Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

Probing shock geometry via the charge to mass ratio dependence of heavy ion spectra from multiple spacecraft observations of the 2013 November 4 event

In large SEP events, ions can be accelerated at CME-driven shocks to very high energies. Spectra of heavy ions in many large SEP events show features such as roll-overs or spectral breaks. In some events when the spectra are plotted in energy/nucleon they can be shifted relative to each other to make the spectral breaks align. The amount of shift is charge-to-mass ratio (Q/A) dependent and varies from event to event. This can be understood if the spectra of heavy ions are organized by the diffusion coefficients (Cohen et al., 2005). In the work of Li et al. (2009), the Q/A dependences of the scaling is related to shock geometry when the CME-driven shock is close to the Sun. For events where multiple in-situ spacecraft observations exist, one may expect that different spacecraft are connected to different portions of the CME-driven shock that have different shock geometries, therefore yielding different Q/A dependence. In this work, we examine one SEP event which occurred on 2013 November 4. We study the Q/A dependence of the energy scaling for heavy ion spectra using Helium, oxygen, and iron ions. Observations from STEREO-A, STEREO-B and ACE are examined. We find that the scalings are different for different spacecraft. We suggest that this is because ACE, STEREO-A and STEREO- B are connected to different parts of the shock that have different shock geometries. Our analysis indicates that studying the Q/A scaling of in-situ particle spectra can serve as a powerful tool to remotely examine the shock geometry for large SEP events.

MASTER OT J190519.41+301524.4: New Eclipsing Cataclysmic Variable of VY Scl Type

MASTER OT J190519.41+301524.4 was discovered as an optical transient of 15.7m by the Mobile Astronomical System of TElescope-Robots in March 2014. We report the results of photometric observations of this variable performed at Lajatico Astronomical Center in June-July 2015. The light curve is showing deep V-shaped eclipses with an amplitude of two magnitudes. The orbital period was determined to be 0.129694 d (3.113 h). Based on the archival observations and the shape of the orbital curve we suggest that MASTER OT J190519.41+301524.4 is a new cataclysmic variable of VY Scl type ("anti-nova") with an inclination angle close to 90 deg.

Jet formation in solar atmosphere due to magnetic reconnection

Using numerical simulations, we show that jets with features of type II spicules and cold coronal jets corresponding to temperatures $10^{4}$ K can be formed due to magnetic reconnection in a scenario in presence of magnetic resistivity. For this we model the low chromosphere-corona region using the C7 equilibrium solar atmosphere model and assuming Resistive MHD rules the dynamics of the plasma. The magnetic filed configurations we analyze correspond to two neighboring loops with opposite polarity. The separation of the loops' feet determines the thickness of a current sheet that triggers a magnetic reconnection process, and the further formation of a high speed and sharp structure. We analyze the cases where the magnetic filed strength of the two loops is equal and different. In the first case, with a symmetric configuration the spicules raise vertically whereas in an asymmetric configuration the structure shows an inclination. With a number of simulations carried out under a 2.5D approach, we explore various properties of excited jets, namely, the morphology, inclination and velocity. The parameter space involves magnetic field strength between 20 and 40 G, and the resistivity is assumed to be uniform with a constant value of the order $10^{-2}\Omega\cdot m$

A correlation between chemistry, polarization and dust properties in the Pipe Nebula starless core FeSt 1-457

Pre-stellar cores within molecular clouds provide the very initial conditions in which stars are formed. We use the IRAM 30m telescope and the PdBI to study the chemical and physical properties of the starless core FeSt 1-457 (Core 109), in the Pipe nebula. We fit the hyperfine structure of the N2H+(1-0) IRAM 30m data. This allow us to measure with high precision the velocity field, line widths and opacity and derive the excitation temperature and column density in the core. We use a modified Bonnor-Ebert sphere model adding a temperature gradient towards the center to fit the 1.2 mm continuum emission and visual extinction maps. Using this model, we estimate the abundances of the N2H+ and the rest of molecular lines detected in the 30 GHz wide line survey performed at 3 mm with IRAM 30m using ARTIST software. The core presents a rich chemistry with emission from early (C3H2, HCN, CS) and late-time molecules (e.g., N2H+), with a clear chemical spatial differentiation for nitrogen, oxygen and sulphurated molecules. For most of the molecules detected (HCN, HCO+, CH3OH, CS, SO, 13CO and C18O), abundances are best fitted with three values, presenting a clear decrease of abundance of at least 1 or 2 orders of magnitude towards the center of the core. The Bonnor-Ebert analysis indicates the core is gravitationally unstable and the magnetic field is not strong enough to avoid the collapse. Depletion of molecules onto the dust grains occurs at the interior of the core, where dust grain growth and dust depolarization also occurs. This suggests that these properties may be related. On the other hand, some molecules exhibit asymmetries in their integrated emission maps, which appear to be correlated with a previously reported submillimetre polarization asymmetry. These asymmetries could be due to a stronger interstellar radiation field in the western side of the core.

The s-Process Nucleosynthesis in Extremely Metal-Poor Stars as the Generating Mechanism of Carbon Enhanced Metal-Poor Stars

The origin of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars plays a key role in characterising the formation and evolution of the first stars and the Galaxy since the extremely-poor (EMP) stars with [Fe/H] \leq -2.5 share the common features of carbon enhancement in their surface chemical compositions. The origin of these stars is not yet established due to the controversy of the origin of CEMP stars without the enhancement of s-process element abundances, i.e., so called CEMP-no stars. In this paper, we elaborate the s-process nucleosynthesis in the EMP AGB stars and explore the origin of CEMP stars. We find that the efficiency of the s-process is controlled by O rather than Fe at [Fe/H] \lesssim -2. We demonstrate that the relative abundances of Sr, Ba, Pb to C are explained in terms of the wind accretion from AGB stars in binary systems.

Intensity contrast of the average supergranule

While the velocity fluctuations of supergranulation dominate the spectrum of solar convection at the solar surface, very little is known about the fluctuations in other physical quantities like temperature or density at supergranulation scale. Using SDO/HMI observations, we characterize the intensity contrast of solar supergranulation at the solar surface. We identify the positions of ${\sim}10^4$ outflow and inflow regions at supergranulation scales, from which we construct average flow maps and co-aligned intensity and magnetic field maps. In the average outflow center, the maximum intensity contrast is $(7.8\pm0.6)\times10^{-4}$ (there is no corresponding feature in the line-of-sight magnetic field). This corresponds to a temperature perturbation of about $1.1\pm0.1$ K, in agreement with previous studies. We discover an east-west anisotropy, with a slightly deeper intensity minimum east of the outflow center. The evolution is asymmetric in time: the intensity excess is larger 8 hours before the reference time (the time of maximum outflow), while it has almost disappeared 8 hours after the reference time. In the average inflow region, the intensity contrast mostly follows the magnetic field distribution, except for an east-west anisotropic component that dominates 8 hours before the reference time. We suggest that the east-west anisotropy in the intensity is related to the wave-like properties of supergranulation.

Combining BRITE and ground-based photometry for the Beta Cephei star Nu Eridani: impact on photometric pulsation mode identification and detection of several g modes

We report a simultaneous ground and space-based photometric study of the Beta Cephei star Nu Eridani. Half a year of observations have been obtained by four of the five satellites constituting BRITE-Constellation, supplemented with ground-based photoelectric photometry. We show that carefully combining the two data sets virtually eliminates the aliasing problem that often hampers time-series analyses. We detect 40 periodic signals intrinsic to the star in the light curves. Despite a lower detection limit we do not recover all the pressure and mixed modes previously reported in the literature, but we newly detect six additional gravity modes. This behaviour is a consequence of temporal changes in the pulsation amplitudes that we also detected for some of the p modes. We point out that the dependence of theoretically predicted pulsation amplitude on wavelength is steeper in visual passbands than those observationally measured, to the extent that the three dominant pulsation modes of Nu Eridani would be incorrectly identified using data in optical filters only. We discuss possible reasons for this discrepancy.

Sonneberg plate photometry in two colors for KIC 8462852: No dimming between 1934 and 1995

The F3 main sequence star KIC 8462852 has raised interest because of its mysterious day-long brightness dips, and an unusual ~3% brightness decrease during the 4 years of the Kepler mission. Recently, a 0.164mag (~14%) dimming between 1890 and 1990 was claimed, based on the analysis of photographic plates, although this has been refuted. To resolve this controversy, we have gathered an independent set of historic data from Sonneberg Observatory, Germany. From these historic plates, we could extract 862 magnitudes in blue light, and 401 magnitudes in red light. The data cover the years 1934 to 1995 and are very evenly sampled between 1956 and 1995. In both colors, we find the star to be of constant brightness within 0.033mag/century (~3%). The previously claimed dimming is inconsistent with these data at the $\sim5\sigma$-level, however the recently reported modest dimming of ~3% in the Kepler data is not inconsistent with these data. We have also searched for periodicities and yearly trends in the data and find none within our limits of ~10% per year.

Photometric and Spectroscopic Study of the Supergiant with an Infrared Excess V1027 Cygni

We present the results of our $UBV$ and $JHKLM$-photometry for the semiregular pulsating variable V1027~Cyg, a supergiant with an infrared excess, over the period from 1991 to 2015. Our search for a periodicity in the $UBV$ brightness variations has led to several periods from $P=212^{d}$ to $P=320^{d}$ in different time intervals. We have found the period $P=237^{d}$ based on our infrared photometry. The variability amplitude, the light-curve shape, and the magnitude of V1027~Cyg at maximum light change noticeably from cycle to cycle. An ambiguous correlation of the $B-V$ and $U-B$ colors with the brightness has been revealed. The spectral energy distribution for V1027~Cyg from our photometry in the range 0.36 ($U$)-5.0 ($M$) $\mu$m corresponds to spectral types from G8I to K3I at different phases of the pulsation cycle. Low-resolution spectra of V1027 Cyg in the range $\lambda$4400--9200 \AA\ were taken during 16 nights over the period 1995--2015. At the 1995 and 2011 photometric minima the star's spectrum exhibited molecular TiO bands whose intensity corresponded to spectral types M0--M1, while the photometric data point to a considerably earlier spectral type. We hypothesize that the TiO bands are formed in the upper layers of the extended stellar atmosphere. We have measured the equivalent widths of the strongest absorption lines, in particular, the infrared Ca~II triplet in the spectrum of V1027~Cyg. The calcium triplet (Ca T) with $W_{\lambda}(\mathrm{Ca~T})=20.3\pm1.8$ \AA\ as a luminosity indicator for supergiants places V1027 Cyg in the region of the brightest G--K supergiants. V1027 Cyg has been identified with the infrared source IRAS~20004+2955 and is currently believed to be a candidate for post-AGB stars. The evolutionary status of the star and its difference from other post-AGB objects are discussed.

Hydrogen in hot subdwarfs formed by double helium white dwarf mergers

Isolated hot subdwarfs might be formed by the merging of two helium-core white dwarfs. Before merging, helium-core white dwarfs have hydrogen-rich envelopes and some of this hydrogen may survive the merger. We calculate the mass of hydrogen that is present at the start of such mergers and, with the assumption that hydrogen is mixed throughout the disrupted white dwarf in the merger process, estimate how much can survive. We find a hydrogen mass of up to about $2 \times 10^{-3}\,\mathrm{M}_{\odot}$ in merger remnants. We make model merger remnants that include the hydrogen mass appropriate to their total mass and compare their atmospheric parameters with a sample of apparently isolated hot subdwarfs, hydrogen-rich sdBs. The majority of these stars can be explained as the remnants of double helium white dwarf mergers.

The optical counterpart to the Be/X-ray binary SAX J2239.3+6116

The main goal of this work is to perform a detailed study of the optical variability of the Be/X-ray binary SAX J2239.3+6116. We obtained multi-colour BVRI photometry and polarimetry and 4000-7000 A spectroscopy. The optical counterpart to SAX J2239.3+6116 is a V=14.8 B0Ve star located at a distance of ~4.9 kpc. The interstellar reddening in the direction of the source is E(B-V)=1.70 mag. The monitoring of the Halpha line reveals a slow long-term decline of its equivalent width since 2001. The line profile is characterized by a stable double-peak profile with no indication of large-scale distortions. Although somewhat higher than predicted by the models, the optical polarization is consistent with electron scattering in the circumstellar disk. We attribute the long-term decrease in the intensity of the Halpha line to the dissipation of the circumstellar disk of the Be star. The longer variability timescales observed in SAX J2239.3+6116 compared to other Be/X-ray binaries may be explained by the wide orbit of the system.

A possible formation channel for blue hook stars in globular cluster - II. Effects of metallicity, mass ratio, tidal enhancement efficiency and helium abundance

Employing tidally enhanced stellar wind, we studied in binaries the effects of metallicity, mass ratio of primary to secondary, tidal enhancement efficiency and helium abundance on the formation of blue hook (BHk) stars in globular clusters (GCs). A total of 28 sets of binary models combined with different input parameters are studied. For each set of binary model, we presented a range of initial orbital periods that is needed to produce BHk stars in binaries. All the binary models could produce BHk stars within different range of initial orbital periods. We also compared our results with the observation in the Teff-logg diagram of GC NGC 2808 and {\omega} Cen. Most of the BHk stars in these two GCs locate well in the region predicted by our theoretical models, especially when C/N-enhanced model atmospheres are considered. We found that mass ratio of primary to secondary and tidal enhancement efficiency have little effects on the formation of BHk stars in binaries, while metallicity and helium abundance would play important roles, especially for helium abundance. Specifically, with helium abundance increasing in binary models, the space range of initial orbital periods needed to produce BHk stars becomes obviously wider, regardless of other input parameters adopted. Our results were discussed with recent observations and other theoretical models.

Reevaluation of thermonuclear reaction rate of 50Fe(p,gamma)51Co

The thermonuclear rate of the 50Fe(p,gamma)51Co reaction in the Type I X-ray bursts (XRBs) temperature range has been reevaluated based on a recent precise mass measurement at CSRe lanzhou, where the proton separation energy Sp=142+/-77 keV has been determined firstly for the 51Co nucleus. Comparing to the previous theoretical predictions, the experimental Sp value has much smaller uncertainty. Based on the nuclear shell model and mirror nuclear structure information, we have calculated two sets of thermonuclear rates for the 50Fe(p,gamma)51Co reaction by utilizing the experimental Sp value. It shows that the statistical-model calculations are not ideally applicable for this reaction primarily because of the low density of low-lying excited states in 51Co. In this work, we recommend that a set of new reaction rate based on the mirror structure of 51Cr should be incorporated in the future astrophysical network calculations.

Reevaluation of thermonuclear reaction rate of 50Fe(p,gamma)51Co [Cross-Listing]

The thermonuclear rate of the 50Fe(p,gamma)51Co reaction in the Type I X-ray bursts (XRBs) temperature range has been reevaluated based on a recent precise mass measurement at CSRe lanzhou, where the proton separation energy Sp=142+/-77 keV has been determined firstly for the 51Co nucleus. Comparing to the previous theoretical predictions, the experimental Sp value has much smaller uncertainty. Based on the nuclear shell model and mirror nuclear structure information, we have calculated two sets of thermonuclear rates for the 50Fe(p,gamma)51Co reaction by utilizing the experimental Sp value. It shows that the statistical-model calculations are not ideally applicable for this reaction primarily because of the low density of low-lying excited states in 51Co. In this work, we recommend that a set of new reaction rate based on the mirror structure of 51Cr should be incorporated in the future astrophysical network calculations.

William Pendry Bidelman (1918-2011)

William P. Bidelman--Editor of Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific from 1956 to 1961--passed away on 2011 May 3, at the age of 92. He was one of the last of the masters of visual stellar spectral classification and the identification of peculiar stars. I review his contributions to these subjects, including the discoveries of barium stars, hydrogen-deficient stars, high-galactic-latitude supergiants, stars with anomalous carbon content, and exotic chemical abundances in peculiar A and B stars. Bidelman was legendary for his encyclopedic knowledge of the stellar literature. He had a profound and inspirational influence on many colleagues and students. Some of the bizarre stellar phenomena he discovered remain unexplained to the present day.

Reaching Higher Densities for Laboratory White Dwarf Photospheres to Measure Spectroscopic Line Profiles

As part of our laboratory investigation of the theoretical line profiles used in white dwarf atmosphere models, we extend the electron-density ($n_{\rm e}$) range measured by our experiments to higher densities (up to $n_{e}\sim80\times10^{16}$ cm$^{-3}$). Whereas inferred parameters using the hydrogen-$\beta$ spectral line agree among different line-shape models for $n_{\rm e}\lesssim30\times10^{16}$ cm$^{-3}$, we now see divergence between models. These are densities beyond the range previously benchmarked in the laboratory, meaning theoretical profiles in this regime have not been fully validated. Experimentally exploring these higher densities enables us to test and constrain different line-profile models, as the differences in their relative H-Balmer line shapes are more pronounced at such conditions. These experiments also aid in our study of occupation probabilities because we can measure these from relative line strengths.

Spitzer Observations of Long Term Infrared Variability Among Young Stellar Objects in Chamaeleon I

Infrared variability is common among young stellar objects, with surveys finding daily to weekly fluctuations of a few tenths of a magnitude. Space-based observations can produce highly sampled infrared light curves, but are often limited to total baselines of about a month due to the orientation of the spacecraft. Here we present observations of the Chameleon I cluster whose low declination makes it observable by the Spitzer space telescope over a 200 day period. We observe 30 young stellar objects with a daily cadence to better sample variability on timescales of months. We find such variability is common, occurring in ~80% of the detected cluster members. The change in [3.6]-[4.5] color over 200 days for many of the sources falls between that expected for extinction and fluctuations in disk emission. With our high cadence and long baseline we can derive power spectral density curves covering two orders of magnitude in frequency and find significant power at low frequencies, up to the boundaries of our 200 day survey. Such long timescales are difficult to explain with variations driven by the interaction between the disk and stellar magnetic field, which has a dynamical timescale of days to weeks. The most likely explanation is either structural or temperature fluctuations spread throughout the inner ~0.5 au of the disk, suggesting that the intrinsic dust structure is highly dynamic.

The First Six Outbursting Cool DA White Dwarf Pulsators

Extensive observations from the Kepler spacecraft have recently revealed a new outburst phenomenon operating in cool pulsating DA (hydrogen atmosphere) white dwarfs (DAVs). With the introduction of two new outbursting DAVs from K2 Fields 7 (EPIC 229228364) and 8 (EPIC 220453225) in these proceedings, we presently know of six total members of this class of object. We present the observational commonalities of the outbursting DAVs: (1) outbursts that increase the mean stellar flux by up to 15%, last many hours, and recur irregularly on timescales of days; (2) effective temperatures that locate them near the cool edge of the DAV instability strip; and (3) rich pulsation spectra with modes that are observed to wander in amplitude/frequency.

Dynamical Mass Measurement of the Young Spectroscopic Binary V343 Normae AaAb Resolved With the Gemini Planet Imager

We present new spatially resolved astrometry and photometry from the Gemini Planet Imager of the inner binary of the young multiple star system V343 Normae, which is a member of the beta Pictoris moving group. V343 Normae comprises a K0 and mid-M star in a ~4.5 year orbit (AaAb) and a wide 10" M5 companion (B). By combining these data with archival astrometry and radial velocities we fit the orbit and measure individual masses for both components of M_Aa = 1.10 +/- 0.10 M_sun and M_Ab = 0.290 +/- 0.018 M_sun. Comparing to theoretical isochrones, we find good agreement for the measured masses and JHK band magnitudes of the two components consistent with the age of the beta Pic moving group. We derive a model-dependent age for the beta Pic moving group of 26 +/- 3 Myr by combining our results for V343 Normae with literature measurements for GJ 3305, which is another group member with resolved binary components and dynamical masses.

Beyond the Maltese cross: geometry of turbulence between 0.2 and 1 AU

The spectral anisotropy of turbulent structures has been measured in the solar wind since 1990, relying on the assumption of axisymmetry about the mean magnetic field, B0. However, several works indicate that this hypothesis might be partially wrong, thus raising two questions: (i) is it correct to interpret measurements at 1 AU (the so-called Maltese cross) in term of a sum of slab and 2D turbulence? (ii) what information is really contained in the Maltese cross? We solve direct numerical simulations of the MHD equations including the transverse stretching exerted by the solar wind flow and study the genuine 3D anisotropy of turbulence as well as that one resulting from the assumption of axisymmetry about B0. We show that the evolution of the turbulent spectrum from 0.2 to 1 AU depends strongly on its initial anisotropy. An axisymmetric spectrum with respect to B0 keeps its axisymmetry, i.e., resists stretching perpendicular to radial, while an isotropic spectrum becomes essentially axisymmetric with respect to the radial direction. We conclude that close to the Sun, slow-wind turbulence has a spectrum that is axisymmetric around B0 and the measured 2D component at 1 AU describes the real shape of turbulent structures. On the contrary, fast-wind turbulence has a more isotropic spectrum at the source and becomes radially symmetric at 1 AU. Such structure is hidden by the symmetrization applied to the data that instead returns a slab geometry.

On the Link Between Energy Equipartition and Radial Variation in the Stellar Mass Function of Star Clusters

We make use of $N$-body simulations to determine the relationship between two observable parameters that are used to quantify mass segregation and energy equipartition in star clusters. Mass segregation can be quantified by measuring how the slope of a cluster's stellar mass function $\alpha$ changes with clustercentric distance r, and then calculating $\delta_\alpha = \frac{d \alpha(r)}{d ln(r/r_m)}$ where $r_m$ is the cluster's half-mass radius. The degree of energy equipartition in a cluster is quantified by $\eta$, which is a measure of how stellar velocity dispersion $\sigma$ depends on stellar mass m via $\sigma(m) \propto m^{-\eta}$. Through a suite of $N$-body star cluster simulations with a range of initial sizes, binary fractions, orbits, black hole retention fractions, and initial mass functions, we present the co-evolution of $\delta_\alpha$ and $\eta$. We find that measurements of the global $\eta$ are strongly affected by the radial dependence of $\sigma$ and mean stellar mass and the relationship between $\eta$ and $\delta_\alpha$ depends mainly on the cluster's initial conditions and the tidal field. Within $r_m$, where these effects are minimized, we find that $\eta$ and $\delta_\alpha$ initially share a linear relationship. However, once the degree of mass segregation increases such that the radial dependence of $\sigma$ and mean stellar mass become a factor within $r_m$, or the cluster undergoes core collapse, the relationship breaks down. We propose a method for determining $\eta$ within $r_m$ from an observational measurement of $\delta_\alpha$. In cases where $\eta$ and $\delta_\alpha$ can be measured independently, this new method offers a way of measuring the cluster's dynamical state.

The Space Weather of Proxima Centauri b

A planet orbiting in the "habitable zone" of our closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, has recently been discovered, and the next natural question is whether or not Proxima b is "habitable". Stellar winds are likely a source of atmospheric erosion that could be particularly severe in the case of M dwarf habitable zone planets that reside close to their parent star. Here we study the stellar wind conditions that Proxima b experiences over its orbit. We construct 3-D MHD models of the wind and magnetic field around Proxima Centauri using a surface magnetic field map for a star of the same spectral type and scaled to match the observed ~ 600 G surface magnetic field strength of Proxima. We examine the wind conditions and dynamic pressure over different plausible orbits that sample the constrained parameters of the orbit of Proxima b. For all the parameter space explored, the planet is subject to stellar wind pressures of more than 2000 times those experienced by Earth from the solar wind. During an orbit, Proxima b is also subject to pressure changes of 1 to 3 orders of magnitude on timescales of a day. Its magnetopause standoff distance consequently undergoes sudden and periodic changes by a factor of 2 to 5. Proxima b will traverse the interplanetary current sheet twice each orbit, and likely crosses into regions of subsonic wind quite frequently. These effects should be taken into account in any physically realistic assessment or prediction of its atmospheric reservoir, characteristics and loss.

How much can we trust high-resolution spectroscopic stellar chemical abundances?

To study stellar populations, it is common to combine chemical abundances from different spectroscopic surveys/studies where different setups were used. These inhomogeneities can lead us to inaccurate scientific conclusions. In this work, we studied one aspect of the problem: When deriving chemical abundances from high-resolution stellar spectra, what differences originate from the use of different radiative transfer codes?

Measuring stellar granulation during planet transits

Stellar activity and convection-related surface structures might cause bias in planet detection and characterization that use these transits. Surface convection simulations help to quantify the granulation signal. We used realistic three-dimensional radiative hydrodynamical simulations from the Stagger grid and synthetic images computed with the radiative transfer code Optim3D to model the transits of three prototype planets: a hot Jupiter, a hot Neptune, and a terrestrial planet. We computed intensity maps from RHD simulations of the Sun and a K-dwarf star at different wavelength bands from optical to far-infrared. We modeled the transit using synthetic stellar-disk images and emulated the temporal variation of the granulation intensity. We identified two types of granulation noise that act simultaneously during the planet transit: (i) the intrinsic change in the granulation pattern with timescales smaller than the usual planet transit, and (ii) the fact that the transiting planet occults isolated regions of the photosphere that differ in local surface brightness. Our modeling approach shows that the granulation pattern has a non-negligible effect on the light curve depth during the transit, and, consequentially on the determination of the radius of the planet transiting. The granulation noise appears to be correlated among the different wavelength ranges either in the visible or in the infrared regions. The granulation has to be considered as an intrinsic uncertainty (as a result of stellar variability) on the precise measurements of exoplanet transits of planets. The full characterization of the granulation is essential for determining the degree of uncertainty on the planet parameters. In this context, the use of 3D RHD simulations is important to measure the convection-related fluctuations.

Asteroseismic versus Gaia distances: a first comparison

Context. The Kepler space mission led to a large amount of high-precision time series of solar-like oscillators. Using a Bayesian analysis that combines asteroseismic techniques and additional ground-based observations, the mass, radius, luminosity, and distance of those stars can be estimated with good precision. This has given a new impetus to the research field of galactic archeology. Aims. The first data release of the Gaia space mission contains the TGAS catalog with parallax estimates for more than 2 million stars, including many of the Kepler targets. Our goal is to make a first proper comparison of asteroseismic and astrometric parallaxes of a selection of dwarfs, subgiants, and red giants observed by Kepler for which asteroseismic distances were published. Methods. We compare asteroseismic and astrometric distances of solar-like pulsators using an appropriate statistical errors-in- variables model on a linear as well as on a logarithmic scale. Results. For a sample of 22 dwarf and subgiant solar-like oscillators, the TGAS parallaxes considerably improved the Hipparcos ones, yet the excellent agreement between asteroseismic and astrometric distances still holds. For a sample of 938 Kepler pulsating red giants, the TGAS parallaxes are much more uncertain than the asteroseismic ones, making it worthwhile to validate the former with the latter. From errors-in-variables modelling we find a significant discrepancy between the TGAS parallaxes and the asteroseismic ones. Conclusions. For the sample of dwarfs and subgiants, the comparison between astrometric and asteroseismic parallaxes does not require a revision of the stellar models on the basis of TGAS. For the sample of red giants, we identify possible causes of the discrepancy, which we will likely be able to resolve with the more precise Gaia parallaxes of the upcoming releases.

A statistical study of CME properties and of the correlation between flares and CMEs over the solar cycles 23 and 24

We investigated some properties of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), such as speed, acceleration, polar angle, angular width and mass, using data acquired by LASCO aboard of SOHO from July 31, 1997, to March 31, 2014, i.e., during the solar cycles 23 and 24. We used two CME catalogs: one provided by the CDAW Data Center and one obtained by the CACTus detection algorithm. For both dataset, we found that the number of CMEs observed during the peak of cycle 24 was higher or comparable to the one during cycle 23, although the photospheric activity during cycle 24 was weaker than during cycle 23. More precisely, using the CMEs detected by CACTus we noted that the number of events N is of the same order of magnitude during the peaks of the two cycles, but the peak of CME distribution during the cycle 24 is more extended in time (N > 1500 during 2012 and 2013). We ascribe the discrepancy between CDAW and CACTus results to the observer bias for CME definition in the CDAW catalog (Robbrecht et al., 2009; Webb and Howard, 2012; Yashiro et al., 2008). We also used a dataset containing 19811 flares of C, M, and X class, observed by GOES during the same period. Using both dataset, we studied the relationship between the mass ejected by the CMEs and the flux emitted during the corresponding flares: we found 11441 flares that were temporally-correlated with CMEs for CDAW and 9120 for CACTus. Moreover, we found a log-linear relationship between the flux of the flares integrated from the start to end in the 0.1-0.8 nm range and the CME mass: log(CME mass) proportional to 0.23 x log(flare flux). We also found some differences in the mean CMEs velocity and acceleration between the events associated with flares and those that were not. In particular, the CMEs associated with flares are on average 100 km/s faster than the ones not associated with flares.

Tests of the Galactic planetary nebula distance scale with the initial Gaia parallax distances of their central stars

We used the "primary dataset" of Gaia Data Release 1 (DR1) to search for parallax measurements of central stars (CSs) of Galactic planetary nebulae (PNe), to determine PN distances. We found that a trigonometric parallax is available for 16 CSs, seven of which with relative uncertainty below 80%. The limited comparison of these trigonometric distances to other reliable individual determinations discloses good correlation between the two sets, with the Gaia parallax distances being lower by a factor of ~0.1 dex in the logarithmic distances. We tested with the Gaia parallaxes the most popular Galactic PN distance scales, namely, the physical radius vs. surface brightness, and the ionized mass vs. inverse optical thickness scales. While the number of available calibrators may still be too low, and their relative uncertainties too high, to derive a working distance scale, we were able to assess the current sample and to reveal the very promising potential of the future Gaia releases for a recalibration of the distance scale of Galactic PNe.

Constraining the Galactic structure parameters with the XSTPS-GAC and SDSS photometric surveys

Photometric data from the Xuyi Schmidt Telescope Photometric Survey of the Galactic Anticentre (XSTPS-GAC) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) are used to derive the global structure parameters of the smooth components of the Milky Way. The data, which cover nearly 11,000 deg$^2$ sky area and the full range of Galactic latitude, allow us to construct a globally representative Galactic model. The number density distribution of Galactic halo stars is fitted with an oblate spheroid that decays by power law. The best-fit yields an axis ratio and a power law index $\kappa=0.65$ and $p=2.79$, respectively. The $r$-band differential star counts of three dwarf samples are then fitted with a Galactic model. The best-fit model yielded by a Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis has thin and thick disk scale heights and lengths of $H_{1}=$ 322\,pc and $L_{1}=$2343\,pc, $H_{2}=$794\,pc and $L_{2}=$3638\,pc, a local thick-to-thin disk density ratio of $f_2=$11\,per\,cent, and a local density ratio of the oblate halo to the thin disk of $f_h=$0.16\,per\,cent. The measured star count distribution, which is in good agreement with the above model for most of the sky area, shows a number of statistically significant large scale overdensities, including some of the previously known substructures, such as the Virgo overdensity and the so-called "north near structure", and a new feature between 150\degr $< l < $ 240\degr~and $-1$5\degr $< b < $ $-$5\degr, at an estimated distance between 1.0 and 1.5\,kpc. The Galactic North-South asymmetry in the anticentre is even stronger than previously thought.

A model for straight and helical solar jets: II. Parametric study of the plasma beta

Jets are dynamic, impulsive, well-collimated plasma events that develop at many different scales and in different layers of the solar atmosphere. Jets are believed to be induced by magnetic reconnection, a process central to many astrophysical phenomena. Within the solar atmosphere, jet-like events develop in many different environments, e.g., in the vicinity of active regions as well as in coronal holes, and at various scales, from small photospheric spicules to large coronal jets. In all these events, signatures of helical structure and/or twisting/rotating motions are regularly observed. The present study aims to establish that a single model can generally reproduce the observed properties of these jet-like events. In this study, using our state-of-the-art numerical solver ARMS, we present a parametric study of a numerical tridimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model of solar jet-like events. Within the MHD paradigm, we study the impact of varying the atmospheric plasma $\beta$ on the generation and properties of solar-like jets. The parametric study validates our model of jets for plasma $\beta$ ranging from $10^{-3}$ to $1$, typical of the different layers and magnetic environments of the solar atmosphere. Our model of jets can robustly explain the generation of helical solar jet-like events at various $\beta \le 1$. This study introduces the new result that the plasma $\beta$ modifies the morphology of the helical jet, explaining the different observed shapes of jets at different scales and in different layers of the solar atmosphere. Our results allow us to understand the energisation, triggering, and driving processes of jet-like events. Our model allows us to make predictions of the impulsiveness and energetics of jets as determined by the surrounding environment, as well as the morphological properties of the resulting jets.

The puzzling properties of the magnetic O star Tr16-22

(abridged version) Context : The detection of bright, hard, and variable X-ray emission in Tr16-22 prompted spectropolarimetric observations of this star, which in turn led to the discovery of a surface magnetic field. Aims : We want to further constrain the properties of this star, in particular to verify whether X-ray variations are correlated to changes in optical emission lines and magnetic field strength, as expected from the oblique rotator model that is widely accepted for magnetic O stars. Methods: We have obtained new low-resolution spectropolarimetric and long-term high-resolution spectroscopic monitoring of Tr16-22, and we also analyse new, serendipitous X-ray data. Results: The new X-ray observations are consistent with previous data, but their addition does not help to solve the ambiguity in the variation timescale because of numerous aliases. No obvious periodicity or any large variations are detected in the spectropolarimetric data of Tr16-22 obtained over three months. The derived field values appear to be in line with previous measurements, suggesting constancy of the field (though the possibility of small, short-term field variations cannot be excluded). Variations in the equivalent widths of Halpha are very small, and they do not appear to be related to the X-ray timescale; the overall lack of large variations in optical emission lines is consistent with the magnetic field constancy. In addition, variations of the radial velocities indicate that Tr16-22 is probably a SB1 binary with a very long period.

RZ Leonis Minoris Bridging between ER Ursae Majoris-Type Dwarf Nova and Novalike System

We observed RZ LMi, which is renowned for the extremely (~19d) short supercycle and is a member of a small, unusual class of cataclysmic variables called ER UMa-type dwarf novae, in 2013 and 2016. In 2016, the supercycles of this object substantially lengthened in comparison to the previous measurements to 35, 32, 60d for three consecutive superoutbursts. We consider that the object virtually experienced a transition to the novalike state (permanent superhumper). This observed behavior extremely well reproduced the prediction of the thermal-tidal instability model. We detected a precursor in the 2016 superoutburst and detected growing (stage A) superhumps with a mean period of 0.0602(1)d in 2016 and in 2013. Combined with the period of superhumps immediately after the superoutburst, the mass ratio is not as small as in WZ Sge-type dwarf novae, having orbital periods similar to RZ LMi. By using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (Lasso) two-dimensional power spectra, we detected possible negative superhumps with a period of 0.05710(1)d. We estimated the orbital period of 0.05792d, which suggests a mass ratio of 0.105(5). This relatively large mass ratio is even above ordinary SU UMa-type dwarf novae, and it is also possible that the exceptionally high mass-transfer rate in RZ LMi may be a result of a stripped core evolved secondary which are evolving toward an AM CVn-type object.

The link between solenoidal turbulence and slow star formation in G0.253+0.016

Star formation in the Galactic disc is primarily controlled by gravity, turbulence, and magnetic fields. It is not clear that this also applies to star formation near the Galactic Centre. Here we determine the turbulence and star formation in the CMZ cloud G0.253+0.016. Using maps of 3mm dust emission and HNCO intensity-weighted velocity obtained with ALMA, we measure the volume-density variance $\sigma_{\rho/\rho_0} = 1.3 \pm 0.5$ and turbulent Mach number $\mathcal{M} = 11 \pm 3$. Combining these with turbulence simulations to constrain the plasma $\beta = 0.34 \pm 0.35$, we reconstruct the turbulence driving parameter $b = 0.22 \pm 0.12$ in G0.253+0.016. This low value of $b$ indicates solenoidal (divergence-free) driving of the turbulence in G0.253+0.016. By contrast, typical clouds in the Milky Way disc and spiral arms have a significant compressive (curl-free) driving component ($b > 0.4$). We speculate that shear causes the solenoidal driving in G0.253+0.016 and show that this may reduce the star formation rate by a factor of 7 compared to nearby clouds.

Highly variable young massive stars in ATLASGAL clumps

High-amplitude variability in Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) is usually associated with episodic accretion events. It has not been observed so far in massive YSOs. Here, the high-amplitude variable star sample of ContrerasPe\~{n}a et al.(2016) has been used to search for highly-variable($\Delta$K$\ge$1\,mag) sources coinciding with dense clumps mapped using the 850\mum continuum emission by the ATLASGAL survey. 18 variable sources are centred on the sub-mm clump peaks, and coincide ($<$1") with a 24$\mu$m point or compact ($<$10") source. 13 of these 18 sources can be fit by YSO models. The 13 variable YSOs(VYSO) have luminosities of $\sim$10$^3$ L$_{\odot}$, an average mass of 8 M$_{\odot}$ and a range of ages up to 10$^6$ yr. 11 of these 13 VYSOs are located in the midst of infrared dark clouds. 9 of the 13 sources have $\Delta$K$>$2 mag, significantly higher compared to the mean variability of the entire VVV sample. The light curves of these objects sampled between 2010-2015 display rising, declining, or quasi-periodic behaviour but no clear periodicity. Light-curve analysis using Plavchan method show that the most prominent phased signals have periods of a few hundred days. The nature and time-scale of variations found in 6.7 Ghz methanol maser emission (MME) in massive stars are similar to that of the VYSO light curves. We argue that the origin of the observed variability is episodic accretion. We suggest that the timescale of a few hundred days may represent the frequency at which a spiralling disk feeds dense gas to the young massive star.

On the formation of DA white dwarfs with low hydrogen contents: Preliminary Results

Systematic photometric and asteroseismological studies in the last decade support the belief that white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood harbor a broad range of hydrogen-layer contents. The reasons behind this spread of hydrogen-layer masses are not understood and usually misunderstood. In this work we present, and review, the different mechanisms that can (or cannot) lead to the formation of white dwarfs with a broad range hydrogen contents.

Post-AGB evolution much faster than previously thought

For 32 central stars of PNe we present their parameters interpolated among the new evolutionary sequences. The derived stellar final masses are confined between 0.53 and 0.58 $M_\odot$ in good agreement with the peak in the white dwarf mass distribution. Consequently, the inferred star formation history of the Galactic bulge is well restricted between 3 and 11 Gyr and is compatible with other published studies. The new evolutionary tracks proved a very good as a tool for analysis of late stages of stars life. The result provide a compelling confirmation of the accelerated post-AGB evolution.

Spin equilibrium in strongly-magnetized accreting stars

The spin rate of a strongly-magnetized accreting star is regulated by the interaction between the star's magnetic field and the accreting gas. These systems are often hypothesized to be in `spin equilibrium' with their surrounding accretion flows such that the net spin change of the star as a result of accretion is very small. This condition requires that the accretion rate changes more slowly than it takes the star to reach spin equilibrium. However, this is not true for most magnetically accreting stars, which have strongly variable accretion outbursts (by one to many orders of magnitude) on timescales much shorter than the time it would take to reach spin equilibrium. This paper examines how accretion outbursts affect the time a star takes to reach spin equilibrium and its final equilibrium spin period. I consider several different models for angular momentum loss -- where angular momentum is carried away in an outflow (the standard `propeller', centrifugally-launched outflow), where most angular momentum is lost via a stellar wind, and where it is mainly transferred back to the accretion disc (the `trapped disc'). For transient sources, the `propeller' scenario leads to significantly longer times to reach spin equilibrium (often 10x), and shorter equilibrium spin periods (typically a factor of a few) than would be expected from spin equilibrium arguments, while the `trapped disc' does not. Accretion outbursts also show a smaller effect on spin down due to a stellar wind, mainly because in this case spin-down occurs for all accretion rates. The difference between a trapped disc and `propeller' scenario arises mainly from the ability of a trapped disc to efficiently spin the star down during quiescence. The results suggest that disc trapping plays a significant role in the spin evolution of strongly magnetic stars.

Shaping of the inner Oort cloud by Planet Nine

We present a numerical calculation of the dynamical interaction between the proposed Planet Nine and an initially thin circular debris disk around the Sun for 4Gyr, accounting the secular perturbation of the four giant planets. We show that Planet Nine governs the dynamics in between 1000-5000AU and forms spherical structure in the inner part (~1000AU) surrounded by an inclined disk aligned to its orbital plane. This structure is the outcome of mean motion resonances and secular interaction with Planet Nine. We compare the morphology of this structure with the outcome from a fly-by encounter of a star with the debris disk and show distinct differences between the two scenarios. We predict that this structure serves as a source of comets and calculate the resulting comet production rate to be detectable.

First flight of the Gamma-Ray Imager/Polarimeter for Solar flares (GRIPS) instrument

The Gamma-Ray Imager/Polarimeter for Solar flares (GRIPS) is a balloon-borne telescope designed to study solar-flare particle acceleration and transport. We describe GRIPS's first Antarctic long-duration flight in Jan 2016 and report preliminary calibration and science results. Electron and ion dynamics, particle abundances and the ambient plasma conditions in solar flares can be understood by examining hard X-ray (HXR) and gamma-ray emission (20 keV to 10 MeV) with enhanced imaging, spectroscopy and polarimetry. GRIPS is specifically designed to answer questions including: What causes the spatial separation between energetic electrons producing HXRs and energetic ions producing gamma-ray lines? How anisotropic are the relativistic electrons, and why can they dominate in the corona? How do the compositions of accelerated and ambient material vary with space and time, and why? GRIPS's key technological improvements over the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) include 3D position-sensitive germanium detectors (3D-GeDs) and a single-grid, multi-pitch rotating modulator (MPRM) collimator. The 3D-GeDs have spectral FWHM resolution of a few hundred keV and spatial resolution $<$1 mm$^3$. For photons that Compton scatter, usually $\gtrsim$150 keV, the energy deposition sites can be tracked, providing polarization measurements as well as enhanced background reduction. The MPRM single-grid design provides twice the throughput of a bi-grid imaging system like RHESSI. The grid is composed of 2.5 cm thick W/Cu slats with 1-13 mm variable slit pitch, achieving quasi-continuous FWHM angular coverage over 12.5-162 arcsecs. This resolution is capable of imaging the separate magnetic loop footpoint emissions in a variety of flare sizes. (Abstract edited down from source.)

Learning about stars from their colors

We pose the question of how much information on the atmospheric parameters of late-type stars can be retrieved purely from photometric information using standard photometric systems. We carried out numerical experiments using stellar fluxes from model atmospheres, injecting random noise before analyzing them. We examined the presence of degeneracies among atmospheric parameters, and evaluated how well the parameters are extracted depending on the number and wavelength span of the photometric filters available, from the UV GALEX to the mid-IR WISE passbands. We also considered spectrophotometry from the Gaia mission. We find that stellar effective temperatures can be determined accurately ($\sigma \sim$ 0.01 dex or about 150 K) when reddening is negligible or known, based merely on optical photometry, and the accuracy can be improved twofold by including IR data. On the other hand, stellar metallicities and surface gravities are fairly unconstrained from optical or IR photometryy. However, our ability to retrieve these parameters can improve twofold by adding UV photometry. When reddening is considered a free parameter, assuming it can be modeled perfectly, our experiments suggest that it can be disentangled from the rest of the parameters. This theoretical study indicates that combining broad-band photometry from the UV to the mid-IR allows atmospheric parameters and interstellar extinction to be determined with fair accuracy. The use of UV passbands helps substantially to derive metallicities and surface gravities, as well as to break the degeneracy between effective temperature and reddening. The Gaia BP/RP data can disentangle all the parameters, provided the stellar SEDs are modeled reasonably well.

Sustained Turbulence in Differentially Rotating Magnetized Fluids at Low Magnetic Prandtl Number

We show for the first time that sustained turbulence is possible at low magnetic Prandtl number for Keplerian flows with no mean magnetic flux. Our results indicate that increasing the vertical domain size is equivalent to increasing the dynamical range between the energy injection scale and the dissipative scale. This has important implications for a large variety of differentially rotating systems with low magnetic Prandtl number such as protostellar disks and laboratory experiments.

A close encounter of the massive kind

We have used (a) HST ACS imaging and STIS spectroscopy, (b) ground-based PIONIER/VLT long-baseline interferometry, and (c) ground-based spectroscopy from different instruments to study the orbit of the extreme multiple system HD 93 129 Aa,Ab, which is composed of (at least) two very massive stars in a long-period orbit with e>0.92 that will pass through periastron in 2017/2018. In several ways, the system is an eta Car precursor. Around the time of periastron passage the two very strong winds will collide and generate an outburst of non-thermal hard X-ray emission without precedent in an O+O binary since astronomers have been able to observe above Earth's atmosphere. A coordinated multiwavelength monitoring in the next two years will enable a breakthrough understanding of the wind interactions in such extreme close encounters. Furthermore, we have found evidence that HD 93 129 Aa may be a binary system itself. In that case, we could witness a three-body interaction that may yield a runaway star or a stellar collision close to or shortly after the periastron passage. Either of those outcomes would be unprecedented, as they are predicted to be low-frequency events in the Milky Way.

1RXS J161935.7+524630: New Polar with the Varying Accretion Modes on two Magnetic Poles

We report the discovery of a new cataclysmic variable DDE 32 identified with the ROSAT X-ray source 1RXS J161935.7+524630 in Draco. The variability was originally found by D. Denisenko on the digitized Palomar plates centered at the position of X-ray source. The photometric observations by F. Martinelli at Lajatico Astronomical Center in June 2015 have shown the large amplitude (nearly 2 magnitudes) variability with a period about 100.5 minutes. Using the publicly available Catalina Sky Survey data from 2005 to 2013 we have improved the value of period to 0.0697944 days. Comparison of the archival CRTS data with more recent observations from Lajatico shows the dramatic changes in the light curve shape. Instead of a single peak present in Catalina data before 2014, there were two peaks of nearly the same height during 2015. SDSS spectrum taken in June 2009 shows prominent Helium emission lines between the bright Balmer series. He II 4686 AA line has more than 30% effective width compared to H_beta line. All those features allow us to interpret 1RXS J161935.7+524630 as a magnetic cataclysmic variable (polar) with the accretion mode changing from one pole before 2014 to two poles in 2015.

Temperature and Density Structure of a Recurring Active Region Jet

We present a study of a recurring jet observed on October 31, 2011 by SDO/AIA, Hinode/XRT and Hinode/EIS. We discuss the physical parameters of the jet such as density, differential emission measure, peak temperature, velocity and filling factor obtained using imaging and spectroscopic observations. A differential emission measure (DEM) analysis was performed at the region of the jet-spire and the footpoint using EIS observations and also by combining AIA and XRT observations. The DEM curves were used to create synthetic spectra with the CHIANTI atomic database. The plasma along the line-of-sight in the jet-spire and jet-footpoint was found to be peak at 2.0 MK. We calculated electron densities using the Fe XII ($\lambda$186/$\lambda$195) line ratio in the region of the spire (Ne = 7.6x$10^{10}$ $cm^{-3}$) and the footpoint (1.1x$10^{11}$ $cm^{-3}$). The plane-of-sky velocity of the jet is found to be 524 km/s. The resulting EIS DEM values are in good agreement with those obtained from AIA-XRT. There is no indication of high temperatures, such as emission from Fe XVII ($\lambda$254.87) (log T [K] = 6.75) seen in the jet-spire. In case of the jet-footpoint, synthetic spectra predict weak contributions from Ca XVII ($\lambda$192.85) and Fe XVII ($\lambda$254.87). With further investigation, we confirmed emission from the Fe XVIII ($\lambda$93.932) line in the AIA 94 ${\AA}$ channel in the region of the footpoint. We also found good agreement between the estimated and predicted Fe XVIII count rates. A study of the temporal evolution of the jet-footpoint and the presence of high-temperature emission from the Fe XVIII (log T [K] = 6.85) line leads us to conclude that the hot component in the jet-footpoint was present initially that the jet had cooled down by the time EIS observed it.

On the energy dissipation rate at the inner edge of circumbinary discs

We study, by means of numerical simulations and analysis, the details of the accretion process from a disc onto a binary system. We show that energy is dissipated at the edge of a circumbinary disc and this is associated with the tidal torque that maintains the cavity: angular momentum is transferred from the binary to the disc through the action of compressional shocks and viscous friction. These shocks can be viewed as being produced by fluid elements which drift into the cavity and, before being accreted, are accelerated onto trajectories that send them back to impact the disc. The rate of energy dissipation is approximately equal to the product of potential energy per unit mass at the disc's inner edge and the accretion rate, estimated from the disc parameters just beyond the cavity edge, that would occur without the binary. For very thin discs, the actual accretion rate onto the binary may be significantly less. We calculate the energy emitted by a circumbinary disc taking into account energy dissipation at the inner edge and also irradiation arising there from reprocessing of light from the stars. We find that, for tight PMS binaries, the SED is dominated by emission from the inner edge at wavelengths between 1-4 and 10 $\mu$m. This may apply to systems like CoRoT 223992193 and V1481 Ori.

Photometric Variability of the Be Star Population

Be stars have generally been characterized by the emission lines in their spectra, and especially the time variability of those spectroscopic features. They are known to also exhibit photometric variability at multiple timescales, but have not been broadly compared and analyzed by that behavior. We have taken advantage of the advent of wide-field, long-baseline, and high-cadence photometric surveys that search for transiting exoplanets to perform a comprehensive analysis of brightness variations among a large number of known Be stars. The photometric data comes from the KELT transit survey, with a typical cadence of 30 minutes, baseline of up to ten years, photometric precision of about 1%, and coverage of about 60% of the sky. We analyze KELT light curves of 610 known Be stars in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres in an effort to study their variability. Consistent with other studies of Be star variability, we find most of the stars to be photometrically variable. We derive lower limits on the fraction of stars in our sample that exhibit features consistent with non-radial pulsations (25%), outbursts (36%), and long term trends in the circumstellar disk (37%), and show how these are correlated with spectral sub-type. Other types of variability, such as those owing to binarity, are also explored. Simultaneous spectroscopy for some of these systems from the Be Star Spectral Database (BeSS) allow us to better understand the physical causes for the observed variability, especially in cases of outbursts and changes in the disk.

Electron impact excitation rates for transitions in Mg V [Cross-Listing]

Energy levels, radiative rates (A-values) and lifetimes, calculated with the GRASP code, are reported for an astrophysically important O-like ion Mg~V. Results are presented for transitions among the lowest 86 levels belonging to the 2s$^2$2p$^4$, 2s2p$^5$, 2p$^6$, and 2s$^2$2p$^3$3$\ell$ configurations. There is satisfactory agreement with earlier data for most levels/transitions, but scope remains for improvement. Collision strengths are also calculated, with the DARC code, and the results obtained are comparable for most transitions (at energies above thresholds) with earlier work using the DW code. In thresholds region, resonances have been resolved in a fine energy mesh to determine values of effective collision strengths ($\Upsilon$) as accurately as possible. Results are reported for all transitions at temperatures up to 10$^6$~K, which should be sufficient for most astrophysical applications. However, a comparison with earlier data reveals discrepancies of up to two orders of magnitude for over 60\% of transitions, at all temperatures. The reasons for these discrepancies are discussed in detail.

Radiative diagnostics in the solar photosphere and chromosphere [Replacement]

Magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun and stars in general imprint or modify the polarization state of the electromagnetic radiation that is leaving from the star. The inference of solar/stellar magnetic fields is performed by detecting, studying and modeling polarized light from the target star. In this review we present an overview of techniques that are used to study the atmosphere of the Sun, and particularly those that allow to infer magnetic fields. We have combined a small selection of theory on polarized radiative transfer, inversion techniques and we discuss a number of results from chromospheric inversions.

Radiative diagnostics in the solar photosphere and chromosphere

Magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun and stars in general imprint or modify the polarization state of the electromagnetic radiation that is leaving from the star. The inference of solar/stellar magnetic fields is performed by detecting, studying and modeling polarized light from the target star. In this review we present an overview of techniques that are used to study the atmosphere of the Sun, and particularly those that allow to infer magnetic fields. We have combined a small selection of theory on polarized radiative transfer, inversion techniques and we discuss a number of results from chromospheric inversions.

New ultracool subdwarfs identified in large-scale surveys using Virtual Observatory tools: II. SDSS DR7 vs UKIDSS LAS DR6, SDSS DR7 vs UKIDSS LAS DR8, SDSS DR9 vs UKIDSS LAS DR10, and SDSS DR7 vs 2MASS

We aim at developing an efficient method to search for late-type subdwarfs (metal-depleted dwarfs with spectral types >M5) to improve the current statistics. Our objectives are: improve our knowledge of metal-poor low-mass dwarfs, bridge the gap between the late-M and L types, determine their surface density, and understand the impact of metallicity on the stellar and substellar mass function. We carried out a search cross-matching the SDSS, 2MASS, and UKIDSS using STILTS, Aladin, and Topcat. We considered different photometric and proper motion criteria for our selection. We identified 29 and 71 late-type subdwarf candidates in each cross-correlation over 8826 and 3679 square degrees, respectively. We obtained low-resolution optical spectra for 71 of our candidates with GTC, NOT, and VLT and retrieved spectra for 30 candidates from the SDSS spectroscopic database. We classified 92 candidates based on 101 optical spectra using two methods: spectral indices and comparison with templates of known subdwarfs. We confirmed 86% and 94% of the candidates as late-type subdwarfs from the SDSS vs 2MASS and SDSS vs UKIDSS cross-matches, respectively. These subdwarfs have spectral types ranging between M5 and L0.5 and SDSS magnitudes in the r=19.4-23.3 mag range. Our new late-type M discoveries include 49 subdwarfs, 25 extreme subdwarfs, six ultrasubdwarfs, one subdwarf/extreme subdwarf, and two dwarfs/subdwarfs. We derived a surface density of late-type subdwarfs of 0.040$^{+0.012}_{-0.007}$ per square degree in the SDSS DR7 vs UKIDSS LAS DR10 cross-match. We also checked the AllWISE photometry of known and new subdwarfs and found that mid-infrared colours of M subdwarfs do not appear to differ from their solar-metallicity counterparts of similar spectral types. However, the J-W2 and J-W1 colours are bluer for lower metallicity dwarfs. (abstract strongly abridged)

WR 148: Identifying the companion of an extreme runaway massive binary

WR 148 (HD 197406) is an extreme runaway system considered to be a potential candidate for a short-period (4.3173 d) rare WR + compact object binary. Provided with new high resolution, high signal-to-noise spectra from the Keck observatory, we determine the orbital parameters for both the primary WR and the secondary, yielding respective projected orbital velocity amplitudes of $88.1\pm3.8$ km s$^{-1}$ and $79.2\pm3.1$ km s$^{-1}$ and implying a mass ratio of $1.1\pm0.1$. We then apply the shift-and-add technique to disentangle the spectra and obtain spectra compatible with a WN7ha and an O4-6 star. Considering an orbital inclination of $\sim67^\circ$, derived from previous polarimetry observations, the system's total mass would be a mere 2-3 M$_{\odot}$ , an unprecedented result for a putative massive binary system. However, a system comprising a 37 M$_{\odot}$ secondary (typical mass of an O5V star) and a 33 M$_{\odot}$ primary (given the mass ratio) would infer an inclination of $\sim18^\circ$. We therefore reconsider the previous methods of deriving the orbital inclination based on time-dependent polarimetry and photometry. While the polarimetric results are inconclusive requiring better data, the photometric results favour low inclinations. Finally, we compute WR 148's space velocity and retrace the runaway's trajectory back to the Galactic plane (GP). With an ejection velocity of $198\pm27$ km s$^{-1}$ and a travel time of $4.7\pm0.8$ Myr to reach its current location, WR 148 was most likely ejected via dynamical interactions in a young cluster.


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