Recent Postings from Galactic

Commons at the Intersection of Peer Production, Citizen Science, and Big Data: Galaxy Zoo

The knowledge commons research framework is applied to a case of commons governance grounded in research in modern astronomy. The case, Galaxy Zoo, is a leading example of at least three different contemporary phenomena. In the first place Galaxy Zoo is a global citizen science project, in which volunteer non-scientists have been recruited to participate in large-scale data analysis via the Internet. In the second place Galaxy Zoo is a highly successful example of peer production, sometimes known colloquially as crowdsourcing, by which data are gathered, supplied, and/or analyzed by very large numbers of anonymous and pseudonymous contributors to an enterprise that is centrally coordinated or managed. In the third place Galaxy Zoo is a highly visible example of data-intensive science, sometimes referred to as e-science or Big Data science, by which scientific researchers develop methods to grapple with the massive volumes of digital data now available to them via modern sensing and imaging technologies. This chapter synthesizes these three perspectives on Galaxy Zoo via the knowledge commons framework.

Proceedings of the First Astrostatistics School: Bayesian Methods in Cosmology

These are the proceedings of the First Astrostatistics School: Bayesian Methods in Cosmology, held in Bogot\’a D.C., Colombia, June 9-13, 2014. The first astrostatistics school has been the first event in Colombia where statisticians and cosmologists from some universities in Bogot\’a met to discuss the statistic methods applied to cosmology, especially the use of Bayesian statistics in the study of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations (BAO), Large Scale Structure (LSS) and weak lensing.

Importance of thermal diffusion in the gravo-magnetic limit cycle

We consider the role of thermal diffusion due to turbulence and radiation on accretion bursts that occur in protoplanetary discs which contain dead zones. Using 1D viscous disc models we show that diffusive radial transport of heat is important during the gravo-magnetic limit cycle, and can strongly modify the duration and frequency of accretion outbursts. When the Prandtl number is large – such that turbulent diffusion of heat is unimportant – radial radiative diffusion reduces the burst duration compared to models with no diffusive transport of heat. When the Prandtl number is small ($\lesssim 25$) we find that turbulent diffusion dominates the radial transport of heat, reducing the burst duration to $\lesssim 10^3$ years as well as increasing the burst frequency. Furthermore, inclusion of radial transport of heat extends the range of infall rates under which the disc undergoes accretion bursts from $10^{-8}$ to $10^{-6}$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ with no diffusion, to $10^{-8}$ to $\gtrsim10^{-4}$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ with radiative and strong turbulent diffusion. The relative roles of radiative and turbulent thermal diffusion are likely to vary during an accretion burst, but simple estimates suggest that the expected Prandtl numbers are of the order of 10 in protoplanetary discs, and hence that turbulent diffusion is likely to be an important process during accretion outbursts due to the gravo-magnetic limit cycle.

Bulge formation in disk galaxies with MOND

The formation of galaxies and their various components can be stringent tests of dark matter models and of gravity theories. In the standard cold dark matter (CDM) model, spheroids are formed through mergers in a strongly hierarchical scenario, and also in the early universe through dynamical friction in clumpy galaxies. More secularly, pseudo-bulges are formed by the inner vertical resonance with bars. The high efficiency of bulge formation is in tension with observations in the local universe of a large amount of bulge-less spiral galaxies. In the present work, the formation of bulges in very gas-rich galaxies, as those in the early universe, is studied in the Milgrom’s MOdified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND), through multi-grid simulations of the non-linear gravity, including the gas dissipation, star formation and feedback. Clumpy disks are rapidly formed, as in their Newtonian equivalent systems. However, the dynamical friction is not as efficient, in the absence of dark matter halos, and the clumps have no time to coalesce into the center to form bulges, before they are eroded by stellar feedback and shear forces. Previous work has established that mergers are less frequent in MOND, and classical bulges are expected less massive. It is now shown that gas-rich clumpy galaxies in the early universe do not form bulges. Since pseudo-bulges are formed with a similar rate as in the Newtonian equivalent systems, it can be expected that the contribution of pseudo-bulges is significantly higher in MOND.

Dissecting the 3D structure of elliptical galaxies with gravitational lensing and stellar kinematics

The combination of strong gravitational lensing and stellar kinematics provides a powerful and robust method to investigate the mass and dynamical structure of early-type galaxies. We demonstrate this approach by analysing two massive ellipticals from the XLENS Survey for which both high-resolution HST imaging and X-Shooter spectroscopic observations are available. We adopt a flexible axisymmetric two-component mass model for the lens galaxies, consisting of a generalised NFW dark halo and a realistic self-gravitating stellar mass distribution. For both systems, we put constraints on the dark halo inner structure and flattening, and we find that they are dominated by the luminous component within one effective radius. By comparing the tight inferences on the stellar mass from the combined lensing and dynamics analysis with the values obtained from stellar population studies, we conclude that both galaxies are characterised by a Salpeter-like stellar initial mass function.

The Earliest Phases of Star formation (EPoS): Temperature, density, and kinematic structure of the star-forming core CB 17

Context: The initial conditions for the gravitational collapse of molecular cloud cores and the subsequent birth of stars are still not well constrained. The characteristic cold temperatures (about 10 K) in such regions require observations at sub-millimetre and longer wavelengths. The Herschel Space Observatory and complementary ground-based observations presented in this paper have the unprecedented potential to reveal the structure and kinematics of a prototypical core region at the onset of stellar birth. Aims: This paper aims to determine the density, temperature, and velocity structure of the star-forming Bok globule CB 17. This isolated region is known to host (at least) two sources at different evolutionary stages: a dense core, SMM1, and a Class I protostar, IRS. Methods: We modeled the cold dust emission maps from 100 micron to 1.2 mm with both a modified blackbody technique to determine the optical depth-weighted line-of-sight temperature and column density and a ray-tracing technique to determine the core temperature and volume density structure. Furthermore, we analysed the kinematics of CB17 using the high-density gas tracer N2H+. Results: From the ray-tracing analysis, we find a temperature in the centre of SMM1 of 10.6 K, a flat density profile with radius 9500 au, and a central volume density of n(H) = 2.3×10^5 cm-3. The velocity structure of the N2H+ observations reveal global rotation with a velocity gradient of 4.3 km/s/pc. Superposed on this rotation signature we find a more complex velocity field, which may be indicative of differential motions within the dense core. Conclusions: SMM is a core in an early evolutionary stage at the verge of being bound, but the question of whether it is a starless or a protostellar core remains unanswered.

SiO excitation from dense shocks in the earliest stages of massive star formation

Molecular outflows are a direct consequence of accretion, and therefore they represent one of the best tracers of accretion processes in the still poorly understood early phases of high-mass star formation. Previous studies suggested that the SiO abundance decreases with the evolution of a massive young stellar object probably because of a decay of jet activity, as witnessed in low-mass star-forming regions. We investigate the SiO excitation conditions and its abundance in outflows from a sample of massive young stellar objects through observations of the SiO(8-7) and CO(4-3) lines with the APEX telescope. Through a non-LTE analysis, we find that the excitation conditions of SiO increase with the velocity of the emitting gas. We also compute the SiO abundance through the SiO and CO integrated intensities at high velocities. For the sources in our sample we find no significant variation of the SiO abundance with evolution for a bolometric luminosity-to-mass ratio of between 4 and 50 $L_\odot/M_\odot$. We also find a weak increase of the SiO(8-7) luminosity with the bolometric luminosity-to-mass ratio. We speculate that this might be explained with an increase of density in the gas traced by SiO. We find that the densities constrained by the SiO observations require the use of shock models that include grain-grain processing. For the first time, such models are compared and found to be compatible with SiO observations. A pre-shock density of $10^5\, $cm$^{-3}$ is globally inferred from these comparisons. Shocks with a velocity higher than 25 km s$^{-1}$ are invoked for the objects in our sample where the SiO is observed with a corresponding velocity dispersion. Our comparison of shock models with observations suggests that sputtering of silicon-bearing material (corresponding to less than 10% of the total silicon abundance) from the grain mantles is occurring.

The SAMI Galaxy Survey: first 1000 galaxies

The Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral field spectrograph (SAMI) Galaxy Survey is an ongoing project to obtain integral field spectroscopic observations of ~3400 galaxies by mid-2016. Including the pilot survey, a total of ~1000 galaxies have been observed to date, making the SAMI Galaxy Survey the largest of its kind in existence. This unique dataset allows a wide range of investigations into different aspects of galaxy evolution. The first public data from the SAMI Galaxy Survey, consisting of 107 galaxies drawn from the full sample, has now been released. By giving early access to SAMI data for the entire research community, we aim to stimulate research across a broad range of topics in galaxy evolution. As the sample continues to grow, the survey will open up a new and unique parameter space for galaxy evolution studies.

Stellar masses calibrated with micro-lensed quasars

We measure the stellar mass surface densities of early type galaxies by observing the micro-lensing of macro-lensed quasars caused by individual stars, including stellar remnants, brown dwarfs and red dwarfs too faint to produce photometric or spectroscopic signatures. Our method measures the graininess of the gravitational potential, in contrast to methods that decompose a smooth total gravitational potential into two smooth components, one stellar and one dark. We find the median likelihood value for the calibration factor F by which Salpeter stellar masses (with a low mass cutoff of 0.1 solar masses) must be multiplied is 1.23, with a one sigma confidence range of 0.77 < F < 2.10.

Small-scale Properties of Atomic Gas in Extended Disks of Galaxies

We present high-resolution HI 21 cm observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) for three HI rich galaxies in absorption against radio quasars. Our sample contains six sightlines with impact parameters from 2.6 to 32.4 kpc. We detected a narrow HI absorber of FWHM 1.1 km/s at 444.5 km/s towards J122106.854+454852.16 probing the dwarf galaxy UCG 7408 at an impact parameter of 2.8 kpc. The absorption feature was barely resolved and its width corresponds to a maximum kinetic temperature, $\rm T_k \approx 26~K$. We estimate a limiting peak optical depth of 1.37 and a column density of $\rm 6\times 10^{19}~cm^{-2}$. The physical extent of the absorber is $\rm 0.04~kpc^2$ and covers $\sim$25-30\% of the background source. A comparison between the emission and absorption strengths suggests the cold-to-total HI column density in the absorber is ~30%. Folding in the covering fraction, the cold-to-total HI mass is ~10%. This suggest that condensation of warm HI ($\rm T_s\sim 1000~K$) to cold phase ($\rm T_s < 100~K$) is suppressed in UGC 7408. The unusually low temperature of the HI absorber also indicates inefficiency in condensation of atomic gas into molecular gas. The suppression in condensation is likely to be the result of low-metal content in this galaxy. The same process might explain the low efficiency of star formation in dwarf galaxies despite their huge of gas reservoirs. We also report the non-detection of HI in absorption in five other sightlines. This indicates that either the cold gas distribution is highly patchy or the gas is much warmer ($\rm T_s~>1000~K$) towards these sightlines.

Recoiling Supermassive Black Holes: a search in the Nearby Universe

The coalescence of a binary black hole can be accompanied by a large gravitational recoil due to anisotropic emission of gravitational waves. A recoiling supermassive black hole (SBH) can subsequently undergo long-lived oscillations in the potential well of its host galaxy, suggesting that offset SBHs may be common in the cores of massive ellipticals. We have analyzed HST archival images of 14 nearby core ellipticals, finding evidence for small ($\lesssim 10$ pc) displacements between the AGN (locating the SBH) and the center of the galaxy (the mean photocenter) in 10 of them. Excluding objects that may be affected by large-scale isophotal asymmetries, we consider six galaxies to have detected displacements, including M87, where a displacement was previously reported by Batcheldor et al. 2010. In individual objects, these displacements can be attributed to residual gravitational recoil oscillations following a major or minor merger within the last few Gyr. For plausible merger rates, however, there is a high probability of larger displacements than those observed, if SBH coalescence took place in these galaxies. Remarkably, the AGN-photocenter displacements are approximately aligned with the radio source axis in four of the six galaxies with displacements, including three of the four having relatively powerful kpc-scale jets. This suggests intrinsic asymmetries in radio jet power as a possible displacement mechanism, although approximate alignments are also expected for gravitational recoil. Orbital motion in SBH binaries and interactions with massive perturbers can produce the observed displacement amplitudes but do not offer a ready explanation for the alignments.

Pulsar-black hole binaries: prospects for new gravity tests with future radio telescopes

The anticipated discovery of a pulsar in orbit with a black hole is expected to provide a unique laboratory for black hole physics and gravity. In this context, the next generation of radio telescopes, like the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), with their unprecedented sensitivity, will play a key role. In this paper, we investigate the capability of future radio telescopes to probe the spacetime of a black hole and test gravity theories, by timing a pulsar orbiting a stellar-mass-black-hole (SBH). Based on mock data simulations, we show that a few years of timing observations of a sufficiently compact pulsar-SBH (PSR-SBH) system with future radio telescopes would allow precise measurements of the black hole mass and spin. A measurement precision of one per cent can be expected for the spin. Measuring the quadrupole moment of the black hole, needed to test GR’s no-hair theorem, requires extreme system configurations with compact orbits and a large SBH mass. Additionally, we show that a PSR-SBH system can lead to greatly improved constraints on alternative gravity theories even if they predict black holes (practically) identical to GR’s. This is demonstrated for a specific class of scalar-tensor theories. Finally, we investigate the requirements for searching for PSR-SBH systems. It is shown that the high sensitivity of the next generation of radio telescopes is key for discovering compact PSR-SBH systems, as it will allow for sufficiently short survey integration times.

High-resolution, 3D radiative transfer modeling : I. The grand-design spiral galaxy M51

Context: Dust reprocesses about half of the stellar radiation in galaxies. The thermal re-emission by dust of absorbed energy is considered driven merely by young stars and, consequently, often applied to trace the star formation rate in galaxies. Recent studies have argued that the old stellar population might anticipate a non-negligible fraction of the radiative dust heating. Aims: In this work, we aim to analyze the contribution of young (< 100 Myr) and old (~ 10 Gyr) stellar populations to radiative dust heating processes in the nearby grand-design spiral galaxy M51 using radiative transfer modeling. High-resolution 3D radiative transfer (RT) models are required to describe the complex morphologies of asymmetric spiral arms and clumpy star-forming regions and model the propagation of light through a dusty medium. Methods: In this paper, we present a new technique developed to model the radiative transfer effects in nearby face-on galaxies. We construct a high-resolution 3D radiative transfer model with the Monte-Carlo code SKIRT accounting for the absorption, scattering and non-local thermal equilibrium (NLTE) emission of dust in M51. The 3D distribution of stars is derived from the 2D morphology observed in the IRAC 3.6 {\mu}m, GALEX FUV, H{\alpha} and MIPS 24 {\mu}m wavebands, assuming an exponential vertical distribution with an appropriate scale height. The dust geometry is constrained through the far-ultraviolet (FUV) attenuation, which is derived from the observed total-infrared-to-far-ultraviolet luminosity ratio. The stellar luminosity, star formation rate and dust mass have been scaled to reproduce the observed stellar spectral energy distribution (SED), FUV attenuation and infrared SED. (abridged)

Under the sword of Damocles: plausible regeneration of dark matter cusps at the smallest galactic scales

We run controlled N-body experiments to study the evolution of the dark matter (DM) halo profiles of dwarf galaxies driven by the accretion of DM substructures. Our initial conditions assume that supernova feedback erases the primordial DM cusps of haloes with $10^{9}-10^{10} \rm{M_{\odot}}$ at $z=0$. The orbits and masses of the infalling substructures are borrowed from the {\it Aquarius} simulations. Our experiments show that a fraction of haloes that undergo 1:3 down to 1:30 mergers are susceptible to reform a DM cusp by $z\approx 0$. Cusp regrowth is driven the accretion of DM substructures that are dense enough reach the central regions of the main halo before being tidally disrupted. The infall of substructures with a mass ratio above 1:6 on the mean of the reported mass-concentration relation systematically lead to cusp regrowth. Between 1:6 to 1:8, and 1:8 to 1:30 substructures need to be located one and two-sigma above the mean, respectively. The merging timescales of these dense, low-mass substructures is relatively long $(5-11 \rm{Gyrs})$, which may pose a timescale problem for the longevity of DM cores in dwarf galaxies. These results suggest that a certain level of scatter in the central density slopes of galactic haloes acted-on by feedback is to be expected given the stochastic mass accretion histories of low-mass haloes and the diverse star formation histories observed in the Local Group dwarves.

Global Properties of M31's Stellar Halo from the SPLASH Survey: II. Metallicity Profile

We present the metallicity distribution of red giant branch (RGB) stars in M31′s stellar halo, derived from photometric metallicity estimates for over 1500 spectroscopically confirmed RGB halo stars. The stellar sample comes from 38 halo fields observed with the Keck/DEIMOS spectrograph, ranging from 9 to 175 kpc in projected distance from M31′s center, and includes 52 confirmed M31 halo stars beyond 100 kpc. While a wide range of metallicities is seen throughout the halo, the metal-rich peak of the metallicity distribution function becomes significantly less prominent with increasing radius. The metallicity profile of M31′s stellar halo shows a continuous gradient from 9 to ~100 kpc, with a magnitude of -0.01 dex/kpc. The stellar velocity distributions in each field are used to identify stars that are likely associated with tidal debris features. The removal of tidal debris features does not significantly alter the metallicity gradient in M31′s halo: a gradient is maintained in fields spanning 10 to 90 kpc. We analyze the halo metallicity profile, as well as the relative metallicities of stars associated with tidal debris features and the underlying halo population, in the context of current simulations of stellar halo formation. We argue that the large scale gradient in M31′s halo implies M31 accreted at least one relatively massive progenitor in the past, while the field to field variation seen in the metallicity profile indicates that multiple smaller progenitors are likely to have contributed substantially to M31′s outer halo.

Bruck 88 : a young star cluster with an old age resemblance in the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud

We present spectroscopic and photometric results for the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) cluster Bruck 88. From the comparison of the cluster integrated spectrum with template cluster spectra we found that the Milky Way globular cluster template spectra are the ones which best resemble it. However, the extracted cluster colour magnitude diagram reveals that Bruck 88 is a young cluster (log(t) = 8.1 +- 0.1). The derived cluster age is compatible with the presence of a Bright Red Giant (BRG) star located ~ 2.6 arcsec in the sky from the cluster centre. We serendipitously observed HW 33, a star cluster located ~ 3 arcmin to the south-east from Bruck 88. We obtained for the cluster the same age than Bruck 88 and surprisingly, a BRG star located within the cluster radius also appears to be compatible with the cluster age. We estimated the MK type of the BRG star in the Bruck 88 field to be in the range G9 II/Ib – K1 III. By combining the spectrum of a star within this MK type range with a 100-150 Myr template cluster integrated spectrum, we found that a proportion 85/15 in the sense BRG/template results in a spectrum which best resembles that of Bruck 88. This result confirms that a BRG star dominates the cluster integrated spectrum, so that it causes the globular cluster appearance of its integrated light.

A Search for Spectral Galaxy Pairs of Overlapping Galaxies based on Fuzzy Recognition

The Spectral Galaxy Pairs (SGPs) are de?ned as the composite galaxy spectra which contain two independent redshift systems. These spectra are useful for studying dust properties of the foreground galaxies. In this paper, a total of 165 spectra of SGPs are mined out from Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 9 (DR9) using the concept of membership degree from the fuzzy set theory particularly de?ned to be suitable for fuzzily identifying emission lines. The spectra and images of this sample are classi?ed according to the membership degree and their image features, respectively. Many of these 2nd redshift systems are too small or too dim to select from the SDSS images alone, making the sample a potentially unique source of information on dust e?ects in low-luminosity or low-surface-brightness galaxies that are underrepresented in morphological pair samples. The dust extinction of the objects with high membership degree is also estimated by Balmer decrement. Additionally, analyses for a series of spectroscopic observations of one SGP from 165 systems indicate that a newly star-forming region of our Milky Way might occur.

AGB populations in post-starburst galaxies

In a previous paper we compared the SEDs of a sample of 808 K+A galaxies from the FUV to the MIR to the predictions of the spectrum synthesis models explicitly using AGB components. Here we use the new AGB-light models from C. Maraston (including less fuel for the later stages of stellar evolution and improved calibrations) to address the discrepancies between our observations and the AGB-heavy models used in our previous paper, which over-predict the infrared fluxes of post-starburst galaxies by an order of magnitude. The new models yield a much better fit to the data, especially in the near-IR, compared to previous realizations where AGB stars caused a large excess in the H and K bands. We { also compare the predictions of the M2013 models to those with BC03 and find that both reproduce the observations equally well. } We still find a significant discrepancy with { both sets of models} in the Y and J bands, which however is probably due to the spectral features of AGB stars. We also find that { both the M2013 and the BC03 models} still over-predict the observed fluxes in the UV bands, even invoking extinction laws that are stronger in these bands. While there may be some simple explanations for this discrepancy, we find that further progress requires new observations and better modelling. Excess mid-infrared emission longward of 5$\mu$m is well modelled by a $T_{dust}=300^oK$ Black-Body, which may arise from dust emission from the circumstellar envelopes of Oxygen rich M stars (expected for a metal-rich population of AGB stars).

Search for Variable Sources Using Data of "Cold" Surveys

We search for variable sources, using the data of the surveys conducted on the RATAN-600 radio telescope in 1980-1994 at 3.94 GHz. To test the radio sources of the RCR (RATAN Cold Refined) catalog for variability, we estimated the long-term variability indices V of the studied objects, their relative variability amplitudes V_chi, and the chi-square probabilities p. Out of about two hundred considered sources, 41 proved to have positive long-term variability indices, suggesting that these sources may be variable. Fifteen objects can be considered to be reliably variable according to the chi-square criterion p > 0.98, three of these sources have chi-square probabilities p > 0.999. T he corresponding probabilities for six sources lie in the 0.95 < p < 0.98 interval, and those of the remaining 20 objects in the 0.73 < p < 0.95 interval. Twenty-four of 41 objects are variable or possibly variable in the optical range, and five objects are known variable radio sources. We construct the light curves and spectra for the sources with positive long-term variability indices.

On Possibility of Detection of Variable Sources Using the Data of "Cold" Surveys Carried Out on RATAN-600

In this study we attempt to assess the possibility of detection of variable sources using the data of the 7.6-cm wavelength surveys carried out on the RATAN-600 radio telescope in the period from 1980 through 1994. Objects selected according to certain criteria from the RCR catalog are used to construct the calibration curves and to estimate the accuracy of the resulting calibration curves and determine the r.m.s. errors for the measured source flux densities. To check the calibration sources for the presence of variable objects, quantitative estimates are performed for a number of parameters that characterize variability, in particular, for the long-term variability index V and the chi-square probability p. The long-term variability index was found to be positive for 14 out of approximately 80 calibration sources, possibly indicating that these sources are variable. The most likely candidate variables are the three sources with the chi-square probability p > 0.95. Five sources have chi-square probabilities in the 0.85 < p < 0.95 interval, and the remaining six in the 0.6 < p < 0.8 interval. Nine out of 14 objects are possibly variable in the optical range. The light curves and spectra are determined for possible variable sources and a number of "non-variable" objects. We plan to use the results of this study in our future searches for variable radio sources using the data of the "Cold" surveys.

Rotating gravitational lenses: a kinematic approach

This paper uses the Kerr geodesic equations for massless particles to derive an acceleration vector in both Boyer-Lindquist and Cartesian coordinates. As a special case, the Schwarzschild acceleration due to a non-rotating mass has a particularly simple and elegant form in Cartesian coordinates. Using forward integration, these equations are used to plot the caustic pattern due to a system consisting of a rotating point mass with a smaller non-rotating planet. Additionally, first and second order approximations to the paths are identified, which allows for fast approximations of paths, deflection angles and travel-time delays.

Absorption Filaments Towards the Massive Clump G0.253+0.016

ALMA HCO+ observations of the infrared dark cloud G0.253+0.016 located in the Central Molecular Zone of the Galaxy are presented. The 89 GHz emission is area-filling, optically thick, and sub-thermally excited. Two types of filaments are seen in absorption against the HCO+ emission. Broad-line absorption filaments (BLAs) have widths of less than a few arcseconds (0.07 – 0.14 pc), lengths of 30 to 50 arcseconds (1.2 – 1.8 pc), and absorption profiles extending over a velocity range larger than 20 km/sec. The BLAs are nearly parallel to the nearby G0.18 non-thermal filaments and may trace HCO+ molecules gyrating about highly ordered magnetic fields located in front of G0.253+0.016 or edge-on sheets formed behind supersonic shocks propagating orthogonal to our line-of-sight in the foreground. Narrow-line absorption filaments (NLAs) have line-widths less than 20 km/sec. Some NLAs are also seen in absorption in other species with high optical depth such as HCN and occasionally in emission where the background is faint. The NLAs, which also trace low-density, sub-thermally excited HCO+ molecules, are mostly seen on the blueshifted side of the emission from G0.253+0.016. If associated with the surface of G0.253+0.016, the kinematics of the NLAs indicate that the cloud surface is expanding. The decompression of entrained, milli-Gauss magnetic fields may be responsible for the re-expansion of the surface layers of G0.253+0.016 as it recedes from the Galactic center following a close encounter with Sgr A.

The Matryoshka Run (II): Time Dependent Turbulence Statistics, Stochastic Particle Acceleration and Microphysics Impact in a Massive Galaxy Cluster

We use the Matryoshka run to study the time dependent statistics of structure-formation driven turbulence in the intracluster medium of a 10$^{15}M_\odot$ galaxy cluster. We investigate the turbulent cascade in the inner Mpc for both compressional and incompressible velocity components. The flow maintains approximate conditions of fully developed turbulence, with departures thereof settling in about an eddy-turnover-time. Turbulent velocity dispersion remains above $700$ km s$^{-1}$ even at low mass accretion rate, with the fraction of compressional energy between $10\%$ and $40\%$. Normalisation and slope of compressional turbulence is susceptible to large variations on short time scales, unlike the incompressible counterpart. A major merger occurs around redshift $z\simeq0$ and is accompanied by a long period of enhanced turbulence, ascribed to temporal clustering of mass accretion related to spatial clustering of matter. We test models of stochastic acceleration by compressional modes for the origin of diffuse radio emission in galaxy clusters. The turbulence simulation model constrains an important unknown of this complex problem and brings forth its dependence on the elusive micro-physics of the intracluster plasma. In particular, the specifics of the plasma collisionality and the dissipation physics of weak shocks affect the cascade of compressional modes with strong impact on the acceleration rates. In this context radio halos emerge as complex phenomena in which a hierarchy of processes acting on progressively smaller scales are at work. Stochastic acceleration scenarios implies statistical correlation of radio power and spectral index with merging cores distance, both testable in principle with radio surveys.

Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): Curation and reanalysis of 17.5k redshifts in the G10/COSMOS region

We discuss the construction of the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) 10h region (G10) using publicly available data in the Cosmic Evolution Survey region (COSMOS) in order to extend the GAMA survey to z~1 in a single ~1deg$^2$. In order to obtain the maximum number of high precision spectroscopic redshifts we re-reduce all archival zCOSMOS-bright data and use the GAMA automatic cross-correlation redshift fitting code autoz. We combine autoz redshifts with all other available redshift information (zCOSMOS-bright 10k, PRIMUS, VVDS, SDSS and photometric redshifts) to calculate robust best-fit redshifts for all galaxies and visually inspect all 1D and 2D spectra to confirm automatically assigned redshifts. In total, we obtain 17,466 robust redshifts in the full COSMOS region. We then define the G10 region to be the central ~1deg$^2$ of COSMOS, which has relatively high spectroscopic completeness, and encompasses the CHILES VLA region. We define a combined r < 23.0 mag & i < 22.0 mag G10 sample (selected to have the highest bijective overlap) with which to perform future analysis. The G10 sample contains 10,247 sources with reliable high precision VLT-VIMOS spectra – with a median redshift of 0.55 and ~53% completeness to all non-stellar r < 23 mag & i < 22.0 mag sources, we define this to be the G10-HR sample. We also produce a full spectroscopic sample (G10-ALL) which contains a further 2,504 r < 23 mag & i < 22.0 mag galaxies with lower precision PRIMUS spectroscopy – sufficient for all GAMA-type analyses other than group finding. In total the G10- ALL sample contains 12,751 galaxies with reliable redshifts and is ~66% complete to r < 23 mag & i < 22.0 mag. All tables and spectra are released through the G10 cutout tool at:

Formation of massive protostars in atomic cooling haloes

We present the highest-resolution three-dimensional simulation to date of the collapse of an atomic cooling halo in the early Universe. We use the moving-mesh code arepo with the primordial chemistry module introduced in Greif (2014), which evolves the chemical and thermal rate equations for over more than 20 orders of magnitude in density. Molecular hydrogen cooling is suppressed by a strong Lyman-Werner background, which facilitates the near-isothermal collapse of the gas at a temperature of about $10^4\,$K. Once the central gas cloud becomes optically thick to continuum emission, it settles into a Keplerian disc around the primary protostar. The initial mass of the protostar is about $0.1\,{\rm M}_\odot$, which is an order of magnitude higher than in minihaloes that cool via molecular hydrogen. The high accretion rate and efficient cooling of the gas catalyze the fragmentation of the disc into a small protostellar system with 5-10 members. After about 12 yr, strong gravitational interactions disrupt the disc and temporarily eject the primary protostar from the centre of the cloud. By the end of the simulation, a secondary clump has collapsed at a distance of $\simeq 150\,$au from the primary clump. If this clump undergoes a similar evolution as the first, the central gas cloud may evolve into a wide binary system. High accretion rates of both the primary and secondary clumps suggest that fragmentation is not a significant barrier for forming at least one massive black hole seed.

Tracing chemical evolution over the extent of the Milky Way's Disk with APOGEE Red Clump Stars

We employ the first two years of data from the near-infrared, high-resolution SDSS-III/APOGEE spectroscopic survey to investigate the distribution of metallicity and alpha-element abundances of stars over a large part of the Milky Way disk. Using a sample of ~10,000 kinematically-unbiased red-clump stars with ~5% distance accuracy as tracers, the [alpha/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] distribution of this sample exhibits a bimodality in [alpha/Fe] at intermediate metallicities, -0.9<[Fe/H]<-0.2, but at higher metallicities ([Fe/H]=+0.2) the two sequences smoothly merge. We investigate the effects of the APOGEE selection function and volume filling fraction and find that these have little qualitative impact on the alpha-element abundance patterns. The described abundance pattern is found throughout the range 5<R<11 kpc and 0<|Z|<2 kpc across the Galaxy. The [alpha/Fe] trend of the high-alpha sequence is surprisingly constant throughout the Galaxy, with little variation from region to region (~10%). Using simple galactic chemical evolution models we derive an average star formation efficiency (SFE) in the high-alpha sequence of ~4.5E-10 1/yr, which is quite close to the nearly-constant value found in molecular-gas-dominated regions of nearby spirals. This result suggests that the early evolution of the Milky Way disk was characterized by stars that shared a similar star formation history and were formed in a well-mixed, turbulent, and molecular-dominated ISM with a gas consumption timescale (1/SFE) of ~2 Gyr. Finally, while the two alpha-element sequences in the inner Galaxy can be explained by a single chemical evolutionary track this cannot hold in the outer Galaxy, requiring instead a mix of two or more populations with distinct enrichment histories.

MUSE integral-field spectroscopy towards the Frontier Fields Cluster Abell S1063: I. Data products and redshift identifications

We present the first observations of the Frontier Fields Cluster Abell S1063, taken with the newly commissioned Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) integral field spectrograph. Because of the relatively large field of view (1 arcmin^2), MUSE is ideal to simultaneously target multiple galaxies in blank and cluster fields over the full optical spectrum. We analysed the four hours of data obtained in the Science Verification phase on this cluster and measured redshifts for 60 objects. We confirm the redshift of five cluster galaxies, and determine the redshift of 28 other cluster members. Behind the cluster, we find 16 galaxies at higher redshift, including three previously unknown Lyman-alpha emitters at z>3, and five multiply-lensed galaxies. We report the detection of a new z=4.113 multiply lensed galaxy, with images that are consistent with lensing model predictions derived for the Fronter Fields. We detect CIII], C IV and He II emission in a multiply lensed galaxy at z=3.116, suggesting the likely presence of an AGN. We also created narrow-band images from the MUSE datacube to automatically search for further line emitters corresponding to high-redshift candidates, but we could not identify any significant detections other than those found by visual inspection. With the new redshifts, it will become possible to obtain an accurate mass reconstruction in the core of Abell S1063 through refined strong lensing modelling. Overall, our results illustrate the breadth of scientific topics that can be addressed with a single MUSE pointing. We conclude that MUSE is a very efficient instrument to observe galaxy clusters, enabling their mass modelling, as well as to perform a blind search for high-redshift galaxies.

Ram pressure stripping in elliptical galaxies: II. magnetic field effects

We investigate the effects of magnetic fields and turbulence on ram pressure stripping in elliptical galaxies using ideal magnetohydrodynamics simulations. We consider weakly-magnetised interstellar medium (ISM) characterised by subsonic turbulence, and two orientations of the magnetic fields in the intracluster medium (ICM) – parallel and perpendicular to the direction of the galaxy motion through the ICM. While the stronger turbulence enhances the ram pressure stripping mass loss, the magnetic fields tend to suppress the stripping rates, and the suppression is stronger for parallel fields. However, the effect of magnetic fields on the mass stripping rate is mild. Nevertheless, the morphology of the stripping tails depends significantly on the direction of the ICM magnetic field. The effect of the magnetic field geometry on the tail morphology is much stronger than that of the level of the ISM turbulence. The tail has a highly collimated shape for parallel fields, while it has a sheet-like morphology in the plane of the ICM magnetic field for perpendicular fields. The magnetic field in the tail is amplified irrespectively of the orientation of the ICM field. More strongly magnetised regions in the ram pressure stripping tails are expected to have systematically higher metallicity due to the strong concentration of the stripped ISM than the less magnetised regions. Strong dependence of the morphology of the stripped ISM on the magnetic field could potentially be used to constrain the relative orientation of the ram pressure direction and the dominant component of the ICM magnetic field.

Flux-density spectral analysis for several pulsars and two newly-identified gigahertz-peaked spectra

In this paper we present results from flux density measurements for 21 pulsars over a wide frequency range, using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and the Effelsberg telescope. Our sample was a set of mostly newly discovered pulsars from the selection of candidates for gigahertz-peaked spectra (GPS) pulsars. Using the results of our observations along with previously published data, we identify two new GPS pulsars. One of them, PSR J1740+1000, with dispersion measure of 24 pc cm$^{-3}$, is the first GPS pulsar with such a low DM value.We also selected several strong candidates for objects with high frequency turnover in their spectra which require further investigation.We also revisit our source selection criteria for future searches for GPS pulsars.

On the Relative Ages of the $\alpha$-Rich and $\alpha$-Poor Stellar Populations in the Galactic Halo

We study the ages of $\alpha$-rich and $\alpha$-poor stars in the halo using a sample of F and G dwarfs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). To separate stars based on [$\alpha$/Fe], we have developed a new semi-empirical spectral-index based method and applied it to the low-resolution, moderate signal-to-noise SDSS spectra. The method can be used to estimate the [$\alpha$/Fe] directly providing a new and widely applicable way to estimate [$\alpha$/Fe] from low-resolution spectra. We measured the main-sequence turnoff temperature and combined it with the metallicities and a set of isochrones to estimate the age of the $\alpha$-rich and $\alpha$-poor populations in our sample. We found all stars appear to be older than 8 Gyr confirming the idea that the Galactic halo was formed very early on. A bifurcation appears in the age-metallicity relation such that in the low metallicity regime the $\alpha$-rich and $\alpha$-poor populations are coeval while in the high metallicity regime the $\alpha$-rich population is older than the $\alpha$-poor population. Our results indicate the $\alpha$-rich halo population, which has shallow age-metallicity relation, was formed in a rapid event with high star formation, while the $\alpha$-poor stars were formed in an environment with a slower chemical evolution timescale.

Unbound geodesics from the ergosphere and potential observability of debris from ultrahigh energy particle collisions [Cross-Listing]

Particle collisions in black hole ergoregions may result in extremely high center of mass energies that could probe new physics if escape to infinity were possible. Here we show that some geodesics at high inclinations to the equatorial plane may be unbound. Hence a finite flux of annihilation debris is able to escape, especially in the case of near-extremal Kerr black holes and if the Penrose process plays a role. For a class of Penrose processes, we show that the Wald inequalities are satisfied, allowing the Penrose process to have a key role in high energy ejection. Hence the possibility of observing new physics effects from a black hole accelerator at unprecedentedly high particle collision energies remains a tantalizing, if futuristic, experimental vision.

Large-scale jets from active galactic nuclei as a source of ICM heating: cavities and shocks

The evolution of powerful extragalactic jets is not only interesting by itself, but also for its impact on the evolution of the host galaxy and its surroundings. We have performed long-term axisymmetric numerical simulations of relativistic jets with different powers to study their evolution through an environment with a pressure and density gradient. Our results show key differences in the evolution of jets with different powers in terms of the spatial and temporal scales of energy deposition. According to our results, the observed morphology in X-ray cavities requires that an important fraction of the jet’s energetic budget is in the form of internal energy. Thus, light, lepton-dominated jets are favoured. In all cases, heating is mainly produced by shocks. Cavity overpressure is sustained by an important population of thermal particles. Our simulations reproduce the cool-core structure in projected, luminosity-weighted temperature. We have performed an additional simulation of a slow, massive jet and discuss the differences with its relativistic counterparts. Important qualitative and quantitative differences are found between the non-relativistic and the relativistic jets. Our conclusions point towards a dual-mode of AGN kinetic feedback, depending on the jet power.

The Extended Virgo Cluster Catalog

We present a new catalog of galaxies in the wider region of the Virgo cluster, based on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7. The Extended Virgo Cluster Catalog (EVCC) covers an area of 725 deg^2 or 60.1 Mpc^2. It is 5.2 times larger than the footprint of the classical Virgo Cluster Catalog (VCC) and reaches out to 3.5 times the virial radius of the Virgo cluster. We selected 1324 spectroscopically targeted galaxies with radial velocities less than 3000 kms^-1. In addition, 265 galaxies that have been missed in the SDSS spectroscopic survey but have available redshifts in the NASA Extragalactic Database are also included. Our selection process secured a total of 1589 galaxies of which 676 galaxies are not included in the VCC. The certain and possible cluster members are defined by means of redshift comparison with a cluster infall model. We employed two independent and complementary galaxy classification schemes: the traditional morphological classification based on the visual inspection of optical images and a characterization of galaxies from their spectroscopic features. SDSS u, g, r, i, and z passband photometry of all EVCC galaxies was performed using Source Extractor. We compare the EVCC galaxies with the VCC in terms of morphology, spatial distribution, and luminosity function. The EVCC defines a comprehensive galaxy sample covering a wider range in galaxy density that is significantly different from the inner region of the Virgo cluster. It will be the foundation for forthcoming galaxy evolution studies in the extended Virgo cluster region, complementing ongoing and planned Virgo cluster surveys at various wavelengths.

Planck intermediate results. XXVIII. Interstellar gas and dust in the Chamaeleon clouds as seen by Fermi LAT and Planck

Shortened abstract: Observations of the nearby Chamaeleon clouds in gamma rays with the Fermi Large Area Telescope and in thermal dust emission with Planck and IRAS have been used with the HI and CO radio data to (i) map the gas column densities in the different phases and at the dark neutral medium (DNM) transition between the HI-bright and CO-bright media; (ii) constrain the CO-to-$H_2$ conversion factor, $X_{CO}$; (iii) probe the dust properties per gas nucleon in each gas phase and spatially across the clouds. We have separated clouds in velocity in HI and CO emission and modelled the 0.4-100 GeV intensity, the dust optical depth at 353 GHz, the thermal radiance of the large grains, and an estimate of the dust extinction empirically corrected for the starlight intensity, $A_{VQ}$. The gamma-ray emissivity spectra confirm that the GeV-TeV cosmic rays uniformly permeate all gas phases up to the CO cores. The dust and cosmic rays reveal large amounts of DNM gas, with comparable spatial distributions and twice as much mass as in the CO-bright clouds. We give constraints on the HI-DNM-CO transitions and CO-dark $H_2$ fractions for separate clouds. The corrected extinction provides the best fit to the total gas traced by the gamma rays, but we find evidence for a rise in $A_{VQ}/N_H$ and a steep rise in opacity, with increasing $N_H$ and $H_2$ fraction, and with decreasing dust temperature. We observe less variations for the specific power of the grains, except for a decline by half in the CO cores. This combined information suggests grain evolution. The gamma rays and dust radiance yield consistent $X_{CO}$ estimates near $0.7\times10^{20}$ cm$^{-2}$ (K km/s)$^{-1}$. The other dust tracers yield biased values because of the grain opacity rise in the CO clouds. These results also confirm a factor of 2 difference between $X_{CO}$ estimates at pc and kpc scales.

The Variable Sky of Deep Synoptic Surveys

The discovery of variable and transient sources is an essential product of synoptic surveys. The alert stream will require filtering for personalized criteria — a process managed by a functionality commonly described as a Broker. In order to understand quantitatively the magnitude of the alert generation and Broker tasks, we have undertaken an analysis of the most numerous types of variable targets in the sky — Galactic stars, QSOs, AGNs and asteroids. It is found that LSST will be capable of discovering ~10^4 high latitude |b| > 20 deg) variable stars per night at the beginning of the survey. (The corresponding number for |b| < 20 deg is 2 orders of magnitude larger, but subject to caveats concerning extinction and crowding.) However, the number of new discoveries may well drop below 100/night within less than 1 year. The same analysis applied to GAIA clarifies the complementarity of the GAIA and LSST surveys. Discovery of variable galactic nuclei (AGNs) and Quasi Stellar Objects (QSOs) are each predicted to begin at ~3000 per night, and decrease by 50X over 4 years. SNe are expected at ~1100/night, and after several survey years will dominate the new variable discovery rate. LSST asteroid discoveries will start at > 10^5 per night, and if orbital determination has a 50% success rate per epoch, will drop below 1000/night within 2 years.

Evidence for Two Distinct Stellar Initial Mass Functions : Probing for Clues to the Dichotomy

We present new measurements of the velocity dispersions of eleven Local Group globular clusters using spatially integrated spectra, to expand our sample of clusters with precise integrated-light velocity dispersions to 29, over 4 different host galaxies. This sample allows us to further our investigation of the stellar mass function among clusters, with a particular emphasis on a search for the driver of the apparent bimodal nature of the inferred stellar initial mass function. We confirm our previous result that clusters fall into two classes. If, as we argue, this behavior reflects a variation in the stellar initial mass function, the cause of that variation is not clear. The variations do not correlate with formation epoch as quantified by age, metallicity quantified by $[ {\rm Fe/H}] $, host galaxy, or internal structure as quantified by velocity dispersion, physical size, relaxation time, or luminosity. The stellar mass-to-light ratios, $\Upsilon_*$, of the high and low $\Upsilon_*$ cluster populations are well-matched to those found in recent studies of early and late type galaxies, respectively.

The episodic Star Formation History of the Carina Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy

We present deep photometry of the Carina dwarf Spheroidal galaxy in the B,V filters from CTIO/MOSAIC, out to and beyond the tidal radius. The accurately calibrated photometry is combined with spectroscopic metallicity distributions of Red Giant Branch stars to determine the detailed star formation and chemical evolution history. The star formation history confirms the episodic formation history of Carina and quantifies the duration and strength of each episode in great detail, as a function radius from the centre. Two main episodes of star formation occurred at old (>8 Gyr) and intermediate (2-8 Gyr) ages, both enriching stars starting from low metallicities ([Fe/H]<-2 dex). By dividing the SFH into two components, we determine that 60pm9 percent of the total number of stars formed within the intermediate age episode. Furthermore, within the tidal radius (0.48 degrees or 888 pc) a total mass in stars of 1.07pm0.08 x10^6 M_sun was formed, giving Carina a stellar mass-to-light ratio of 1.8pm0.8. Combining the detailed star formation history with spectroscopic observations of RGB stars, we are able to determine the detailed age-metallicity relation of each episode and the timescale of alpha-element evolution of Carina from individual stars. The oldest episode displays a tight age-metallicity relation over 6 Gyr with steadily declining alpha-element abundances and a possible alpha-element knee at [Fe/H]~ -2.5 dex. The intermediate age sequence displays a more complex age-metallicity relation starting from low metallicity and a sequence in alpha-element abundances with a slope much steeper than observed in the old episode, starting from [Fe/H]=-1.8 dex and [Mg/Fe]~0.4 dex and declining to Mg-poor values ([Mg/Fe]<-0.5 dex). This indicates clearly that both episodes of star formation formed from gas with different abundance patterns, inconsistent with simple evolution in an isolated system.

Star Formation Histories Across the Interacting Galaxy NGC 6872, the Largest-Known Spiral

NGC 6872, hereafter the Condor, is a large spiral galaxy that is interacting with its closest companion, the S0 galaxy IC 4970. The extent of the Condor provides an opportunity for detailed investigation of the impact of the interaction on the current star formation rate and its history across the galaxy, on the age and spatial distribution of its stellar population, and on the mechanism that drive the star formation activity. To address these issues we analyzed the far-ultraviolet (FUV) to near-infrared (near-IR) spectral energy distribution (SED) of 17, 10 kpc diameter, regions across the galaxy, and derived their star formation history, current star formation rate, and stellar population and mass. We find that most of the star formation takes place in the extended arms, with very little star formation in the central 5 kpc of the galaxy, in contrast to what was predicted from previous numerical simulations. There is a trend of increasing star formation activity with distance from the nucleus of the galaxy, and no evidence for a recent increase in the current star formation rate (SFR) due to the interaction. The nucleus itself shows no significant current star formation activity. The extent of the Condor also provides an opportunity to test the applicability of a single standard prescription for conversion of the FUV + IR (22 micron) intensities to a star formation rate for all regions. We find that the conversion factor differs from region to region, arising from regional differences in the stellar populations.

Evidence for Photometric Contamination in Key Observations of Cepheids in the Benchmark Galaxy IC 1613

This study aims to increase awareness concerning the pernicious effects of photometric contamination (crowding/blending), since it can propagate an undesirable systematic offset into the cosmic distance scale. The latest Galactic Cepheid W_VIc and Spitzer calibrations were employed to establish distances for classical Cepheids in IC 1613 and NGC 6822, thus enabling the impact of photometric contamination to be assessed in concert with metallicity. Distances (W_VIc, [3.6]) for Cepheids in IC 1613 exhibit a galactocentric dependence, whereby Cepheids near the core appear (spuriously) too bright (r_g < 2′). That effect is attributed to photometric contamination from neighboring (unresolved) stars, since the stellar density and surface brightness may increase with decreasing galactocentric distance. The impact is relatively indiscernible for a comparison sample of Cepheids occupying NGC 6822, a result which is partly attributable to that sample being nearer than the metal-poor galaxy IC 1613. W_VIc and [3.6] distances for relatively uncontaminated Cepheids in each galaxy are comparable, thus confirming that period-magnitude relations (Leavitt Law) in those bands are relatively insensitive to metallicity (d[Fe/H] ~ 1).

A refined sub-grid model for black hole accretion and AGN feedback in large cosmological simulations

In large scale cosmological hydrodynamic simulations simplified sub-grid models for gas accretion onto black holes and AGN feedback are commonly used. Such models typically depend on various free parameters, which are not well constrained. We present a new advanced model containing a more detailed description of AGN feedback, where those parameters reflect the results of recent observations. The model takes the dependency of these parameters on the black hole properties into account and describes a continuous transition between the feedback processes acting in the so-called radio-mode and quasar-mode. In addition, we implement a more detailed description of the accretion of gas onto black holes by distinguishing between hot and cold gas accretion. Our new implementations prevent black holes from gaining too much mass, particularly at low redshifts so that our simulations are now very successful in reproducing the observed present-day black hole mass function. Our new model also suppresses star formation in massive galaxies more efficiently than many state-of-the-art models. Therefore, the simulations that include our new implementations produce a more realistic population of quiescent and star-forming galaxies compared to recent observations, even if some discrepancies remain. In addition, the baryon conversion efficiencies in our simulation are consistent with observations presented in literature over the mass range resolved by our simulations. Finally, we discuss the significant impact of the feedback model on the low-luminous end of the AGN luminosity function.

The difference in age of the two counter-rotating stellar disks of the spiral galaxy NGC 4138 [Replacement]

The Sa spiral NGC 4138 is known to host two counter-rotating stellar disks, with the ionized gas co-rotating with one of them. We measured the kinematics and properties of the two counter-rotating stellar populations to constrain their formation scenario. A spectroscopic decomposition of the observed major-axis spectrum was performed to disentangle the relative contribution of the two counter-rotating stellar and one ionized-gas components. The line-strength indices of the two counter-rotating stellar components were measured and modeled with single stellar population models that account for the alpha/Fe overabundance. The counter-rotating stellar population is younger, marginally more metal poor, and more alpha-enhanced than the main stellar component. The younger stellar component is also associated with a star-forming ring. The different properties of the counter-rotating stellar components of NGC~4138 rule out the idea that they formed due to bar dissolution. Our findings support the results of numerical simulations in which the counter-rotating component assembled from gas accreted on retrograde orbits from the environment or from the retrograde merging with a gas-rich dwarf galaxy.

The difference in age of the two counter-rotating stellar disks of the spiral galaxy NGC 4138

The Sa spiral NGC 4138 is known to host two counter-rotating stellar disks, with the ionized gas co-rotating with one of them. We measured the kinematics and properties of the two counter-rotating stellar populations to constrain their formation scenario. A spectroscopic decomposition of the observed major-axis spectrum was performed to disentangle the relative contribution of the two counter-rotating stellar and one ionized-gas components. The line-strength indices of the two counter-rotating stellar components were measured and modeled with single stellar population models that account for the alpha/Fe overabundance. The counter-rotating stellar population is younger, marginally more metal poor, and more alpha-enhanced than the main stellar component. The younger stellar component is also associated with a star-forming ring. The different properties of the counter-rotating stellar components of NGC~4138 rule out the idea that they formed due to bar dissolution. Our findings support the results of numerical simulations in which the counter-rotating component assembled from gas accreted on retrograde orbits from the environment or from the retrograde merging with a gas-rich dwarf galaxy.

The properties of early-type galaxies in the Ursa Major cluster

Using SDSS-DR7 and NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database spectroscopic data, we identify 166 galaxies as members of the Ursa Major cluster with Mr < -13.5 mag. We morphological classify all galaxies by means of carefully inspecting g-, r-, i-band colour and monochromatic images. We show that the Ursa Major cluster is dominated by late-type galaxies, but also contains a significant number of early- type galaxies, particularly in the dwarf regime. We present further evidence for the existence of several subgroups in the cluster, consistent with previous findings. The early-type fraction is found to correlate with the mass of the subgroup. We also investigate environmental effects by comparing the properties of the Ursa Major early-type dwarf galaxies to those of the Virgo cluster. In contrast to the Virgo, the red sequence of the Ursa Major cluster is only sparsely populated in the optical and ultraviolet colour-magnitude relations. It also shows a statistically significant gap between -18 < Mr < -17 mag, i.e. the Ursa Major cluster lacks early-type dwarf galaxies at the bright end of their luminosity function. We discover that the majority of early-type dwarf galaxies in the Ursa Major cluster have blue cores with hints of recent or ongoing star formation. We suggest that gravitational tidal interactions can trigger central blue star forming regions in early-type dwarfs. After that, star formation would only fade completely when the galaxies experience ram pressure stripping or harassment, both of which are nearly absent in the Ursa Major cluster.

On the relevance of the H2 + O reaction pathway for the surface formation of interstellar water - A combined experimental and modeling study

The formation of interstellar water has been commonly accepted to occur on the surfaces of icy dust grains in dark molecular clouds at low temperatures (10-20 K), involving hydrogenation reactions of oxygen allotropes. As a result of the large abundances of molecular hydrogen and atomic oxygen in these regions, the reaction H2 + O has been proposed to contribute significantly to the formation of water as well. However, gas phase experiments and calculations, as well as solid-phase experimental work contradict this hypothesis. Here, we use precisely executed temperature programmed desorption (TPD) experiments in an ultra-high vacuum setup combined with kinetic Monte Carlo simulations to establish an upper limit of the water production starting from H2 and O. These reactants are brought together in a matrix of CO2 in a series of (control) experiments at different temperatures and with different isotopological compositions. The amount of water detected with the quadrupole mass spectrometer upon TPD is found to originate mainly from contamination in the chamber itself. However, if water is produced in small quantities on the surface through H2 + O, this can only be explained by a combined classical and tunneled reaction mechanism. An absolutely conservative upper limit for the reaction rate is derived with a microscopic kinetic Monte Carlo model that converts the upper limit into a maximal possible reaction rate. Incorporating this rate into simulations run for astrochemically relevant parameters, shows that the upper limit to the contribution of the reaction H2 + O in OH, and hence water formation, is 11% in dense interstellar clouds. Our combined experimental and theoretical results indicate however, that this contribution is likely to be much lower.

Star Formation Properties in Barred Galaxies(SFB). III. Statistical Study of Bar-driven Secular Evolution using a sample of nearby barred spirals

Stellar bars are important internal drivers of secular evolution in disk galaxies. Using a sample of nearby spiral galaxies with weak and strong bars, we explore the relationships between the star formation feature and stellar bars in galaxies. We find that galaxies with weak bars tend to be coincide with low concentrical star formation activity, while those with strong bars show a large scatter in the distribution of star formation activity. We find enhanced star formation activity in bulges towards stronger bars, although not predominantly, consistent with previous studies. Our results suggest that different stages of the secular process and many other factors may contribute to the complexity of the secular evolution. In addition, barred galaxies with intense star formation in bars tend to have active star formation in their bulges and disks, and bulges have higher star formation densities than bars and disks, indicating the evolutionary effects of bars. We then derived a possible criterion to quantify the different stages of bar-driven physical process, while future work is needed because of the uncertainties.

Diffusion-desorption ratio of adsorbed CO and CO$_2$ on water ice [Replacement]

Diffusion of atoms and molecules is a key process for the chemical evolution in the star forming regions of the interstellar medium. Accurate data on the mobility of many important interstellar species is however often not available and this provides a serious limitation for the reliability of models describing the physical and chemical processes in molecular clouds. Here we aim to provide the astrochemical modeling community with reliable data on the ratio between the energy barriers for diffusion and desorption for adsorbed CO and CO$_2$ on water ices. To this end, we use a fully atomistic, off-lattice kinetic Monte Carlo technique to generate dynamical trajectories of CO and CO$_2$ molecules on the surface of crystalline ice at temperatures relevant for the interstellar medium. The diffusion to desorption barrier ratios are determined to be 0.31 for CO and 0.39 for CO$_2$ . These ratios can be directly used to improve the accuracy of current gas-grain chemical models.

Diffusion-desorption ratio of adsorbed CO and CO$_2$ on water ice

Diffusion of atoms and molecules is a key process for the chemical evolution in the star forming regions of the interstellar medium. Accurate data on the mobility of many important interstellar species is however often not available and this provides a serious limitation for the reliability of models describing the physical and chemical processes in molecular clouds. Here we aim to provide the astrochemical modeling community with reliable data on the ratio between the energy barriers for diffusion and desorption for adsorbed CO and CO$_2$ on water ices. To this end, we use a fully atomistic, off-lattice kinetic Monte Carlo technique to generate dynamical trajectories of CO and CO$_2$ molecules on the surface of crystalline ice at temperatures relevant for the interstellar medium. The diffusion to desorption barrier ratios are determined to be 0.31 for CO and 0.39 for CO$_2$ . These ratios can be directly used to improve the accuracy of current gas-grain chemical models.

The impact of metallicity-dependent mass loss versus dynamical heating on the early evolution of star clusters

We have run direct N-body simulations to investigate the impact of stellar evolution and dynamics on the structural properties of young massive (3×10^4 solar masses) star clusters (SCs) with different metallicities (Z=1, 0.1, 0.01 solar metallicity). Metallicity drives the mass loss by stellar winds and supernovae (SNe), with SCs losing more mass at high metallicity. We have simulated three sets of initial conditions, with different initial relaxation timescale. We find that the evolution of the half-mass radius of SCs depends on how fast two-body relaxation is with respect to the lifetime of massive stars. If core collapse is slow in comparison with stellar evolution, then mass loss by stellar winds and SNe is the dominant mechanism driving SC evolution, and metal-rich SCs expand more than metal-poor ones. In contrast, if core collapse occurs on a comparable timescale with respect to the lifetime of massive stars, then SC evolution depends on the interplay between mass loss and three-body encounters: dynamical heating by three-body encounters (mass loss by stellar winds and SNe) is the dominant process driving the expansion of the core in metal-poor (metal-rich) SCs. As a consequence, the half-mass radius of metal-poor SCs expands more than that of metal-rich ones. We also find core radius oscillations, which grow in number and amplitude as metallicity decreases.

Analyzer of Spectra for Age Determination (ASAD) - Algorithm and Applications

Analyzer of Spectra for Age Determination (ASAD) is a new package that can easily predict the age and reddening of stellar clusters from their observed optical integrated spectra by comparing them to synthesis model spectra. The ages obtained with ASAD are consistent with ages obtained from previous cluster age methods requiring a more rigorous and time-consuming analysis. This package not only provides fast results, but also allows the user to comprehend the accuracy of these results by providing surface plots and spectral plots for all combinations of observations and models. ASAD is available for download on the Web and can be immediately used on both Mac and Windows.

Line, LINER, linest - from micro-AGN to ultra-luminous LINERs. One and the same?

This paper compares the optical spectra of a wide range of galaxies categorised as members of the Low Ionisation Nuclear Emission Region (LINER) class of active galactic nuclei (AGN). LINERs are defined by emission spectra with relatively faint high ionisation lines (compared to other AGN classes). The gas emission luminosity ranges from the weak flux emanating from some nearby galactic nuclei all the way to extremely luminous radio galaxies, where the line emission can completely dominate the host galaxy starlight component. In this study I analyse the Sloane Digital Sky Survey optical spectra of 15 LINERS identified in the course of the preparation of the new edition of the ZORROASTER AGN catalogue, spanning the largest possible luminosity range. I compare relative emission line strengths, focusing on uncommonly analysed ratios such as those involving [N I], line widths, profiles and even the spectral features of the host galaxy stellar continuum. The study identifies possible luminosity dependent trends in the spectral properties of the studied objects. Possible reasons are presented to rationalise these trends, and the paper concludes with a discussion regarding the uniformity of the LINER class.


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