Recent Postings from Galactic

Analytical model for non-thermal pressure in galaxy clusters II: Comparison with cosmological hydrodynamics simulation

Turbulent gas motion inside galaxy clusters provides a non-negligible non-thermal pressure support to the intracluster gas. If not corrected, it leads to a systematic bias in the estimation of cluster masses from X-ray and Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (SZ) observations assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, and affects interpretation of measurements of the SZ power spectrum and observations of cluster outskirts from ongoing and upcoming large cluster surveys. Recently, Shi & Komatsu (2014) developed an analytical model for predicting the radius, mass, and redshift dependence of the non-thermal pressure contributed by the kinetic random motions of intracluster gas sourced by the cluster mass growth. In this paper, we compare the predictions of this analytical model to a state-of-the-art cosmological hydrodynamics simulation. As different mass growth histories result in different non-thermal pressure, we perform the comparison on 65 simulated galaxy clusters on a cluster-by-cluster basis. We find an excellent agreement between the modeled and simulated non-thermal pressure profiles. Our results open up the possibility of using the analytical model to correct the systematic bias in the mass estimation of galaxy clusters. We also discuss tests of the physical picture underlying the evolution of intracluster turbulence, as well as a way to further improve the analytical modeling, which may help achieve a unified understanding of non-thermal phenomena in galaxy clusters.

Anti-hierarchical evolution of the AGN space density in a hierarchical universe

Recent observations show that the space density of luminous active galactic nuclei (AGN) peaks at higher redshifts than that of faint AGN. This downsizing trend in the AGN evolution seems to be contradictory to the hierarchical structure formation scenario. In this study, we present the AGN space density evolution predicted by a semi-analytic model of galaxy and AGN formation based on the hierarchical structure formation scenario. We demonstrate that our model can reproduce the downsizing trend of the AGN space density evolution. The reason for the downsizing trend in our model is a combination of the cold gas depletion as a consequence of star formation, the gas cooling suppression in massive halos and the AGN life time scaling with the dynamical time scale. We assume that a major merger of galaxies causes a starburst, spheroid formation, and cold gas accretion onto a supermassive black hole (SMBH). We also assume that this cold gas accretion triggers AGN activity. Since the cold gas is mainly depleted by star formation and gas cooling is suppressed in massive dark halos, the amount of cold gas accreted onto SMBHs decreases with cosmic time. Moreover, AGN life time increases with cosmic time. Thus, at low redshifts, major mergers do not always lead to luminous AGN. Because the luminosity of AGN is correlated with the mass of accreted gas onto SMBHs, the space density of luminous AGN decreases more quickly than that of faint AGN. We conclude that the anti-hierarchical evolution of the AGN space density is not contradictory to the hierarchical structure formation scenario.

Chemical probes of turbulence in the diffuse medium: the TDR model

Context. Tens of light hydrides and small molecules have now been detected over several hundreds sight lines sampling the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM) in both the Solar neighbourhood and the inner Galactic disk. They provide unprecedented statistics on the first steps of chemistry in the diffuse gas. Aims. These new data confirm the limitations of the traditional chemical pathways driven by the UV photons and the cosmic rays (CR) and the need for additional energy sources, such as turbulent dissipation, to open highly endoenergetic formation routes. The goal of the present paper is to further investigate the link between specific species and the properties of the turbulent cascade in particular its space-time intermittency. Methods. We have analysed ten different atomic and molecular species in the framework of the updated model of turbulent dissipation regions (TDR). We study the influence on the abundances of these species of parameters specific to chemistry (density, UV field, and CR ionisation rate) and those linked to turbulence (the average turbulent dissipation rate, the dissipation timescale, and the ion neutral velocity drift in the regions of dissipation). Results. The most sensitive tracers of turbulent dissipation are the abundances of CH+ and SH+, and the column densities of the J = 3, 4, 5 rotational levels of H2 . The abundances of CO, HCO+, and the intensity of the 158 $\mu$m [CII] emission line are significantly enhanced by turbulent dissipation. The vast diversity of chemical pathways allows the independent determinations of free parameters never estimated before: an upper limit to the average turbulent dissipation rate, $\overline{\varepsilon}$ < 10$^{-23}$ erg cm$^{-3}$ s$^{-1}$ for $n_H$=20 cm$^{-3}$, from the CH+ abundance; an upper limit to the ion-neutral velocity drift, $u_{in}$ < 3.5 km s$^{-1}$, from the SH+ to CH+ abundance ratio; and a range of dissipation timescales, 100 < $\tau_V$ < 1000 yr, from the CO to HCO+ abundance ratio. For the first time, we reproduce the large abundances of CO observed on diffuse lines of sight, and we show that CO may be abundant even in regions with UV-shieldings as low as $5 \times 10^{-3}$ mag. The best range of parameters also reproduces the abundance ratios of OH, C2H, and H2O to HCO+ and are consistent with the known properties of the turbulent cascade in the Galactic diffuse ISM. Conclusions. Our results disclose an unexpected link between the dissipation of turbulence and the emergence of molecular richness in the diffuse ISM. Some species, such as CH+ or SH+, turn out to be unique tracers of the energy trail in the ISM. In spite of some degeneracy, the properties of the turbulent cascade, down to dissipation, can be captured through specific molecular abundances.

Distortion of Infall Regions in Redshift Space-I

We show that spherical infall models (SIMs) can better describe some galaxy clusters in redshift slice space than in traditional axially-convolved projection space. This is because in SIM, the presence of transverse motion between cluster and observer, and/or shear flow about the cluster (such as rotation), causes the infall artifact to tilt, obscuring the characteristic two-trumpet profile; and some clusters resemble such tilted artifacts. We illustrate the disadvantages of applying SIM to convolved data and, as an alternative, introduce a method fitting a tilted 2D envelope to determine a 3D envelope. We also introduce a fitting algorithm and test it on toy SIM simulations as well as three clusters (Virgo, A1459, and A1066). We derive relations useful for using the tilt and width-to-length ratio of the fitted envelopes to analyze peculiar velocities. We apply them to our three clusters as a demonstration. We find that transverse motion between cluster and observer can be ruled out as sole cause of the observed tilts, and that a multi-cluster study could be a feasible way to find our infall toward Virgo cluster.

A Study of Massive and Evolved Galaxies at High Redshift

We use data taken as part of HST/WFC3 observations of the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) to identify massive and evolved galaxies at 3<z<4.5. This is performed using the strength of the Balmer break feature at rest-frame 3648A, which is a diagnostic of the age of the stellar population in galaxies. Using WFC3 H-band selected catalog for the CANDELS GOODS-S field and deep multi-waveband photometry from optical (HST) to mid-infrared (Spitzer) wavelengths, we identify a population of old and evolved post-starburst galaxies based on the strength of their Balmer breaks (Balmer Break Galaxies- BBGs). The galaxies are also selected to be bright in rest-frame near-IR wavelengths and hence, massive. We identify a total of 16 BBGs. Fitting the spectral energy distribution (SED) of the BBGs show that the candidate galaxies have average estimated ages of ~800 Myr and average stellar masses of ~5×10^10 M_sun, consistent with being old and massive systems. Two of our BBG candidates are also identified by the criteria that is sensitive to star forming galaxies (LBG selection). We find a number density of ~3.2×10^-5 Mpc^-3 for the BBGs corresponding to a mass density of ~2.0×10^6 M_sun/Mpc^3 in the redshift range covering the survey. Given the old age and the passive evolution, it is argued that some of these objects formed the bulk of their mass only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

Analysis of the spiral structure in a simulated galaxy

We analyze the spiral structure that results in a numerical simulation of a galactic disk with stellar and gaseous components evolving in a potential that includes an axisymmetric halo and bulge. We perform a second simulation without the gas component to observe how it affects the spiral structure in the disk. To quantify this, we use a Fourier analysis and obtain values for the pitch angle and the velocity of the self-excited spiral pattern of the disk. The results show a tighter spiral in the simulation with gaseous component. The spiral structure is consistent with a superposition of waves, each with a constant pattern velocity in given radial ranges.

A new method to estimate local pitch angles in spiral galaxies: Application to spiral arms and feathers in M81 and M51

We examine $8\mu$m IRAC images of the grand design two-arm spiral galaxies M81 and M51 using a new method whereby pitch angles are locally determined as a function of scale and position, in contrast to traditional Fourier transform spectral analyses which fit to average pitch angles for whole galaxies. The new analysis is based on a correlation between pieces of a galaxy in circular windows of $(\ln R, \theta)$ space and logarithmic spirals with various pitch angles. The diameter of the windows is varied to study different scales. The result is a best-fit pitch angle to the spiral structure as a function of position and scale, or a distribution function of pitch angles as a function of scale for a given galactic region or area. We apply the method to determine the distribution of pitch angles in the arm and interarm regions of these two galaxies. In the arms, the method reproduces the known pitch angles for the main spirals on a large scale, but also shows higher pitch angles on smaller scales resulting from dust feathers. For the interarms, there is a broad distribution of pitch angles representing the continuation and evolution of the spiral arm feathers as the flow moves into the interarm regions. Our method shows a multiplicity of spiral structures on different scales, as expected from gas flow processes in a gravitating, turbulent and shearing interstellar medium. We also present results for M81 using classical 1D and 2D Fourier transforms, together with a new correlation method, which shows good agreement with conventional 2D Fourier transforms.

Spectroscopic detections of CIII]1909 at z~6-7: A new probe of early star forming galaxies and cosmic reionisation

Deep spectroscopic observations of z~6.5 galaxies have revealed a marked decline with increasing redshift in the detectability of Lyman-alpha emission. While this may offer valuable insight into the end of the reionisation process, it presents a fundamental challenge to the detailed spectroscopic study of the many hundreds of photometrically-selected distant sources now being found via deep HST imaging, and particularly those bright sources viewed through foreground lensing clusters. In this paper we demonstrate the validity of a new way forward via the convincing detection of an alternative diagnostic line, CIII]1909, seen in spectroscopic exposures of two star forming galaxies at z=6.029 and 7.213. The former detection is based on a 3.5 hour X-shooter spectrum of a bright (J=25.2) gravitationally-lensed galaxy behind the cluster Abell 383. The latter detection is based on a 4.2 hour MOSFIRE spectra of one of the most distant spectroscopically confirmed galaxies, GN-108036, with J=25.2. Both targets were chosen for their continuum brightness and previously-known redshift (based on Lyman-alpha), ensuring that any CIII] emission would be located in a favorable portion of the near-infrared sky spectrum. We compare our CIII] and Lyman-alpha equivalent widths in the context of those found at z~2 from earlier work and discuss the motivation for using lines other than Lyman-alpha to study galaxies in the reionisation era.

The Ly-alpha Profiles of Faint Galaxies at z~2-3 with Systemic Redshifts from Keck-MOSFIRE

We study the Lya profiles of 36 Lya-emitters (LAEs) at z~2-3, taking advantage of the sensitivity and efficiency of Keck MOSFIRE to measure systemic redshifts from rest-frame optical nebular emission lines. The galaxies were selected via narrowband imaging of their Lya emission, and have spectroscopic measurements of their Lya profiles from Keck LRIS. The LAE sample has a median optical magnitude R = 26.0, and ranges from R = 23 to R > 27, corresponding to rest-frame UV absolute magnitudes M_UV = -22 to M_UV > -18.2. The vast majority of Lya emission lines in this sample are redshifted with respect to the systemic velocity, and the velocity offset with respect to systemic dv_Lya is correlated with R-band magnitude, M_UV, and the velocity dispersion measured from nebular emission lines with >3 sigma significance: brighter galaxies with larger velocity dispersions tend to have larger values of dv_Lya. We also make use of a comparison sample of 122 UV-color-selected R < 25.5 galaxies at z~2, all with Lya emission and systemic redshifts measured from nebular emission lines. Using the combined LAE and comparison samples for a total of 158 individual galaxies, we find that dv_Lya is anti-correlated with the Lya equivalent width with 7 sigma significance. Our results are consistent with a scenario in which the Lya profile is determined primarily by the properties of the gas near the systemic redshift; in such a scenario, the opacity to Lya photons in lower mass galaxies may be reduced if large gaseous disks have not yet developed and if the gas is ionized by the harder spectrum of young, low metallicity stars. [Abridged]

The dust masses of powerful radio galaxies: clues to the triggering of their activity

We use deep Herschel Space Observatory observations of a 90% complete sample of 32 intermediate-redshift 2Jy radio galaxies (0.05 < z < 0.7) to estimate the dust masses of their host galaxies and thereby investigate the triggering mechanisms for their quasar-like AGN. The dust masses derived for the radio galaxies (7.2×10^5 < M_d < 2.6×10^8 M_sun) are intermediate between those of quiescent elliptical galaxies on the one hand, and ultra luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) on the other. Consistent with simple models for the co-evolution of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies, these results suggest that most of the radio galaxies represent the late time re-triggering of AGN activity via mergers between the host giant elliptical galaxies and companion galaxies with relatively low gas masses. However, a minority of the radio galaxies in our sample (~20%) have high, ULIRG-like dust masses, along with evidence for prodigious star formation activity. The latter objects are more likely to have been triggered in major, gas-rich mergers that represent a rapid growth phase for both their host galaxies and their supermassive black holes.

Weak Hard X-ray Emission from Broad Absorption Line Quasars: Evidence for Intrinsic X-ray Weakness

We report NuSTAR observations of a sample of six X-ray weak broad absorption line (BAL) quasars. These targets, at z=0.148-1.223, are among the optically brightest and most luminous BAL quasars known at z<1.3. However, their rest-frame 2 keV luminosities are 14 to >330 times weaker than expected for typical quasars. Our results from a pilot NuSTAR study of two low-redshift BAL quasars, a Chandra stacking analysis of a sample of high-redshift BAL quasars, and a NuSTAR spectral analysis of the local BAL quasar Mrk 231 have already suggested the existence of intrinsically X-ray weak BAL quasars, i.e., quasars not emitting X-rays at the level expected from their optical/UV emission. The aim of the current program is to extend the search for such extraordinary objects. Three of the six new targets are weakly detected by NuSTAR with <45 counts in the 3-24 keV band, and the other three are not detected. The hard X-ray (8-24 keV) weakness observed by NuSTAR requires Compton-thick absorption if these objects have nominal underlying X-ray emission. However, a soft stacked effective photon index ({\Gamma}~1.8) for this sample disfavors Compton-thick absorption in general. The uniform hard X-ray weakness observed by NuSTAR for this and the pilot samples selected with <10 keV weakness also suggests that the X-ray weakness is intrinsic in at least some of the targets. We conclude that the NuSTAR observations have likely discovered a significant population (>33%) of intrinsically X-ray weak objects among the BAL quasars with significantly weak <10 keV emission. We suggest that intrinsically X-ray weak quasars might be preferentially observed as BAL quasars.

Prospects for Measuring the Mass of Black Holes at High Redshifts with Resolved Kinematics Using Gravitational Lensing

Application of the most robust method of measuring black hole masses, spatially resolved kinematics of gas and stars, is presently limited to nearby galaxies. The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) and thirty meter class telescopes (the Thirty Meter Telescope, the Giant Magellan Telescope, and the European Extremely Large Telescope) with milli-arcsecond resolution are expected to extend such measurements to larger distances. Here, we study the possibility of exploiting the angular magnification provided by strong gravitational lensing to measure black hole masses at high redshifts (z~ 1-6), using resolved gas kinematics with these instruments. We show that in ~15% and ~20% of strongly lensed galaxies, the inner 25 and 50 pc could be resolved, allowing the mass of ~$10^8 M_{\odot}$ black holes to be dynamically measured with ALMA, if moderately bright molecular gas is present at these small radii. Given the large number of strong lenses discovered in current millimeter surveys and future optical surveys, this fraction could constitute a statistically significant population for studying the evolution of the M-$\sigma$ relation at high redshifts.

A solution to the cosmic ray anisotropy problem

In the standard diffusive picture for transport of cosmic rays (CRs), a gradient in the CR density induces a typically small, dipolar anisotropy in their arrival directions. This has been widely advertised as a tool for finding nearby sources. However, the predicted dipole amplitude at TeV and PeV energies exceeds the measured one by almost two orders of magnitude. Here, we critically examine the validity of this prediction which is based on averaging over an ensemble of turbulent magnetic fields. We focus (1) on the deviations of the dipole in a particular random realisation from the ensemble average and (2) the possibility of a misalignment between the regular magnetic field and the CR gradient. We find that if the field direction and the gradient direction are close to $\sim 90^\circ$, the dipole amplitude is considerably suppressed and can be reconciled with observations, thus solving a long-standing problem. Furthermore, we show that the dipole direction in general does not coincide with the gradient direction, thus hampering the search for nearby sources.

A chemical confirmation of the faint Bootes II dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy

We present a chemical abundance study of the brightest confirmed member star of the ultrafaint dwarf galaxy Bootes II from Keck/HIRES high-resolution spectroscopy at moderate signal-to-noise ratios. At [Fe/H] = -2.93 +/- 0.03 (stat.) +/- 0.17 (sys.) this star chemically resembles metal-poor halo field stars and the signatures of other faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies at the same metallicities in that it shows enhanced [alpha/Fe] ratios, Solar Fe-peak element abundances, and low upper limits on the neutron-capture element Ba. Moreover, this star shows no chemical peculiarities in any of the eight elements we were able to measure. This implies that the chemical outliers found in other systems remain outliers pertaining to the unusual enrichment histories of the respective environments, while Bootes II appears to have experienced an enrichment history typical of its very low mass. We also re-calibrated previous measurements of the galaxy’s metallicity from the calcium triplet (CaT) and find a much lower value than reported before. The resulting broad metallicity spread, in excess of one dex, the very metal poor mean, and the chemical abundance patterns of the present star imply that Bootes II is a low-mass, old, metal poor dwarf galaxy and not an overdensity associated with the Sagittarius Stream as has been previously suggested based on its sky position and kinematics. The low, mean CaT metallicity of -2.7 dex falls right on the luminosity-metallicity relation delineated over four orders of magnitude from the more luminous to the faintest galaxies. Thus Bootes II’s chemical enrichment appears representative of the galaxy’s original mass, while tidal stripping and other mass loss mechanisms were probably not significant as for other low-mass satellites.

A Bayesian blind survey for cold molecular gas in the Universe

A new Bayesian method for performing an image domain search for line-emitting galaxies is presented. The method uses both spatial and spectral information to robustly determine the source properties, employing either simple Gaussian, or other physically motivated models whilst using the evidence to determine the probability that the source is real. In this paper, we describe the method, and its application to both a simulated data set, and a blind survey for cold molecular gas using observations of the Hubble Deep Field North taken with the Plateau de Bure Interferometer. We make a total of 6 robust detections in the survey, 5 of which have counterparts in other observing bands. We identify the most secure detections found in a previous investigation, while finding one new probable line source with an optical ID not seen in the previous analysis. This study acts as a pilot application of Bayesian statistics to future searches to be carried out both for low-$J$ CO transitions of high redshift galaxies using the JVLA, and at millimeter wavelengths with ALMA, enabling the inference of robust scientific conclusions about the history of the molecular gas properties of star-forming galaxies in the Universe through cosmic time.

Unveiling the Secrets of Metallicity and Massive Star Formation Using DLAs along Gamma-ray Bursts

We present the largest, publicly available, sample of Damped Lyman-$\alpha$ systems (DLAs) along Gamma-ray Bursts (GRB) line of sights in order to investigate the environmental properties of long GRBs in the $z=1.8-6$ redshift range. Compared with the most recent quasar DLAs sample (QSO-DLA), our analysis shows that GRB-DLAs probe a more metal enriched environment at $z\gtrsim3$, up to $[X/H]\sim-0.5$. In the $z=2-3$ redshift range, despite the large number of lower limits, there are hints that the two populations may be more similar (only at 90\% significance level). Also at \hiz, the GRB-DLA average metallicity seems to decline at a shallower rate than the QSO-DLAs: GRB-DLA hosts may be polluted with metals at least as far as $\sim 2$kpc from the GRB explosion site, probably due to previous star-formation episodes and/or supernovae explosions. This shallow metallicity trend, extended now up to $z\sim5$, confirms previous results that GRB hosts are star-forming and have, on average, higher metallicity than the general QSO-DLA population. Finally, our metallicity measurements are broadly consistent with the hypothesis of two channels of GRB progenitors, one of which is mildly affected by a metallicity bias. The metallicity evolution of modeled GRB hosts agrees reasonably well with our data up to intermediate redshift, while more data are needed to constrain the models at $z\gtrsim 4$.

Massive stars in the giant molecular cloud G23.3-0.3 and W41

Young massive stars and stellar clusters continuously form in the Galactic disk, generating new HII regions within their natal giant molecular clouds and subsequently enriching the interstellar medium via their winds and supernovae. Massive stars are among the brightest infrared stars in such regions; their identification permits the characterization of the star formation history of the associated cloud as well as constraining the location of stellar aggregates and hence their occurrence as a function of global environment. We present a stellar spectroscopic survey in the direction of the giant molecular cloud G23.3-0.3. This complex is located at a distance of ~ 4-5 kpc, and consists of several HII regions and supernova remnants. We discovered 11 OfK+ stars, one candidate Luminous Blue Variable, several OB stars, and candidate red supergiants. Stars with K-band extinction from ~1.3 – 1.9 mag appear to be associated with the GMC G23.3-0.3; O and B-types satisfying this criterion have spectro-photometric distances consistent with that of the giant molecular cloud. Combining near-IR spectroscopic and photometric data allowed us to characterize the multiple sites of star formation within it. The O-type stars have masses from 25 – 45 Msun, and ages of 5-8 Myr. Two new red supergiants were detected with interstellar extinction typical of the cloud; along with the two RSGs within the cluster GLIMPSE9, they trace an older burst with an age of 20–30 Myr. Massive stars were also detected in the core of three supernova remnants – W41, G22.7-0.2, and G22.7583-0.4917. A large population of massive stars appears associated with the GMC G23.3-0.3, with the properties inferred for them indicative of an extended history of stars formation.

Studying the Dynamical Properties of 20 Nearby Galaxy Clusters

Using SDSS-DR7, we construct a sample of 42382 galaxies with redshifts in the region of 20 galaxy clusters. Using two successive iterative methods, the adaptive kernel method and the spherical infall model, we obtained 3396 galaxies as members belonging to the studied sample. The 2D projected map for the distribution of the clusters members is introduced using the 2D adaptive kernel method to get the clusters centers. The cumulative surface number density profile for each cluster is fitted well with the generalized King model. The core radii of the clusters’ sample are found to vary from 0.18 Mpc $\mbox{h}^{-1}$ (A1459) to 0.47 Mpc $\mbox{h}^{-1}$ (A2670) with mean value of 0.295 Mpc $\mbox{h}^{-1}$. The infall velocity profile is determined using two different models, Yahil approximation and Praton model. Yahil approximation is matched with the distribution of galaxies only in the outskirts (infall regions) of many clusters of the sample, while it is not matched with the distribution within the inner core of the clusters. Both Yahil approximation and Praton model are matched together in the infall region for about 9 clusters in the sample but they are completely unmatched for the clusters characterized by high central density. For these cluster, Yahil approximation is not matched with the distribution of galaxies, while Praton model can describe well the infall pattern of such clusters.

HyperLEDA. III. The catalogue of extragalactic distances

We present the compilation catalogue of redshift-independent distances included in the HyperLEDA database. It is actively maintained to be up-to-date, and the current version counts 6640 distance measurements for 2335 galaxies compiled from 430 published articles. Each individual series is recalibrated onto a common distance scale based on a carefully selected set of high-quality measurements. This information together with data on HI line-width, central velocity dispersion, magnitudes, diameters, and redshift is used to derive a homogeneous distance estimate and physical properties of galaxies, such as their absolute magnitudes and intrinsic size.

Stellar Mass Selected Major Mergers at z < 1

We present a study of the largest available sample of near-infrared selected (i.e., stellar mass selected) dynamically close pairs of galaxies at low redshifts (z < 0.3). Our K-band selected sample contains ~250,000 galaxies and is > 90% spectroscopically complete. The depth and large volume of this sample allow us to investigate the low-redshift pair fraction and merger rate of galaxies over a wide range in K-band luminosity.Our low-redshift major-merger pair fraction is 40-50% higher than previous estimates drawn from K-band samples, which were based on 2MASS photometry alone. We combine this result with new estimates of the major-merger pair fraction for L ~ L* galaxies at z < 0.8, from the Red Sequence Cluster Survey (RCS1), and find a much flatter evolution (m = 0.9+/-0.1), in the relation fpair = C*(1 + z)^m, than indicated in many previous studies. These results indicate that a typical L* galaxy has undergone 1 major merger since z = 1. The large area of the RCS1 allows us to estimate the systematics due to sample variance (cosmic variance) and we conclude that pair studies over single fields of 1-2 deg^2 are, on their own, essentially incapable of placing constraints on the pair fraction evolution, and only able to place weak constraints once combined with wide-area low-redshift counterpart studies. By contrast, we find that, both for our low-redshift spectroscopic sample, and the higher-redshift RCS1 sample, the systematics due to cosmic variance should be at the 10% level, allowing for the most robust characterization to date of the merger rate evolution of stellar mass selected galaxies.

Class I Methanol (CH$_{3}$OH) Maser Conditions near Supernova Remnants

We present results from calculations of the physical conditions necessary for the occurrence of 36.169 ($4_{-1}-3_{0}\, E$), 44.070 ($7_{0}-6_{1}\,A^+$), 84.521 ($5_{-1}-4_{0}\,E$), and 95.169 ($8_{0}-7_{1}\,A^+$) GHz methanol (CH$_3$OH) maser emission lines near supernova remnants (SNRs), using the MOLPOP-CEP program. The calculations show that given a sufficient methanol abundance, methanol maser emission arises over a wide range of densities and temperatures, with optimal conditions at $n\sim 10^4-10^6$ cm$^{-3}$ and $T>60$ K. The 36~GHz and 44~GHz transitions display more significant maser optical depths compared to the 84~GHz and 95~GHz transitions over the majority of physical conditions. It is also shown that line ratios are an important and applicable probe of the gas conditions. The line ratio changes are largely a result of the $E$-type transitions becoming quenched faster at increasing densities. The modeling results are discussed using recent observations of CH$_3$OH and hydroxyl (OH) masers near the supernova remnants G1.4$-$0.1, W28, and Sgr A East.

Efficiency tests for estimating the gas and stellar population parameters in Type 2 objects

Abstract We investigated the efficiency of estimating characteristics of stellar populations (SP) and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) emission using ULySS code. To analyse simultaneously AGN and SP components in the integrated spectrum of Type 2 active galaxies, we modelled the featureless continuum (FC) and emission lines, and we used PEGASE.HR stellar population models provided by ULySS. In order to validate the method, we simulated over 7000 integrated spectra of Seyfert 2 galaxies. Spectra were generated using different characteristics of the featureless AGN continuum, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), spectral ranges, properties of emission lines and single stellar population (SSP) model whose initial mass function (IMF) and abundance pattern is similar to the solar neighbourhood. Simulated spectra were fitted with ULySS to evaluate the ability of the method to extract SP and AGN properties. We found that the analysis with ULySS can efficiently restore the characteristics of SP in spectra of Seyfert 2 AGNs, where signal-to-noise ratio is higher than 20, and where SP contributes with more than 10% to the total flux. Degeneracies between AGN and SP parameters increase with increasing the AGN continuum fraction, which points out the importance of simultaneous fitting of the FC and SP contributions.

Binary stars and the UVX in early type galaxies

We use the Hern\’andez-P\’erez $\&$ Bruzual (2013) HB13 stellar population synthesis models to study the r\^ole of interacting binary pairs as progenitors of EHB stars. We assemble a sample of 3417 Early Type Galaxies observed both in the optical (\textit{SDSS}-DR8) and the UV (\textit{GALEX}-GR6). The galaxies in our sample can be classified according to their position in the colour-colour diagram as UV weak or red sequence galaxies ($\sim 48\%$), UV strong or UVX galaxies ($\sim 9\%$), and recent star forming galaxies ($\sim 43\%$). Analysing this sample using the HB13 models for various choices of basic model parameters we conclude that: (a) The UV$r$ colours of UV weak and UV strong galaxies are reproduced by the models as long as the fraction of binary stars is at least 15$\%.$ (b) Higher metallicity models ($Z = 0.02$ and $Z = 0.03$) reproduce the colours of UV weak and UV strong galaxies better than lower $Z$ models. The $Z = 0.03$ model is slightly bluer than the $Z = 0.02$ model in the UV strong region, indicating a weak relationship between UVX and $Z$. (c) The strength of UVX increases with age in the model population. This is at variance with the results of other models that include binary stars as progenitors of EHB stars.

Stellar mass functions of galaxies at 4<z<7 from an IRAC-selected sample in COSMOS/UltraVISTA: limits on the abundance of very massive galaxies

We study the population of massive (i.e., $\log(M_*/M_\odot)>11$) galaxies at $4<z<7$ using a Spitzer IRAC complete sample obtained complementing the $K_\mathrm{s}$-band selected UltraVISTA catalog with detections in IRAC. Using this catalog we investigate, for the first time, the evolution of the massive end of the stellar mass functions at $4<z<7$. We consider the systematic effects of introducing a bayesian prior in the measurements of the photometric redshift as well as of different star formation histories (SFHs) and of nebular emission lines in the recovery of stellar population parameters. We show that our results are most affected by the bayesian prior, while nebular emission lines and SFHs only introduce a small dispersion in the measurements. Given the rarity of very massive galaxies in the early universe, major contributions to the total error budget come from cosmic variance and poisson noise. The stellar mass functions (SMFs) obtained without the introduction of the bayesian prior do not show any evolution from $z\sim6.5$ to $z\sim 3.5$, suggesting that massive galaxies could already be present when the Universe was $\sim0.9$ Gyr old. However, the introduction of the bayesian prior reduced the number of $z>4$ galaxies with best fit masses $\log(M_*/M_\odot)>11$ by 83% implying a rapid growth of very massive galaxies in the first 1.5 Gyr of cosmic history. From the stellar-mass complete sample, we identify one candidate of a very massive ($\log(M_*/M_\odot)\sim11.5$), quiescent galaxy at $z\sim5.4$, with MIPS $24\mu$m detection suggesting the presence of a powerful obscured AGN. Finally, we show that the number of massive galaxies at $4<z<7$ measured in this work matches the number of massive galaxies at $3<z<6$ predicted by current models of galaxy formation.

Hubble Space Telescope Proper Motions along the Sagittarius Stream: I. Observations and Results for Stars in Four Fields

We present a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) study of stellar proper motions (PMs) for four fields spanning 200 degrees along the Sagittarius (Sgr) stream: one field in the trailing arm, one field near the Sgr dSph tidal radius, and two fields in the leading arm. From data with 6-9 year time baselines, we determine absolute PMs of dozens of individual stars per field, using established techniques that use distant background galaxies to define a stationary reference frame. Stream stars are identified based on combined color-magnitude diagram (CMD) and PM information. The results are broadly consistent with the few existing PM measurements for the Sgr dwarf spheroidal galaxy (dSph) and the trailing arm. However, our new results provide the highest PM accuracy for the stream to date, the first PM measurements for the leading arm, and the first PM measurements for individual stream stars [We also serendipitously determine the PM of the globular cluster NGC 6652 to be ($\mu_{\rm W}$, $\mu_{\rm N}$) = (5.66 $\pm$ 0.07, $-$4.45 $\pm$ 0.10) mas yr$^{-1}$]. In the trailing-arm field, the individual PMs allow us to kinematically separate trailing-arm stars from leading-arm stars that are 360 degrees further ahead in their orbit around the Milky Way (MW). Also, in three of our fields we find indications that two distinct kinematical components may exist within the same arm and wrap of the stream. Qualitative comparison of the HST data to the predictions of the Law & Majewski N-body model of the stream show that the PM measurements closely follow the predicted trend with Sgr longitude. While this does not necessarily indicate that the triaxial MW dark halo shape inferred from the $N$-body model is correct, it does provide a successful consistency check using PM data that the model was not tailored to reproduce. Quantitative data-model comparisons will be presented in a companion paper.

The HI Mass Function and Velocity Width Function of Void Galaxies in the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA Survey

We measure the HI mass function (HIMF) and velocity width function (WF) across environments over a range of masses $7.2<\log(M_{HI}/M_{\odot})<10.8$, and profile widths $1.3\log(km/s)<\log(W)<2.9\log(km/s)$, using a catalog of ~7,300 HI-selected galaxies from the ALFALFA Survey, located in the region of sky where ALFALFA and SDSS (Data Release 7) North overlap. We divide our galaxy sample into those that reside in large-scale voids (void galaxies) and those that live in denser regions (wall galaxies). We find the void HIMF to be well fit by a Schechter function with normalization $\Phi^*=(1.37\pm0.1)\times10^{-2} h^3Mpc^{-3}$, characteristic mass $\log(M^*/M_{\odot})+2\log h_{70}=9.86\pm0.02$, and low-mass-end slope $\alpha=-1.29\pm0.02$. Similarly, for wall galaxies, we find best-fitting parameters $\Phi^*=(1.82\pm0.03)\times10^{-2} h^3Mpc^{-3}$, $\log(M^*/M_{\odot})+2\log h_{70}=10.00\pm0.01$, and $\alpha=-1.35\pm0.01$. We conclude that void galaxies typically have slightly lower HI masses than their non-void counterparts, which is in agreement with the dark matter halo mass function shift in voids assuming a simple relationship between DM mass and HI mass. We also find that the low-mass slope of the void HIMF is similar to that of the wall HIMF suggesting that there is either no excess of low-mass galaxies in voids or there is an abundance of intermediate HI mass galaxies. We fit a modified Schechter function to the ALFALFA void WF and determine its best-fitting parameters to be $\Phi^*=0.21\pm0.1 h^3Mpc^{-3}$, $\log(W^*)=2.13\pm0.3$, $\alpha=0.52\pm0.5$ and high-width slope $\beta=1.3\pm0.4$. For wall galaxies, the WF parameters are: $\Phi^*=0.022\pm0.009 h^3Mpc^{-3}$, $\log(W^*)=2.62\pm0.5$, $\alpha=-0.64\pm0.2$ and $\beta=3.58\pm1.5$. Because of large uncertainties on the void and wall width functions, we cannot conclude whether the WF is dependent on the environment.

Simple Stellar Population Modeling of Low S/N Galaxy Spectra and Quasar Host Galaxy Applications

To study the effect of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) on their host galaxies it is important to study the hosts when the SMBH is near its peak activity. A method to investigate the host galaxies of high luminosity quasars is to obtain optical spectra at positions offset from the nucleus where the relative contribution of the quasar and host are comparable. However, at these extended radii the galaxy surface brightness is often low (20-22 mag per arcsec$^{2}$) and the resulting spectrum might have such low S/N that it hinders analysis with standard stellar population modeling techniques. To address this problem we have developed a method that can recover galaxy star formation histories (SFHs) from rest frame optical spectra with S/N $\sim$ 5~\AA$^{-1}$. This method uses the statistical technique diffusion k-means to tailor the stellar population modeling basis set. Our diffusion k-means minimal basis set, composed of 4 broad age bins, is successful in recovering a range of galaxy SFHs. Additionally, using an analytic prescription for seeing conditions, we are able to simultaneously model scattered quasar light and the SFH of quasar host galaxies (QHGs). We use synthetic data to compare results of our novel method with previous techniques. We also present the modeling results on a previously published QHG and show that galaxy properties recovered from a diffusion k-means basis set are less sensitive to noise added to this quasar host galaxy spectrum. Our new method has a clear advantage in recovering information from QHGs and could also be applied to the analysis of other low S/N galaxy spectra such as those typically obtained for high redshift objects or integral field spectroscopic surveys.

Exploring the relationship between black-hole accretion and star-formation with blind mid-/far-infrared spectroscopic surveys

We present new estimates of redshift-dependent luminosity functions of IR lines detectable by SPICA/SAFARI and excited both by star formation and by AGN activity. The new estimates improve over previous work by using updated evolutionary models and dealing in a self consistent way with emission of galaxies as a whole, including both the starburst and the AGN component. New relationships between line and AGN bolometric luminosity have been derived and those between line and IR luminosities of the starburst component have been updated. These ingredients were used to work out predictions for the source counts in 11 mid/far-IR emission lines partially or entirely excited by AGN activity. We find that the statistics of the emission line detection of galaxies as a whole is mainly determined by the star formation rate, because of the rarity of bright AGNs. We also find that the slope of the line integral number counts is flatter than 2 implying that the number of detections at fixed observing time increases more by extending the survey area than by going deeper. We thus propose a wide spectroscopic survey of 1 hour integration per field-of-view over an area of 5 deg$^{2}$ to detect (at 5{\sigma}) ~760 AGNs in [OIV]25.89{\mu}m – the brightest AGN mid-infrared line – out to z~2. Pointed observations of strongly lensed or hyper-luminous galaxies previously detected by large area surveys such as those by Herschel and by the SPT can provide key information on the galaxy-AGN co-evolution out to higher redshifts.

The Fundamental Plane Relation of Early-Type Galaxies: Environmental Dependence [Replacement]

Using a sample of 70,793 early-type galaxies from SDSS DR7, we study the environmental dependence of the fundamental plane relation. With the help of the galaxy group catalogue based on SDSS DR7, we calculate the fundamental planes in different dark matter halo mass bins for central and satellite galaxies respectively. We find the environmental dependence of the fundamental plane coefficients are similar in $g$, $r$, $i$ and $z$ bands. The environmental dependence for central and satellite galaxies is significantly different. While the fundamental plane coefficients of centrals vary systematically with the halo mass, those of satellites are similar in different halo mass bins. The discrepancy between centrals and satellites are significant in small halos, but negligible in the largest halo mass bins. These results remain the same when we only keep red galaxies, or galaxies with $b/a>0.6$, or galaxies in a specific radius range in the sample. After the correction of the sky background, results are still similar. We suggest that the different environmental effects of the halo mass on centrals and satellites may arise from the different quenching processes of them.

The Fundamental Plane Relation of Early-Type Galaxies: Environmental Dependence

Using a sample of 70,793 early-type galaxies from SDSS DR7, we study the environmental dependence of the fundamental plane relation. With the help of the galaxy group catalogue based on SDSS DR7, we calculate the fundamental planes in different dark matter halo mass bins for central and satellite galaxies respectively. We find the environmental dependence of the fundamental plane coefficients are similar in $g$, $r$, $i$ and $z$ bands. The environmental dependence for central and satellite galaxies is significantly different. While the fundamental plane coefficients of centrals vary systematically with the halo mass, those of satellites are similar in different halo mass bins. The discrepancy between centrals and satellites are significant in small halos, but negligible in the largest halo mass bins. These results remain the same when we only keep red galaxies, or galaxies with $b/a>0.6$, or galaxies in a specific radius range in the sample. After the correction of the sky background, results are still similar. We suggest that the different environmental effects of the halo mass on centrals and satellites may arise from the different quenching processes of them.

Spectral Modeling of the Charge-Exchange X-ray Emission from M82

It has been proposed that the charge exchange (CX) process at the interface between hot and cool interstellar gases could contribute significantly to the observed soft X-ray emission in star forming galaxies. We analyze the XMM-Newton/RGS spectrum of M82, using a newly developed CX model combined with a single-temperature thermal plasma to characterize the volume-filling hot gas. The CX process is largely responsible for not only the strongly enhanced forbidden lines of the K$\alpha$ triplets of various He-like ions, but also good fractions of the Ly$\alpha$ transitions of C VI (~87%), O VIII and N VII ($\gtrsim$50%) as well. In total about a quarter of the X-ray flux in the RGS 6-30 \AA\ band originates in the CX. We infer an ion incident rate of $3\times10^{51}\,\rm{s^{-1}}$ undergoing CX at the hot and cool gas interface, and an effective area of the interface as $\sim2\times10^{45}\,{\rm cm^2}$ that is one order of magnitude larger than the cross section of the global biconic outflow. With the CX contribution accounted for, the best fit temperature of the hot gas is 0.6 keV, and the metal abundances are approximately solar. We further show that the same CX/thermal plasma model also gives an excellent description of the EPIC-pn spectrum of the outflow Cap, projected at 11.6 kpc away from the galactic disk of M82. This analysis demonstrates that the CX is potentially an important contributor to the X-ray emission from starburst galaxies and also an invaluable tool to probe the interface astrophysics.

Connection between dynamically derived IMF normalisation and stellar population parameters

We report on empirical trends between the dynamically determined stellar initial mass function (IMF) and stellar population properties for a complete, volume-limited sample of 260 early-type galaxies from the Atlas3D project. We study trends between our dynamically-derived IMF normalisation and absorption line strengths, and interpret these via single stellar population- (SSP-) equivalent ages, abundance ratios (measured as [alpha/Fe]), and total metallicity, [Z/H]. We find that old and alpha-enhanced galaxies tend to have on average heavier (Salpeter-like) mass normalisation of the IMF, but stellar population does not appear to be a good predictor of the IMF, with a large range of normalisation at a given population parameter. As a result, we find weak IMF-[alpha/Fe] and IMF-age correlations, and no significant IMF-[Z/H] correlation. The observed trends appear significantly weaker than those reported in studies that measure the IMF normalisation via low-mass star demographics inferred through stellar spectral analysis.

AKARI Infrared Camera Observations of the 3.3 {\mu}m PAH feature in Swift/BAT AGNs

We explore the relationships between the 3.3 {\mu}m polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) feature and active galactic nucleus (AGN) properties of a sample of 54 hard X-ray selected bright AGNs, including both Seyfert 1 and Seyfert 2 type objects, using the InfraRed Camera (IRC) on board the infrared astronomical satellite AKARI. The sample is selected from the 9-month Swift/BAT survey in the 14-195 keV band and all of them have measured X-ray spectra at $E \lesssim 10$ keV. These X-ray spectra provide measurements of the neutral hydrogen column density ($N_{\rm H}$) towards the AGNs. We use the 3.3 {\mu}m PAH luminosity ($L_{\rm 3.3{\mu}m}$) as a proxy for star formation activity and hard X-ray luminosity ($L_{\rm 14-195keV}$) as an indicator of the AGN activity. We search for possible difference of star-formation activity between type 1 (un-absorbed) and type 2 (absorbed) AGNs. We have made several statistical analyses taking the upper-limits of the PAH lines into account utilizing survival analysis methods. The results of our $\log(L_{\rm 14-195keV})$ versus $\log(L_{\rm 3.3{\mu}m})$ regression shows a positive correlation and the slope for the type 1/unobscured AGNs is steeper than that of type 2/obscured AGNs at a $3\sigma$ level. Also our analysis show that the circum-nuclear star-formation is more enhanced in type 2/absorbed AGNs than type 1/un-absorbed AGNs for low X-ray luminosity/low Eddington ratio AGNs, while there is no significant dependence of star-formation activities on the AGN type in the high X-ray luminosities/Eddington ratios.

The first Murchison Widefield Array low frequency radio observations of cluster scale non-thermal emission: the case of Abell 3667

We present the first Murchison Widefield Array observations of the well-known cluster of galaxies Abell 3667 (A3667) between 105 and 241 MHz. A3667 is one of the best known examples of a galaxy cluster hosting a double radio relic and has been reported to contain a faint radio halo and bridge. The origins of radio halos, relics and bridges is still unclear, however galaxy cluster mergers seems to be an important factor. We clearly detect the North-West (NW) and South-East (SE) radio relics in A3667 and find an integrated flux density at 149 MHz of 28.1 +/- 1.7 and 2.4 +/- 0.1 Jy, respectively, with an average spectral index, between 120 and 1400 MHz, of -0.9 +/- 0.1 for both relics. We find evidence of a spatial variation in the spectral index across the NW relic steepening towards the centre of the cluster, which indicates an ageing electron population. These properties are consistent with higher frequency observations. We detect emission that could be associated with a radio halo and bridge. How- ever, due to the presence of poorly sampled large-scale Galactic emission and blended point sources we are unable to verify the exact nature of these features.

The Local Group in the cosmic web

We explore the characteristics of the cosmic web around Local Group (LG) like pairs using a cosmological simulation in the $\Lambda$CDM cosmology. We use the Hessian of the gravitational potential to classify regions on scales of $\sim 2$ Mpc as a peak, sheet, filament or void. The sample of LG counterparts is represented by two samples of halo pairs. The first is a general sample composed by pairs with similar masses and isolation criteria as observed for the LG. The second is a subset with additional observed kinematic constraints such as relative pair velocity and separation. We find that the pairs in the LG sample with all constraints are: (i) Preferentially located in filaments and sheets, (ii) Located in in a narrow range of local overdensity $0<\delta<2$, web ellipticity $0.1<e<1.0$ and prolateness $-0.4<p<0.4$. (iii) Strongly aligned with the cosmic web, in particular for pairs in filaments/sheets the pair orbital angular momentum tends to be perpendicular to the filament direction or the sheet plane. A stronger alignment is present for the vector linking the two halos, which lies along the filament or the sheet plane. We show that the first and second results are expected trends with the LG total mass. However, the strong alignments with the cosmic web cannot be explained by a simple mass dependency. Additionally, we fail to find a strong correlation of the spin of each halo in the pair with the cosmic web. Applied to the observed LG, there is a potential conflict between these alignments and the evidence for satellite accretion along filaments. This highlights the relevance of achieving a precise characterization of the place of the LG in the cosmic web in the cosmological context provided by $\Lambda$CDM.

Population Studies. XIII. A New Analysis of the Bidelman-MacConnell "Weak-Metal" Stars - Confirmation of Metal-Poor Stars in the Thick Disk of the Galaxy

A new set of very high signal-to-noise (S/N > 100/1), medium-resolution (R~3000) optical spectra have been obtained for 302 of the candidate "weak-metal" stars selected by Bidelman & MacConnell. We use these data to calibrate the recently developed generalization of the SEGUE Stellar Parameter Pipeline, and obtain estimates of the atmospheric parameters (Teff, log g , and [Fe/H]) for these non-SDSS/SEGUE data; we also obtain estimates of [C/Fe]. The new abundance measurements are shown to be consistent with available high-resolution spectroscopic determinations, and represent a substantial improvement over the accuracies obtained from the previous photometric estimates reported in Paper I of this series. The apparent offset in the photometric abundances of the giants in this sample noted by several authors is confirmed by our new spectroscopy; no such effect is found for the dwarfs. The presence of a metal-weak thick-disk (MWTD) population is clearly supported by these new abundance data. Some 25% of the stars with metallicities -1.8 < [Fe/H] <= -0.8 exhibit orbital eccentricities e < 0.4, yet are clearly separated from members of the inner-halo population with similar metallicities by their location in a Lindblad energy vs. angular momentum diagram. A comparison is made with recent results for a similar-size sample of RAVE stars from Ruchti et al. We conclude, based on both of these samples, that the MWTD is real, and must be accounted for in discussions of the formation and evolution of the disk system of the Milky Way.

The Unique Structural Parameters of the Underlying Host Galaxies in Blue Compact Dwarfs

The nature of possible evolutionary pathways between various types of dwarf galaxies are still not fully understood. Blue compact dwarf galaxies (BCDs) provide a unique window into dwarf galaxy formation and evolution and are often thought of as an evolutionary stage between different classes of dwarf galaxies. In this study we use deep optical and near-infrared observations of the underlying hosts of BCDs in order to study the structural differences between different types of dwarf galaxies. When compared with dwarf irregular galaxies of similar luminosities, we find that the underlying hosts of BCDs have significantly more concentrated light distributions, with smaller scale lengths and brighter central surface brightnesses. We demonstrate here that the underlying hosts of BCDs are distinct from the broad continuum of typical dwarf irregular galaxies, and that it is unlikely that most dwarf irregular galaxies can transform into a BCD, or vice versa. Furthermore, we find that the starburst in a BCD only brightens it on average by ~0.8 mag (factor of 2), in agreement with other studies. It appears that BCDs are a long-lived and distinct type of dwarf galaxy which exhibit an exceptionally concentrated matter distribution. We suggest that it is this compact mass distribution that enables the strong star-formation events that characterize this class of dwarf galaxy, that the compactness of the underlying host can be used as a distinguishing parameter between BCDs and other dwarf galaxies, and that it can also be used to identify BCDs which are not currently experiencing an intense starburst event.

Reconnection in turbulent astrophysical fluids

Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process of magnetic field topology change. We analyze the connection of this process with turbulence which is ubiquitous in astrophysical environments. We show how Lazarian & Vishniac (1999) model of turbulent reconnection is connected to the experimentally proven concept of Richardson diffusion and discuss how turbulence violates the generally accepted notion of magnetic flux freezing. We note that in environments that are laminar initially turbulence can develop as a result of magnetic reconnection and this can result in flares of magnetic reconnection in magnetically dominated media. In particular, magnetic reconnection can initially develop through tearing, but the transition to the turbulent state is expected for astrophysical systems. We show that turbulent reconnection predictions corresponds to the Solar and solar wind data.

Interstellar extinction and abundances of simple diatomic molecules

We analyze mutual relations between interstellar extinction E(B-V) and column densities of diatomic molecules such as CN, CH and CH cation observed along translucent sightlines. Observational material acquired using five echelle spectrographs, situated in both northern and southern hemispheres, was used in this study. While column densities of CH, CH+ correlate reasonably tightly with E(B-V) the similar relation built for CN shows a large scatter. This result suggests that CH and CH+ molecules are quite well spatially correlated to interstellar dust while CN requires another conditions to be formed. The CH molecule is closely related to H_2 as it was demonstrated already; the fact is interesting since H_2 is believed to be formed on grain surfaces rather than in the gas phase.

How realistic UV spectra and X-rays suppress the abundance of direct collapse black holes

Observations of high redshift quasars at $z>6$ indicate that they harbor supermassive black holes (SMBHs) of a billion solar masses. The direct collapse scenario has emerged as the most plausible way to assemble SMBHs. The nurseries for the direct collapse black holes are massive primordial halos illuminated with an intense UV flux emitted by population II stars. In this study, we compute the critical value of such a flux ($J_{21}^{\rm crit}$) for realistic spectra of pop II stars through three-dimensional cosmological simulations. We derive the dependence of $J_{21}^{\rm crit}$ on the radiation spectra, on variations from halo to halo, and on the impact of X-ray ionization. Our findings show that the value of $J_{21}^{\rm crit}$ is a few times $\rm 10^4$ and only weakly depends on the adopted radiation spectra in the range between $T_{\rm rad}=2 \times 10^4-10^5$ K. For three simulated halos of a few times $\rm 10^{7}$~M$_{\odot}$, $J_{21}^{\rm crit}$ varies from $\rm 2 \times 10^4 – 5 \times 10^4$. The impact of X-ray ionization is almost negligible and within the expected scatter of $J_{21}^{\rm crit}$ for background fluxes of $J_{\rm X,21} \leq 0.1$. The computed estimates of $J_{21}^{\rm crit}$ have profound implications for the quasar abundance at $z=10$ as it lowers the number density of black holes forming through an isothermal direct collapse by a few orders of magnitude below the observed black holes density. However, the sites with moderate amounts of $\rm H_2$ cooling may still form massive objects sufficient to be compatible with observations.

Testing MOND on Earth

MOND is one of the most popular alternatives to Dark Matter (DM). While efforts to directly detect DM in laboratories have been steadily pursued over the years, the proposed Earth-based tests of MOND are still in their infancy. Some proposals recently appeared in the literature are briefly reviewed, and it is argued that collaborative efforts of theorists and experimenters are needed to move forward in this exciting new area. Possible future directions are outlined.

Testing MOND on Earth [Cross-Listing]

MOND is one of the most popular alternatives to Dark Matter (DM). While efforts to directly detect DM in laboratories have been steadily pursued over the years, the proposed Earth-based tests of MOND are still in their infancy. Some proposals recently appeared in the literature are briefly reviewed, and it is argued that collaborative efforts of theorists and experimenters are needed to move forward in this exciting new area. Possible future directions are outlined.

IRAM-30m large scale survey of $^{12}$CO(2-1) and $^{13}$CO(2-1) emission in the Orion molecular cloud

Using the IRAM 30m telescope we have surveyed a $1\times0.8^{\circ}$ part of the Orion molecular cloud in the $^{12}$CO and $^{13}$CO (2-1) lines with a maximal spatial resolution of $\sim$11" and spectral resolution of $\sim$ 0.4 km~s$^{-1}$. The cloud appears filamentary, clumpy and with a complex kinematical structure. We derive an estimated mass of the cloud of 7700 M$_{\text{Sun}}$ (half of which is found in regions with visual extinctions $A_V$ below $\sim$10) and a dynamical age for the nebula of the order of 0.2 Myrs. The energy balance suggests that magnetic fields play an important role in supporting the cloud, at large and small scales. According to our analysis, the turbulent kinetic energy in the molecular gas due to outflows is comparable to turbulent kinetic energy resulting from the interaction of the cloud with the HII region. This latter feedback appears negative, i.e. the triggering of star formation by the HII region is inefficient in Orion. The reduced data as well as additional products such as the column density map are made available online at

Accretion and magnetic field morphology around Class 0 stage protostellar discs

We analyse the results of existing and newly performed and simulations of turbulent, collapsing molecular cloud cores focussing on the formation of Class 0 stage protostellar discs and the physical conditions in their surroundings. We show that for a wide range of initial conditions rotationally supported discs are formed in the Class 0 stage already. In particular, we show that even mild, i.e. subsonic turbulent motions, reduce the magnetic braking efficiency sufficiently in order to allow Keplerian discs to form. Based on this result we suggest that already during the Class 0 stage the fraction of Keplerian discs is significantly higher than 50%. This is consistent with recent observational trends but significantly higher than predictions based on simulations with misaligned magnetic fields and disc angular momentum vectors, demonstrating the importance of turbulent motions for the formation of Keplerian discs. We show that the accretion of mass and angular momentum in the surroundings of protostellar discs occurs in a highly anisotropic manner, by means of a few narrow accretion channels. The magnetic field structure in the vicinity of the discs is highly disordered, revealing field reversals up to distances of 1000 AU. These findings demonstrate that as soon as even mild turbulent motions are included, the classical disc formation scenario of a coherently rotating environment and a well-ordered magnetic field breaks down. Hence, it is highly questionable to assess the magnetic braking efficiency based on non-turbulent collapse simulation. We thus strongly suggest that, in addition to the global magnetic field strengths and direction, the small-scale accretion flow and the detailed magnetic field structure have to be considered in order to assess the likelihood of rotationally supported discs to be present.

Sailing under the Magellanic Clouds: A DECam View of the Carina Dwarf

We present deep optical photometry from the DECam imager on the 4m Blanco telescope of over 12 deg$^2$ around the Carina dwarf spheroidal, with complete coverage out to 1 degree and partial coverage extending out to 2.6 degrees. Using a Poisson-based matched filter analysis to identify stars from each of the three main stellar populations, old, intermediate, and young, we confirm the previously identified radial age gradient, distance, tidal radius, stellar radial profiles, relative stellar population sizes, ellipticity, and position angle. We find an angular offset between the three main elliptical populations of Carina, and find only tentative evidence for tidal debris, suggesting that past tidal interactions could not have significantly influenced the Carina dwarf. We detect stars in the vicinity of, but distinct to, the Carina dwarf, and measure their distance to be 46$\pm$2 kpc. We determine this population to be part of the halo of the Large Magellanic Cloud at an angular radius of over 20 degrees. Due to overlap in colour-magnitude space with Magellanic stars, previously detected tidal features in the old population of Carina are likely weaker than previously thought.

RXJ0848.6+4453: The Evolution of Galaxy Sizes and Stellar Populations in a z=1.27 Cluster

RXJ0848.6+4453 (Lynx W) at redshift 1.27 is part of the Lynx Supercluster of galaxies. Our analysis of stellar populations and star formation history in the cluster covers 24 members and is based on deep optical spectroscopy from Gemini North and imaging data from HST. Focusing on the 13 bulge-dominated galaxies for which we can determine central velocity dispersions, we find that these show a smaller evolution of sizes and velocity dispersions than reported for field galaxies and galaxies in poorer clusters. The galaxies in RXJ0848.6+4453 populate the Fundamental Plane similar to that found for lower redshift clusters with a zero point offset corresponding to an epoch of last star formation at z_form= 1.95+-0.2. The spectra of the galaxies in RXJ0848.6+4453 are dominated by young stellar populations at all galaxy masses and in many cases show emission indicating low level on-going star formation. The average age of the young stellar populations (estimated from H-zeta) is consistent with a major star formation episode 1-2 Gyr prior, which in turn agrees with z_form=1.95. Galaxies dominated by young stellar populations are distributed throughout the cluster. We speculate that low level star formation has not yet been fully quenched in the center of this cluster may be because the cluster is significantly poorer than other clusters previously studied at similar redshifts, which appear to have very little on-going star formation in their centers.

A detailed analysis of the high resolution X-ray spectra of NGC 3516: Variability of the ionized absorbers

We re-analyzed the 9 observations performed on 2006 by XMM-Newton and Chandra in the 0.3 to 10 keV energy band of NGC 3516 (Seyfert 1.5). The best fit model of these observations consists of a continuum emission absorbed by four ionized components and ten narrow emission lines. Three ionized absorbing components produce features in the soft X-ray band. The fourth ionization component produces FeXXV-XXVI in the hard- energy band. We study the absorbers time response to well detect changes in the X-ray luminosity of this source, only two components show clear opacity changes consistent with gas close to photoionization equilibrium. The other two components do not seem to respond to continuum variations. This response time allows us to constrain their location. One outflowing component must be located within the obscuring torus, at a distance 2.7X10^17 cm from the central engine, likely originated in the accretion disk. The three remaining outflowing components are at distances larger than 10^{16-17} cm. Two of them have similar outflow velocities and locations, these may be in pressure equilibrium, forming a multi-phase medium, if the gas has metallicity larger than the solar one (5 times). We find no correlation between the change in covering factor of the absorbers and the flux of the source. This, in connection with the observed variability of the ionized absorbers, suggests that the changes in flux are not produced by this material. If the variations are indeed produced by obscuring clumps of gas, these must be located much closer in to the central source.

A detailed analysis of the high resolution X-ray spectra of NGC 3516: Variability of the ionized absorbers [Replacement]

We re-analyzed the 9 observations performed on 2006 by XMM-Newton and Chandra in the 0.3 to 10 keV energy band of NGC 3516 (Seyfert 1.5). The best fit model of these observations consists of a continuum emission absorbed by four ionized components and ten narrow emission lines. Three ionized absorbing components produce features in the soft X-ray band. The fourth ionization component produces FeXXV-XXVI in the hard- energy band. We study the absorbers time response to well detect changes in the X-ray luminosity of this source, only two components show clear opacity changes consistent with gas close to photoionization equilibrium. The other two components do not seem to respond to continuum variations. This response time allows us to constrain their location. One outflowing component must be located within the obscuring torus, at a distance 2.7X10^17 cm from the central engine, likely originated in the accretion disk. The three remaining outflowing components are at distances larger than 10^{16-17} cm. Two of them have similar outflow velocities and locations, these may be in pressure equilibrium, forming a multi-phase medium, if the gas has metallicity larger than the solar one (5 times). We find no correlation between the change in covering factor of the absorbers and the flux of the source. This, in connection with the observed variability of the ionized absorbers, suggests that the changes in flux are not produced by this material. If the variations are indeed produced by obscuring clumps of gas, these must be located much closer in to the central source.

The Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey. VIII. The Spatial Distribution of Globular Clusters in the Virgo Cluster

We report on a large-scale study of the distribution of globular clusters (GCs) throughout the Virgo cluster, based on photometry from the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey, a large imaging survey covering Virgo’s primary subclusters to their virial radii. Using the g’, (g’-i’) color-magnitude diagram of unresolved and marginally-resolved sources, we constructed 2-D maps of the GC distribution. We present the clearest evidence to date showing the difference in concentration between red and blue GCs over the extent of the cluster, where the red (metal-rich) GCs are largely located around the massive early-type galaxies, whilst the blue (metal-poor) GCs have a more extended spatial distribution, with significant populations present beyond 83′ (215 kpc) along the major axes of M49 and M87. The GC distribution around M87 and M49 shows remarkable agreement with the shape, ellipticity and boxiness of the diffuse light surrounding both galaxies. We find evidence for spatial enhancements of GCs surrounding M87 that may be indicative of recent interactions or an ongoing merger history. We compare the GC map to the locations of Virgo galaxies and the intracluster X-ray gas, and find good agreement between these baryonic structures. The Virgo cluster contains a total population of 67300$\pm$14400 GCs, of which 35% are located in M87 and M49 alone. We compute a cluster-wide specific frequency S_N,CL=$2.8\pm0.7$, including Virgo’s diffuse light. The GC-to-baryonic mass fraction is e_b=$5.7\pm1.1\times10^{-4} $and the GC-to-total cluster mass formation efficiency is e_t=$2.9\pm0.5\times10^{-5}$, values slightly lower than, but consistent with, those derived for individual galactic halos. Our results show that the production of the complex structures in the unrelaxed Virgo cluster core (including the diffuse intracluster light) is an ongoing process.(abridged)

Maximum likelihood fits to a cored halo enclosing finite mass

The hybrid Ricci scalar $R_{\mu\nu}\eta^{\mu\nu}$ formed from a Robertson-Walker derived Ricci tensor and a distinct flat space metric becomes a dark, pseudo-isothermal density under asymptotic constraint. While extension of this constraint to more general scenarios is unclear, it is model independent and suggestive of a radical premise: all galactic dark matter halos are sourced by very many distinct Robertson-Walker spacetimes. We explore this premise and present a cored galactic halo, which encloses finite mass over all space. We compute fit parameters to published data on the Milky Way dwarf spheroidal galaxies, and find consistency with a predicted reciprocal square scaling relation. Spherical symmetry permits treatment of each individual halo as a point particle interacting under a modified gravitational force. This force is Newtonian at large separation with a leading dipole correction, and naturally softens to zero at small separation. Taken as cold dark matter, ensembles of such halos present a possible resolution to tension between large-scale $N$-body simulations and small-scale astrophysical data.


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