Recent Postings from Galaxies

Chemical abundances of damped Lyman alpha systems in the XQ-100 survey

The XQ-100 survey has provided high signal-noise spectra of 100 redshift 3-4.5 quasars with the X-Shooter spectrograph. The metal abundances for 13 elements in the 41 damped Lyman alpha systems (DLAs) identified in the XQ-100 sample are presented, and an investigation into abundances of a variety of DLA classes is conducted. The XQ-100 DLA sample contains five DLAs within 5000 km/s of their host quasar (proximate DLAs; PDLAs) as well as three sightlines which contain two DLAs within 10,000 km/s of each other along the same line-of-sight (multiple DLAs; MDLAs). Combined with previous observations in the literature, we demonstrate that PDLAs with logN(HI)<21.0 show lower [S/H] and [Fe/H] (relative to intervening systems with similar redshift and N(HI)), whilst higher [S/H] and [Si/H] are seen in PDLAs with logN(HI)>21.0. These abundance discrepancies are independent of their line-of-sight velocity separation from the host quasar, and the velocity width of the metal lines (v90). Contrary to previous studies, MDLAs show no difference in [alpha/Fe] relative to single DLAs matched in metallicity and redshift. In addition, we present follow-up UVES data of J0034+1639, a sightline containing three DLAs, including a metal-poor DLA with [Fe/H]=-2.82 (the third lowest [Fe/H] in DLAs identified to date) at z=4.25. Lastly we study the dust-corrected [Zn/Fe], emphasizing that near-IR coverage of X-Shooter provides unprecedented access to MgII, CaII and TiII lines (at redshifts 3-4) to provide additional evidence for subsolar [Zn/Fe] ratio in DLAs.

The Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey. XX. Dust and gas in the foreground Galactic cirrus

We study the correlation between far-infared/submm dust emission and atomic gas column density in order to derive the properties of the high Galactic latitude, low density, Milky Way cirrus in the foreground of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Dust emission maps from 60 to 850 um are obtained from SPIRE observations carried out within the Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey, complemented by IRAS-IRIS and Planck-HFI maps. Data from the Arecibo legacy Fast ALFA Survey is used to derive atomic gas column densities for two broad velocity components, low and intermediate velocity clouds. Dust emissivities are derived for each gas component and each far-infared/submm band. For the low velocity clouds, we measure an average emissivity 0.79 +/- 0.08 times 1E-20 MJy sr^-1 cm^2 at 250 um. After fitting a modified blackbody to the available bands, we estimated a dust absorption cross-section 0.49 +/- 0.13 times 1E-25 cm^2 H^-1 at 250 um (with dust temperature T = 20.4 +/- 1.5 K and spectral index beta = 1.53 +/- 0.17). The results are in excellent agreement with those obtained by Planck over a much larger coverage of the high Galactic latitude cirrus (50% of the sky vs 0.2% in our work). For dust associated with intermediate velocity gas, we confirm earlier Planck results and find a higher temperature and lower emissivity and cross-section. After subtracting the modelled components, we find regions at scales smaller than 20' where the residuals deviate significantly from the average, cosmic-infrared-background dominated, scatter. These large residuals are most likely due to local variations in the cirrus dust properties (and/or the dust/atomic-gas correlation) or to high-latitude molecular clouds with average N_H2 <~ 1E20 cm^-2. We find no conclusive evidence for intracluster dust emission in Virgo.

A complete waveform model for compact binaries on eccentric orbits [Cross-Listing]

We present a time domain waveform model that describes the inspiral, merger and ringdown of compact binary systems whose components are non-spinning, and which evolve on orbits with low to moderate eccentricity. The inspiral evolution is described using third order post-Newtonian equations both for the equations of motion of the binary, and its far-zone radiation field. This latter component also includes instantaneous, tails and tails-of-tails contributions, and a contribution due to non-linear memory. This framework reduces to the post-Newtonian approximant $\texttt{TaylorT4}$ at third post-Newtonian order in the zero eccentricity limit. To improve phase accuracy, we also incorporate higher-order post-Newtonian corrections for the energy flux of quasi-circular binaries and gravitational self-force corrections to the binding energy of compact binaries. This enhanced prescription for the inspiral evolution is combined with a fully analytical prescription for the merger-ringdown evolution constructed using a catalog of numerical relativity simulations. We show that this inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform model reproduces the effective-one-body model of Phys. Rev. D 89, 061501 for black hole binaries with mass-ratios between 1 to 15 in the zero eccentricity limit over a wide range of the parameter space under consideration. We use this model to show that the gravitational wave transients GW150914 and GW151226 can be effectively recovered with template banks of quasi-circular, spin-aligned waveforms if the eccentricity $e_0$ of these systems when they enter the aLIGO band at a gravitational wave frequency of 14 Hz satisfies $e_0^{\rm GW150914}\leq0.15$ and $e_0^{\rm GW151226}\leq0.1$. We also show that quasi-circular, spin-aligned compact binaries define a signal manifold that is predominantly orthogonal to a manifold generated by non-spinning, eccentric signals for $e_0\geq0.1$.

A complete waveform model for compact binaries on eccentric orbits

We present a time domain waveform model that describes the inspiral, merger and ringdown of compact binary systems whose components are non-spinning, and which evolve on orbits with low to moderate eccentricity. The inspiral evolution is described using third order post-Newtonian equations both for the equations of motion of the binary, and its far-zone radiation field. This latter component also includes instantaneous, tails and tails-of-tails contributions, and a contribution due to non-linear memory. This framework reduces to the post-Newtonian approximant $\texttt{TaylorT4}$ at third post-Newtonian order in the zero eccentricity limit. To improve phase accuracy, we also incorporate higher-order post-Newtonian corrections for the energy flux of quasi-circular binaries and gravitational self-force corrections to the binding energy of compact binaries. This enhanced prescription for the inspiral evolution is combined with a fully analytical prescription for the merger-ringdown evolution constructed using a catalog of numerical relativity simulations. We show that this inspiral-merger-ringdown waveform model reproduces the effective-one-body model of Phys. Rev. D 89, 061501 for black hole binaries with mass-ratios between 1 to 15 in the zero eccentricity limit over a wide range of the parameter space under consideration. We use this model to show that the gravitational wave transients GW150914 and GW151226 can be effectively recovered with template banks of quasi-circular, spin-aligned waveforms if the eccentricity $e_0$ of these systems when they enter the aLIGO band at a gravitational wave frequency of 14 Hz satisfies $e_0^{\rm GW150914}\leq0.15$ and $e_0^{\rm GW151226}\leq0.1$. We also show that quasi-circular, spin-aligned compact binaries define a signal manifold that is predominantly orthogonal to a manifold generated by non-spinning, eccentric signals for $e_0\geq0.1$.

Astrometry with MCAO: HST-GeMS proper motions in the globular cluster NGC 6681

Aims: for the first time the astrometric capabilities of the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) facility GeMS with the GSAOI camera on Gemini-South are tested to quantify the accuracy in determining stellar proper motions in the Galactic globular cluster NGC 6681. Methods: proper motions from HST/ACS for a sample of its stars are already available, and this allows us to construct a distortion-free reference at the epoch of GeMS observations that is used to measure and correct the temporally changing distortions for each GeMS exposure. In this way, we are able to compare the corrected GeMS images with a first-epoch of HST/ACS images to recover the relative proper motion of the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy with respect to NGC 6681. Results: we find this to be (\mu_{\alpha}cos\delta, \mu_{\delta}) = (4.09,-3.41) mas/yr, which matches previous HST/ACS measurements with a very good accuracy of 0.03 mas/yr and with a comparable precision (r.m.s of 0.43 mas/yr). Conclusions: this study successfully demonstrates that high-quality proper motions can be measured for quite large fields of view (85 arcsec X 85 arcsec) with MCAO-assisted, ground-based cameras and provides a first, successful test of the performances of GeMS on multi-epoch data.

SMASH 1: a very faint globular cluster disrupting in the outer reaches of the LMC?

We present the discovery of a very faint stellar system, SMASH 1, that is potentially a satellite of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Found within the Survey of the MAgellanic Stellar History (SMASH), SMASH 1 is a compact (r_h = 9.1^{+5.9}_{-3.4} pc) and very low luminosity (M_V = -1.0 +/- 0.9, L_V=10^{2.3 +/- 0.4} Lsun) stellar system that is revealed by its sparsely populated main sequence and a handful of red-giant-branch candidate member stars. The photometric properties of these stars are compatible with a metal-poor ([Fe/H]=-2.2) and old (13 Gyr) isochrone located at a distance modulus of ~18.8, i.e. a distance of ~57 kpc. Situated at 11.3{\deg} from the LMC in projection, its 3-dimensional distance from the Cloud is ~13 kpc, consistent with a connection to the LMC, whose tidal radius is at least 16 kpc. Although the nature of SMASH 1 remains uncertain, its compactness favors it being a stellar cluster and hence dark-matter free. If this is the case, its dynamical tidal radius is only <19 pc at this distance from the LMC, and smaller than the system's extent on the sky. Its low luminosity and apparent high ellipticity (\epsilon=0.62^{+0.17}_{-0.21}) with its major axis pointing toward the LMC may well be the tell-tale sign of its imminent tidal demise.

The Radial Acceleration Relation in Rotationally Supported Galaxies

We report a correlation between the radial acceleration traced by rotation curves and that predicted by the observed distribution of baryons. The same relation is followed by 2693 points in 153 galaxies with very different morphologies, masses, sizes, and gas fractions. The correlation persists even when dark matter dominates. Consequently, the dark matter contribution is fully specified by that of the baryons. The observed scatter is small and largely dominated by observational uncertainties. This radial acceleration relation is tantamount to a natural law for rotating galaxies.

The link between turbulence, magnetic fields, filaments, and star formation in the Central Molecular Zone cloud G0.253+0.016

Star formation is primarily controlled by the interplay between gravity, turbulence, and magnetic fields. However, the turbulence and magnetic fields in molecular clouds near the Galactic Center may differ substantially from spiral-arm clouds. Here we determine the physical parameters of the central molecular zone (CMZ) cloud G0.253+0.016, its turbulence, magnetic field and filamentary structure. Using column-density maps based on dust-continuum emission observations with ALMA+Herschel, we identify filaments and show that at least one dense core is located along them. We measure the filament width W_fil=0.17$\pm$0.08pc and the sonic scale {\lambda}_sonic=0.15$\pm$0.11pc of the turbulence, and find W_fil~{\lambda}_sonic. A strong velocity gradient is seen in the HNCO intensity-weighted velocity maps obtained with ALMA+Mopra, which is likely caused by large-scale shearing of G0.253+0.016, producing a wide double-peaked velocity PDF. After subtracting the gradient to isolate the turbulent motions, we find a nearly Gaussian velocity PDF typical for turbulence. We measure the total and turbulent velocity dispersion, 8.8$\pm$0.2km/s and 3.9$\pm$0.1km/s, respectively. Using magnetohydrodynamical simulations, we find that G0.253+0.016's turbulent magnetic field B_turb=130$\pm$50$\mu$G is only ~1/10 of the ordered field component. Combining these measurements, we reconstruct the dominant turbulence driving mode in G0.253+0.016 and find a driving parameter b=0.22$\pm$0.12, indicating solenoidal (divergence-free) driving. We compare this to spiral-arm clouds, which typically have a significant compressive (curl-free) driving component (b>0.4). Motivated by previous reports of strong shearing motions in the CMZ, we speculate that shear causes the solenoidal driving in G0.253+0.016 and show that this reduces the star formation rate (SFR) by a factor of 6.9 compared to typical nearby clouds.

Barred galaxies in the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamical simulation

We examine the properties of barred disc galaxies in a LCDM cosmological hydrodynamical simulation from the EAGLE project. Our study follows the formation of 269 discs identified at z = 0 in the stellar mass range 10.6 < log Mstr /M < 11. These discs show a wide range of bar strengths, from unbarred discs to weak bars to strongly barred systems (= 20%). Bars in these systems develop after redshift = 1.3, on timescales that depend sen- sitively on the strength of the pattern. Strong bars develop relatively quickly (in a few Gyr, = 10 disc rotation periods) in systems that are disc dominated, gas poor, and have declining rotation curves. Weak bars develop more slowly in systems where the disc is less gravitation- ally important, and are still growing at z = 0. Unbarred galaxies are comparatively gas-rich discs whose rotation speeds do not exceed the maximum circular velocity of the halos they inhabit. Bar lengths compare favourably with observations, ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 times the radius containing 90% of the stars. Bars slow down remarkably quickly as they grow, causing the inner regions of the surrounding dark halo to expand. At z = 0 strong bars have corota- tion radii roughly ten times the bar length. Such slow bars are inconsistent with the few cases where pattern speeds have been measured or inferred observationally, a discrepancy that, if confirmed, might prove a challenge for disc galaxy formation in LCDM.

The effects of supernovae on the dynamical evolution of binary stars and star clusters

In this chapter I review the effects of supernovae explosions on the dynamical evolution of (1) binary stars and (2) star clusters. (1) Supernovae in binaries can drastically alter the orbit of the system, sometimes disrupting it entirely, and are thought to be partially responsible for `runaway' massive stars - stars in the Galaxy with large peculiar velocities. The ejection of the lower-mass secondary component of a binary occurs often in the event of the more massive primary star exploding as a supernova. The orbital properties of binaries that contain massive stars mean that the observed velocities of runaway stars (10s - 100s km s$^{-1}$) are consistent with this scenario. (2) Star formation is an inherently inefficient process, and much of the potential in young star clusters remains in the form of gas. Supernovae can in principle expel this gas, which would drastically alter the dynamics of the cluster by unbinding the stars from the potential. However, recent numerical simulations, and observational evidence that gas-free clusters are observed to be bound, suggest that the effects of supernova explosions on the dynamics of star clusters are likely to be minimal.

Mass estimators for flattened dispersion-supported galaxies

We investigate the reliability of mass estimators based on the observable velocity dispersion and half-light radius $R_\mathrm{h}$ for dispersion-supported galaxies. We show how to extend them to flattened systems and provide simple formulae for the mass within an ellipsoid under the assumption the dark matter density and the stellar density are stratified on the same self-similar ellipsoids. We demonstrate explicitly that the spherical mass estimators (Walker et al. 2009, Wolf et al. 2010) give accurate values for the mass within the half-light ellipsoid, provided $R_\mathrm{h}$ is replaced by its `circularized' analogue $R_\mathrm{h}\sqrt{1-\epsilon}$. We provide a mathematical justification for this surprisingly simple and effective workaround. It means, for example, that the mass-to-light ratios are valid not just when the light and dark matter are spherically distributed, but also when they are flattened on ellipsoids of the same constant shape.

Stellar populations across the black hole mass - velocity dispersion relation

Coevolution between supermassive black holes (BHs) and their host galaxies is universally adopted in models for galaxy formation. In the absence of feedback from active galactic nuclei, simulated massive galaxies keep forming stars in the local Universe. From an observational point of view, however, such coevolution remains unclear. We present a stellar population analysis of galaxies with direct BH mass measurements and the BH mass-{\sigma} relation as a working framework. We find that over-massive BH galaxies, i.e., galaxies lying above the best-fitting BH mass-{\sigma} line, tend to be older and more {\alpha}-element enhanced than under-massive BH galaxies. The scatter in the BH mass-{\sigma}-[{\alpha}/Fe] plane is significantly lower than in the standard BH mass-{\sigma} relation. We interpret this trend as an imprint of active galactic nucleus feedback on the star formation histories of massive galaxies.

The CALYMHA survey: Lya luminosity function and global escape fraction of Lya photons at z=2.23

We present the CAlibrating LYMan-$\alpha$ with H$\alpha$ (CALYMHA) pilot survey and new results on Lyman-$\alpha$ (Lya) selected galaxies at z~2. We use a custom-built Lya narrow-band filter at the Isaac Newton Telescope, designed to provide a matched volume coverage to the z=2.23 Ha HiZELS survey. Here we present the first results for the COSMOS and UDS fields. Our survey currently reaches a 3$\sigma$ line flux limit of ~4x10$^{-17}$ erg/s/cm$^{2}$, and a Lya luminosity limit of ~10$^{42.3}$ erg/s. We find 188 Lya emitters over 7.3x10$^5$ Mpc$^{3}$, but also find significant numbers of other line emitting sources corresponding to HeII, CIII] and CIV emission lines. These sources are important contaminants, and we carefully remove them, unlike most previous studies. We find that the Lya luminosity function at z=2.23 is very well described by a Schechter function up to L~10$^{43}$ erg/s with L$^*=10^{42.59+-0.05}$ erg/s, $\phi^*=10^{-3.09+-0.08}$ Mpc$^{-3}$ and $\alpha$=-1.75+-0.15. Above L~10$^{43}$ erg/s the Lya luminosity function becomes power-law like, driven by X-ray AGN. We find that Lya-selected emitters have a high escape fraction of 37+-7%, anti-correlated with Lya luminosity and correlated with Lya equivalent width. Lya emitters have ubiquitous large (~40 kpc) Lya haloes, 2x larger than their Ha extents. By directly comparing our Lya and Ha luminosity functions we find that the global/overall escape fraction of Lya photons (within a 13 kpc radius) from the full population of star-forming galaxies is 5.1+-0.2% at the peak of the star formation history. An extra 3.3+-0.3% of Lya photons likely still escape, but at larger radii.

HCO+ Detection of Dust-Depleted Gas in the Inner Hole of the LkCa 15 Pre-Transitional Disk

LkCa 15 is an extensively studied star in the Taurus region known for its pre-transitional disk with a large inner cavity in dust continuum and normal gas accretion rate. The most popular hypothesis to explain the LkCa 15 data invokes one or more planets to carve out the inner cavity, while gas continues to flow across the gap from the outer disk onto the central star. We present spatially unresolved HCO+ J=4-3 observations of the LkCa 15 disk from the JCMT and model the data with the ProDiMo code. We find that: (1) HCO+ line-wings are clearly detected, certifying the presence of gas in the cavity within <50 AU of the star. (2) Reproducing the observed line-wing flux requires both a significant suppression of cavity dust (by a factor >10^4 compared to the ISM) and a substantial increase in the gas scale-height within the cavity (H_0/R_0 ~ 0.6). An ISM dust-to-gas ratio (d:g=10^-2) yields too little line-wing flux regardless of the scale-height or cavity gas geometry, while a smaller scale-height also under predicts the flux even with a reduced d:g. (3) The cavity gas mass is consistent with the surface density profile of the outer disk extended inwards to the sublimation radius (corresponding to mass M_d ~ 0.03 M_sun), and masses lower by a factor >10 appear to be ruled out.

Unbiased constraints on ultralight axion mass from dwarf spheroidal galaxies

It has been suggested that the internal dynamics of dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) can be used to test whether or not ultralight axions with $m_a\sim 10^{-22}\text{eV}$ are a preferred dark matter candidate. However, comparisons to theoretical predictions tend to be inconclusive for the simple reason that while most cosmological models consider only dark matter, one observes only baryons. Here we use realistic kinematic mock data catalogs of Milky Way dSph's to show that the "mass-anisotropy degeneracy" in the Jeans equations leads to biased bounds on the axion mass in galaxies with unknown dark matter halo profiles. In galaxies with multiple chemodynamical components this bias can be partly removed by modelling the mass enclosed within each subpopulation. However, analysis of the mock data reveals that the least-biased constraints on the axion mass result from fitting the luminosity-averaged velocity dispersion of the individual chemodynamical components directly. Applying our analysis to two dSph's with reported stellar subcomponents, Fornax and Sculptor, and assuming that the halo profile has not been acted on by baryons, yields core radii $r_{c}>1.5$ kpc and $r_c> 1.2$ kpc respectively, and $m_a<0.4\times 10^{-22}\text{eV}$ at 97.5\% confidence. These bounds are in tension with the number of observed satellites derived from simple (but conservative) estimates of the subhalo mass function in Milky Way-like galaxies. We discuss how baryonic feedback might affect our results, and the impact of such a small axion mass on the growth of structures in the Universe.

Unbiased constraints on ultralight axion mass from dwarf spheroidal galaxies [Cross-Listing]

It has been suggested that the internal dynamics of dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) can be used to test whether or not ultralight axions with $m_a\sim 10^{-22}\text{eV}$ are a preferred dark matter candidate. However, comparisons to theoretical predictions tend to be inconclusive for the simple reason that while most cosmological models consider only dark matter, one observes only baryons. Here we use realistic kinematic mock data catalogs of Milky Way dSph's to show that the "mass-anisotropy degeneracy" in the Jeans equations leads to biased bounds on the axion mass in galaxies with unknown dark matter halo profiles. In galaxies with multiple chemodynamical components this bias can be partly removed by modelling the mass enclosed within each subpopulation. However, analysis of the mock data reveals that the least-biased constraints on the axion mass result from fitting the luminosity-averaged velocity dispersion of the individual chemodynamical components directly. Applying our analysis to two dSph's with reported stellar subcomponents, Fornax and Sculptor, and assuming that the halo profile has not been acted on by baryons, yields core radii $r_{c}>1.5$ kpc and $r_c> 1.2$ kpc respectively, and $m_a<0.4\times 10^{-22}\text{eV}$ at 97.5\% confidence. These bounds are in tension with the number of observed satellites derived from simple (but conservative) estimates of the subhalo mass function in Milky Way-like galaxies. We discuss how baryonic feedback might affect our results, and the impact of such a small axion mass on the growth of structures in the Universe.

Protoplanetary and Transitional Disks in the Open Stellar Cluster IC 2395

We present new deep UBVRI images and high-resolution multi-object optical spectroscopy of the young (~ 6 - 10 Myr old), relatively nearby (800 pc) open cluster IC 2395. We identify nearly 300 cluster members and use the photometry to estimate their spectral types, which extend from early B to middle M. We also present an infrared imaging survey of the central region using the IRAC and MIPS instruments on board the Spitzer Space Telescope, covering the wavelength range from 3.6 to 24 microns. Our infrared observations allow us to detect dust in circumstellar disks originating over a typical range of radii ~ 0.1 to ~ 10AU from the central star. We identify 18 Class II, 8 transitional disk, and 23 debris disk candidates, respectively 6.5%, 2.9%, and 8.3% of the cluster members with appropriate data. We apply the same criteria for transitional disk identification to 19 other stellar clusters and associations spanning ages from ~ 1 to ~ 18 Myr. We find that the number of disks in the transitional phase as a fraction of the total with strong 24 micron excesses ([8] - [24] > 1.5) increases from 8.4 +\- 1.3% at ~ 3 Myr to 46 +\- 5% at ~ 10 Myr. Alternative definitions of transitional disks will yield different percentages but should show the same trend.

Stellar Parameters of Main Sequence Turn-off Star Candidates Observed with the LAMOST and Kepler

Main sequence turn-off (MSTO) stars have advantages as indicators of Galactic evolution since their ages could be robustly estimated from atmospheric parameters. Hundreds of thousands of MSTO stars have been selected from the LAMOST Galactic sur- vey to study the evolution of the Galaxy, and it is vital to derive accurate stellar parameters. In this work, we select 150 MSTO star candidates from the MSTO stars sample of Xiang that have asteroseismic parameters and determine accurate stellar parameters for these stars combing the asteroseismic parameters deduced from the Kepler photometry and atmospheric parameters deduced from the LAMOST spectra.With this sample, we examine the age deter- mination as well as the contamination rate of the MSTO stars sample. A comparison of age between this work and Xiang shows a mean difference of 0.53 Gyr (7%) and a dispersion of 2.71 Gyr (28%). The results show that 79 of the candidates are MSTO stars, while the others are contaminations from either main sequence or sub-giant stars. The contamination rate for the oldest stars is much higher than that for the younger stars. The main cause for the high contamination rate is found to be the relatively large systematic bias in the LAMOST surface gravity estimates.

The Covering Factor of Warm Dust in Weak Emission-Line Active Galactic Nuclei

Weak emission-line active galactic nuclei (WLAGNs) are radio-quiet active galactic nuclei (AGNs) that have nearly featureless optical spectra. We investigate the ultraviolet to mid-infrared spectral energy distributions of 73 WLAGNs (0.4<z<3) and find that most of them are similar to normal AGNs. We also calculate the covering factor of warm dust of these 73 WLAGNs. No significant difference is indicated by a KS test between the covering factor of WLAGNs and normal AGNs in the common range of bolometric luminosity. The implication for several models of WLAGNs is discussed. The super-Eddington accretion is unlikely the dominant reason for the featureless spectrum of a WLAGN. The present results favor the evolution scenario, i.e., WLAGNs are in a special stage of AGNs.

Statistical tests of galactic dynamo theory

Mean-field galactic dynamo theory is the leading theory to explain the prevalence of regular magnetic fields in spiral galaxies, but its systematic comparison with observations is still incomplete and fragmentary. Here we compare predictions of mean-field dynamo models to observational data on magnetic pitch angle and the strength of the mean magnetic field. We demonstrate that a standard $\alpha^2\Omega$ dynamo model produces pitch angles of the regular magnetic fields of nearby galaxies that are reasonably consistent with available data. The dynamo estimates of the magnetic field strength are generally within a factor of a few of the observational values. Reasonable agreement between theoretical and observed pitch angles generally requires the turbulent correlation time $\tau$ to be in the range 10-20 Myr, in agreement with standard estimates. Moreover, good agreement also requires that the ratio of the ionized gas scale height to root-mean-square turbulent velocity increases with radius. Our results thus widen the possibilities to constrain interstellar medium (ISM) parameters using observations of magnetic fields. This work is a step toward systematic statistical tests of galactic dynamo theory. Such studies are becoming more and more feasible as larger datasets are acquired using current and up-and-coming instruments.

Exploring accretion disc physics and black hole growth with regular monitoring of ultrafast AGN winds

15 years of XMM-Newton observations have established that ultra-fast, highly ionized winds are common in radio-quiet AGN. A simple theory of Eddington-limited accretion correctly predicts the typical velocity (~0.1c) and high ionization of such winds, with observed flow energy capable of ejecting star-forming gas. With a recent extended XMM-Newton observation of the archetypal UFO, PG1211+143, revealing a more complex flow pattern, we suggest that targetted observations over the next decade offer unique potential for probing the inner accretion disc structure and SMBH growth.

Radiative cooling of H3O+ and its deuterated isotopologues [Cross-Listing]

In conjunction with ab initio potential energy and dipole moment surfaces for the electronic ground state, we have made a theoretical study of the radiative lifetimes for the hydronium ion H$_3$O$^{+}$ and its deuterated isotopologues. We compute the ro-vibrational energy levels and their associated wavefunctions together with Einstein coefficients for the electric dipole transitions. A detailed analysis of the stability of the ro-vibrational states have been carried out and the longest-living states of the hydronium ions have been identified. We report estimated radiative lifetimes and cooling functions for temperatures $<$ 200 K. A number of long-living meta-stable states are identified, capable of population trapping.

$K$-band integral field spectroscopy and optical spectroscopy of massive young stellar objects in the Small Magellanic Cloud [Replacement]

We present $K$-band integral field spectroscopic observations towards 17 massive young stellar objects (YSOs) in the low metallicity Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and two YSO candidates in the compact H ii regions N81 and N88 A (also in the SMC). These sources, originally identified using $Spitzer$ photometry and/or spectroscopy, have been resolved into 29 $K$-band continuum sources. By comparing Br$\gamma$ emission luminosities with those presented for a Galactic sample of massive YSOs, we find tentative evidence for increased accretion rates in the SMC. Around half of our targets exhibit emission line (Br$\gamma$, He i and H$_2$) morphologies which extend significantly beyond the continuum source and we have mapped both the emission morphologies and the radial velocity fields. This analysis also reveals evidence for the existence of ionized low density regions in the centre outflows from massive YSOs. Additionally we present an analysis of optical spectra towards a similar sample of massive YSOs in the SMC, revealing that the optical emission is photo-excited and originates near the outer edges of molecular clouds, and is therefore consistent with a high mean-free path of UV photons in the interstellar medium (ISM) of the SMC. Finally, we discuss the sample of YSOs in an evolutionary context incorporating the results of previous infrared and radio observations, as well as the near-infrared and optical observations presented in this work. Our spectroscopic analysis in both the $K$-band and the optical regimes, combined with previously obtained infrared and radio data, exposes differences between properties of massive YSOs in our own Galaxy and the SMC, including tracers of accretion, discs and YSO--ISM interactions.

$K$-band integral field spectroscopy and optical spectroscopy of massive young stellar objects in the Small Magellanic Cloud

We present $K$-band integral field spectroscopic observations towards 17 massive young stellar objects (YSOs) in the low metallicity Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) and two YSO candidates in the compact H ii regions N81 and N88 A (also in the SMC). These sources, originally identified using $Spitzer$ photometry and/or spectroscopy, have been resolved into 29 $K$-band continuum sources. By comparing Br$\gamma$ emission luminosities with those presented for a Galactic sample of massive YSOs, we find tentative evidence for increased accretion rates in the SMC. Around half of our targets exhibit emission line (Br$\gamma$, He i and H$_2$) morphologies which extend significantly beyond the continuum source and we have mapped both the emission morphologies and the radial velocity fields. This analysis also reveals evidence for the existence of ionized low density regions in the centre outflows from massive YSOs. Additionally we present an analysis of optical spectra towards a similar sample of massive YSOs in the SMC, revealing that the optical emission is photo-excited and originates near the outer edges of molecular clouds, and is therefore consistent with a high mean-free path of UV photons in the interstellar medium (ISM) of the SMC. Finally, we discuss the sample of YSOs in an evolutionary context incorporating the results of previous infrared and radio observations, as well as the near-infrared and optical observations presented in this work. Our spectroscopic analysis in both the $K$-band and the optical regimes, combined with previously obtained infrared and radio data, exposes differences between properties of massive YSOs in our own Galaxy and the SMC, including tracers of accretion, discs and YSO--ISM interactions.

A Database of Phase Calibration Sources and their Radio Spectra for the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope

We are pursuing a project to build a database of phase calibration sources suitable for Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). Here we present the first release of 45 low frequency calibration sources at 235 MHz and 610 MHz. These calibration sources are broadly divided into quasars, radio galaxies and unidentified sources. We provide their flux densities, models for calibration sources, (u,v) plots, final deconvolved restored maps and clean-component lists/files for use in the Astronomical Image Processing System (AIPS) and the Common Astronomy Software Applications (CASA). We also assign a quality factor to each of the calibration sources. These data products are made available online through the GMRT observatory website. In addition we find that (i) these 45 low frequency calibration sources are uniformly distributed in the sky and future efforts to increase the size of the database should populate the sky further, (ii) spectra of these calibration sources are about equally divided between straight, curved and complex shapes, (iii) quasars tend to exhibit flatter radio spectra as compared to the radio galaxies or the unidentified sources, (iv) quasars are also known to be radio variable and hence possibly show complex spectra more frequently, and (v) radio galaxies tend to have steeper spectra, which are possibly due to the large redshifts of distant galaxies causing the shift of spectrum to lower frequencies.

The Large Area Radio Galaxy Evolution Spectroscopic Survey (LARGESS): Survey design, data catalogue and GAMA/WiggleZ spectroscopy

We present the Large Area Radio Galaxy Evolution Spectroscopic Survey (LARGESS), a spectroscopic catalogue of radio sources designed to include the full range of radio AGN populations out to redshift z = 0.8. The catalogue covers roughly 800 square degrees of sky, and provides optical identifications for 19,179 radio sources from the 1.4 GHz Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm (FIRST) survey down to an optical magnitude limit of i_mod < 20.5 in Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) images. Both galaxies and point-like objects are included, and no colour cuts are applied. In collaboration with the WiggleZ and Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) spectroscopic survey teams, we have obtained new spectra for over 5,000 objects in the LARGESS sample. Combining these new spectra with data from earlier surveys provides spectroscopic data for 12,329 radio sources in the survey area, of which 10,856 have reliable redshifts. 85% of the LARGESS spectroscopic sample are radio AGN (median redshift z = 0.44), and 15% are nearby star-forming galaxies (median z = 0.08). Low-excitation radio galaxies (LERGs) comprise the majority (83%) of LARGESS radio AGN at z < 0.8, with 12% being high-excitation radio galaxies (HERGs) and 5% radio-loud QSOs. Unlike the more homogeneous LERG and QSO sub-populations, HERGs are a heterogeneous class of objects with relatively blue optical colours and a wide dispersion in mid-infrared colours. This is consistent with a picture in which most HERGs are hosted by galaxies with recent or ongoing star formation as well as a classical accretion disk.

Exploring Damped Lyman-$\alpha$ System Host Galaxies using Gamma-ray Bursts

We present a sample of 45 Damped Lyman-$\alpha$ system (DLA, \nhi\ $ \geq 2 \times 10^{20} {\rm cm}^{-2}$) counterparts (33 detections, 12 upper limits) which host gamma-ray bursts (GRB-DLAs) in order to investigate star-formation and metallicity within galaxies hosting DLAs. Our sample spans $z \sim 2-6$ and is nearly three times larger than any previously detected DLA counterparts survey based on quasar line-of-sight searches (QSO-DLAs). We report star formation rates (SFRs) from rest-frame UV photometry and SED modeling. We find that DLA counterpart SFRs are not correlated with either redshift or HI column density. Thanks to the combination of \hst\ and ground-based observations, we also investigate DLA host star-formation efficiency. Our GRB-DLA counterpart sample spans both higher efficiency and low efficiency star formation regions compared to the local Kennicutt-Schmidt relation, local star formation laws, and $z \sim 3$ cosmological simulations. We also compare the depletion times of our DLA hosts sample to other objects in the local Universe, our sample appears to deviate from the star formation efficiencies measured in local spiral and dwarf galaxies. Furthermore, we find similar efficiencies as local inner disks, SMC, and LBG outskirts. Finally, our enrichment time measurements show a spread of systems with under- and over-abundance of metals which may suggest that these systems had episodic star formation and a metal enrichment/depletion as a result of strong stellar feedback and/or metal inflow/outflow.

MILES extended: Stellar population synthesis models from the optical to the infrared

We present the first single-burst stellar population models which covers the optical and the infrared wavelength range between 3500 and 50000 Angstrom and which are exclusively based on empirical stellar spectra. To obtain these joint models, we combined the extended MILES models in the optical with our new infrared models that are based on the IRTF (Infrared Telescope Facility) library. The latter are available only for a limited range in terms of both age and metallicity. Our combined single-burst stellar population models were calculated for ages larger than 1 Gyr, for metallicities between [Fe/H] = -0.40 and 0.26, for initial mass functions of various types and slopes, and on the basis of two different sets of isochrones. They are available to the scientific community on the MILES web page. We checked the internal consistency of our models and compared their colour predictions to those of other models that are available in the literature. Optical and near infrared colours that are measured from our models are found to reproduce the colours well that were observed for various samples of early-type galaxies. Our models will enable a detailed analysis of the stellar populations of observed galaxies.

A spiral galaxy's mass distribution uncovered through lensing and dynamics

We investigate the matter distribution of a spiral galaxy with a counter-rotating stellar core, SDSS J1331+3628 (J1331), independently with gravitational lensing and stellar dynamical modelling. By fitting a gravitational potential model to a quadruplet of lensing images around J1331's bulge, we tightly constrain the mass inside the Einstein radius R_ein = (0.91 +/- 0.02)'' (~= 1.83 +/- 0.04 kpc) to within 4%: M_ein = (7.8 +/- 0.3) x 10^10 M_Sun. We model observed long-slit major axis stellar kinematics in J1331's central regions by finding Multi-Gaussian Expansion (MGE) models for the stellar and dark matter distribution that solve the axisymmetric Jeans equations. The lens and dynamical model are independently derived, but in very good agreement with each other around ~R_ein. We find that J1331's center requires a steep total mass-to-light ratio gradient. A dynamical model including an NFW halo (with virial velocity v_200 ~= 240 +/- 40 km/s and concentration c_200 ~= 8 +/- 2) and moderate tangential velocity anisotropy (beta_z ~= -0.4 +/- 0.1) can reproduce the signatures of J1331's counter-rotating core and predict the stellar and gas rotation curve at larger radii. However, our models do not agree with the observed velocity dispersion at large radii. We speculate that the reason could be a non-trivial change in structure and kinematics due to a possible merger event in J1331's recent past.

New open cluster Cepheids in the VVV survey tightly constrain near-infrared period--luminosity relations

Classical Cepheids are among the most useful Galactic and nearby extragalactic distance tracers because of their well-defined period--luminosity relations (PLRs). Open cluster (OC) Cepheids are important objects to independently calibrate these PLRs. Based on Data Release 1 of the {\sl VISTA} Variables in the V\'ia L\'actea survey, we have discovered four new, faint and heavily reddened OC Cepheids, including the longest-period OC Cepheid known, ASAS J180342$-$2211.0 in Teutsch 14a. The other OC--Cepheid pairs include NGC 6334 and V0470 Sco, Majaess 170 and ASAS J160125$-$5150.3, and Teutsch 77 and BB Cen. ASAS J180342$-$2211.0, with a period of $\log P = 1.623$ [days] is important to constrain the slope of the PLR. The currently most complete $JHK_{\rm s}$ Galactic Cepheid PLRs are obtained based on a significantly increased sample of 31 OC Cepheids, with associated uncertainties that are improved by 40 per cent compared with previous determinations (in the $J$ band). The NIR PLRs are in good agreement with previous PLRs determined based on other methods.

Chandra ACIS Survey of X-ray Point Sources in Nearby Galaxies. II. X-ray Luminosity Functions and Ultraluminous X-ray Sources

Based on the recently completed {\it Chandra}/ACIS survey of X-ray point sources in nearby galaxies, we study the X-ray luminosity functions (XLFs) for X-ray point sources in different types of galaxies and the statistical properties of ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs). Uniform procedures are developed to compute the detection threshold, to estimate the foreground/background contamination, and to calculate the XLFs for individual galaxies and groups of galaxies, resulting in an XLF library for 343 galaxies of different types. With the large number of surveyed galaxies, we have studied the XLFs and ULX properties across different host galaxy types, and confirm with good statistics that the XLF slope flattens from lenticular ($\alpha\sim1.50\pm0.07$) to elliptical ($\sim1.21\pm0.02$), to spirals ($\sim0.80\pm0.02$), to peculiars ($\sim0.55\pm0.30$), and to irregulars ($\sim0.26\pm0.10$). The XLF break dividing the neutron star and black hole binaries is also confirmed, albeit at quite different break luminosities for different types of galaxies. A radial dependency is found for ellipticals, with a flatter XLF slope for sources located between $D_{25}$ and 2$D_{25}$, suggesting the XLF slopes in the outer region of early-type galaxies are dominated by low-mass X-ray binaries in globular clusters. This study shows that the ULX rate in early-type galaxies is $0.24\pm0.05$ ULXs per surveyed galaxy, on a $5\sigma$ confidence level. The XLF for ULXs in late-type galaxies extends smoothly until it drops abruptly around $4\times10^{40}$ erg s$^{-1}$, and this break may suggest a mild boundary between the stellar black hole population possibly including 30 $M_\odot$ black holes with super-Eddington radiation and intermediate mass black holes.

Identifying galaxy candidates in WSRT HI imaging of ultra-compact high velocity clouds

Ultra-compact high velocity clouds (UCHVCs) were identified in the ALFALFA HI survey as potential gas-bearing dark matter halos. Here we present higher resolution neutral hydrogen (HI) observations of twelve UCHVCS with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT). The UCHVCs were selected based on a combination of size, isolation, large recessional velocity and high column density as the best candidate dark matter halos. The WSRT data were tapered to image the UCHVCs at 210" (comparable to Arecibo) and 105" angular resolution. In a comparison of the single-dish to interferometer data, we find that the line flux recovered in the WSRT observations is comparable to that from the single-dish ALFALFA data. In addition, any structure seen in the ALFALFA data is reproduced in the WSRT maps at the same angular resolution. At 210'" resolution all the sources are generally compact with a smooth HI morphology, as expected from their identification as UCHVCs. At the higher angular resolution, a majority of the sources break into small clumps contained in a diffuse envelope. These UCHVCs also have no ordered velocity motion and are most likely Galactic halo clouds. We identify two UCHVCs, AGC 198606 and AGC 249525, as excellent galaxy candidates based on maintaining a smooth HI morphology at higher angular resolution and showing ordered velocity motion consistent with rotation. A third source, AGC 249565, lies between these two populations in properties and is a possible galaxy candidate. If interpreted as gas-bearing dark matter halos, the three candidate galaxies have rotation velocities of 8-15 km/s, HI masses of 0.6-50 x 10^5 Msun, HI radii of 0.3-2 kpc, and dynamical masses of 2-20 x 10^7 Msun for a range of plausible distances. These are the UCHVCs with the highest column density values in the ALFALFA HI data and we suggest this is the best way to identify further candidates.

SHIELD: Neutral Gas Kinematics and Dynamics

We present kinematic analyses of the 12 galaxies in the "Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs" (SHIELD). We use multi-configuration interferometric observations of the HI 21cm emission line from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to produce image cubes at a variety of spatial and spectral resolutions. Both two- and three-dimensional fitting techniques are employed in an attempt to derive inclination-corrected rotation curves for each galaxy. In most cases, the comparable magnitudes of velocity dispersion and projected rotation result in degeneracies that prohibit unambiguous circular velocity solutions. We thus make spatially resolved position-velocity cuts, corrected for inclination using the stellar components, to estimate the circular rotation velocities. We find circular velocities <30 km/s for the entire survey population. Baryonic masses are calculated using single-dish HI fluxes from Arecibo and stellar masses derived from HST and Spitzer imaging. Comparison is made with total dynamical masses estimated from the position-velocity analysis. The SHIELD galaxies are then placed on the baryonic Tully-Fisher relation. There exists an empirical threshold rotational velocity <15 km/s, below which current observations cannot differentiate coherent rotation from pressure support. The SHIELD galaxies are representative of an important population of galaxies whose properties cannot be described by current models of rotationally-dominated galaxy dynamics.

SHIELD: Comparing Gas and Star Formation in Low Mass Galaxies

We analyze the relationships between atomic, neutral hydrogen (HI) and star formation (SF) in the 12 low-mass SHIELD galaxies. We compare high spectral (~0.82 km/s/channel) and spatial resolution (physical resolutions of 170 pc - 700 pc) HI imaging from the VLA with H\alpha and far-ultraviolet imaging. We quantify the degree of co-spatiality between star forming regions and regions of high HI column densities. We calculate the global star formation efficiencies (SFE, $\Sigma_{\rm SFR}$ / $\Sigma_{\rm HI}$), and examine the relationships among the SFE and HI mass, HI column density, and star formation rate (SFR). The systems are consuming their cold neutral gas on timescales of order a few Gyr. While we derive an index for the Kennicutt-Schmidt relation of N ~ 0.68 $\pm$ 0.04 for the SHIELD sample as a whole, the values of N vary considerably from system to system. By supplementing SHIELD results with those from other surveys, we find that HI mass and UV-based SFR are strongly correlated over five orders of magnitude. Identification of patterns within the SHIELD sample allows us to bin the galaxies into three general categories: 1) mainly co-spatial HI and SF regions, found in systems with highest peak HI column densities and highest total HI masses, 2) moderately correlated HI and SF regions, found in systems with moderate HI column densities, and 3) obvious offsets between HI and SF peaks, found in systems with the lowest total HI masses. SF in these galaxies is dominated by stochasticity and random fluctuations in their ISM.

FIR Spectroscopy of the Galactic Center: Hot and Warm Molecular Gas

The angular resolution (~10") achieved by the Herschel Space Observatory ~3.5m telescope at FIR wavelengths allowed us to roughly separate the emission toward the inner parsec of the galaxy (the central cavity) from that of the surrounding circumnuclear disk (the CND). The FIR spectrum toward SgrA* is dominated by intense [Oiii], [Oi], [Cii], [Niii], [Nii], and [Ci] fine-structure lines (in decreasing order of luminosity) arising in gas irradiated by the strong UV field from the central stellar cluster. The high-J CO rotational line intensities observed at the interface between the inner CND and the central cavity are consistent with a hot isothermal component at T~10^{3.1} K and n(H_2)~10^4 cm^{-3}. They are also consistent with a distribution of lower temperatures at higher gas density, with most CO at T~300 K. The hot CO component (either the bulk of the CO column density or just a small fraction depending on the above scenario) likely results from a combination of UV and shock-driven heating. Although this component is beam diluted in our FIR observations, it may be resolved at much higher angular resolution. An ALMA project using different molecular tracers to characterize UV-irradiated shocks in the innermost layers of the CND is ongoing.

Cold Fronts and Shocks Formed by Gas Streams in Galaxy Clusters

Cold Fronts and shocks are hallmarks of the complex intra-cluster medium (ICM) in galaxy clusters. They are thought to occur due to gas motions within the ICM and are often attributed to galaxy mergers within the cluster. Using hydro-cosmological simulations of clusters of galaxies, we show that collisions of inflowing gas streams, seen to penetrate to the very centre of about half the clusters, offer an additional mechanism for the formation of shocks and cold fronts in cluster cores. Unlike episodic merger events, a gas stream inflow persists over a period of several Gyrs and it could generate a particular pattern of multiple cold fronts and shocks.

Hypervelocity stars from young stellar clusters in the Galactic Centre

The enormous velocities of the so called hypervelocity stars (HVSs) derive, likely, from close interactions with massive black holes, binary stars encounters or supernova explosions. In this paper, we investigate the origin of hypervelocity stars as consequence of the close interaction between the Milky Way central massive black hole and a passing-by young stellar cluster. We found that both single and binary HVSs may be generated in a burst-like event, as the cluster passes near the orbital pericentre. High velocity stars will move close to the initial cluster orbital plane and in the direction of the cluster orbital motion at the pericentre. The binary fraction of these HVS jets depends on the primordial binary fraction in the young cluster. The level of initial mass segregation determines the value of the average mass of the ejected stars. Some binary stars will merge, continuing their travel across and out of the Galaxy as blue stragglers.

Revision of Stellar Intrinsic Colors in the Infrared by the Spectroscopic Surveys

Intrinsic colors of normal stars are derived in the popularly used infrared bands involving the 2MASS/JHKs, WISE, Spitzer/IRAC and AKARI/S9W filters. Based on three spectroscopic surveys -- LAMOST, RAVE and APOGEE, stars are classified into groups of giants and dwarfs, as well as metal-normal and metal-poor stars. An empirical analytical relation of the intrinsic color is obtained with stellar effective temperature (Teff) for each group of stars after the zero-reddening stars are selected from the blue edge in the $J-\lambda$ versus (Teff) diagram. It is found that metallicity has little effect on the infrared colors. In the near-infrared bands, our results agree with previous work. In addition, the color indexes H-W2 and Ks-W1 that are taken as constant to calculate interstellar extinction are discussed. The intrinsic color of M-type stars are derived separately due to lack of accurate measurement of their effective temperature.

Bar-induced central star formation as revealed by integral field spectroscopy from CALIFA

We investigate the recent star formation history (SFH) in the inner region of 57 nearly face-on spiral galaxies selected from the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area (CALIFA) survey. For each galaxy we use the integral field spectroscopy from CALIFA to obtain two-dimensional maps and radial profiles of three parameters that are sensitive indicators of the recent SFH: the 4000\AA\ break (D$_n$(4000)), and the equivalent width of H$\delta$ absorption (EW(H$\delta_A$)) and H$\alpha$ emission (EW(H$\alpha$)). We have also performed photometric decomposition of bulge/bar/disk components based on SDSS optical image. We identify a class of 17 "turnover" galaxies whose central region present significant drop in D$_n$(4000), and most of them correspondingly show a central upturn in EW(H$\delta_A$) and EW(H$\alpha$). This indicates that the central region of the turnover galaxies has experienced star formation in the past 1-2 Gyr, which makes the bulge younger and more star-forming than surrounding regions. We find almost all (15/17) the turnover galaxies are barred, while only half of the barred galaxies in our sample (15/32) are classified as a turnover galaxy. This finding provides strong evidence in support of the theoretical expectation that the bar may drive gas from the disc inward to trigger star formation in galaxy center, an important channel for the growth/rejuvenation of pseudobulges in disc galaxies.

The oldest and most metal poor stars in the APOSTLE Local Group simulations

We examine the spatial distribution of the oldest and most metal poor stellar populations of Milky Way-sized galaxies using the APOSTLE cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of the Local Group. In agreement with earlier work, we find strong radial gradients in the fraction of the oldest (tform < 0.8 Gyr) and most metal poor ([Fe/H]< -2.5) stars, both of which increase outwards. The most metal poor stars form over an extended period of time; half of them form after z = 5.3, and the last 10% after z = 2.8. The age of the metal poor stellar population also shows significant variation with environment; a high fraction of them are old in the galaxy's central regions and an even higher fraction in some individual dwarf galaxies, with substantial scatter from dwarf to dwarf. Overall, over half of the stars that belong to both the oldest and most metal-poor population are found outside the solar circle. Somewhat counter-intuitively, we find that dwarf galaxies with a large fraction of metal poor stars that are very old are systems where metal poor stars are relatively rare, but where a substantial old population is present. Our results provide guidance for interpreting the results of surveys designed to hunt for the earliest and most pristine stellar component of our Milky Way.

SPT-GMOS: A Gemini/GMOS-South Spectroscopic Survey of Galaxy Clusters in the SPT-SZ Survey

We present the results of SPT-GMOS, a spectroscopic survey with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on Gemini South. The targets of SPT-GMOS are galaxy clusters identified in the SPT-SZ survey, a millimeter-wave survey of 2500 squ. deg. of the southern sky using the South Pole Telescope (SPT). Multi-object spectroscopic observations of 62 SPT-selected galaxy clusters were performed between January 2011 and December 2015, yielding spectra with radial velocity measurements for 2595 sources. We identify 2243 of these sources as galaxies, and 352 as stars. Of the galaxies, we identify 1579 as members of SPT-SZ galaxy clusters. The primary goal of these observations was to obtain spectra of cluster member galaxies to estimate cluster redshifts and velocity dispersions. We describe the full spectroscopic dataset and resulting data products, including galaxy redshifts, cluster redshifts and velocity dispersions, and measurements of several well-known spectral indices for each galaxy: the equivalent width, W, of [O II] 3727,3729 and H-delta, and the 4000A break strength, D4000. We use the spectral indices to classify galaxies by spectral type (i.e., passive, post-starburst, star-forming), and we match the spectra against photometric catalogs to characterize spectroscopically-observed cluster members as a function of brightness (relative to m*). Finally, we report several new measurements of redshifts for ten bright, strongly-lensed background galaxies in the cores of eight galaxy clusters. Combining the SPT-GMOS dataset with previous spectroscopic follow-up of SPT-SZ galaxy clusters results in spectroscopic measurements for >100 clusters, or ~20% of the full SPT-SZ sample.

Protostellar Outflows and Radiative Feedback from Massive Stars. II. Feedback, Star Formation Efficiency, and Outflow Broadening

We perform two-dimensional axially symmetric radiation-hydrodynamic simulations to assess the impact of outflows and radiative force feedback from massive protostars by varying when the protostellar outflow starts, the ratio of ejection to accretion rates, and the strength of the wide angle disk wind component. The star formation efficiency, i.e. the ratio of final stellar mass to initial core mass, is dominated by radiative forces and the ratio of outflow to accretion rates. Increasing this ratio has three effects: First, the protostar grows slower with a lower luminosity at any given time, lowering radiative feedback. Second, bipolar cavities cleared by the outflow are larger, further diminishing radiative feedback on disk and core scales. Third, the higher momentum outflow sweeps up more material from the collapsing envelope, decreasing the protostar's potential mass reservoir via entrainment. The star formation efficiency varies with the ratio of ejection to accretion rates from 50% in the case of very weak outflows to as low as 20% for very strong outflows. At latitudes between the low density bipolar cavity and the high density accretion disk, wide angle disk winds remove some of the gas, which otherwise would be part of the accretion flow onto the disk; varying the strength of these wide angle disk winds, however, alters the final star formation efficiency by only +/-6%. For all cases, the opening angle of the bipolar outflow cavity remains below 20 degree during early protostellar accretion phases, increasing rapidly up to 65 degree at the onset of radiation pressure feedback.

Extended X-ray Monitoring of Gravitational Lenses with Chandra and Joint Constraints on X-ray Emission Regions

We present an X-ray photometric analysis of six gravitationally lensed quasars spanning from 5 to 14 years, measuring the total (0.83-21.8 keV restframe), soft (0.83-3.6 keV), and hard (3.6-21.8 keV) band image flux ratios for each epoch. Using the ratios of the model-predicted macro-magnifications as baselines, we build differential microlensing curves and obtain joint likelihood functions for the average X-ray emission region sizes. Our analysis yields a Probability Distribution Function for the average half-light radius of the X-Ray emission region in the sample that peaks slightly above 1 gravitational radius, and yields nearly indistinguishable 68 % confidence (one-sided) upper limits of 17.8 (18.9) gravitational radii for the soft (hard) X-ray emitting region, assuming a mean stellar mass of 0.3 solar masses. We see hints of energy dependent microlensing between the soft and hard bands in two of the objects. In a separate analysis on the root-mean-square (RMS) of the microlensing variability, we find significant differences between the soft and hard bands, but the sign of the difference is not consistent across the sample. This suggests the existence of some kind of spatial structure to the X-ray emission in an otherwise extremely compact source. We also discover a correlation between the RMS microlensing variability and the average microlensing amplitude.

The Spatial Distribution of Complex Organic Molecules in the L1544 Pre-stellar Core

The detection of complex organic molecules (COMs) toward cold sources such as pre-stellar cores (with T<10 K), has challenged our understanding of the formation processes of COMs in the interstellar medium. Recent modelling on COM chemistry at low temperatures has provided new insight into these processes predicting that COM formation depends strongly on parameters such as visual extinction and the level of CO freeze out. We report deep observations of COMs toward two positions in the L1544 pre-stellar core: the dense, highly-extinguished continuum peak with Av>=30 mag within the inner 2700 au; and a low-density shell with average Av~7.5-8 mag located at 4000 au from the core's center and bright in CH3OH. Our observations show that CH3O, CH3OCH3 and CH3CHO are more abundant (by factors ~2-10) toward the low-density shell than toward the continuum peak. Other COMs such as CH3OCHO, c-C3H2O, HCCCHO, CH2CHCN and HCCNC show slight enhancements (by factors <=3) but the associated uncertainties are large. This suggests that COMs are actively formed and already present in the low-density shells of pre-stellar cores. The modelling of the chemistry of O-bearing COMs in L1544 indicates that these species are enhanced in this shell because i) CO starts freezing out onto dust grains driving an active surface chemistry; ii) the visual extinction is sufficiently high to prevent the UV photo-dissociation of COMs by the external interstellar radiation field; and iii) the density is still moderate to prevent severe depletion of COMs onto grains.

Proper motion survey and kinematic analysis of the Rho Ophiuchi embedded cluster

We aim at performing a kinematic census of young stellar objects (YSOs) in the Rho Ophiuchi F core and partially in the E core of the L1688 dark cloud. We run a proper motion program at the ESO New Technology Telescope (NTT) with the Son of ISAAC (SOFI) instrument over nine years in the near-infrared. We complemented these observations with various public image databases to enlarge the time base of observations and the field of investigation to 0.5 deg X 0.5 deg. We derived positions and proper motions for 2213 objects. From these, 607 proper motions were derived from SOFI observations with a ~1.8 mas/yr accuracy while the remaining objects were measured only from auxiliary data with a mean precision of about ~3 mas/yr. We performed a kinematic analysis of the most accurate proper motions derived in this work, which allowed us to separate cluster members from field stars and to derive the mean properties of the cluster. From the kinematic analysis we derived a list of 68 members and 14 candidate members, comprising 26 new objects with a high membership probability. These new members are generally fainter than the known ones. We measured a mean proper motion of (mu_RA*, mu_DEC)=(-8.2, -24.3)+/-0.8 mas/yr for the L1688 dark cloud. A supervised classification was applied to photometric data of members to allocate a spectral energy distribution (SED) classification to the unclassified members.} We kinematically confirmed that the 56 members that were known from previous studies of the Rho Ophiuchi F cluster and that were also part of our survey are members of the cluster, and we added 26 new members. We defined the evolutionary status of the unclassified members of the cluster. We showed that a large part (23) of these new members are probably brown dwarfs, which multiplies the number of known substellar objects in the cluster by a factor of 3.3.

Orion revisited III. The Orion Belt population

This paper continues our study of the foreground population to the Orion molecular clouds. The goal is to characterize the foreground population north of NGC 1981 and to investigate the star formation history in the large Orion star-forming region. We focus on a region covering about 25 square degrees, centered on the $\epsilon$ Orionis supergiant (HD 37128, B0\,Ia) and covering the Orion Belt asterism. We used a combination of optical (SDSS) and near-infrared (2MASS) data, informed by X-ray (\textit{XMM-Newton}) and mid-infrared (WISE) data, to construct a suite of color-color and color-magnitude diagrams for all available sources. We then applied a new statistical multiband technique to isolate a previously unknown stellar population in this region. We identify a rich and well-defined stellar population in the surveyed region that has about 2\,000 objects that are mostly M stars. We infer the age for this new population to be at least 5\, Myr and likely $\sim10$\,Myr and estimate a total of about 2\,500 members, assuming a normal IMF. This new population, which we call the Orion Belt population, is essentially extinction-free, disk-free, and its spatial distribution is roughly centered near $\epsilon$ Ori, although substructure is clearly present. The Orion Belt population is likely the low-mass counterpart to the Ori OB Ib subgroup. Although our results do not rule out Blaauw's sequential star formation scenario for Orion, we argue that the recently proposed blue streams scenario provides a better framework on which one can explain the Orion star formation region as a whole. We speculate that the Orion Belt population could represent the evolved counterpart of an Orion nebula-like cluster.

The Void Galaxy Survey: Photometry, structure and identity of void galaxies

We analyze photometry from deep B-band images of 59 void galaxies in the Void Galaxy Survey (VGS), together with their near-infrared 3.6$\mu$m and 4.5$\mu$m Spitzer photometry. The VGS galaxies constitute a sample of void galaxies that were selected by a geometric-topological procedure from the SDSS DR7 data release, and which populate the deep interior of voids. Our void galaxies span a range of absolute B-magnitude from $\rm{M_B=-15.5}$ to $\rm{M_B=-20}$, while at the 3.6$\mu$m band their magnitudes range from $\rm{M_{3.6}=-18}$ to $\rm{M_{3.6}=-24}$. Their B-[3.6] colour and structural parameters indicate these are star forming galaxies. A good reflection of the old stellar population, the near-infrared band photometry also provide a robust estimate of the stellar mass, which for the VGS galaxies we confirm to be smaller than $3 \times 10^{10}$ M$_\odot$. In terms of the structural parameters and morphology, our findings align with other studies in that our VGS galaxy sample consists mostly of small late-type galaxies. Most of them are similar to Sd-Sm galaxies, although a few are irregularly shaped galaxies. The sample even includes two early-type galaxies, one of which is an AGN. Their S\'{e}rsic indices are nearly all smaller than $n=2$ in both bands and they also have small half-light radii. In all, we conclude that the principal impact of the void environment on the galaxies populating them mostly concerns their low stellar mass and small size.

On the RR Lyrae stars in globulars: IV. $\omega$ Centauri Optical UBVRI Photometry

New accurate and homogeneous optical UBVRI photometry has been obtained for variable stars in the Galactic globular $\omega$ Cen (NGC 5139). We secured 8202 CCD images covering a time interval of 24 years and a sky area of 84x48 arcmin. The current data were complemented with data available in the literature and provided new, homogeneous pulsation parameters (mean magnitudes, luminosity amplitudes,periods) for 187 candidate $\omega$ Cen RR Lyrae (RRLs). Among them we have 101 RRc (first overtone), 85 RRab (fundamental) and a single candidate RRd (double-mode) variables. Candidate Blazhko RRLs show periods and colors that are intermediate between RRc and RRab variables, suggesting that they are transitional objects. The comparison of the period distribution and of the Bailey diagram indicates that RRLs in $\omega$ Cen show a long-period tail not present in typical Oosterhoff II (OoII) globulars. The RRLs in dwarf spheroidals and in ultra faint dwarfs have properties between Oosterhoff intermediate and OoII clusters. Metallicity plays a key role in shaping the above evidence. These findings do not support the hypothesis that $\omega$ Cen is the core remnant of a spoiled dwarf galaxy. Using optical Period-Wesenheit relations that are reddening-free and minimally dependent on metallicity we find a mean distance to $\omega$ Cen of 13.71$\pm$0.08$\pm$0.01 mag (semi-empirical and theoretical calibrations). Finally, we invert the I-band Period-Luminosity-Metallicity relation to estimate individual RRLs metal abundances. The metallicity distribution agrees quite well with spectroscopic and photometric metallicity estimates available in the literature.

Incidence of WISE-Selected Obscured AGNs in Major Mergers and Interactions from the SDSS

We use the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to confirm a connection between dust-obscured active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and galaxy merging. Using a new, volume-limited (z <= 0.08) catalog of visually-selected major mergers and galaxy-galaxy interactions from the SDSS, with stellar masses above 2x10^10 Msun, we find that major mergers (interactions) are 5-17 (3-5) times more likely to have red [3.4]-[4.6] colors associated with dust-obscured or `dusty' AGNs, compared to non-merging galaxies with similar masses. Using published fiber spectral diagnostics, we map the [3.4]-[4.6] versus [4.6]-[12] colors of different emission-line galaxies and find one-quarter of Seyferts have colors indicative of a dusty AGN. We find that AGNs are five times more likely to be obscured when hosted by a merging galaxy, half of AGNs hosted by a merger are dusty, and we find no enhanced frequency of optical AGNs in merging over non-merging galaxies. We conclude that undetected AGNs missed at shorter wavelengths are at the heart of the ongoing AGN-merger connection debate. The vast majority of mergers hosting dusty AGNs are star-forming and located at the centers of Mhalo<10^13 Msun groups. Assuming plausibly short duration dusty-AGN phases, we speculate that a large fraction of gas-rich mergers experience a brief obscured AGN phase, in agreement with the strong connection between central star formation and black hole growth seen in merger simulations.

High Resolution Observations of Molecular Lines in Arp 220: Kinematics, Morphology, and Limits on the Applicability of the Ammonia Thermometer

We observe Arp 220, the nearest Ultra-Luminous Infrared Galaxy (ULIRG), over 4 GHz in the K and Ka bands. We provide constraints for the kinematics,morphology, and identify molecular species on scales resolving both nuclei (0.6" or 230 pc). We detect multiple molecular species, including hydroxyl in both cores. We tentatively detect H2O at 21.84 GHz in both nuclei, indicating the likely presence of maser emission. The observed frequency range also contains metastable ammonia transitions from (J,K) = (1,1) to (5,5), as well as the (9,9) inversion line, which, together are a well-known thermometer of dense molecular gas. Furthermore, the non-metastable (4,2) and (10,9) and possibly the (3,1) lines are also detected. We apply a standard temperature analysis to Arp 220. However, the analysis is complicated in that standard LTE assumptions do not hold. There are indications that a substantial fraction of ammonia could be in the non-metastable transitions as opposed to only the metastable ones. Thus, the non-metastable transitions could be essential to constraining the temperature. We compare all of these data to ALMA observations of this source, confirming the outflow previously observed by other tracers in both nuclei.

 

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