Recent Postings from Galactic

HerMES: Current Cosmic Infrared Background Estimates are Consistent with Correlated Emission from Known Galaxies at z < 4

We report contributions to cosmic infrared background (CIB) intensities originating from known galaxies, and their companions, at submillimeter wavelengths. Using the publicly-available UltraVISTA catalog, and maps at 250, 350, and 500 {\mu}m from Herschel/SPIRE, we perform a novel measurement that exploits the fact that correlated sources will bias stacked flux densities if the resolution of the image is poor; i.e., we intentionally smooth the image – in effect degrading the angular resolution – before stacking and summing intensities. By smoothing the maps we are capturing the contribution of faint (undetected in K_S ~ 23.4) sources that are physically associated with the detected sources. We find that the cumulative CIB increases with increased smoothing, reaching 9.82 +- 0.78, 5.77 +- 0.43, and 2.32 +- 0.19 nWm^-2/sr at 250, 350, and 500 {\mu}m at 300 arcsec full width half maximum. This corresponds to a fraction of the fiducial CIB of 0.94 +- 0.23, 1.07 +- 0.31, and 0.97 +- 0.26 at 250, 350, and 500 {\mu}m, where the uncertainties are dominated by those of the absolute CIB. We then propose, with a simple model combining parametric descriptions for stacked flux densities and stellar mass functions, that emission from galaxies with log(M/Msun) > 8.5 can account for the entire measured total intensities, and argue against contributions from extended, diffuse emission. Finally, we discuss prospects for future survey instruments to improve the estimates of the absolute CIB levels, and observe any potentially remaining emission at z > 4.

Unveiling the counter-rotating nature of the kinematically distinct core in NGC5813 with MUSE

MUSE observations of NGC5813 reveal a complex structure in the velocity dispersion map, previously hinted by SAURON observations. The structure is reminiscent of velocity dispersion maps of galaxies comprising two counter-rotating discs, and may explain the existence of the kinematically distinct core (KDC). Further evidence for two counter-rotating components comes from the analysis of the higher moments of the stellar line-of-sight velocity distributions and fitting MUSE spectra with two separate Gaussian line-of-sight velocity distributions. The emission-line kinematics show evidence of being linked to the present cooling flows and the buoyant cavities seen in X-rays. We detect ionised gas in a nuclear disc-like structure, oriented like the KDC, which is, however, not directly related to the KDC. We build an axisymmetric Schwarzschild dynamical model, which shows that the MUSE kinematics can be reproduced well with two counter-rotating orbit families, characterised by relatively low angular momentum components, but clearly separated in integral phase space and with radially varying contributions. The model indicates that the counter-rotating components in NGC5813 are not thin discs, but dynamically hot structures. Our findings give further evidence that KDCs in massive galaxies should not necessarily be considered as structurally or dynamically decoupled regions, but as the outcomes of the mixing of different orbital families, where the balance in the distribution of mass of the orbital families is crucial. We discuss the formation of the KDC in NGC5813 within the framework of gas accretion, binary mergers and formation of turbulent thick discs from cold streams at high redshift.

Monte Carlo Method for Calculating Oxygen Abundances and Their Uncertainties from Strong-Line Flux Measurements

We present the open-source Python code pyMCZ that determines oxygen abundance and its distribution from strong emission lines in the standard metallicity scales, based on the original IDL code of Kewley & Dopita (2002) with updates from Kewley & Ellison (2008), and expanded to include more recently developed scales. The standard strong-line diagnostics have been used to estimate the oxygen abundance in the interstellar medium through various emission line ratios in many areas of astrophysics, including galaxy evolution and supernova host galaxy studies. We introduce a Python implementation of these methods that, through Monte Carlo (MC) sampling, better characterizes the statistical reddening-corrected oxygen abundance confidence region. Given line flux measurements and their uncertainties, our code produces synthetic distributions for the oxygen abundance in up to 13 metallicity scales simultaneously, as well as for E(B-V), and estimates their median values and their 66% confidence regions. In addition, we provide the option of outputting the full MC distributions, and their kernel density estimates. We test our code on emission line measurements from a sample of nearby supernova host galaxies ($z<0.15$) and compare our metallicity results with those from previous methods. We show that our metallicity estimates are consistent with previous methods but yield smaller uncertainties. We also offer visualization tools to assess the spread of the oxygen abundance in the different scales, as well as the shape of the estimated oxygen abundance distribution in each scale, and develop robust metrics for determining the appropriate MC sample size. The code is open access and open source and can be found at https://github.com/nyusngroup/pyMCZ

Smoke in the Pipe Nebula: dust emission and grain growth in the starless core FeSt 1-457

(abridged) Methods: We derive maps of submillimeter dust optical depth and effective dust temperature from Herschel data that were calibrated against Planck. After calibration, we then fit a modified blackbody to the long-wavelength Herschel data, using the Planck-derived dust opacity spectral index beta, derived on scales of 30′ (or ~1 pc). We use this model to make predictions of the submillimeter flux density at 850 micron, and we compare these in turn with APEX-Laboca observations. Results: A comparison of the submillimeter dust optical depth and near-infrared extinction data reveals evidence for an increased submillimeter dust opacity at high column densities, interpreted as an indication of grain growth in the inner parts of the core. Additionally, a comparison of the Herschel dust model and the Laboca data reveals that the frequency dependence of the submillimeter opacity, described by the spectral index beta, does not change. A single beta that is only slightly different from the Planck-derived value is sufficient to describe the data, beta=1.53+/-0.07. We apply a similar analysis to Barnard 68, a core with significantly lower column densities than FeSt 1-457, and we do not find evidence for grain growth but also a single beta. Conclusions: While we find evidence for grain growth from the dust opacity in FeSt 1-457, we find no evidence for significant variations in the dust opacity spectral index beta on scales 0.02<x<1 pc (or 36"<x<30′). The correction to the Planck-derived dust beta that we find in both cases is on the order of the measurement error, not including any systematic errors, and it would thus be reasonable to directly apply the dust beta from the Planck all-sky dust model. As a corollary, reliable effective temperature maps can be derived which would be otherwise affected by beta variations.

The Incidence of Low-Metallicity Lyman-Limit Systems at z~3.5: Implications for the Cold-Flow Hypothesis of Baryonic Accretion

Cold accretion is a primary growth mechanism of simulated galaxies, yet observational evidence of "cold flows" at redshifts where they should be most efficient ($z=2$-4) is scarce. In simulations, cold streams manifest as Lyman-limit absorption systems (LLSs) with low heavy-element abundances similar to those of the diffuse IGM. Here we report on an abundance survey of 17 H I-selected LLSs at $z=3.2$-4.4 which exhibit no metal absorption in SDSS spectra. Using medium-resolution spectra obtained at Magellan, we derive ionization-corrected metallicities (or limits) with a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo sampling that accounts for the large uncertainty in $N_{\rm HI}$ measurements typical of LLSs. The metal-poor LLS sample overlaps with the IGM in metallicity and is best described by a model where $71^{+13}_{-11}\%$ are drawn from the IGM chemical abundance distribution. These represent roughly half of all LLSs at these redshifts, suggesting that 28-40$\%$ of the general LLS population at $z\sim3.7$ could trace unprocessed gas. An ancillary sample of ten LLSs without any a priori metal-line selection is best fit with $48^{+14}_{-12}\%$ of metallicities drawn from the IGM. We compare these results with regions of a moving-mesh simulation; the simulation finds only half as many baryons in IGM-metallicity LLSs, and most of these lie beyond the virial radius of the nearest galaxy halo. A statistically significant fraction of all LLSs have low metallicity and therefore represent candidates for accreting gas; large-volume simulations can establish what fraction of these candidates actually lie near galaxies and the observational prospects for detecting the presumed hosts in emission.

The Incidence of Low-Metallicity Lyman-Limit Systems at z~3.5: Implications for the Cold-Flow Hypothesis of Baryonic Accretion [Replacement]

Cold accretion is a primary growth mechanism of simulated galaxies, yet observational evidence of "cold flows" at redshifts where they should be most efficient ($z=2$-4) is scarce. In simulations, cold streams manifest as Lyman-limit absorption systems (LLSs) with low heavy-element abundances similar to those of the diffuse IGM. Here we report on an abundance survey of 17 H I-selected LLSs at $z=3.2$-4.4 which exhibit no metal absorption in SDSS spectra. Using medium-resolution spectra obtained at Magellan, we derive ionization-corrected metallicities (or limits) with a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo sampling that accounts for the large uncertainty in $N_{\rm HI}$ measurements typical of LLSs. The metal-poor LLS sample overlaps with the IGM in metallicity and is best described by a model where $71^{+13}_{-11}\%$ are drawn from the IGM chemical abundance distribution. These represent roughly half of all LLSs at these redshifts, suggesting that 28-40$\%$ of the general LLS population at $z\sim3.7$ could trace unprocessed gas. An ancillary sample of ten LLSs without any a priori metal-line selection is best fit with $48^{+14}_{-12}\%$ of metallicities drawn from the IGM. We compare these results with regions of a moving-mesh simulation; the simulation finds only half as many baryons in IGM-metallicity LLSs, and most of these lie beyond the virial radius of the nearest galaxy halo. A statistically significant fraction of all LLSs have low metallicity and therefore represent candidates for accreting gas; large-volume simulations can establish what fraction of these candidates actually lie near galaxies and the observational prospects for detecting the presumed hosts in emission.

Ultrafaint Dwarf Galaxies - the lowest mass relics from before reionization

New observations indicate that ultrafaint dwarf galaxies (UFD) — the least luminous systems bound by dark matter halos (<10^5 Lsun) — may have formed before reionization. The extrapolated virial masses today are uncertain with estimates ranging from 10^8 Msun to 10^9 Msun. We show that the progenitor halo masses of UFDs can be as low as Mvir = 10^7 Msun. Under the right conditions, such a halo can survive the energy input of a supernova and its radiative progenitor. A clumpy medium is much less susceptible to both internal and external injections of energy. It is less prone to SN sweeping because the coupling efficiency of the explosive energy is much lower than for a diffuse ISM. With the aid of the 3D hydro/ionization code Fyris, we show that sufficient baryons are retained to form stars following a single supernova event in dark matter halos down to Mvir ~ 10^7 Msun with radiative cooling. The gas survives the SN explosion, is enriched with the abundance yields of the discrete events, and reaches surface densities where low mass stars can form. Our highest resolution simulations reveal why cooling is so effective in retaining gas compared to any other factor. In the early stages, the super-hot metal-enriched SN ejecta exhibit strong cooling, leading to much of the explosive energy being lost. Consistent with earlier work, the baryons do *not* survive in smooth or adiabatic models in the event of a supernova. The smallest galaxies carry signatures of the earliest epochs of star formation, which may distinguish a small primordial galaxy from one that was stripped down to its present size through tidal interaction. We discuss these results in the context of local UFDs and damped Ly-alpha systems (z~2) at very low metallicity ([Fe/H] ~ -3). We show that both classes of objects are consistent with primordial low-mass systems that have experienced only a few enrichment events.

Ultrafaint Dwarf Galaxies - the lowest mass relics from before reionization [Replacement]

New observations indicate that ultrafaint dwarf galaxies (UFD) — the least luminous systems bound by dark matter halos (<10^5 Lsun) — may have formed before reionization. The extrapolated virial masses today are uncertain with estimates ranging from 10^8 Msun to 10^9 Msun. We show that the progenitor halo masses of UFDs can be as low as Mvir = 10^7 Msun. Under the right conditions, such a halo can survive the energy input of a supernova and its radiative progenitor. A clumpy medium is much less susceptible to both internal and external injections of energy. It is less prone to SN sweeping because the coupling efficiency of the explosive energy is much lower than for a diffuse ISM. With the aid of the 3D hydro/ionization code Fyris, we show that sufficient baryons are retained to form stars following a single supernova event in dark matter halos down to Mvir ~ 10^7 Msun with radiative cooling. The gas survives the SN explosion, is enriched with the abundance yields of the discrete events, and reaches surface densities where low mass stars can form. Our highest resolution simulations reveal why cooling is so effective in retaining gas compared to any other factor. In the early stages, the super-hot metal-enriched SN ejecta exhibit strong cooling, leading to much of the explosive energy being lost. Consistent with earlier work, the baryons do *not* survive in smooth or adiabatic models in the event of a supernova. The smallest galaxies carry signatures of the earliest epochs of star formation, which may distinguish a small primordial galaxy from one that was stripped down to its present size through tidal interaction. We discuss these results in the context of local UFDs and damped Ly-alpha systems (z~2) at very low metallicity ([Fe/H] ~ -3). We show that both classes of objects are consistent with primordial low-mass systems that have experienced only a few enrichment events.

Galaxy Rotation and Rapid Supermassive Black Hole Binary Coalescence

During a galaxy merger, the supermassive black hole (SMBH) in each galaxy is thought to sink to the center of the potential and form a supermassive black hole binary; this binary can eject stars via 3-body scattering, bringing the SMBHs ever closer. In a static spherical galaxy model, the binary stalls at a separation of about a parsec after ejecting all the stars in its loss cone — this is the well-known final parsec problem. However it has been shown that SMBH binaries in non-spherical galactic nuclei harden at a nearly constant rate until reaching the gravitational wave regime. Here we use a suite of direct N-body simulations to follow SMBH binary evolution in both corotating and counterrotating flattened galaxy models. For N larger than 500K, we find that the evolution of the SMBH binary is convergent, and is independent of the particle number. Rotation in general increases the hardening rate of SMBH binaries even more effectively than galaxy geometry alone. SMBH binary hardening rates are similar for co- and counterrotating galaxies. In the corotating case, the center of mass of SMBH binary settles into an orbit that is in a corotation resonance with the background rotating model, and the coalescence time is roughly few hundred Myr faster than a non-rotating flattened model. We find that counterrotation drives SMBHs to coalesce on a nearly radial orbit promptly after forming a hard binary. We discuss the implications for gravitational wave astronomy, hypervelocity star production, and the effect on the structure of the host galaxy.

Galaxy Formation with Local Photoionization Feedback -II. Effect of X-Ray Emission from Binaries and Hot Gas

We study how X-rays from stellar binary systems and the hot intracluster medium (ICM) affect the radiative cooling rates of gas in galaxies. Our study uses a novel implementation of gas cooling in the moving-mesh hydrodynamics code \textsc{arepo}. X-rays from stellar binaries do not affect cooling at all as their emission spectrum is too hard to effectively couple with galactic gas. In contrast, X-rays from the ICM couple well with gas in the temperature range $10^4 – 10^6$ K. Idealised simulations show that the hot halo radiation field has minimal impact on the dynamics of cooling flows in clusters because of the high virial temperature ($> 10^7$K), making the interaction between the gas and incident photons very ineffective. Satellite galaxies in cluster environments, on the other hand, experience a high radiation flux due to the emission from the host halo. Low mass satellites ($< 10^{12}\rm{M_\odot}$) in particular have virial temperatures that are exactly in the regime where the effect of the radiation field is maximal. Idealised simulations of satellite galaxies including only the effect of host halo radiation (no ram pressure stripping or tidal effects) fields show a drastic reduction in the amount of cool gas formed ($\sim 40\%$) on a short timescale of about $0.5$ Gyrs. A galaxy merger simulation including all the other environmental quenching mechanisms, shows about $20\%$ reduction in the stellar mass of the satellite and about $\sim 30\%$ reduction in star formation rate after $1$ Gyr due to the host hot halo radiation field. These results indicate that the hot halo radiation fields potentially play an important role in quenching galaxies in cluster environments.

HI-to-H2 Transitions in the Perseus Molecular Cloud

We use the Sternberg et al. (2014) theory for interstellar atomic to molecular (HI-to-H$_2$) conversion to analyze HI-to-H$_2$ transitions in five (low-mass) star-forming and dark regions in the Perseus molecular cloud, B1, B1E, B5, IC348, and NGC1333. The observed HI mass surface densities of 6.3 to 9.2 M$_{\odot}$ pc$^{-2}$ are consistent with HI-to-H$_2$ transitions dominated by HI-dust shielding in predominantly atomic envelopes. For each source, we constrain the dimensionless parameter $\alpha G$, and the effective ratio, $I_{\rm UV}/n$, of the FUV intensity to hydrogen gas density. We find $\alpha G$ values from 5.0 to 47.0, implying characteristic atomic hydrogen densities 11.8 to 1.0 cm$^{-3}$, for $I_{\rm UV} \approx 1$ appropriate for Perseus. Our analysis implies that the dusty HI shielding layers are probably multiphased, with thermally unstable UNM gas in addition to cold CNM within the 21 cm kinematic radius.

MOND Fit of Iocco, Pato, and Bertone (2015) Mean Baryonic Mass Distribution to Rotation Curve Data

In a new release, Iocco, Pato, and Bertone in arXiv:1505.05181 analyze the consistency of Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) with their compiled Milky Way data and baryonic mass distribution models. We contribute to the discussion by feeding the mean of the seven baryonic mass distribution models that they considered in their original paper into the MOND formula assuming the so-called simple interpolation function, and directly plotting these results on top of the compiled observational rotation curve data from their original paper. Although there is no reason to assume that the mean of the seven baryonic mass distribution models is more correct than any of the individual models, it is a reasonable choice to feed into the equations and one that is less subject to bias inherent in choosing an arbitrary individual model for the MOND analysis to compare to the data. We find that the mean baryonic model using MOND with the simple interpolation function provides a striking fit to the rotation curve observational data with no parameter adjustments required, and we believe that this demonstration is visually transparent and contributes to the valuable discussion on the subject provided by Iocco, Pato, and Bertone. Our results are consistent with the findings of McGaugh (2008), but for an average of many baryonic models instead of just one.

Is Dust Cloud around $\lambda$ Orionis a Ring or a Shell, or Both?

The dust cloud around $\lambda$ Orionis is observed to be circularly symmetric with a large angular extent ($\approx$ 8 degrees). However, whether the three-dimensional (3D) structure of the cloud is shell- or ring-like has not yet been fully resolved. We study the 3D structure using a new approach that combines a 3D Monte Carlo radiative transfer model for ultraviolet (UV) scattered light and an inverse Abel transform, which gives a detailed 3D radial density profile from a two-dimensional column density map of a spherically symmetric cloud. By comparing the radiative transfer models for a spherical shell cloud and that for a ring cloud, we find that only the shell model can reproduce the radial profile of the scattered UV light, observed using the S2/68 UV observation, suggesting a dust shell structure. However, the inverse Abel transform applied to the column density data from the Pan-STARRS1 dust reddening map results in negative values at a certain radius range of the density profile, indicating the existence of additional, non-spherical clouds near the nebular boundary. The additional cloud component is assumed to be of toroidal ring shape; we subtracted from the column density to obtain a positive, radial density profile using the inverse Abel transform. The resulting density structure, composed of a toroidal ring and a spherical shell, is also found to give a good fit to the UV scattered light profile. We therefore conclude that the cloud around $\lambda$ Ori is composed of both ring and shell structures.

A study on the multicolour evolution of Red Sequence galaxy populations: insights from hydrodynamical simulations and semi-analytical models

By means of our own cosmological-hydrodynamical simulation and semi-analytical model we studied galaxy population properties in clusters and groups, spanning over 10 different bands from UV to NIR, and their evolution since redshift z=2. We compare our results in terms of galaxy red/blue fractions and luminous-to-faint ratio (LFR) on the Red Sequence (RS) with recent observational data reaching beyond z=1.5. Different selection criteria were tested in order to retrieve galaxies belonging to the RS: either by their quiescence degree measured from their specific SFR ("Dead Sequence"), or by their position in a colour-colour plane which is also a function of sSFR. In both cases, the colour cut and the limiting magnitude threshold were let evolving with redshift, in order to follow the natural shift of the characteristic luminosity in the LF. We find that the Butcher-Oemler effect is wavelength-dependent, with the fraction of blue galaxies increasing steeper in optical colours than in NIR. Besides, only when applying a lower limit in terms of fixed absolute magnitude, a steep BO effect can be reproduced, while the blue fraction results less evolving when selecting samples by stellar mass or an evolving magnitude limit. We then find that also the RS-LFR behaviour, highly debated in the literature, is strongly dependent on the galaxy selection function: in particular its very mild evolution recovered when measured in terms of stellar mass, is in agreement with values reported for some of the highest redshift confirmed (proto)clusters. As to differences through environments, we find that normal groups and (to a lesser extent) cluster outskirts present the highest values of both star forming fraction and LFR at low z, while fossil groups and cluster cores the lowest: this separation among groups begins after z~0.5, while earlier all group star forming properties are undistinguishable.

GLEAM: The GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey

GLEAM, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, is a survey of the entire radio sky south of declination +25 deg at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz, made with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) using a drift scan method that makes efficient use of the MWA’s very large field-of-view. We present the observation details, imaging strategies and theoretical sensitivity for GLEAM. The survey ran for two years, the first year using 40 kHz frequency resolution and 0.5 s time resolution; the second year using 10 kHz frequency resolution and 2 s time resolution. The resulting image resolution and sensitivity depends on observing frequency, sky pointing and image weighting scheme. At 154 MHz the image resolution is approximately 2.5 x 2.2/cos(DEC+26.7) arcmin with sensitivity to structures up to ~10 deg in angular size. We provide tables to calculate the expected thermal noise for GLEAM mosaics depending on pointing and frequency and discuss limitations to achieving theoretical noise in Stokes I images. We discuss challenges, and their solutions, that arise for GLEAM including ionospheric effects on source positions and linearly polarised emission, and the instrumental polarisation effects inherent to the MWA’s primary beam.

Far-ultraviolet study of the local supershell GSH 006-15+7

We have analyzed the archival data of FUV observations for the region of GSH 006-15+7, a large shell-like structure discovered by Moss et al. (2012) from the H I velocity maps. FUV emission is seen to be enhanced in the lower supershell region. The FUV emission is considered to come mainly from the scattering of interstellar photons by dust grains. A corresponding Monte Carlo simulation indicates that the distance to the supershell is 1300 +- 800 pc, which is similar to the previous estimation of 1500 +- 500 pc based on kinematic considerations. The spectrum at lower Galactic latitudes of the supershell exhibits molecular hydrogen fluorescence lines; a simulation model for this candidate photodissociation region (PDR) yields an H_2 column density of N(H_2) = 10^{18.0-20.0} cm^{-2} with a rather high total hydrogen density of n_H ~ 30 cm^{-3}.

The jet and the disk of the HH 212 low-mass protostar imaged by ALMA: SO and SO2 emission

To investigate the disk formation and jet launch in protostars is crucial to comprehend the earliest stages of star and planet formation. We aim to constrain the properties of the molecular jet and the disk of the HH 212 protostellar system at unprecedented angular scales through ALMA observations of sulfur-bearing molecules, SO 9(8)-8(7), SO 10(11)-10(10), SO2 8(2,6)-7(1,7). SO 9(8)-8(7) and SO2 8(2,6)-7(1,7) show broad velocity profiles. At systemic velocity they probe the circumstellar gas and the cavity walls. Going from low to high blue-/red-shifted velocities the emission traces the wide-angle outflow and the fast (~100-200 km/s) and collimated (~90 AU) molecular jet revealing the inner knots with timescales <50 years. The jet transports a mass loss rate >0.2-2e-6 Msun/yr, implying high ejection efficiency (>0.03-0.3). The SO and SO2 abundances in the jet are ~1e-7-1e-6. SO 10(11)-10(10) emission is compact and shows small-scale velocity gradients indicating that it originates partly from the rotating disk previously seen in HCO+ and C17O, and partly from the base of the jet. The disk mass is >0.002-0.013 Msun, and the SO abundance in the disk is ~1e-8-1e-7. SO and SO2 are effective tracers of the molecular jet in the inner few hundreds AU from the protostar. Their abundances indicate that 1% – 40% of sulfur is in SO and SO2 due to shocks in the jet/outflow and/or to ambipolar diffusion at the wind base. The SO abundance in the disk is 3-4 orders of magnitude larger than in evolved protoplanetary disks. This may be due to an SO enhancement in the accretion shock at the envelope-disk interface or in spiral shocks if the disk is partly gravitationally unstable.

On the paucity of Fast Radio Bursts at low Galactic latitudes

We examine the effect of Galactic diffractive interstellar scintillation as a means of explaining the reported deficit of Fast Radio Burst (FRB) detections at low Galactic latitude. We model the unknown underlying FRB flux density distribution as a power law with a rate scaling as $S_\nu^{-5/2+\delta}$ and account for the fact that the FRBs are detected at unknown positions within the telescope beam. We find that the event rate of FRBs located off the Galactic plane may be enhanced by a factor ~30-300% relative to objects near the Galactic plane without necessarily affecting the slope of the distribution. For FRBs whose flux densities are subject to relatively weak diffractive scintillation, as is typical for events detected at high Galactic latitudes, we demonstrate that an effect associated with Eddington bias is responsible for the enhancement. The magnitude of the enhancement increases with the steepness of the underlying flux density distribution, so that existing limits on the disparity in event rates between high and low Galactic latitudes suggest that the FRB population has a steep differential flux density distribution, scaling as $S_\nu^{-3.5}$ or steeper. Existing estimates of the event rate in the flux density range probed by the High Time Resolution Universe (HTRU) survey overestimate the true rate by a factor of ~3.

Far-infrared and accretion luminosities of the present-day active galactic nuclei

We investigate the relation between star formation (SF) and black hole accretion luminosities, using a sample of 492 type-2 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at z < 0.22, which are detected in the far-infrared (FIR) surveys with AKARI and Herschel. We adopt FIR luminosities at 90 and 100 um as SF luminosities, assuming the proposed linear proportionality of star formation rate with FIR luminosities. By estimating AGN luminosities from [OIII]5007 and [OI]6300 emission lines, we find a positive linear trend between FIR and AGN luminosities over a wide dynamical range. This result appears to be inconsistent with the recent reports that low-luminosity AGNs show essentially no correlation between FIR and X-ray luminosities, while the discrepancy is likely due to the Malmquist and sample selection biases. By analyzing the spectral energy distribution, we find that pure-AGN candidates, of which FIR radiation is thought to be AGN-dominated, show significantly low-SF activities. These AGNs hosted by low-SF galaxies are rare in our sample (~ 1%). However, the low fraction of low-SF AGN is possibly due to observational limitations since the recent FIR surveys are insufficient to examine the population of high-luminosity AGNs hosted by low-SF galaxies.

Are rotating planes of satellite galaxies ubiquitous?

We compare the dynamics of satellite galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to simple models in order to test the hypothesis that a large fraction of satellites co-rotate in coherent planes. We confirm the previously-reported excess of co-rotating satellite pairs located near diametric opposition with respect to the host, but show that this signal is unlikely to be due to rotating discs (or planes) of satellites. In particular, no overabundance of co-rotating satellites pairs is observed within $\sim 20^{\circ}-50^{\circ}$ of direct opposition, as would be expected for planar distributions inclined relative to the line-of-sight. Instead, the excess co-rotation for satellite pairs within $\sim 10^{\circ}$ of opposition is consistent with random noise associated with undersampling of an underlying isotropic velocity distribution. We conclude that at most $10\%$ of the hosts in our sample harbor co-rotating satellite planes (as traced by the luminous satellite population).

On the universality of luminosity-metallicity and mass-metallicity relations for compact star-forming galaxies at redshifts 0 < z < 3

We study relations between global characteristics of low-redshift (0 < z < 1) compact star-forming galaxies, including absolute optical magnitudes, Hbeta emission-line luminosities (or equivalently star-formation rates), stellar masses, and oxygen abundances. The sample consists of 5182 galaxies with high-excitation HII regions selected from the SDSS DR7 and SDSS/BOSS DR10 surveys adopting a criterion [OIII]4959/Hbeta > 1. These data were combined with the corresponding data for high-redshift (2 < z < 3) star-forming galaxies. We find that in all diagrams low-z and high-z star-forming galaxies are closely related indicating a very weak dependence of metallicity on stellar mass, redshift, and star-formation rate. This finding argues in favour of the universal character of the global relations for compact star-forming galaxies with high-excitation HII regions over redshifts 0 < z < 3.

Spitzer bright, UltraVISTA faint sources in COSMOS: the contribution to the overall population of massive galaxies at z=3-7

We have analysed a sample of 574 Spitzer 4.5 micron-selected galaxies with [4.5]<23 and Ks>24 (AB) over the UltraVISTA ultra-deep COSMOS field. Our aim is to investigate whether these mid-IR bright, near-IR faint sources contribute significantly to the overall population of massive galaxies at redshifts z>=3. By performing a spectral energy distribution (SED) analysis using up to 30 photometric bands, we have determined that the redshift distribution of our sample peaks at redshifts z~2.5-3.0, and ~32% of the galaxies lie at z>=3. We have studied the contribution of these sources to the galaxy stellar mass function (GSMF) at high redshifts. We found that the [4.5]<23, Ks>24 galaxies produce a negligible change to the GSMF previously determined for Ks<24 sources at 3=<z<4, but their contribution is more important at 4=<z<5, accounting for >~50% of the galaxies with stellar masses Mst>~6 x 10^10 Msun. We also constrained the GSMF at the highest-mass end (Mst>~2 x 10^11 Msun) at z>=5. From their presence at 5=<z<6, and virtual absence at higher redshifts, we can pinpoint quite precisely the moment of appearance of the first most massive galaxies as taking place in the ~0.2 Gyr of elapsed time between z~6 and z~5. Alternatively, if very massive galaxies existed earlier in cosmic time, they should have been significantly dust-obscured to lie beyond the detection limits of current, large-area, deep near-IR surveys.

Radially anisotropic systems with $r^{-\alpha}$ forces: equilibrium states

We continue the study of collisionless systems governed by additive $r^{-\alpha}$ interparticle forces by focusing on the influence of the force exponent $\alpha$ on radial orbital anisotropy. In this preparatory work we construct the radially anisotropic Osipkov-Merritt phase-space distribution functions for self-consistent spherical Hernquist models with $r^{-\alpha}$ forces and $1\leq\alpha<3$. The resulting systems are isotropic at the center and increasingly dominated by radial orbits at radii larger than the anisotropy radius $r_a$. For radially anisotropic models we determine the minimum value of the anisotropy radius $r_{ac}$ as a function of $\alpha$ for phase-space consistency (such that the phase-space distribution function is nowhere negative for $r_a\geq r_{ac}$). We find that $r_{ac}$ decreases for decreasing $\alpha$, and that the amount of kinetic energy that can be stored in the radial direction relative to that stored in the tangential directions for marginally consistent models increases for decreasing $\alpha$. In particular, we find that isotropic systems are consistent in the explored range of $\alpha$. By means of direct $N$-body simulations we finally verify that the isotropic systems are also stable.

Counting quasar--radio source pairs to derive the millijansky radio luminosity function and clustering strength to z=3.5

We apply a cross-correlation technique to infer the $S>3$mJy radio luminosity function (RLF) from the NRAO VLA sky survey (NVSS) to $z\sim3.5$. We measure $\Sigma$ the over density of radio sources around spectroscopically confirmed quasars. $\Sigma$ is related to the space density of radio sources at the distance of the quasars and the clustering strength between the two samples, hence knowledge of one constrains the other. Under simple assumptions we find $\Phi\propto (1+z)^{3.7\pm0.7}$ out to $z\sim2$. Above this redshift the evolution slows and we constrain the evolution exponent to $<1.01$ ($2\sigma$). This behaviour is almost identical to that found by previous authors for the bright end of the RLF potentially indicating that we are looking at the same population. This suggests that the NVSS is dominated by a single population; most likely radio sources associated with high-excitation cold-mode accretion. Inversely, by adopting a previously modelled RLF we can constrain the clustering of high-redshift radio sources and find a clustering strength consistent with $r_0=15.0\pm 2.5$ Mpc up to $z\sim3.5$. This is inconsistent with quasars at low redshift and some measurements of the clustering of bright FRII sources. This behaviour is more consistent with the clustering of lower luminosity radio galaxies in the local universe. Our results indicate that the high-excitation systems dominating our sample are hosted in the most massive galaxies at all redshifts sampled.

Atomic Data and Spectral Models for FeII

We present extensive calculations of radiative transition rates and electron impact collision strengths for Fe II. The data sets involve 52 levels from the $3d\,^7$, $3d\,^64s$, and $3d\,^54s^2$ configurations. Computations of $A$-values are carried out with a combination of state-of-the-art multiconfiguration approaches, namely the relativistic Hartree–Fock, Thomas–Fermi–Dirac potential, and Dirac–Fock methods; while the $R$-matrix plus intermediate coupling frame transformation, Breit–Pauli $R$-matrix and Dirac $R$-matrix packages are used to obtain collision strengths. We examine the advantages and shortcomings of each of these methods, and estimate rate uncertainties from the resulting data dispersion. We proceed to construct excitation balance spectral models, and compare the predictions from each data set with observed spectra from various astronomical objects. We are thus able to establish benchmarks in the spectral modeling of [Fe II] emission in the IR and optical regions as well as in the UV Fe II absorption spectra. Finally, we provide diagnostic line ratios and line emissivities for emission spectroscopy as well as column densities for absorption spectroscopy. All atomic data and models are available online and through the AtomPy atomic data curation environment.

SUSY Implications from WIMP Annihilation into Scalars at the Galactic Center [Cross-Listing]

An excess in $\gamma$-rays emanating from the galactic centre has recently been observed in the Fermi-LAT data. We investigate the new exciting possibility of fitting the signal spectrum by dark matter annihilating dominantly to a Higgs-pseudoscalar pair. We show that the fit to the $\gamma$-ray excess for the Higgs-pseudoscalar channel can be just as good as for annihilation into bottom-quark pairs. This channel arises naturally in a full model such as the next-to-minimal supersymmetric Standard Model (NMSSM) and we find regions where dark matter relic density, the $\gamma$-ray signal and other experimental constraints, can all be satisfied simultaneously. Annihilation into scalar pairs allows for the possibility of detecting the Higgs or pseudoscalar decay into two photons, providing a smoking-gun signal of the model.

SUSY Implications from WIMP Annihilation into Scalars at the Galactic Center

An excess in $\gamma$-rays emanating from the galactic centre has recently been observed in the Fermi-LAT data. We investigate the new exciting possibility of fitting the signal spectrum by dark matter annihilating dominantly to a Higgs-pseudoscalar pair. We show that the fit to the $\gamma$-ray excess for the Higgs-pseudoscalar channel can be just as good as for annihilation into bottom-quark pairs. This channel arises naturally in a full model such as the next-to-minimal supersymmetric Standard Model (NMSSM) and we find regions where dark matter relic density, the $\gamma$-ray signal and other experimental constraints, can all be satisfied simultaneously. Annihilation into scalar pairs allows for the possibility of detecting the Higgs or pseudoscalar decay into two photons, providing a smoking-gun signal of the model.

Frontier Fields Clusters: Chandra and JVLA View of the Pre-Merging Cluster MACS J0416.1-2403

Merging galaxy clusters leave long-lasting signatures on the baryonic and non-baryonic cluster constituents, including shock fronts, cold fronts, X-ray substructure, radio halos, and offsets between the dark matter and the gas components. Using observations from Chandra, the Jansky Very Large Array, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, and the Hubble Space Telescope, we present a multiwavelength analysis of the merging Frontier Fields cluster MACS J0416.1-2403 (z=0.396), which consists of a NE and a SW subclusters whose cores are separated on the sky by ~250 kpc. We find that the NE subcluster has a compact core and hosts an X-ray cavity, yet it is not a cool core. Approximately 450 kpc south-south west of the SW subcluster, we detect a density discontinuity that corresponds to a compression factor of ~1.5. The discontinuity was most likely caused by the interaction of the SW subcluster with a less massive structure detected in the lensing maps SW of the subcluster’s center. For both the NE and the SW subclusters, the dark matter and the gas components are well-aligned, suggesting that MACS J0416.1-2403 is a pre-merging system. The cluster also hosts a radio halo, which is unusual for a pre-merging system. The halo has a 1.4 GHz power of (1.06 +/- 0.09) x 10^{24} W Hz^{-1}, which is somewhat lower than expected based on the X-ray luminosity of the cluster. We suggest that we are either witnessing the birth of a radio halo, or have discovered a rare ultra-steep spectrum halo.

A Cryogenic Space Telescope for Far-Infrared Astrophysics: A Vision for NASA in the 2020 Decade

Many of the transformative processes in the Universe have taken place in regions obscured by dust, and are best studied with far-IR spectroscopy. We present the Cryogenic-Aperture Large Infrared-Submillimeter Telescope Observatory (CALISTO), a 5-meter class, space-borne telescope actively cooled to 4 K, emphasizing moderate-resolution spectroscopy in the crucial 35 to 600 micron band. CALISTO will enable NASA and the world to study the rise of heavy elements in the Universe’s first billion years, chart star formation and black hole growth in dust-obscured galaxies through cosmic time, and conduct a census of forming planetary systems in our region of the Galaxy. CALISTO will capitalize on rapid progress in both format and sensitivity of far-IR detectors. Arrays with a total count of a few 100,000 detector pixels will form the heart of a suite of imaging spectrometers in which each detector reaches the photon background limit. This document contains a large overview paper on CALISTO, as well as six 2-3 page scientific white papers, all prepared in response to NASA’s Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group (COPAG’s) request for input on future mission concepts. The Far-IR Science Interest Group will meet from 3-5 June 2015 with the intention of reaching consensus on the architecture for the Far-IR Surveyor mission. This white paper describes one of the architectures to be considered by the community. One or more companion papers will describe alternative architectures.

Chemical abundances and properties of the ionized gas in NGC 1705

We obtained [O III] narrow-band imaging and multi-slit MXU spectroscopy of the blue compact dwarf (BCD) galaxy NGC 1705 with FORS2@VLT to derive chemical abundances of PNe and H II regions and, more in general, to characterize the properties of the ionized gas. The auroral [O III]\lambda4363 line was detected in all but one of the eleven analyzed regions, allowing for a direct estimate of their electron temperature. The only object for which the [O III]\lambda4363 line was not detected is a possible low-ionization PN, the only one detected in our data. For all the other regions, we derived the abundances of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Neon, Sulfur and Argon out to ~1 kpc from the galaxy center. We detect for the first time in NGC 1705 a negative radial gradient in the oxygen metallicity of -0.24 \pm 0.08 dex kpc^{-1}. The element abundances are all consistent with values reported in the literature for other samples of dwarf irregular and blue compact dwarf galaxies. However, the average (central) oxygen abundance, 12 + log(O/H)=7.98 \pm 0.05, is ~0.2 dex lower than previous literature estimates for NGC 1705 based on the [O III]\lambda4363 line. From classical emission-line diagnostic diagrams, we exclude a major contribution from shock excitation. On the other hand, the radial behavior of the emission line ratios is consistent with the progressive dilution of radiation with increasing distance from the center of NGC~1705. This suggests that the strongest starburst located within the central ~150 pc is responsible for the ionization of the gas out to at least ~1 kpc. The gradual dilution of the radiation with increasing distance from the center reflects the gradual and continuous transition from the highly ionized H II regions in the proximity of the major starburst into the diffuse ionized gas.

Mass models of disk galaxies from the DiskMass Survey in MOND

This article explores the agreement between the predictions of Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) and the rotation curves and stellar velocity dispersion profiles measured by the DiskMass Survey. A bulge-disk decomposition was made for each of the thirty published galaxies, and a MOND Poisson solver was used to simultaneously compute, from the baryonic mass distributions, model rotation curves and vertical velocity dispersion profiles, which were compared to the measured values. The two main free parameters, the stellar disk’s mass-to-light ratio ($M/L$) and its exponential scale-height ($h_z$), were estimated by Markov Chain Monte Carlo modelling. The average best-fit K-band stellar mass-to-light ratio was $M/L \simeq 0.55 \pm 0.15$. However, to match the DiskMass Survey data, the vertical scale-heights would have to be in the range $h_z=200$ to $400$ pc which is a factor of two lower than those derived from observations of edge-on galaxies with a similar scale-length. The reason is that modified gravity versions of MOND characteristically require a larger $M/L$ to fit the rotation curve in the absence of dark matter and therefore predict a stronger vertical gravitational field than Newtonian models. It was found that changing the MOND acceleration parameter, the shape of the velocity dispersion ellipsoid, the adopted vertical distribution of stars, as well as the galaxy inclination, within any realistic range, all had little impact on these results.

Estimation of distances to stars with stellar parameters from LAMOST

We present a method to estimate distances to stars with spectroscopically derived stellar parameters. The technique is a Bayesian approach with likelihood estimated via comparison of measured parameters to a grid of stellar isochrones, and returns a posterior probability density function for each star’s absolute magnitude. This technique is tailored specifically to data from the Large Sky Area Multi-object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) survey. Because LAMOST obtains roughly 3000 stellar spectra simultaneously within each ~5-degree diameter "plate" that is observed, we can use the stellar parameters of the observed stars to account for the stellar luminosity function and target selection effects. This removes biasing assumptions about the underlying populations, both due to predictions of the luminosity function from stellar evolution modeling, and from Galactic models of stellar populations along each line of sight. Using calibration data of stars with known distances and stellar parameters, we show that our method recovers distances for most stars within ~20%, but with some systematic overestimation of distances to halo giants. We apply our code to the LAMOST database, and show that the current precision of LAMOST stellar parameters permits measurements of distances with ~40% error bars. This precision should improve as the LAMOST data pipelines continue to be refined.

Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): Trends in galaxy colours, morphology, and stellar populations with large scale structure, group, and pair environments

We explore trends in galaxy properties with Mpc-scale structures using catalogues of environment and large scale structure from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey. Existing GAMA catalogues of large scale structure, group and pair membership allow us to construct galaxy stellar mass functions for different environmental types. To avoid simply extracting the known underlying correlations between galaxy properties and stellar mass, we create a mass matched sample of galaxies with stellar masses between $9.5 \leq \log{M_*/h^{-2} M_{\odot}} \leq 11$ for each environmental population. Using these samples, we show that mass normalised galaxies in different large scale environments have similar energy outputs, $u-r$ colours, luminosities, and morphologies. Extending our analysis to group and pair environments, we show galaxies that are not in groups or pairs exhibit similar characteristics to each other regardless of broader environment. For our mass controlled sample, we fail to see a strong dependence of S\’{e}rsic index or galaxy luminosity on halo mass, but do find that it correlates very strongly with colour. Repeating our analysis for galaxies that have not been mass controlled introduces and amplifies trends in the properties of galaxies in pairs, groups, and large scale structure, indicating that stellar mass is the most important predictor of the galaxy properties we examine, as opposed to environmental classifications.

Magnetic Field - Gas Density Relation and Observational Implications Revisited

We revisit the relation between magnetic-field strength ($B$) and gas density ($\rho$) for contracting interstellar clouds and fragments (or, cores), which is central in observationally determining the dynamical importance of magnetic fields in cloud evolution and star formation. Recently, it has been claimed that a relation $B \propto \rho^{2/3} $ is statistically preferred over $B \propto \rho^{1/2}$ in molecular clouds, when magnetic field detections and nondetections from Zeeman observations are combined. This finding has unique observational implications on cloud and core geometry: The relation $B \propto \rho^{2/3} $ can only be realized under spherical contraction. However, no indication of spherical geometry can be found for the objects used in the original statistical analysis of the $B-\rho$ relation. We trace the origin of the inconsistency to simplifying assumptions in the statistical model used to arrive at the $B\propto \rho^{2/3}$ conclusion and to an underestimate of observational uncertainties in the determination of cloud and core densities. We show that, when these restrictive assumptions are relaxed, $B \propto \rho^{1/2}$ is the preferred relation for the (self-gravitating) molecular-cloud data, as theoretically predicted four decades ago.

Tidal stripping of globular clusters in a simulated galaxy cluster

Using a cosmological N-body numerical simulation of the formation of a galaxy cluster- sized halo, we analyze the temporal evolution of its globular cluster population. We follow the dynamical evolution of 38 galactic dark matter halos orbiting in a galaxy cluster that at redshift z=0 has a virial mass of 1.71 * 10 ^14 Msol h^-1. In order to mimic both "blue" and "red" populations of globular clusters, for each galactic halo we select two different sets of particles at high redshift (z ~ 1), constrained by the condition that, at redshift z=0, their average radial density profiles are similar to the observed profiles. As expected, the general galaxy cluster tidal field removes a significant fraction of the globular cluster populations to feed the intracluster population. On average, halos lost approximately 16% and 29% of their initial red and blue globular cluster populations, respectively. Our results suggest that these fractions strongly depend on the orbital trajectory of the galactic halo, specifically on the number of orbits and on the minimum pericentric distance to the galaxy cluster center that the halo has had. At a given time, these fractions also depend on the current clustercentric distance, just as observations show that the specific frequencyof globular clusters S_N depends on their clustercentric distance.

The Cheshire Cat Gravitational Lens: The Formation of a Massive Fossil Group

The Cheshire Cat is a relatively poor group of galaxies dominated by two luminous elliptical galaxies surrounded by at least four arcs from gravitationally lensed background galaxies that give the system a humorous appearance. Our combined optical/X-ray study of this system reveals that it is experiencing a line of sight merger between two groups with a roughly equal mass ratio with a relative velocity of ~1350 km/s. One group was most likely a low-mass fossil group, while the other group would have almost fit the classical definition of a fossil group. The collision manifests itself in a bimodal galaxy velocity distribution, an elevated central X-ray temperature and luminosity indicative of a shock, and gravitational arc centers that do not coincide with either large elliptical galaxy. One of the luminous elliptical galaxies has a double nucleus embedded off-center in the stellar halo. The luminous ellipticals should merge in less than a Gyr, after which observers will see a massive 1.2-1.5 x 10^14 solar mass fossil group with an M_r = -24.0 brightest group galaxy at its center. Thus, the Cheshire Cat offers us the first opportunity to study a fossil group progenitor. We discuss the limitations of the classical definition of a fossil group in terms of magnitude gaps between the member galaxies. We also suggest that if the merging of fossil (or near-fossil) groups is a common avenue for creating present-day fossil groups, the time lag between the final galactic merging of the system and the onset of cooling in the shock-heated core could account for the observed lack of well-developed cool cores in some fossil groups.

A Sparse Gaussian Process Framework for Photometric Redshift Estimation

Accurate photometric redshift are a lynchpin for many future experiments to pin down the cosmological model and for studies of galaxy evolution. In this study, a novel sparse regression framework for photometric redshift estimation is presented. Data from a simulated survey was used to train and test the proposed models. We show that approaches which include careful data preparation and model design offer a significant improvement in comparison with several competing machine learning algorithms. Standard implementation of most regression algorithms has as the objective the minimization of the sum of squared errors. For redshift inference, however, this induces a bias in the posterior mean of the output distribution, which can be problematic. In this paper we optimize to directly target minimizing $\Delta z = (z_\textrm{s} – z_\textrm{p})/(1+z_\textrm{s})$ and address the bias problem via a distribution-based weighting scheme, incorporated as part of the optimization objective. The results are compared with other machine learning algorithms in the field such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), Gaussian Processes (GPs) and sparse GPs. The proposed framework reaches a mean absolute $\Delta z = 0.002(1+z_\textrm{s})$, with a maximum absolute error of 0.0432, over the redshift range of $0.2 \le z_\textrm{s} \le 2$, a factor of three improvement over standard ANNs used in the literature. We also investigate how the relative size of the training affects the photometric redshift accuracy. We find that a training set of $>$30 per cent of total sample size, provides little additional constraint on the photometric redshifts, and note that our GP formalism strongly outperforms ANN in the sparse data regime.

The Subaru-XMM-Newton Deep Survey (SXDS) VIII.: Multi-wavelength Identification, Optical/NIR Spectroscopic Properties, and Photometric Redshifts of X-ray Sources

We report the multi-wavelength identification of the X-ray sources found in the Subaru-XMM-Newton Deep Survey (SXDS) using deep imaging data covering the wavelength range between the far-UV to the mid-IR. We select a primary counterpart of each X-ray source by applying the likelihood ratio method to R-band, 3.6micron, near-UV, and 24micron source catalogs as well as matching catalogs of AGN candidates selected in 1.4GHz radio and i’-band variability surveys. Once candidates of Galactic stars, ultra-luminous X-ray sources in a nearby galaxy, and clusters of galaxies are removed there are 896 AGN candidates in the sample. We conduct spectroscopic observations of the primary counterparts with multi-object spectrographs in the optical and NIR; 65\% of the X-ray AGN candidates are spectroscopically-identified. For the remaining X-ray AGN candidates, we evaluate their photometric redshift with photometric data in 15 bands. Utilising the multi-wavelength photometric data of the large sample of X-ray selected AGNs, we evaluate the stellar masses, M*, of the host galaxies of the narrow-line AGNs. The distribution of the stellar mass is remarkably constant from z=0.1 to 4.0. The relation between M* and 2–10 keV luminosity can be explained with strong cosmological evolution of the relationship between the black hole mass and M*. We also evaluate the scatter of the UV-MIR spectral energy distribution (SED) of the X-ray AGNs as a function of X-ray luminosity and absorption to the nucleus. The scatter is compared with galaxies which have redshift and stellar mass distribution matched with the X-ray AGN. The UV-NIR SEDs of obscured X-ray AGNs are similar to those of the galaxies in the matched sample. In the NIR-MIR range, the median SEDs of X-ray AGNs are redder, but the scatter of the SEDs of the X-ray AGN broadly overlaps that of the galaxies in the matched sample.

Metallicity dependence of HMXB populations

High-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) might have contributed a non-negligible fraction of the energy feedback to the interstellar and intergalactic media at high redshift, becoming important sources for the heating and ionization history of the Universe. However, the importance of this contribution depends on the hypothesized increase in the number of HMXBs formed in low-metallicity galaxies and in their luminosities. In this work we test the aforementioned hypothesis, and quantify the metallicity dependence of HMXB population properties. We compile from the literature a large set of data on the sizes and X-ray luminosities of HMXB populations in nearby galaxies with known metallicities and star formation rates. We use Bayesian inference to fit simple Monte Carlo models that describe the metallicity dependence of the size and luminosity of the HMXB populations. We find that HMXBs are typically ten times more numerous per unit star formation rate in low-metallicity galaxies (12 + log(O/H) < 8, namely < 20% solar) than in solar-metallicity galaxies. The metallicity dependence of the luminosity of HMXBs is small compared to that of the population size. Our results support the hypothesis that HMXBs are more numerous in low-metallicity galaxies, implying the need to investigate the feedback in the form of X-rays and energetic mass outflows of these high-energy sources during cosmic dawn.

The final-parsec problem in the collisionless limit

A binary supermassive black hole loses energy via ejection of stars in a galactic nucleus, until emission of gravitational waves becomes strong enough to induce rapid coalescence. Evolution via the gravitational slingshot requires that stars be continuously supplied to the binary, and it is known that in spherical galaxies the reservoir of such stars is quickly depleted, leading to stalling of the binary at parsec-scale separations. Recent N-body simulations of galaxy mergers and isolated nonspherical galaxies suggest that this stalling may not occur in less idealized systems. However, it remains unclear to what degree these conclusions are affected by collisional relaxation, which is much stronger in the numerical simulations than in real galaxies. In this study, we present a novel Monte Carlo method that can efficiently deal with both collisional and collisionless dynamics, and with galaxy models having arbitrary shapes. We show that without relaxation, the final-parsec problem may be overcome only in triaxial galaxies. Axisymmetry is not enough, but even a moderate departure from axisymmetry is sufficient to keep the binary shrinking. We find that the binary hardening rate is always substantially lower than the maximum possible, "full-loss-cone" rate, and that it decreases with time, but that stellar-dynamical interactions are nevertheless able to drive the binary to coalescence on a timescale <=1 Gyr in any triaxial galaxy.

Star Formation and Dynamics in the Galactic Centre

The centre of our Galaxy is one of the most studied and yet enigmatic places in the Universe. At a distance of about 8 kpc from our Sun, the Galactic centre (GC) is the ideal environment to study the extreme processes that take place in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole (SMBH). Despite the hostile environment, several tens of early-type stars populate the central parsec of our Galaxy. A fraction of them lie in a thin ring with mild eccentricity and inner radius ~0.04 pc, while the S-stars, i.e. the ~30 stars closest to the SMBH (<0.04 pc), have randomly oriented and highly eccentric orbits. The formation of such early-type stars has been a puzzle for a long time: molecular clouds should be tidally disrupted by the SMBH before they can fragment into stars. We review the main scenarios proposed to explain the formation and the dynamical evolution of the early-type stars in the GC. In particular, we discuss the most popular in situ scenarios (accretion disc fragmentation and molecular cloud disruption) and migration scenarios (star cluster inspiral and Hills mechanism). We focus on the most pressing challenges that must be faced to shed light on the process of star formation in the vicinity of a SMBH.

The offsets between galaxies and their dark matter in {\Lambda}CDM

We use the "Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments" ( EAGLE ) suite of hydrodynamical cosmological simulations to measure offsets between the centres of stellar and dark matter components of galaxies. We find that the vast majority (>95%) of the simulated galaxies display an offset smaller than the gravitational softening length of the simulations ($\epsilon = 700$ pc), both for field galaxies and satellites in clusters and groups. We also find no systematic trailing or leading of the dark matter along a galaxy’s direction of motion. The offsets are consistent with being randomly drawn from a Maxwellian distribution with $\sigma = 196$ pc. Since astrophysical effects produce no feasible analogues for the $1.62^{+0.47}_{-0.49}$ kpc offset recently observed in Abell 3827, this observational result is in tension with the collisionless cold dark matter model assumed in the simulations.

AGN activity and nuclear starbursts: Sgr A* activity shapes the Central Molecular Zone

The Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) of the Milky Way shows several peculiar properties: a large star formation rate, some of the most massive young star clusters and molecular clouds in the Galaxy, and a twisted ring morphology in molecular gas. In this paper, I use SPH simulations to show that most of these properties can be explained as due to a recent outburst of AGN activity in Sgr A*, the central supermassive black hole of the Milky Way. In particular, the narrow ring of dense gas, massive gas clouds, young star clusters and an elevated SFR can all be caused by the passage of an AGN outflow through the system, which compresses the gas and triggers fragmentation. Furthermore, I show that the asymmetric distribution of gas, as observed in the CMZ, can be produced by outflow-induced instabilities from an initially axisymmetric gas disc. Angular momentum mixing in the disc produces some low angular momentum material, which can subsequently feed Sgr A*. These processes can occur in any galaxy that experiences an AGN episode, leading to bursts of nuclear star formation much stronger than pure bar-driven mass inflows would predict.

A Gemini/GMOS Study of Intermediate Luminosity Early-Type Virgo Cluster Galaxies. I. Globular Cluster and Stellar Kinematics

We present a kinematic analysis of the globular cluster systems and diffuse stellar light of four intermediate luminosity (sub-$L^{\ast}$) early-type galaxies in the Virgo cluster based on Gemini/GMOS data. Our galaxy sample is fainter ($-23.8<M_K<-22.7$) than most previous studies, nearly doubling the number of galaxies in this magnitude range that now have GC kinematics. The data for the diffuse light extends to $4R_e$, and the data for the globular clusters reaches 8–$12R_e$. We find that the kinematics in these outer regions are all different despite the fact that these four galaxies have similar photometric properties, and are uniformly classified as "fast rotators" from their stellar kinematics within $1R_e$. The globular cluster systems exhibit a wide range of kinematic morphology. The rotation axis and amplitude can change between the inner and outer regions, including a case of counter-rotation. This difference shows the importance of wide-field kinematic studies, and shows that stellar and GC kinematics can change significantly as one moves beyond the inner regions of galaxies. Moreover, the kinematics of the globular cluster systems can differ from that of the stars, suggesting that the formation of the two populations are also distinct.

The origin of prolate rotation in dwarf spheroidal galaxies formed by mergers of disky dwarfs

Motivated by the discovery of prolate rotation of stars in Andromeda II, a dwarf spheroidal companion of M31, we study the origin of this type of streaming motion via mergers of disky dwarf galaxies. We simulate merger events between two identical dwarfs changing the initial inclination of their disks with respect to the orbit and the amount of orbital angular momentum. On radial orbits the amount of prolate rotation in the merger remnants correlates strongly with the inclination of the disks and is well understood as due to the conservation of the angular momentum component of the disks along the merger axis. For non-radial orbits prolate rotation may still be produced if the orbital angular momentum is initially not much larger than the intrinsic angular momentum of the disks. The orbital structure of the remnants with significant rotation is dominated by box orbits in the center and long-axis tubes in the outer parts. We also detect significant figure rotation resulting from the tidal distortion of the disks before the merger. The frequency analysis of stellar orbits in the plane perpendicular to the major axis reveals the presence of two families roughly corresponding to inner and outer long-axis tubes. The fraction of inner tubes is largest in the remnant forming from disks oriented most vertically initially and is responsible for the boxy shape of the galaxy. We conclude that prolate rotation may result from mergers with a variety of initial conditions and no fine tuning is necessary to reproduce this feature.

The age-metallicity relationship in the Small Magellanic Cloud periphery

We present results from Washington CT1 photometry for eleven star fields located in the western outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), which cover angular distances to its centre from 2 up to 13 degrees (~ 2.2 – 13.8 kpc). The colour- magnitude diagrams, cleaned from the unavoidable Milky Way (MW) and background galaxy signatures, reveal that the most distant dominant main sequence (MS) stellar populations from the SMC centre are located at an angular distance of ~ 5.7 deg (6.1 kpc); no sign of farther clear SMC MS is visible other than the residuals from the MW/background field contamination. The derived ages and metallicities for the dominant stellar populations of the western SMC periphery show a constant metallicity level ([Fe/H] = -1.0 dex) and an approximately constant age value (~ 7-8 Gyr). Their age-metallicity relationship (AMR) do not clearly differ from the most comprehensive AMRs derived for almost the entire SMC main body. Finally, the range of ages of the dominant stellar populations in the western SMC periphery confirms that the major stellar mass formation activity at the very early galaxy epoch peaked ~ 7-8 Gyr ago.

Investigating Earth shadowing effect with DAMA/LIBRA-phase1

In the present paper the results obtained in the investigation of possible diurnal effects for low-energy single-hit scintillation events of DAMA/LIBRA-phase1 (1.04 ton $\times$ yr exposure) have been analysed in terms of an effect expected in case of Dark Matter (DM) candidates inducing nuclear recoils and having high cross-section with ordinary matter, which implies low DM local density in order to fulfill the DAMA/LIBRA DM annual modulation results. This effect is due to the different Earth depths crossed by those DM candidates during the sidereal day.

Investigating Earth shadowing effect with DAMA/LIBRA-phase1 [Cross-Listing]

In the present paper the results obtained in the investigation of possible diurnal effects for low-energy single-hit scintillation events of DAMA/LIBRA-phase1 (1.04 ton $\times$ yr exposure) have been analysed in terms of an effect expected in case of Dark Matter (DM) candidates inducing nuclear recoils and having high cross-section with ordinary matter, which implies low DM local density in order to fulfill the DAMA/LIBRA DM annual modulation results. This effect is due to the different Earth depths crossed by those DM candidates during the sidereal day.

Herschel Survey of the Palomar-Green QSOs at Low Redshift

We investigate the global cold dust properties of 85 nearby (z < 0.5) QSOs, chosen from the Palomar-Green sample of optically luminous quasars. We determine their infrared spectral energy distributions and estimate their rest-frame luminosities by combining Herschel data from 70 to 500 microns with near-infrared and mid-infrared measurements from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). In most sources the far-infrared (FIR) emission can be attributed to thermally heated dust. Single temperature modified black body fits to the FIR photometry give an average dust temperature for the sample of 33~K, with a standard deviation of 8~K, and an average dust mass of 7E6 Solar Masses with a standard deviation of 9E6 Solar Masses. Estimates of star-formation that are based on the FIR continuum emission correlate with those based on the 11.3 microns PAH feature, however, the star-formation rates estimated from the FIR continuum are higher than those estimated from the 11.3 microns PAH emission. We attribute this result to a variety of factors including the possible destruction of the PAHs and that, in some sources, a fraction of the FIR originates from dust heated by the active galactic nucleus and by old stars.

ALMA detection of a disc-dominated [C II] emission line at z=4.6 in the luminous QSO J1554+1937

We present observations and analysis of an unusual [C II] emission line in the very luminous QSO SDSS J155426.16+193703.0 at z~4.6. The line is extremely broad (FWHM 735 km/s) and seems to have a flat-topped or double-peaked line profile. A velocity map of the line shows a gradient across the source that indicates large-scale rotation of star-forming gas. Together, the velocity map and line profile suggest the presence of a massive rotating disc with a dynamical mass M_dyn > 5×10^10 M_sun. Using the assumption of a rotating disc origin, we employ an empirical relation between galaxy disc circular velocity and bulge velocity dispersion (sigma) to estimate that sigma > 310 km/s, subject to a correction for the unknown disc inclination. This result implies that this source is consistent with the local M–sigma relation, or offset at most by an order of magnitude in black hole mass. In contrast, the assumption of a bulge origin for the [C II] emission line would lead to a conclusion that the black hole is nearly two orders of magnitude more massive than predicted by the M–sigma relation, similar to previous findings for other high-redshift QSOs. As disc rotation may be a common origin for [C II] emission at high redshifts, these results stress that careful consideration of dynamical origins is required when using observations of this line to derive properties of high-redshift galaxies.

 

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