torn off during two distinct pericentric passages. [Abridged]

HST-COS Spectroscopy of the Cooling Flow in Abell 1795 - Evidence for Inefficient Star Formation in Condensing Intracluster Gas

We present far-UV spectroscopy from the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope of a cool, star-forming filament in the core of Abell 1795. These data, which span 1025A – 1700A, allow for the simultaneous modeling of the young stellar populations and the intermediate-temperature (10^5.5 K) gas in this filament, which is far removed (~30 kpc) from the direct influence of the central AGN. Using a combination of UV absorption line indices and stellar population synthesis modeling, we find evidence for ongoing star formation, with the youngest stars having ages of 7.5 +/- 2.0 Myr and metallicities of 0.4 +/- 0.2 Zsun. The latter is consistent with the local metallicity of the intracluster medium. We detect the O VI (1038) line, measuring a flux of 4.0 +/- 0.9 x 10^-17 erg s^-1 cm^-2. The O VI (1032) line is redshifted such that it is coincident with a strong Galactic H2 absorption feature, and is not detected. The measured O VI (1038) flux corresponds to a cooling rate of 0.85 +/- 0.2 (stat) +/- 0.15 (sys) Msun/yr at ~10^5.5 K, assuming that the cooling proceeds isochorically, which is consistent with the classical X-ray luminosity-derived cooling rate in the same region. We measure a star formation rate of 0.11 +/- 0.02 Msun/yr from the UV continuum, suggesting that star formation is proceeding at 13 +/- 3% efficiency in this filament. We propose that this inefficient star formation represents a significant contribution to the larger-scale cooling flow problem.

On the coexistence of stellar-mass and intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters

In this paper, we address the question: What is the probability of stellar-mass black hole (BH) binaries co-existing in a globular cluster with an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH)? Our results suggest that the detection of one or more BH binaries can strongly constrain the presence of an IMBH in most Galactic globular clusters. More specifically, the detection of one or more BH binaries could strongly indicate against the presence of an IMBH more massive than $\gtrsim 10^3$ M$_{\rm \odot}$ in roughly 80\% of the clusters in our sample. To illustrate this, we use a combination of N-body simulations and analytic methods to weigh the rate of formation of BH binaries against their ejection and/or disruption rate via strong gravitational interactions with the central (most) massive BH. The eventual fate of a sub-population of stellar-mass BHs (with or without binary companions) is for all BHs to be ejected from the cluster by the central IMBH, leaving only the most massive stellar-mass BH behind to form a close binary with the IMBH. During each phase of evolution, we discuss the rate of inspiral of the central BH-BH pair as a function of both the properties of the binary and its host cluster.

TriAnd and its Siblings: Satellites of Satellites in the Milky Way Halo

We explore the Triangulum-Andromeda (TriAnd) overdensity in the SPLASH (Spectroscopic and Photometric Landscape of Andromeda’s Stellar Halo) and SEGUE (the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration) spectroscopic surveys. Milky Way main sequence turn-off stars in the SPLASH survey reveal that the TriAnd overdensity and the recently discovered PAndAS stream (Martin et al. 2014) share a common distance (D ~ 20 kpc), position on the sky, and line-of-sight velocity (V_GSR ~ 50 km/s). Similarly, A-type, giant, and main sequence turn-off stars selected from the SEGUE survey in the vicinity of the Segue 2 dwarf show that TriAnd is prevalent in these fields, with a velocity and distance similar to the Segue 2 satellite. The coincidence of the PAndAS stream and Segue 2 satellite in positional and velocity space to TriAnd suggests that these substructures are all associated, and may be a fossil record of group-infall onto the Milky Way halo. In this scenario, the Segue 2 satellite and PAndAS stream are "satellites of satellites", and the large, metal-rich TriAnd overdensity is the remains of the group central.

Connecting GRBs and ULIRGs: A Sensitive, Unbiased Survey for Radio Emission from Gamma-Ray Burst Host Galaxies at 0<z<2.5

Luminous infrared galaxies and submillimeter galaxies contribute significantly to stellar mass assembly and the frequency of GRBs in these systems provides an important test of the connection between the gamma-ray burst rate and that of overall cosmic star-formation. We present sensitive 3 GHz radio observations using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array of 31 uniformly-selected GRB host galaxies spanning a redshift range from 0 < z < 2.5, providing the first fully dust- and sample-unbiased measurement of the fraction of GRBs originating from the Universe’s most bolometrically luminous galaxies. Four galaxies are detected, with inferred radio star-formation rates ranging between 50-300 Msun/yr. Three of the four detections correspond to events consistent with being optically-obscured "dark" bursts. Our overall detection fraction implies that between 5-25% of GRBs between 0.5 < z < 2.5 occur in galaxies with S_3GHz > 10 uJy, corresponding to SFR > 50 Msun/yr at z~1 or > 250 Msun/yr at z~2. Similar galaxies contribute approximately 10-30% of all cosmic star-formation, so our results are consistent with a GRB rate which is not strongly biased with respect to the total star-formation rate of a galaxy. However, all four radio-detected hosts have modest stellar masses (~few x 10^10 Msun), significantly lower than IR/submillimeter-selected field galaxies of similar luminosities. We suggest that GRBs may be suppressed in metal-rich environments but independently are enhanced in intense starbursts, producing a strong efficiency dependence on mass but little net dependence on bulk galaxy star-formation rate.

The stellar initial mass function at z>1

We explore the stellar initial mass function (IMF) of a sample of 49 massive quiescent galaxies (MQGs) at 0.9<z<1.5. We base our analysis on intermediate resolution spectro-photometric data in the GOODS-N field taken in the near-infrared and optical with the HST/WFC3 G141 grism and the Survey for High-z Absorption Red and Dead Sources (SHARDS). To constrain the slope of the IMF, we have measured the TiO2 spectral feature, whose strength depends strongly on the content of low-mass stars, as well as on stellar age. Using ultraviolet to near-infrared individual and stacked spectral energy distributions, we have independently estimated the stellar ages of our galaxies. For the heaviest z~1 MQGs (M > 10^11.0 Msun) we find an average age of 1.7$\pm$0.3 Gyr and a bottom-heavy IMF ({\Gamma}=3.2$\pm$0.2). Lighter MQGs (10^10.5 < M < 10^11.0 Msun) at the same redshift are younger on average (1.0$\pm$0.2 Gyr) and present a shallower IMF slope ({\Gamma}=2.7$\pm$0.3). Our results are in good agreement with the findings about the IMF slope in early-type galaxies of similar mass in the present-day Universe. This suggests that the IMF, a key characteristic of the stellar populations in galaxies, is bottom-heavier for more massive galaxies and has remained unchanged in the last ~8 Gyr.

Star formation relations and CO SLEDs across the J-ladder and redshift

We present FIR-CO luminosity relations ($\log L_{\rm FIR} = \alpha \log L’_{\rm CO} + \beta$) for the full CO rotational ladder from J=1-0 to J=13-12 for 62 local (z < 0.1) (Ultra) Luminous Infrared Galaxies (LIRGs) using data from Herschel SPIRE-FTS and ground-based telescopes. We extend our sample to high redshifts (z > 1) by including 35 (sub)-millimeter selected dusty star forming galaxies from the literature with robust CO observations. The addition of luminous starbursts at high redshifts enlarge the range of the FIR-CO luminosity relations towards the high-IR-luminosity end while also significantly increasing the small amount of mid-/high-J CO line data available prior to Herschel. This new data-set (both in terms of IR luminosity and J-ladder) reveals linear FIR-CO luminosity relations ($\alpha \sim 1$) for J=1-0 up to J=5-4, with a nearly constant normalisation ($\beta \sim 2$). This is expected from the (also) linear FIR-(molecular line) relations found for the dense gas tracer lines (HCN and CS), as long as the dense gas mass fraction does not vary strongly within our (merger/starburst)-dominated sample. However from J=6-5 and up to J=13-12 we find an increasingly sub-linear slope and higher normalization constant with increasing J. We argue that these are caused by a warm (~100K) and dense ($>10^4{\rm cm^{-3}}$) gas component whose thermal state is unlikely to be maintained by star formation powered far-UV radiation fields (and thus is no longer directly tied to the star formation rate). We suggest that mechanical heating (e.g., supernova driven turbulence and shocks), and not cosmic rays, is the more likely source of energy for this component. The global CO spectral line energy distributions (SLEDs), which remain highly excited from J=6-5 up to J=13-12, are found to be a generic feature of the (U)LIRGs in our sample, and further support the presence of this gas component.

Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury IX: A Photometric Survey of Planetary Nebulae in M31

We search Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) broadband imaging data from the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) survey to identify detections of cataloged planetary nebulae (PNe). Of the 711 PNe currently in the literature within the PHAT footprint, we find 467 detected in the broadband. For these 467 we are able to refine their astrometric accuracy from ~0."3 to 0."05. Using the resolution of HST, we are able to show that 152 objects currently in the catalogs are definitively not PNe, and we show that 32 objects thought to be extended in ground-based images are actually point-like and therefore good PN candidates. We also find one PN candidate that is marginally resolved. If this is a PN, it is up to 0.7 pc in diameter. With our new photometric data, we develop a method of measuring the level of excitation in individual PNe by comparing broadband and narrowband imaging and describe the effects of excitation on a PN’s photometric signature. Using the photometric properties of the known PNe in the PHAT catalogs, we search for more PN, but do not find any new candidates, suggesting that ground-based emission-line surveys are complete in the PHAT footprint to F475W $\simeq$ 24.

Classical bulges, supermassive blackholes and AGN feedback: Extension to low-mass galaxies

The empirical model of Lu et al. 2014a for the relation between star formation rate and halo mass growth is adopted to predict the classical bulge mass ($M_{\rm cb}$) – total stellar mass ($M_\star$) relation for central galaxies. The assumption that the supermassive black hole (SMBH) mass ($M_{\rm BH}$) is directly proportional to the classical bulge mass, with the proportionality given by that for massive galaxies, predicts a $M_{\rm BH}$ – $M_\star$ relation that matches well the observed relation for different types of galaxies. In particular, the model reproduces the strong transition at $M_\star=10^{10.5}$ – $10^{11}M_{\odot}$, below which $M_{\rm BH}$ drops rapidly with decreasing $M_\star$. Our model predicts a new sequence at $M_\star <10^{10.5}M_{\odot}$, where $M_{\rm BH} \propto M_\star$ but the amplitude is a factor of $\sim 50$ lower than the amplitude of the sequence at $M_\star>10^{11}M_{\odot}$. If all SMBH grow through similar quasar modes with a feedback efficiency of a few percent, the energy produced in low-mass galaxies at redshift $z\gtrsim 2$ can heat the circum-galactic medium up to a specific entropy level that is required to prevent excessive star formation in low-mass dark matter halos.

Laboratory Characterization and Astrophysical Detection of Vibrationally Excited States of Vinyl Cyanide in Orion-KL

New laboratory data of CH$_2$CHCN (vinyl cyanide) in its ground and vibrationally excited states at the microwave to THz domain allow searching for these excited state transitions in the Orion-KL line survey. Frequency-modulated spectrometers combined into a single broadband 50-1900 GHz spectrum provided measurements of CH$_2$CHCN covering a spectral range of 18-1893 GHz, whose assignments was confirmed by Stark modulation spectra in the 18-40 GHz region and by ab-initio anharmonic force field calculations. For analyzing the emission lines of CH$_2$CHCN species detected in Orion-KL we used the excitation and radiative transfer code (MADEX) at LTE conditions. The rotational transitions of the ground state of this molecule emerge from four cloud components of hot core nature which trace the physical and chemical conditions of high mass star forming regions in the Orion-KL Nebula. The total column density of CH$_2$CHCN in the ground state is (3.0$\pm$0.9)x10$^{15}$ cm$^{-2}$. We report on the first interstellar detection of transitions in the v10=1/(v11=1,v15=1) dyad in space, and in the v11=2 and v11=3 states in Orion-KL. The lowest energy vibrationally excited states of vinyl cyanide such as v11=1 (at 328.5 K), v15=1 (at 478.6 K), v11=2 (at 657.8 K), the v10=1/(v11=1,v15=1) dyad (at 806.4/809.9 K), and v11=3 (at 987.9 K) are populated under warm and dense conditions, so they probe the hottest parts of the Orion-KL source. Column density and rotational and vibrational temperatures for CH$_2$CHCN in their ground and excited states, as well as for the isotopologues, have been constrained by means of a sample of more than 1000 lines in this survey. Moreover, we present the detection of methyl isocyanide (CH$_3$NC) for the first time in Orion-KL and a tentative detection of vinyl isocyanide (CH$_2$CHNC) and give column density ratios between the cyanide and isocyanide isomers.

The Galactic Center cloud G2 and its gas streamer

We present new, deep near-infrared SINFONI @ VLT integral field spectroscopy of the gas cloud G2 in the Galactic Center, from late summer 2013 and spring 2014. G2 is visible in recombination line emission. The spatially resolved kinematic data track the ongoing tidal disruption. As expected for an observation near pericenter passage, roughly half of the gas in 2014 is found at the redshifted, pre-pericenter side of the orbit, while the other half is at the post-pericenter, blueshifted side. We also present an orbital solution for the gas cloud G1, which was discovered a decade ago in L’-band images when it was spatially almost coincident with Sgr A*. The orientation of the G1 orbit in the three angles is almost identical to the one of G2, but it has a lower eccentricity and smaller semi-major axis. We show that the observed astrometric positions and radial velocities of G1 are compatible with the G2 orbit, assuming that (i) G1 was originally on the G2 orbit preceding G2 by 13 years and (ii) a simple drag force acted on it during pericenter passage. Taken together with the previously described tail of G2, which we detect in recombination line emission and thermal broadband emission, we propose that G2 may be a bright knot in a much more extensive gas streamer. This matches purely gaseous models for G2, such as a stellar wind clump or the tidal debris from a partial disruption of a star.

The flat density profiles of massive, and relaxed galaxy clusters

In the present paper, we studied by means of the SIM introduced in Del Popolo (2009), the total and DM density profiles, and the correlations among different quantities, observed by Newman et al. (2012a,b), in seven massive and relaxed clusters, namely MS2137, A963, A383, A611, A2537, A2667, A2390. Similarly to Newman et al. (2012a,b), the total density profile, in the radius range 0.003 – 0.03$r_{200}$, has a mean total density profile in agreement with dissipationless simulations. The slope of the DM profiles of all clusters is flatter than -1. The slope, $\alpha$, has a maximum value (including errors) of $\alpha=-0.88$ in the case of A2390, and minimum value $\alpha=-0.14$ for A2537. The baryonic component dominates the mass distribution at radii $< 5-10$ kpc, while the outer distribution is dark matter dominated. We found an anti-correlation among the slope $\alpha$, the effective radius, $R_e$, and the BCG mass, and a correlation among the core radius $r_{core}$, and $R_e$. Moreover, the mass in 100 kpc (mainly dark matter) is correlated with the mass inside 5 kpc (mainly baryons). The behavior of the total mass density profile, the DM density profile, and the quoted correlations can be understood in a double phase scenario. In the first dissipative phase the proto-BCG forms, and in the second dissipationless phase, dynamical friction between baryonic clumps (collapsing to the center) and the DM halo flattens the inner slope of the density profile. In simple terms, the large scatter in the inner slope from cluster to cluster, and the anti-correlation among the slope, $\alpha$ and $R_e$ is due to the fact that in order to have a total mass density profile which is NFW-like, clusters having more massive BCGs at their centers must contain less DM in their center. Consequently the inner profile has a flatter slope.

Extragalactic radio sources with sharply inverted spectrum at metre wavelengths

We present the first results of a systematic search for the rare extragalactic radio sources showing an inverted (integrated) spectrum, with spectral index $\alpha \ge +2.0$, a previously unexplored spectral domain. The search is expected to yield strong candidates for $\alpha \ge +2.5$, for which the standard synchrotron self-absorption (characterized by a single power-law energy distribution of relativistic electron population) would not be a plausible explanation, even in an ideal case of a perfectly homogeneous source of incoherent synchrotron radiation. Such sharply inverted spectra, if found, would require alternative explanations, e.g., free-free absorption, or non-standard energy distribution of relativistic electrons which differs from a power-law (e.g., Maxwellian). The search was carried out by comparing two sensitive low-frequency radio surveys made with sub-arcminute resolution, namely, the WISH survey at 352 MHz and TGSS/DR5 at 150 MHz. The overlap region between these two surveys contains 7056 WISH sources classified as `single’ and brighter than 100 mJy at 352 MHz. We focus here on the seven of these sources for which we find $\alpha > +2.0$. Two of these are undetected at 150 MHz and are particularly good candidates for $\alpha > +2.5$. Five of the seven sources exhibit a `Gigahertz-Peaked-Spectrum’ (GPS).

On the Onset of Secondary Stellar Generations in Giant Star Forming Regions and Massive Star Clusters

Here we consider the strong evolution experienced by the matter reinserted by massive stars, both in giant star forming regions driven by a constant star formation rate, and in massive and coeval superstar clusters. In both cases we take into consideration the changes induced by stellar evolution on the number of massive stars, the number of ionizing photons and the integrated mechanical luminosity of the star forming regions. The latter is at all times compared with the critical luminosity that defines, for a given size, the lower mechanical luminosity limit above which the matter reinserted via strong winds and supernova explosions suffers frequent and recurrent thermal instabilities that reduce its temperature and pressure and inhibit its exit as part of a global wind. Instead, the unstable reinserted matter is compressed by the pervasive hot gas, and photoionization maintains its temperature at T $\sim$ 10$^4$ K. As the evolution proceeds, more unstable matter accumulates and the unstable clumps grow in size. Here we evaluate the possible self-shielding of thermally unstable clumps against the UV radiation field. Self shielding allows for a further compression of the reinserted matter which rapidly develops a high density neutral core able to absorb in its outer skin the incoming UV radiation. Under such conditions the cold (T $\sim$ 10 K) neutral cores soon surpass the Jeans limit and become gravitationally unstable, causing a new stellar generation with the matter reinserted by former massive stars. We present the results of several calculations of this positive star formation feedback scenario promoted by strong radiative cooling and mass loading.

Geometry of Star-Forming Galaxies from SDSS, 3D-HST and CANDELS

We determine the intrinsic, 3-dimensional shape distribution of star-forming galaxies at 0<z<2.5, as inferred from their observed projected axis ratios. In the present-day universe star-forming galaxies of all masses 1e9 – 1e11 Msol are predominantly thin, nearly oblate disks, in line with previous studies. We now extend this to higher redshifts, and find that among massive galaxies (M* > 1e10 Msol) disks are the most common geometric shape at all z < 2. Lower-mass galaxies at z>1 possess a broad range of geometric shapes: the fraction of elongated (prolate) galaxies increases toward higher redshifts and lower masses. Galaxies with stellar mass 1e9 Msol (1e10 Msol) are a mix of roughly equal numbers of elongated and disk galaxies at z~1 (z~2). This suggests that galaxies in this mass range do not yet have disks that are sustained over many orbital periods, implying that galaxies with present-day stellar mass comparable to that of the Milky Way typically first formed such sustained stellar disks at redshift z~1.5-2. Combined with constraints on the evolution of the star formation rate density and the distribution of star formation over galaxies with different masses, our findings imply that, averaged over cosmic time, the majority of stars formed in disks.

The Discovery of Timescale-Dependent Color Variability of Quasars

Quasars are variable on timescales from days to years in UV/optical, and generally appear bluer while they brighten. The physics behind the variations in fluxes and colors remains unclear. Using SDSS g and r band photometric monitoring data of quasars in Stripe 82, we find that although the flux variation amplitude increases with timescale, the color variability exhibits opposite behavior. The color variability of quasars is prominent at timescales as short as ~ 10 days, but gradually reduces toward timescales up to years. In other words, the variable emission at shorter timescales is bluer than that at longer timescales. This timescale dependence is clearly and consistently detected at all redshifts from z = 0 to 3.5, thus can not be due to contaminations to broadband photometry from emission lines which do not respond to fast continuum variations. The discovery directly rules out the possibility that simply attributes the color variability to contamination from a non-variable redder component, such as the host galaxy. It can not be interpreted as changes in global accretion rate either. The thermal accretion disk fluctuation model is favored, in the sense that fluctuations in the inner hotter region of the disk are responsible for short term variations, while longer term and stronger variations are expected from larger and cooler disk region. An interesting implication is that one can use quasar variations at different timescales to probe disk emission at different radii.

Can dark matter - electron scattering explain the DAMA annual modulation signal? [Cross-Listing]

The $\sim$ keV scintillations observed in the DAMA/NaI and DAMA/Libra experiments might be due to dark matter – electron scattering. Such an explanation is now favoured given the stringent constraints on nuclear recoil rates obtained by LUX, SuperCDMS and other experiments. We suggest that multi-component dark matter models featuring light dark matter particles of mass $\sim$ MeV can potentially explain the data. A specific example, kinetically mixed mirror dark matter, is shown to have the right broad properties to consistently explain the experiments via dark matter – electron scattering. We point out that this electron scattering interpretation of DAMA can be tested in large xenon experiments (LUX, XENON1T,…), as well as in low threshold experiments (CoGeNT, CDEX, C4, …) by searching for annually modulated electron recoils.

Treatment of realistic tidal field in Monte Carlo simulations of star clusters

We present a new implementation of the Monte Carlo method to simulate the evolution of star clusters. The major improvement with respect to the previously developed codes is the treatment of the external tidal field taking into account for both the loss of stars from the cluster boundary and the disk/bulge shocks. We provide recipes to handle with eccentric orbits in complex galactic potentials. The first calculations for stellar systems containing 21000 and 42000 equal-mass particles show good agreement with direct N-body simulations in terms of the evolution of both the enclosed mass and the Lagrangian radii provided that the mass-loss rate does not exceed a critical value.

The Discovery of Radio Stars within 10 arcseconds of Sgr A* at 7mm

Very Large Array observations of the Galactic Center at 7 mm have produced an image of the 30 arcseconds surrounding Sgr A* with a resolution of 82×42 milliarcseconds (mas). A comparison with IR images taken simultaneously with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) identifies 41 radio sources with L-band (3.8 microns) stellar counterparts. The well-known young, massive stars in the central Sgr A* cluster (e.g., IRS 16C, IRS 16NE, IRS 16SE2, IRS 16NW, IRS 16SW, AF, AFNW, IRS 34W and IRS 33E) are detected with peak flux densities between 0.2 and 1.3 mJy. The origin of the stellar radio emission in the central cluster is discussed in terms of ionized stellar winds with mass-loss rates in the range 0.8-5×10^{-5} solar mass per year. Radio emission from eight massive stars is used as a tool for registration between the radio and infrared frames with mas precision within a few arcseconds of Sgr A*. This is similar to the established technique of aligning SiO masers and evolved stars except that radio stars lie within a few arcseconds of Sgr A*. Our data show a scatter of ~6.5 mas in the positions of the eight radio sources that appear in both the L-band and 7 mm images. Lastly, we use the radio and IR data to argue that members of IRS 13N are Young Stellar Objects rather than dust clumps, supporting the hypothesis that recent star formation has occurred near Sgr A*.


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