Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

Nonlinear dynamical analysis of the Blazhko effect with the Kepler space telescope: the case of V783 Cyg

We present a detailed nonlinear dynamical investigation of the Blazhko modulation of the Kepler RR Lyrae star V783 Cyg (KIC 5559631). We used different techniques to produce modulation curves, including the determination of amplitude maxima, the O-C diagram and the analytical function method. We were able to fit the modulation curves with chaotic signals with the global flow reconstruction method. However, when we investigated the effects of instrumental and data processing artefacts, we found that the chaotic nature of the modulation can not be proved because of the technical problems of data stitching, detrending and sparse sampling. Moreover, we found that a considerable part of the detected cycle-to-cycle variation of the modulation may originate from these effects. According to our results, even the four-year-long, unprecedented Kepler space photometry of V783 Cyg is too short for a reliable nonlinear dynamical analysis aiming at the detection of chaos from the Blazhko modulation. We estimate that two other stars could be suitable for similar analysis in the Kepler sample and in the future TESS and PLATO may provide additional candidates.

The chemical composition of red giants in 47 Tucanae I: Fundamental parameters and chemical abundance patterns

Context: The study of chemical abundance patterns in globular clusters is of key importance to constrain the different candidates for intra-cluster pollution of light elements. Aims: We aim at deriving accurate abundances for a large range of elements in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae (NGC 104) to add new constraints to the pollution scenarios for this particular cluster, expanding the range of previously derived element abundances. Methods: Using tailored 1D LTE atmospheric models together with a combination of equivalent width measurements, LTE, and NLTE synthesis we derive stellar parameters and element abundances from high-resolution, high signal-to-noise spectra of 13 red giant stars near the tip of the RGB. Results: We derive abundances of a total 27 elements (O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Y, Zr, Mo, Ru, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Eu, Dy). Departures from LTE were taken into account for Na, Al and Ba. We find a mean [Fe/H] = $-0.78\pm0.07$ and $[\alpha/{\rm Fe}]=0.34\pm0.03$ in good agreement with previous studies. The remaining elements show good agreement with the literature, but the inclusion of NLTE for Al has a significant impact on the behaviour of this key element. Conclusions: We confirm the presence of an Na-O anti-correlation in 47 Tucanae found by several other works. Our NLTE analysis of Al shifts the [Al/Fe] to lower values, indicating that this may be overestimated in earlier works. No evidence for an intrinsic variation is found in any of the remaining elements.

High-resolution, H band Spectroscopy of Be Stars with SDSS-III/APOGEE: I. New Be Stars, Line Identifications, and Line Profiles

APOGEE has amassed the largest ever collection of multi-epoch, high-resolution (R~22,500), H-band spectra for B-type emission line (Be) stars. The 128/238 APOGEE Be stars for which emission had never previously been reported serve to increase the total number of known Be stars by ~6%. We focus on identification of the H-band lines and analysis of the emission peak velocity separations (v_p) and emission peak intensity ratios (V/R) of the usually double-peaked H I and non-hydrogen emission lines. H I Br11 emission is found to preferentially form in the circumstellar disks at an average distance of ~2.2 stellar radii. Increasing v_p toward the weaker Br12–Br20 lines suggests these lines are formed interior to Br11. By contrast, the observed IR Fe II emission lines present evidence of having significantly larger formation radii; distinctive phase lags between IR Fe II and H I Brackett emission lines further supports that these species arise from different radii in Be disks. Several emission lines have been identified for the first time including ~16895, a prominent feature in the spectra for almost a fifth of the sample and, as inferred from relatively large v_p compared to the Br11-Br20, a tracer of the inner regions of Be disks. Unlike the typical metallic lines observed for Be stars in the optical, the H-band metallic lines, such as Fe II 16878, never exhibit any evidence of shell absorption, even when the H I lines are clearly shell-dominated. The first known example of a quasi-triple-peaked Br11 line profile is reported for HD 253659, one of several stars exhibiting intra- and/or extra-species V/R and radial velocity variation within individual spectra. Br11 profiles are presented for all discussed stars, as are full APOGEE spectra for a portion of the sample.

Shockingly low water abundances in Herschel / PACS observations of low-mass protostars in Perseus

Protostars interact with their surroundings through jets and winds impacting on the envelope and creating shocks, but the nature of these shocks is still poorly understood. Our aim is to survey far-infrared molecular line emission from a uniform and significant sample of deeply-embedded low-mass young stellar objects in order to characterize shocks and the possible role of ultraviolet radiation in the immediate protostellar environment. Herschel/PACS spectral maps of 22 objects in the Perseus molecular cloud were obtained as part of the `William Herschel Line Legacy’ survey. Line emission from H$_\mathrm{2}$O, CO, and OH is tested against shock models from the literature. Observed line ratios are remarkably similar and do not show variations with source physical parameters. Observations show good agreement with the shock models when line ratios of the same species are compared. Ratios of various H$_\mathrm{2}$O lines provide a particularly good diagnostic of pre-shock gas densities, $n_\mathrm{H}\sim10^{5}$ cm$^{-3}$, in agreement with typical densities obtained from observations of the post-shock gas. The corresponding shock velocities, obtained from comparison with CO line ratios, are above 20 km\,s$^{-1}$. However, the observations consistently show one-to-two orders of magnitude lower H$_\mathrm{2}$O-to-CO and H$_\mathrm{2}$O-to-OH line ratios than predicted by the existing shock models. The overestimated model H$_\mathrm{2}$O fluxes are most likely caused by an overabundance of H$_\mathrm{2}$O in the models since the excitation is well-reproduced. Illumination of the shocked material by ultraviolet photons produced either in the star-disk system or, more locally, in the shock, would decrease the H$_\mathrm{2}$O abundances and reconcile the models with observations. Detections of hot H$_\mathrm{2}$O and strong OH lines support this scenario.

Linear spectro-polarimetry: a new diagnostic tool for the classification and characterisation of asteroids

We explore the use of spectro-polarimetry as a remote sensing tool for asteroids in addition to traditional reflectance measurements. In particular we are interested in possible relationships between the wavelength-dependent variation of linear polarization and the properties of the surfaces, including albedo and composition. We have obtained optical spectro-polarimetric measurements of a dozen asteroids of different albedo and taxonomic classes and of two small regions at the limb of the Moon. We found that objects with marginally different relative reflectance spectra (in the optical) may have totally different polarization spectra. This suggests that spectro-polarimetry may be used to refine the classification of asteroids. We also found that in some cases the Umov law may be violated, that is, in contrast to what is expected from basic physical considerations, the fraction of linear polarization and the reflectance may be positively correlated. In agreement with a few previous studies based on multi-colour broadband polarimetry, we found that the variation of linear polarization with wavelength and with phase-angle is correlated with the albedo and taxonomic class of the objects. Finally, we have serendipitously discovered that spinel-rich asteroid (599) Luisa, located very close to the Watsonia family, is a member of the rare class of Barbarian asteroids. We suggest that future modelling attempts of the surface structure of asteroids should be aimed at explaining both reflectance and polarization spectra.

The International Pulsar Timing Array: A Galactic Scale Gravitational Wave Observatory

The phenomenal rotational stability of millisecond pulsars allows them to be used as precise celestial clocks. An array of these pulsars can be exploited to search for correlated perturbations in their pulse times of arrival due to gravitational waves. Here, I describe the observations and analysis necessary to accomplish this goal and present an overview of the efforts of the worldwide pulsar timing community. Due to a growing number of millisecond pulsar discoveries, improved instrumentation, and growing timespans of observation, the sensitivity of our pulsar timing array experiments is expected to dramatically increase over the next several years, leading to either a gravitational wave detection or very stringent constraints on low-frequency gravitational wave source populations before the end of the decade.

Interacting tilt and kink instabilities in repelling current channels

We present a numerical study in resistive magnetohydrodynamics where the initial equilibrium configuration contains adjacent, oppositely directed, parallel current channels. Since oppositely directed current channels repel, the equilibrium is liable to an ideal magnetohydrodynamic tilt instability. This tilt evolution, previously studied in planar settings, involves two magnetic islands or fluxropes, which on Alfvenic timescales undergo a combined rotation and separation. This in turn leads to the creation of (near) singular current layers, posing severe challenges to numerical approaches. Using our open-source grid-adaptive MPI-AMRVAC software, we revisit the planar evolution case in compressible MHD, as well as its extension to 2.5D and full 3D scenarios. As long as the third dimension remains ignorable, pure tilt evolutions result which are hardly affected by out of plane magnetic field components. In all 2.5D runs, our simulations do show secondary tearing type disruptions throughout the near singular current sheets in the far nonlinear saturation regime. In full 3D, both current channels can be liable to additional ideal kink deformations. We discuss the effects of having both tilt and kink instabilities acting simultaneously in the violent, reconnection dominated evolution. In 3D, both the tilt and the kink instabilities can be stabilized by tension forces. As a concrete space plasma application, we argue that interacting tilt-kink instabilities in repelling current channels provide a novel route to initiate solar coronal mass ejections, distinctly different from currently favored pure kink or torus instability routes.

Wave dynamics in a sunspot umbra

The high spatial and time resolution data obtained with SDO/AIA for the sunspot in active region NOAA 11131 on 08 December 2010 were analysed with the time-distance plot technique and the pixelised wavelet filtering method. Oscillations in the 3 min band dominate in the umbra. The integrated spectrum of umbral oscillations contains distinct narrowband peaks at 1.9 min, 2.3 min, and 2.8 min. The power significantly varies in time, forming distinct oscillation trains. The oscillation power distribution over the sunspot in the horizontal plane reveals that the enhancements of the oscillation amplitude, or wave fronts, have a distinct structure consisting of an evolving two-armed spiral and a stationary circular patch at the spiral origin, situated near the umbra centre. This structure is seen from the temperature minimum to the corona. In time, the spiral rotates anti-clockwise. The wave front spirality is most pronounced during the maximum amplitude phases of the oscillations. In the low-amplitude phases the spiral breaks into arc-shaped patches. The 2D cross-correlation function shows that the oscillations at higher atmospheric levels occur later than at lower layers. The phase speed is estimated to be about 100 km/s. The fine spectral analysis shows that the central patch corresponds to the high-frequency oscillations, while the spiral arms highlight the lower-frequency oscillations in the 3-min band. The vertical and horizontal radial structure of the oscillations is consistent with the model that interprets umbral oscillations as slow magnetoacoustic waves filtered by the atmospheric temperature non-uniformity in the presence of the magnetic field inclination from the vertical. The mechanism for the polar-angle structure of the oscillations, in particular the spirality of the wave fronts, needs to be revealed.

Deep searches for decameter wavelength pulsed emission from radio-quiet gamma-ray pulsars

We report the results of (a) extensive follow-up observations of the gamma-ray pulsar J1732-3131 that has been recently detected at decameter wavelengths, and (b) deep searches for counterparts of 9 other radio-quiet gamma-ray pulsars at 34 MHz, using the Gauribidanur radio telescope. No periodic signal from J1732-3131 could be detected above a detection threshold of $8\sigma$, even with an effective integration time of more than 40 hours. However, the average profile obtained by combining data from several epochs, at a dispersion measure of 15.44 pc/cc, is found to be consistent with that from the earlier detection of this pulsar at a confidence level of 99.2 %. We present this consistency between the two profiles as an evidence that J1732-3131 is a faint radio pulsar with an average flux density of 200–400 mJy at 34 MHz. Detection sensitivity of our deep searches, despite the extremely bright sky background at such low frequencies, is generally comparable to that of higher frequency searches for these pulsars, when scaled using reasonable assumptions about the underlying pulsar spectrum. We provide details of our deep searches, and put stringent upper limits on the decameter wavelength flux densities of several radio-quiet gamma-ray pulsars.

Super Luminous Supernovae as standardizable candles and high redshift distance probes

We investigate the use of type Ic Super Luminous Supernovae as standardizable candles and distance indicators. Their appeal as cosmological probes stems from their remarkable peak luminosities, hot blackbody temperatures and bright restframe ultraviolet emission. We present a sample of sixteen published SLSN, from redshifts 0.1 to 1.2 and calculate accurate K-corrections to determine uniform magnitudes in two synthetic rest-frame filters with central wavelengths at 400nm and 520nm. At 400nm, we find a low scatter in their uncorrected, raw mean magnitudes with M(400)=-21.86 for the full sample of sixteen objects. We investigate the correlation between their decline rates and peak magnitude and find that the brighter events appear to decline more slowly. We define a $\Delta M(20)$ decay relation. This correlates peak magnitude and decline over 20 days and can reduce the scatter to 0.22. We further show that M(400) appears to have a strong colour dependence. Using this colour rate decay relation, a low scatter of between 0.08 and 0.13 can be found depending on sample selection. However we caution that only eight to ten objects currently have enough data to test this colour rate decline relation. We conclude that SLSN Ic are promising distance indicators at high redshift in regimes beyond those possible with SNe Ia. Although the empirical relationships are encouraging, the unknown progenitor systems and how they may evolve with redshift are of some concern. The two major measurement uncertainties are the limited numbers of low redshift objects to test these relationships and internal dust extinction in the host galaxies.

Outflows from accretion disks formed in neutron star mergers: effect of black hole spin

The accretion disk that forms after a neutron star merger is a source of neutron-rich ejecta. The ejected material contributes to a radioactively-powered electromagnetic transient, with properties that depend sensitively on the composition of the outflow. Here we investigate how the spin of the black hole remnant influences mass ejection on the thermal and viscous timescales. To this end, we carry out two-dimensional, time-dependent hydrodynamic simulations of merger remnant accretion disks including viscous angular momentum transport and approximate neutrino self-irradiation. The gravity of the spinning black hole is included via a pseudo-Newtonian potential. We find that a disk around a spinning black hole ejects more mass, up to a factor of several, relative to the non-spinning case. The enhanced mass loss is due to energy release by accretion occurring deeper in the gravitational potential, raising the disk temperature and hence the rate of viscous heating in regions where neutrino cooling is ineffective. The mean electron fraction of the outflow increases moderately with BH spin due to a highly-irradiated (though not neutrino-driven) wind component. While the bulk of the ejecta is still very neutron-rich, the leading edge of the wind contains a small amount of Lanthanide-free material. This component can give rise to a ~1 day blue optical `bump’ in a kilonova light curve, which may facilitate its detection. We discuss implications for the generation of r-process elements and for the radioactively-powered transient expected from these mergers.

Outflows from accretion disks formed in neutron star mergers: effect of black hole spin [Cross-Listing]

The accretion disk that forms after a neutron star merger is a source of neutron-rich ejecta. The ejected material contributes to a radioactively-powered electromagnetic transient, with properties that depend sensitively on the composition of the outflow. Here we investigate how the spin of the black hole remnant influences mass ejection on the thermal and viscous timescales. To this end, we carry out two-dimensional, time-dependent hydrodynamic simulations of merger remnant accretion disks including viscous angular momentum transport and approximate neutrino self-irradiation. The gravity of the spinning black hole is included via a pseudo-Newtonian potential. We find that a disk around a spinning black hole ejects more mass, up to a factor of several, relative to the non-spinning case. The enhanced mass loss is due to energy release by accretion occurring deeper in the gravitational potential, raising the disk temperature and hence the rate of viscous heating in regions where neutrino cooling is ineffective. The mean electron fraction of the outflow increases moderately with BH spin due to a highly-irradiated (though not neutrino-driven) wind component. While the bulk of the ejecta is still very neutron-rich, the leading edge of the wind contains a small amount of Lanthanide-free material. This component can give rise to a ~1 day blue optical `bump’ in a kilonova light curve, which may facilitate its detection. We discuss implications for the generation of r-process elements and for the radioactively-powered transient expected from these mergers.

The origin of the most iron-poor star

We investigate the origin of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars starting from the recently discovered $\rm [Fe/H]<-7.1$ star SMSS J031300 (Keller et al. 2014). We show that the elemental abundances observed on the surface of SMSS J031300 can be well fit by the yields of faint, metal free, supernovae. Using properly calibrated faint supernova explosion models, we study, for the first time, the formation of dust grains in such carbon-rich, iron-poor supernova ejecta. Calculations are performed assuming both unmixed and uniformly mixed ejecta and taking into account the partial destruction by the supernova reverse shock. We find that, due to the paucity of refractory elements beside carbon, amorphous carbon is the only grain species to form, with carbon condensation efficiencies that range between (0.15-0.84), resulting in dust yields in the range (0.025-2.25)M$_{\odot}$. We follow the collapse and fragmentation of a star forming cloud enriched by the products of these faint supernova explosions and we explore the role played by fine structure line cooling and dust cooling. We show that even if grain growth during the collapse has a minor effect of the dust-to-gas ratio, due to C depletion into CO molecules at an early stage of the collapse, the formation of CEMP low-mass stars, such as SMSS J031300, could be triggered by dust cooling and fragmentation. A comparison between model predictions and observations of a sample of C-normal and C-rich metal-poor stars supports the idea that a single common pathway may be responsible for the formation of the first low-mass stars.

Spectroscopic evidence for a low-mass black hole in SWIFT J1753.5-0127

The black hole (BH) candidate SWIFT J1753.5-0127 has remained active since the onset of its 2005 outburst. Emission lines in the optical spectrum were observed at the very beginning of the outburst, but since then the spectrum has been featureless making a precise BH mass estimation impossible. Here we present results from our optical and UV observations of SWIFT J1753.5-0127 taken in 2012-2013. Our new observations show extremely broad, double-peaked emission lines in the optical and UV spectra. The optical data also show narrow absorption and emission features with nearly synchronous and significant Doppler motions. A radial velocity study of these lines which we associate with the secondary star, yields a semi-amplitude of K_2=382 km/s. A time-series analysis of the spectral and photometric data revealed a possible orbital periodicity of 2.85 h, significantly shorter than the reported 3.2 h periodic signal by Zurita et al. (2008). The observed variability properties argue against a low orbital inclination angle and we present several observational arguments in favour of the BH interpretation. However, the measured radial velocity semi-amplitude of the donor star and the short orbital period imply that SWIFT J1753.5-0127 has one of the lowest measured mass function for a BH in a low-mass X-ray binary. We show that the compact object mass in excess of 5 Msun is highly improbable. Thus, SWIFT J1753.5-0127 is a BH binary that has one of the shortest orbital period and hosts probably one of the smallest stellar-mass BH found to date.

Post-main-sequence debris from rotation-induced YORP break-up of small bodies

Although discs of dust and gas have been observed orbiting white dwarfs, the origin of this circumstellar matter is uncertain. We hypothesize that the in-situ breakup of small bodies such as asteroids spun to fission during the giant branch phases of stellar evolution provides an important contribution to this debris. The YORP effect, which arises from radiation pressure, accelerates the spin rate of asymmetric asteroids, which can eventually shear themselves apart. This pressure is maintained and enhanced around dying stars because the outward push of an asteroid due to stellar mass loss is insignificant compared to the resulting stellar luminosity increase. Consequently, giant star radiation will destroy nearly all bodies with radii in the range 100 m – 10 km that survive their parent star’s main sequence lifetime within a distance of about 7 au; smaller bodies are spun apart to their strongest, competent components. This estimate is conservative, and would increase for highly asymmetric shapes or incorporation of the inward drag due to giant star stellar wind. The resulting debris field, which could extend to thousands of au, may be perturbed by remnant planetary systems to reproduce the observed dusty and gaseous discs which accompany polluted white dwarfs.

Simultaneous Multiwavelength Observations of Magnetic Activity in Ultracool Dwarfs. IV. The Active, Young Binary NLTT 33370 AB (=2MASS J13142039+1320011)

We present multi-epoch simultaneous radio, optical, H{\alpha}, UV, and X-ray observations of the active, young, low-mass binary NLTT 33370 AB (blended spectral type M7e). This system is remarkable for its extreme levels of magnetic activity: it is the most radio-luminous ultracool dwarf (UCD) known, and here we show that it is also one of the most X-ray luminous UCDs known. We detect the system in all bands and find a complex phenomenology of both flaring and periodic variability. Analysis of the optical light curve reveals the simultaneous presence of two periodicities, 3.7859 $\pm$ 0.0001 and 3.7130 $\pm$ 0.0002 hr. While these differ by only ~2%, studies of differential rotation in the UCD regime suggest that it cannot be responsible for the two signals. The system’s radio emission consists of at least three components: rapid 100% polarized flares, bright emission modulating periodically in phase with the optical emission, and an additional periodic component that appears only in the 2013 observational campaign. We interpret the last of these as a gyrosynchrotron feature associated with large-scale magnetic fields and a cool, equatorial plasma torus. However, the persistent rapid flares at all rotational phases imply that small-scale magnetic loops are also present and reconnect nearly continuously. We present an SED of the blended system spanning more than 9 orders of magnitude in wavelength. The significant magnetism present in NLTT 33370 AB will affect its fundamental parameters, with the components’ radii and temperatures potentially altered by ~+20% and ~-10%, respectively. Finally, we suggest spatially resolved observations that could clarify many aspects of this system’s nature.

The detached dust shells around the carbon AGB stars R Scl and V644 Sco

Detached shells are believed to be created during a thermal pulse, and constrain the time scales and physical properties of one of the main drivers of late stellar evolution. We aim at determining the morphology of the detached dust shells around the carbon AGB stars R Scl and V644 Sco, and compare this to observations of the detached gas shells. We observe the polarised, dust-scattered stellar light around these stars using the PolCor instrument mounted on the ESO 3.6m telescope. Observations were done with a coronographic mask to block out the direct stellar light. The polarised images clearly show the detached shells. Using a dust radiative transfer code to model the dust-scattered polarised light, we constrain the radii and widths of the shells to 19.5 arcsec and 9.4 arcsec for the detached dust shells around R Scl and V644 Sco, respectively. Both shells have an overall spherical symmetry and widths of approx. 2 arcsec. For R Scl we can compare the observed dust emission directly with high spatial-resolution maps of CO(3-2) emission from the shell observed with ALMA. We find that the dust and gas coincide almost exactly, indicating a common evolution. The data presented here for R Scl are the most detailed observations of the entire dusty detached shell to date. For V644 Sco these are the first direct measurements of the detached shell. Also here we find that the dust most likely coincides with the gas shell. The observations are consistent with a scenario where the detached shells are created during a thermal pulse. The determined radii and widths will constrain hydrodynamical models describing the pre-pulse mass loss, the thermal pulse, and post-pulse evolution of the star.

FORS2/VLT survey of Milky Way globular clusters I. Description of the method for derivation of metal abundances in the optical and application to NGC 6528, NGC 6553, M 71, NGC 6558, NGC 6426 and Terzan 8

(abridged) We have observed almost 1/3 of the globular clusters in the Milky Way, targeting distant and/or highly reddened objects, besides a few reference clusters. A large sample of red giant stars was observed with FORS2@VLT/ESO at R ~ 2,000. The method for derivation of stellar parameters is presented with application to six reference clusters. We aim at deriving the stellar parameters effective temperature, gravity, metallicity and alpha-element enhancement, as well as radial velocity, for membership confirmation of individual stars in each cluster. We analyse the spectra collected for the reference globular clusters NGC 6528, NGC 6553, M 71, NGC 6558, NGC 6426 and Terzan 8. They cover the full range of globular cluster metallicities, and are located in the bulge, disc and halo. Full spectrum fitting techniques are applied, by comparing each target spectrum with a stellar library in the optical region at 4560-5860 A. We employed the library of observed spectra MILES, and the synthetic library by Coelho et al. (2005). Validation of the method is achieved through recovery of the known atmospheric parameters for 49 well-studied stars that cover a wide range in the parameter space. We adopted as final stellar parameters (effective temperatures, gravities, metallicities) the average of results using MILES and Coelho et al. libraries. We identified 4 member stars in NGC 6528, 13 in NGC 6553, 10 in M 71, 5 in NGC 6558, 5 in NGC 6426 and 12 in Terzan 8. Radial velocities, Teff, log(g), [Fe/H] and alpha-element enhancements were derived. We derived abundances for NGC 6426 from spectroscopy for the first time. The method proved to be reliable for red giant stars observed with resolution R ~ 2,000, yielding results compatible with high-resolution spectroscopy. The derived alpha-element abundances show [A/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] consistent with that of field stars at the same metallicities.

Mass accretion rates from multi-band photometry in the Carina Nebula: the case of Trumpler 14

We present a study of the mass accretion rates of pre-Main Sequence (PMS) stars in the cluster Trumpler 14 (Tr14) in the Carina Nebula. Using optical multi-band photometry we were able to identify 356 PMS stars showing H-alpha excess emission with equivalent width EW(H-alpha)>20\AA. We interpret this observational feature as indication that these objects are still actively accreting gas from their circumstellar medium. From a comparison of the HR diagram with PMS evolutionary models we derive ages and masses of the PMS stars. We find that most of the PMS objects are younger than 10 Myr with a median age of ~3 Myr. Surprisingly, we also find that ~20% of the mass accreting objects are older than 10 Myr. For each PMS star in Trumpler 14 we determine the mass accretion rate ($\dot{M}_{acc}$) and discuss its dependence on mass and age. We finally combine the optical photometry with near-IR observations to build the spectral energy distribution (SED) for each PMS star in Tr14. The analysis of the SEDs suggests the presence of transitional discs in which a large amount of gas is still present and sustains accretion onto the PMS object at ages older than 10 Myr. Our results, discussed in light of recent recent discoveries with Herschel of transitional discs containing a massive gas component around the relatively old PSM stars TW Hydrae, 49 Ceti, and HD 95086, support a new scenario in which old and evolved debris discs still host a significant amount of gas.

Two candidate brown dwarf companions around core helium-burning stars

Hot subdwarf stars of spectral type B (sdBs) are evolved, core helium-burning objects. The formation of those objects is puzzling, because the progenitor star has to lose almost its entire hydrogen envelope in the red-giant phase. Binary interactions have been invoked, but single sdBs exist as well. We report the discovery of two close hot subdwarf binaries with small radial velocity amplitudes. Follow-up photometry revealed reflection effects originating from cool irradiated companions, but no eclipses. The lower mass limits for the companions of CPD-64$^{\circ}$481 ($0.048\,M_{\rm \odot}$) and PHL\,457 ($0.027\,M_{\rm \odot}$) are significantly below the stellar mass limit. Hence they could be brown dwarfs unless the inclination is unfavourable. Two very similar systems have already been reported. The probability that none of them is a brown dwarf is very small, 0.02%. Hence we provide further evidence that substellar companions with masses that low are able to eject a common envelope and form an sdB star. Furthermore, we find that the properties of the observed sample of hot subdwarfs in reflection effect binaries is consistent with a scenario where single sdBs can still be formed via common envelope events, but their low-mass substellar companions do not survive.

The Thermal Stability of Helium Burning on Accreting Neutron Stars

Thermonuclear burning on the surface of accreting neutron stars is observed to stabilize at accretion rates almost an order of magnitude lower than theoretical models predict. One way to resolve this discrepancy is by including a base heating flux that can stabilize the layer. We focus our attention on pure helium accretion, for which we calculate the effect of a base heating flux on the critical accretion rate at which thermonuclear burning stabilizes. We use the MESA stellar evolution code to calculate $\dot m_{\rm crit}$ as a function of the base flux, and derive analytic fitting formulae for $\dot m_{\rm crit}$ and the burning temperature at that critical accretion rate, based on a one-zone model. We also investigate whether the critical accretion rate can be determined by examining steady-state models only, without time-dependent simulations. We examine the argument that the stability boundary coincides with the turning point $dy_{\rm burn}/d\dot m=0$ in the steady-state models, and find that it does not hold outside of the one-zone, zero base flux case. A linear stability analysis of a large suite of steady-state models is also carried out, which yields critical accretion rates a factor of $\sim3$ larger than the MESA result, but with a similar dependence on base flux. Lastly, we discuss the implications of our results for the ultracompact X-ray binary 4U~1820-30.

On Sunspot and Starspot Lifetimes

We consider the lifetimes of spots on the Sun and other stars from the standpoint of magnetic diffusion. While normal magnetic diffusivity predicts lifetimes of sunspots that are too large by at least two orders of magnitude, turbulent magnetic diffusivity accounts for both the functional form of the solar empirical spot-lifetime relation and for the observed sunspot lifetimes, provided that the relevant diffusion length is the supergranule size. Applying this relation to other stars, the value of turbulent diffusivity depends almost entirely on supergranule size, with very weak dependence on other variables such as magnetic field strength and density. Overall, the best observational data for other stars is consistent with the extension of the solar relation provided that stellar supergranule sizes for some stars are significantly larger than they are on the Sun.

X-ray and UV observations of V751 Cyg in an optical high state

Aims: The VY Scl system (anti-dwarf nova) V751 Cyg is examined following a claim of a super-soft spectrum in the optical low state. Methods: A serendipitous XMM-Newton X-ray observation and, 21 months later, Swift X-ray and UV observations, have provided the best such data on this source so far. These optical high-state datasets are used to study the flux and spectral variability of V751 Cyg. Results: Both the XMM-Newton and Swift data show evidence for modulation of the X-rays for the first time at the known 3.467 hr orbital period of V751 Cyg. In two Swift observations, taken ten days apart, the mean X-ray flux remained unchanged, while the UV source brightened by half a magnitude. The X-ray spectrum was not super-soft during the optical high state, but rather due to multi-temperature optically thin emission, with significant (10^{21-22} cm^-2) absorption, which was higher in the observation by Swift than that of XMM-Newton. The X-ray flux is harder at orbital minimum, suggesting that the modulation is related to absorption, perhaps linked to the azimuthally asymmetric wind absorption seen previously in H-alpha.

Importance of thermal diffusion in the gravo-magnetic limit cycle

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

Fingering Convection in Red Giants Revisited

Fingering (thermohaline) convection has been invoked for several years as a possible extra-mixing which could occur in Red Giant stars due to the modification of the chemical composition induced by nuclear reactions in the hydrogen burning zone. Recent studies show however that this mixing is not sufficient to account for the needed surface abundances. A new prescription for fingering convection, based on 3D numerical simulations has recently been proposed (BGS). The resulting mixing coefficient is larger than the ones previously given in the literature. We compute models using this new coefficient and compare them to previous studies. We use the LPCODE stellar evolution code with the GNA generalized version of the mixing length theory to compute Red Giant models and we introduce fingering convection using the BGS prescription. The results show that, although the fingering zone now reaches the outer dynamical convective zone, the efficiency of the mixing is not enough to account for the observations. The fingering mixing coefficient should be increased by two orders of magnitude for the needed surface abundances to be reached. We confirm that fingering convection cannot be the mixing process needed to account for surface abundances in RGB stars.

Energy levels, radiative rates and electron impact excitation rates for transitions in Fe XIV

Energies and lifetimes are reported for the lowest 136 levels of Fe XIV, belonging to the (1s$^2$2s$^2$2p$^6$) 3s$^2$3p, 3s3p$^2$, 3s$^2$3d, 3p$^3$, 3s3p3d, 3p$^2$3d, 3s3d$^2$, 3p3d$^2$ and 3s$^24\ell$ configurations. Additionally, radiative rates, oscillator strengths and line strengths are calculated for all electric dipole (E1), magnetic dipole (M1), electric quadrupole (E2) and magnetic quadrupole (M2) transitions. Theoretical lifetimes determined from these radiative rates for most levels show satisfactory agreement with earlier calculations, as well as with measurements. Electron impact excitation collision strengths are also calculated with the Dirac atomic $R$-matrix code (DARC) over a wide energy range up to 260 Ryd. Furthermore, resonances have been resolved in a fine energy mesh to determine effective collision strengths, obtained after integrating the collision strengths over a Maxwellian distribution of electron velocities. Results are listed for all 9180 transitions among the 136 levels over a wide range of electron temperatures, up to 10$^{7.1}$ K. Comparisons are made with available results in the literature, and the accuracy of the present data is assessed.

Image compression in local helioseismology

Context. Several upcoming helioseismology space missions are very limited in telemetry and will have to perform extensive data compression. This requires the development of new methods of data compression. Aims. We give an overview of the influence of lossy data compression on local helioseismology. We investigate the effects of several lossy compression methods (quantization, JPEG compression, and smoothing and subsampling) on power spectra and time-distance measurements of supergranulation flows at disk center. Methods. We applied different compression methods to tracked and remapped Dopplergrams obtained by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory. We determined the signal-to-noise ratio of the travel times computed from the compressed data as a function of the compression efficiency. Results. The basic helioseismic measurements that we consider are very robust to lossy data compression. Even if only the sign of the velocity is used, time-distance helioseismology is still possible. We achieve the best results by applying JPEG compression on spatially subsampled data. However, our conclusions are only valid for supergranulation flows at disk center and may not be valid for all helioseismology applications.

The early B-type eclipsing binary GT\,Cephei: a massive triple system?

GT\,Cep is a semi-detached close binary system with an orbital period of 4.91 days, containing a massive star. I have obtained spectroscopic observations and derived radial velocities of both components. Combining the analyses of radial velocities and available photometric observations we have measured the absolute parameters of both components of GT\,Cep. The components are shown to be a B2\,V primary with a mass M$_p$=10.70$\pm$0.50 M$_{\odot}$ and radius R$_p$=6.83$\pm$0.19 R$_{\odot}$ and a A0\,IV secondary with a mass M$_s$=2.58$\pm$0.14 M$_{\odot}$ and radius R$_s$=7.56$\pm$0.21 R$_{\odot}$. My analyses show that GT\,Cep is a classical Algol-type binary with a less massive secondary filling its $Roche$ lobe. Using the UBVJHK magnitudes and the interstellar reddening of E(B-V)=0.61 I estimated the mean distance to the system as 854$\pm$43\,pc. The O-C residuals have been analyzed as the consequence of a light-time effect superimposed on an upward parabola. My analysis indicates that the eclipsing binary revolves around a third-body with a period of about 57.5 yr in an orbit with a radius of 40 $AU$. The lower limit for the mass of the third star has been estimated to be 7 M$_{\odot}$ for the inclination between $70^{o}$ and $90^{o}$.

Determination of the Hubble Constant Using Cepheids

This paper introduces a statistical treatment to use Cepheid variable stars as distance indicators. The expansion rate of the Universe is also studied here through deriving the value of the Hubble constant H0. A Gaussian function approximation is proposed to fit the absolute magnitude and period of Cepheid variables in our galaxy. The calculations are carried out on samples of Cepheids observed in 23 galaxies to derive the distance modulus (DM) of these galaxies based on the frequency distributions of their periods and intrinsic apparent magnitudes. The DM is the difference between the apparent magnitude for extragalactic Cepheids and the absolute magnitude of the galactic Cepheids at maximum number. It is calculated by using the comparison of the period distribution of Cepheids in our galaxy and in other galaxies. This method is preferred due to its simplicity to use and its efficiency in providing reliable DM. A linear fit with correlation coefficient of 99.68% has been found between the published distance modulus and that computed one in the present work. From the present sample, a value of H0 in the range of 66 to 80 +/- 5 km/s Mpc is determined. The present procedure of computation and its accuracy are confirmed by the high correlation found between our computed DM and that published in the literature.

A Helium-Carbon Correlation on the Extreme Horizontal Branch in $\omega$ Centauri

Taking advantage of a recent FORS2/VLT spectroscopic sample of Extreme Horizontal Branch (EHB) stars in $\omega$ Cen, we isolate 38 spectra well suited for detailed atmospheric studies and determine their fundamental parameters ($T_{\rm eff}$, log $g$, and log $N$(He)/$N$(H)) using NLTE, metal line-blanketed models. We find that our targets can be divided into three groups: 6 stars are hot ($T_{\rm eff}$$\buildrel>\over\sim\ $ 45,000 K) H-rich subdwarf O stars, 7 stars are typical H-rich sdB stars ($T_{\rm eff}$$ \buildrel<\over\sim\ $35,000 K), and the remaining 25 targets at intermediate effective temperatures are He-rich (log $N$(He)/$N$(H)$ \buildrel>\over\sim\ $ $-$1.0) subdwarfs. Surprisingly and quite interestingly, these He-rich hot subdwarfs in $\omega$ Cen cluster in a narrow temperature range ($\sim$35,000 K to $\sim$40,000 K). We additionally measure the atmospheric carbon abundance and find a most interesting positive correlation between the carbon and helium atmospheric abundances. This correlation certainly bears the signature of diffusion processes – most likely gravitational settling impeded by stellar winds or internal turbulence – but also constrains possible formation scenarios proposed for EHB stars in $\omega$ Cen. For the He-rich objects in particular, the clear link between helium and carbon enhancement points towards a late hot flasher evolutionary history.

SDO/AIA Observations of a Reflecting Longitudinal Wave in a Coronal Loop

We report high resolution observations from the SDO/AIA of intensity oscillations in a hot, T~8-10 MK, loop. The AIA images show a large coronal loop that was rapidly heated following plasma ejection from one of the loop’s footpoints. A wave-like intensity enhancement, seen very clearly in the 131 and 94 \AA\ channel images, propagated ahead of the ejecta along the loop, and was reflected at the opposite footpoint. The wave reflected four times before fading. It was only seen in the hot, 131 and 94 \AA\ channels. The characteristic period and the decay time of the oscillation was $\sim$630 and $\sim$440 s, respectively. The phase speed was about 460-510 km/s which roughly matches the sound speed of the loop (430-480 km/s). The observed properties of the oscillation are consistent with the observations of Doppler shift oscillations discovered by the SOHO/SUMER and with their interpretation as slow magnetoacoustic waves. We suggest that the impulsive injection of plasma, following reconnection at one of the loop footpoints, led to rapid heating and the propagation of a longitudinal compressive wave along the loop. The wave bounces back and forth a couple of times before fading.

Traveling solar-wind bulk-velocity fluctuations and their effects on electron heating in the inner heliosphere [Cross-Listing]

Ambient plasma electrons undergo strong heating in regions associated with compressive traveling interplanetary solar-wind bulk-velocity jumps due to their specific interactions with the jump-inherent electric fields. After thermalization of this energy gain per shock passage through the operation of the Buneman instability, strong electron heating occurs that substantially influences the radial electron temperature profile. We describe the reduction of the jump amplitude due to energy expended by the traveling jump structure. We consider three effects; namely energy loss due to heating of electrons, energy loss due to work done against the pick-up-ion pressure gradient, and an energy gain due to nonlinear jump steepening. Taking these effects into account, we show that the decrease in jump amplitude with solar distance is more pronounced when the initial jump amplitude is higher in the inner solar system. Independent of the initial jump amplitude, it eventually decreases with increasing distance to a value of the order of $\Delta U/U\simeq 0.1$ at the position of the heliospheric termination shock, where $\Delta U$ is the jump amplitude, and $U$ is the average solar-wind bulk velocity.The electron temperature, on the other hand, is strongly correlated with the initial jump amplitude, leading to electron temperatures between 6000 K and 20 000 K at distances beyond 50 AU. We compare our results with in-situ measurements of the electron-core temperature from the Ulysses spacecraft in the plane of the ecliptic for $1.5\, \mathrm{AU}\leq r \leq 5\,\mathrm{AU}$, where $r$ is the distance from the Sun. We find a very good agreement between our results and these observations, which corroborates our extrapolated predictions beyond $r=5\,\mathrm{AU}$.

Accretion Outbursts in Self-gravitating Protoplanetary Disks

We improve on our previous treatments of long-term evolution of protostellar disks by explicitly solving disk self-gravity in two dimensions. The current model is an extension of the one-dimensional layered accretion disk model of Bae et al. We find that gravitational instability (GI)-induced spiral density waves heat disks via compressional heating (i.e. $P\rm{d}V$ work), and can trigger accretion outbursts by activating the magnetorotational instability (MRI) in the magnetically inert disk dead-zone. The GI-induced spiral waves propagate well inside of gravitationally unstable region before they trigger outbursts at $R \lesssim 1$ AU where GI cannot be sustained. This long-range propagation of waves cannot be reproduced with the previously used local $\alpha$ treatments for GI. In our standard model where zero dead-zone residual viscosity ($\alpha_{\rm rd}$) is assumed, the GI-induced stress measured at the onset of outbursts is locally as large as $0.01$ in terms of the generic $\alpha$ parameter. However, as suggested in our previous one-dimensional calculations, we confirm that the presence of a small but finite $\alpha_{\rm rd}$ triggers thermally-driven bursts of accretion instead of the GI + MRI-driven outbursts that are observed when $\alpha_{\rm rd}=0$. The inclusion of non-zero residual viscosity in the dead-zone decreases the importance of GI soon after mass feeding from the envelope cloud ceases. During the infall phase while the central protostar is still embedded, our models stay in a quiescent accretion phase with $\dot{M}_{acc}\sim10^{-8}-10^{-7}~M_{\odot}~{\rm yr^{-1}}$ over $60~\%$ of the time and spend less than $15~\%$ of the infall phase in accretion outbursts.

Forward Modeling of Synthetic EUV/SXR Emission from Solar Coronal Active Regions: Case of AR 11117

Recent progress in obtaining high spatial resolution images of the solar corona in the extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) with Hinode, TRACE, SDO and recent Hi-C missions and soft X-ray (SXR) bands opened a new avenue in understanding the solar coronal heating, the major goal of solar physics. The data from EUV/SXR missions suggest that solar corona is a non-uniform environment structured into active regions (AR) represented by bundles magnetic loops heated to temperatures exceeding 5 MK. Any viable coronal heating model should be capable of reproducing EUV and SXR emission from coronal active regions well as dynamic activity. Measurements of emission measures (EM) for ARs provide clues to time dependence of the heating mechanism: static versus impulsive. While static equilibrium coronal loop models are successful in reproducing SXR emission within an AR, they cannot adequately predict the bright EUV loops. Meantime, impulsive heating is capable in reproducing both EUV and SXR loop emission. The major goal of this paper is to construct realistic synthetic EM images of specific solar corona active region, AR 11117 by using our 1D fully non-linear time-dependent single-fluid hydrodynamic code. We first construct a magnetic skeleton for the entire active region using the HMI/SDO magnetogram for AR 11117 and populate magnetic field lines with plasma. We then parametrically specify impulsive heating of individual strands (flux tubes) comprising coronal loops. Next, we simulated the response of the entire active region (with LOS projection effects) to the heating function (volumetric heating rate) scaled with magnetic field and spatial scale parameters and find the best match between synthetic and actual (reconstructed) DEMs obtained by SDO.

Toward A Self Consistent MHD Model of Chromospheres and Winds From Late Type Evolved Stars

We present the first magnetohydrodynamic model of the stellar chromospheric heating and acceleration of the outer atmospheres of cool evolved stars, using alpha Tau as a case study. We used a 1.5D MHD code with a generalized Ohm’s law that accounts for the effects of partial ionization in the stellar atmosphere to study Alfven wave dissipation and wave reflection. We have demonstrated that due to inclusion of the effects of ion-neutral collisions in magnetized weakly ionized chromospheric plasma on resistivity and the appropriate grid resolution, the numerical resistivity becomes 1-2 orders of magnitude smaller than the physical resistivity. The motions introduced by non-linear transverse Alfven waves can explain non-thermally broadened and non-Gaussian profiles of optically thin UV lines forming in the stellar chromosphere of alpha Tau and other late-type giant and supergiant stars. The calculated heating rates in the stellar chromosphere due to resistive (Joule) dissipation of electric currents, induced by upward propagating non-linear Alfven waves, are consistent with observational constraints on the net radiative losses in UV lines and the continuum from alpha Tau. At the top of the chromosphere, Alfven waves experience significant reflection, producing downward propagating transverse waves that interact with upward propagating waves and produce velocity shear in the chromosphere. Our simulations also suggest that momentum deposition by non-linear Alfven waves becomes significant in the outer chromosphere at 1 stellar radius from the photosphere. The calculated terminal velocity and the mass loss rate are consistent with the observationally derived wind properties in alpha Tau.

S-Type and P-Type Habitability in Stellar Binary Systems: A Comprehensive Approach. II. Elliptical Orbits

In the first paper of this series, a comprehensive approach has been provided for the study of S-type and P-type habitable regions in stellar binary systems, which was, however, restricted to circular orbits of the stellar components. Fortunately, a modest modification of the method also allows for the consideration of elliptical orbits, which of course entails a much broader range of applicability. This augmented method is presented here, and numerous applications are conveyed. In alignment with Paper I, the selected approach considers a variety of aspects, which comprise the consideration of a joint constraint including orbital stability and a habitable region for a putative system planet through the stellar radiative energy fluxes (radiative habitable zone; RHZ). The devised method is based on a combined formalism for the assessment of both S-type and P-type habitability; in particular, mathematical criteria are deduced for which kinds of systems S-type and P-type habitable zones are realized. If the RHZs are truncated by the additional constraint of orbital stability, the notation of ST-type and PT-type habitability applies. In comparison to the circular case, it is found that in systems of higher eccentricity, the range of the RHZs is significantly reduced. Furthermore, the orbital stability constraint again impacts S-type and P-type habitability in an unfavorable manner. Nonetheless, S-, P-, ST-, and PT-type habitability is identified for a considerable set of system parameters. The method as presented is utilized for BinHab, a black box code available at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Energy levels, radiative rates and electron impact excitation rates for transitions in Be-like Cl XIV, K XVI and Ge XXIX

Results for energy levels, radiative rates and electron impact excitation (effective) collision strengths for transitions in Be-like Cl XIV, K XVI and Ge XXIX are reported. For the calculations of energy levels and radiative rates the General-purpose Relativistic Atomic Structure Package ({\sc grasp}) is adopted, while for determining the collision strengths and subsequently the excitation rates, the Dirac Atomic R-matrix Code ({\sc darc}) is used. Oscillator strengths, radiative rates and line strengths are listed for all E1, E2, M1 and M2 transitions among the lowest 98 levels of the $n \le$ 4 configurations. Furthermore, lifetimes are provided for all levels and comparisons made with available theoretical and experimental results. Resonances in the collision strengths are resolved in a fine energy mesh and averaged over a Maxwellian velocity distribution to obtain the effective collision strengths. Results obtained are listed over a wide temperature range up to 10$^{7.8}$ K, depending on the ion.

A high resolution image of the inner-shell of the PCygni nebula in the infra-red [Fe II] line

We have obtained with the LBT Telescope AO system Near-Infrared camera PISCES images of the inner-shell of the nebula around the luminous blue variable star P Cygni in the [Fe II] emission line at 1.6435 {\mu}m. We have combined the images in order to cover a field of view of about 20" around P Cygni thus providing the high resolution (0".08) 2-D spatial distribution of the inner-shell of the P Cygni nebula in [Fe II]. We have identified several nebular emission regions which are characterized by an S/N>3. A comparison of our results with those available in the literature shows full consistency with the finding by Smith & Hartigan (2006) which are based on radial velocity measurements and their relatively good agreement with the extension of emission nebula in [NII] {\lambda}6584 found by Barlow et al. (1994). We have clearly detected extended emission also inside the radial distance R=7".8 and outside R=9".7 which are the nebular boundaries proposed by Smith & Hartigan (2006). New complementary spectroscopic observations to measure radial velocities and to derive the 3-D distribution of P Cygni nebula are planned.

Understanding CME and associated shock in the solar corona by merging multi wavelengths observation

Using multi-wavelength imaging observations, in EUV, white light and radio, and radio spectral data over a large frequency range, we analyzed the triggering and development of a complex eruptive event. This one includes two components, an eruptive jet and a CME which interact during more than 30 min, and can be considered as physically linked. This was an unusual event. The jet is generated above a typical complex magnetic configuration which has been investigated in many former studies related to the build-up of eruptive jets; this configuration includes fan-field lines originating from a corona null point above a parasitic polarity, which is embedded in one polarity region of large Active Region (AR). The initiation and development of the CME, observed first in EUV, does not show usual signatures. In this case, the eruptive jet is the main actor of this event. The CME appears first as a simple loop system which becomes destabilized by magnetic reconnection between the outer part of the jet and the ambient medium. The progression of the CME is closely associated with the occurrence of two successive types II bursts from distinct origin. An important part of this study is the first radio type II burst for which the joint spectral and imaging observations allowed: i) to follow, step by step, the evolution of the spectrum and of the trajectory of the radio burst, in relationship with the CME evolution; ii) to obtain, without introducing an electronic density model, the B-field and the Alfven speed.

SOAP 2.0: A tool to estimate the photometric and radial velocity variations induced by stellar spots and plages

This paper presents SOAP 2.0, a new version of the SOAP code that estimates in a simple way the photometric and radial velocity variations induced by active regions. The inhibition of the convective blueshift inside active regions is considered, as well as the limb brightening effect of plages, a quadratic limb darkening law, and a realistic spot and plage contrast ratio. SOAP 2.0 shows that the activity-induced variation of plages is dominated by the inhibition of the convective blueshift effect. For spots, this effect becomes significant only for slow rotators. In addition, in the case of a major active region dominating the activity-induced signal, the ratio between the full width at half maximum (FWHM) and the RV peak-to-peak amplitudes of the cross correlation function can be used to infer the type of active region responsible for the signal for stars with \vsini$\le8$\kms. A ratio smaller than three implies a spot, while a larger ratio implies a plage. Using the observation of HD189733, we show that SOAP 2.0 manages to reproduce the activity variation as well as previous simulations when a spot is dominating the activity-induced variation. In addition, SOAP 2.0 also reproduces the activity variation induced by a plage on the slowly rotating star $\alpha$ Cen B, which is not possible using previous simulations. Following these results, SOAP 2.0 can be used to estimate the signal induced by spots and plages, but also to correct for it when a major active region is dominating the RV variation.

Deriving stellar inclination of slow rotators using stellar activity

Stellar inclination is an important parameter for many astrophysical studies. Although different techniques allow us to estimate stellar inclinationt for fast rotators, it becomes much more difficult when stars are rotating slower than $\sim2$-2.5 \kms. By using the new activity simulation SOAP 2.0 that can reproduce the photometric and spectroscopic variations induced by stellar activity, we are able to fit observations of solar-type stars and derive their inclination. For HD189733, we estimate the stellar inclination to be $i=84^{+6}_{-20}$ degrees, which implies a star-planet obliquity of $\psi=4^{+18}_{-4}$ considering previous measurements of the spin-orbit angle. For $\alpha$ Cen B, we derive an inclination of $i=45^{+9}_{-19}$, which implies that the rotational spin of the star is not aligned with the orbital spin of the $\alpha$ Cen binary system. In addition, assuming that $\alpha$ Cen Bb is aligned with its host star, no transit would occur. The inclination of $\alpha$ Cen B can be measured using 40 radial-velocity measurements, which is remarkable given that the projected rotational velocity of the star is smaller than $1.15\,km\,s^{-1}$.

Neutrino-antineutrino correlations in dense anisotropic media [Cross-Listing]

We derive the most general evolution equations describing in-medium neutrino propagation in the mean-field approximation. In particular, we consider various types of neutrino-antineutrino mixing, both for Dirac and for Majorana fields, resulting either from nontrivial pair correlations or from helicity coherence due to the nonvanishing neutrino masses. We show that for inhomogeneous or anisotropic systems, these correlations are sourced by the usual neutrino and antineutrino densities. This may be of importance in astrophysical environments such as core-collapse supernovae.

Neutrino-antineutrino correlations in dense anisotropic media [Cross-Listing]

We derive the most general evolution equations describing in-medium neutrino propagation in the mean-field approximation. In particular, we consider various types of neutrino-antineutrino mixing, both for Dirac and for Majorana fields, resulting either from nontrivial pair correlations or from helicity coherence due to the nonvanishing neutrino masses. We show that for inhomogeneous or anisotropic systems, these correlations are sourced by the usual neutrino and antineutrino densities. This may be of importance in astrophysical environments such as core-collapse supernovae.

Neutrino-antineutrino correlations in dense anisotropic media

We derive the most general evolution equations describing in-medium neutrino propagation in the mean-field approximation. In particular, we consider various types of neutrino-antineutrino mixing, both for Dirac and for Majorana fields, resulting either from nontrivial pair correlations or from helicity coherence due to the nonvanishing neutrino masses. We show that for inhomogeneous or anisotropic systems, these correlations are sourced by the usual neutrino and antineutrino densities. This may be of importance in astrophysical environments such as core-collapse supernovae.

He-Accreting WDs: accretion regimes and final outcomes

The behaviour of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs (WDs) subject to direct helium accretion is extensively studied. We aim to analyze the thermal response of the accreting WD to mass deposition at different time scales. The analysis has been performed for initial WDs masses and accretion rates in the range (0.60 – 1.02) Msun and 1.e-9 – 1.e-5 Msun/yr, respectively. Thermal regimes in the parameters space M_{WD} – dot{M}_{He}, leading to formation of red-giant-like structure, steady burning of He, mild, strong and dynamical flashes have been identified and the transition between those regimes has been studied in detail. In particular, the physical properties of WDs experiencing the He-flash accretion regime have been investigated in order to determine the mass retention efficiency as a function of the accretor total mass and accretion rate. We also discuss to what extent the building-up of a He-rich layer via H-burning could be described according to the behaviour of models accreting He-rich matter directly. Polynomial fits to the obtained results are provided for use in binary population synthesis computations. Several applications for close binary systems with He-rich donors and CO WD accretors are considered and the relevance of the results for the interpretation of He-novae is discussed.

Testing the planetary models of HU Aquarii

We present new eclipse observations of the polar (i.e. semi-detached magnetic white dwarf + M-dwarf binary) HU Aqr, and mid-egress times for each eclipse, which continue to be observed increasingly early. Recent eclipses occurred more than 70 seconds earlier than the prediction from the latest model that invoked a single circumbinary planet to explain the observed orbital period variations, thereby conclusively proving this model to be incorrect. Using ULTRACAM data, we show that mid-egress times determined for simultaneous data taken at different wavelengths agree with each other. The large variations in the observed eclipse times cannot be explained by planetary models containing up to three planets, because of poor fits to the data as well as orbital instability on short time scales. The peak-to-peak amplitude of the O-C diagram of almost 140 seconds is also too great to be caused by Applegate’s mechanism, movement of the accretion spot on the surface of the white dwarf, or by asynchronous rotation of the white dwarf. What does cause the observed eclipse time variations remains a mystery.

Physics of mass loss in massive stars

We review potential mass-loss mechanisms in the various evolutionary stages of massive stars, from the well-known line-driven winds of O-stars and BA-supergiants to the less-understood winds from Red Supergiants. We discuss optically thick winds from Wolf-Rayet stars and Very Massive Stars, and the hypothesis of porosity-moderated, continuum-driven mass loss from stars formally exceeding the Eddington limit, which might explain the giant outbursts from Luminous Blue Variables. We finish this review with a glance on the impact of rapid rotation, magnetic fields and small-scale inhomogeneities in line-driven winds.

The Initiation and Propagation of Helium Detonations in White Dwarf Envelopes

Detonations in helium-rich envelopes surrounding white dwarfs have garnered attention as triggers of faint thermonuclear ".Ia" supernovae and double detonation Type Ia supernovae. However, recent studies have found that the minimum size of a hotspot that can lead to a helium detonation is comparable to, or even larger than, the white dwarf’s pressure scale height, casting doubt on the successful ignition of helium detonations in these systems. In this paper, we examine the previously neglected effects of C/O pollution and a full nuclear reaction network, and we consider hotspots with spatially constant pressure in addition to constant density hotspots. We find that the inclusion of these effects significantly decreases the minimum hotspot size for helium-rich detonation ignition, making detonations far more plausible during turbulent shell convection or during double white dwarf mergers. The increase in burning rate also decreases the minimum shell mass in which a helium detonation can successfully propagate and alters the composition of the shell’s burning products. The ashes of these low mass shells consist primarily of silicon, calcium, and unburned helium and metals and may explain the high-velocity spectral features observed in most Type Ia supernovae.

Heavy elements in old very metal-rich stars

We studied a sample of high proper motion, old and metal-rich dwarf stars, selected from the NLTT catalogue. The low pericentric distances and eccentric orbits of these solar neighbourhood stars indicate that they might have originated in the inner parts of the Galaxy. Chemical tagging can probe the formation history of stellar populations. To identify the origin of a sample of 71 very metal-rich dwarf stars, we derive the abundances of the neutron-capture elements Y, Ba, La, and Eu. The spectroscopic analysis is based on optical high-resolution echelle spectra obtained with the FEROS spectrograph at the ESO 1.52-m Telescope at La Silla, Chile. The abundances of Y, Ba, La, and Eu were derived through LTE analysis, employing the MARCS model atmospheres. The abundances of Y, Ba, La, and Eu vs. Fe and Mg as the reference elements indicate similarities between our sample of old metal-rich dwarf stars and the thin disk. On the other hand, the abundance ratios using O as the reference element, as well as their kinematics, suggest that our sample is clearly distinct from the thin-disk stars. They could be old inner thin-disk stars, as suggested previously, or bulge stars. In either cases they would have migrated from the inner parts of the Galaxy to the solar neighbourhood.

Massive Compact Objects in a Quantum Theory of Gravity [Cross-Listing]

A massive compact object is that which forms when a sufficiently massive star collapses. This is commonly taken to be a black hole with a singularity surrounded by a horizon and which evolves by emitting Hawking radiation. In a quantum theory of gravity, singularities are expected to be resolved and the evolutions are expected to be unitary. Assuming that such a theory with these properties exists, and with a few more physically motivated assumptions, we argue that a massive compact object has no singularity (by assumption) and must also have no horizon; otherwise, there may be a loss of predictability in the case of a black hole candidate observed today. With no singularity and also with no horizon, the massive compact object will then evolve as a standard quantum system with large number of interacting degrees of freedom.


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