Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

Code dependencies of pre-supernova evolution and nucleosynthesis in massive stars: Evolution to the end of core helium burning

Massive stars are key sources of radiative, kinetic, and chemical feedback in the universe. Grids of massive star models computed by different groups each using their own codes, input physics choices and numerical approximations, however, lead to inconsistent results for the same stars. We use three of these 1D codes—GENEC, KEPLER and MESA—to compute non-rotating stellar models of $15~\mathrm{M}_\odot$, $20~\mathrm{M}_\odot$, and $25~\mathrm{M}_\odot$ and compare their nucleosynthesis. We follow the evolution from the main sequence until the end of core helium burning. The GENEC and KEPLER models hold physics assumptions used in large grids of published models. The MESA code was set up to use convective core overshooting such that the CO core masses are consistent with those obtained by GENEC. For all models, full nucleosynthesis is computed using the NuGrid post-processing tool MPPNP. We find that the surface abundances predicted by the models are in reasonable agreement. In the helium core, the standard deviation of the elemental overproduction factors for Fe to Mo is less than $30\,\%$—smaller than the impact of the present nuclear physics uncertainties. For our three initial masses, the three stellar evolution codes yield consistent results. Differences in key properties of the models, e.g., helium and CO core masses and the time spent as a red supergiant, are traced back to the treatment of convection and, to a lesser extent, mass loss. The mixing processes in stars remain the key uncertainty in stellar modelling. Better constrained prescriptions are thus necessary to improve the predictive power of stellar evolution models.

Numerical Simulations of Mach Stem Formation via Intersecting Bow Shocks

Hubble Space Telescope observations show bright knots of H$\alpha$ emission within outflowing young stellar jets. Velocity variations in the flow create secondary bow shocks that may intersect and lead to enhanced emission. When the bow shocks intersect at or above a certain critical angle, a planar shock called a Mach stem is formed. These shocks could produce brighter H$\alpha$ emission since the incoming flow to the Mach stem is parallel to the shock normal. In this paper we report first results of a study using 2-D numerical simulations designed to explore Mach stem formation at the intersection of bow shocks formed by hypersonic "bullets" or "clumps". Our 2-D simulations show how the bow shock shapes and intersection angles change as the adiabatic index $\gamma$ changes. We show that the formation or lack of a Mach stem in our simulations is consistent with the steady-state Mach stem formation theory. Our ultimate goal, which is part of an ongoing research effort, is to characterize the physical and observational consequences of bow shock intersections including the formation of Mach stems.

Pan-chromatic observations of the remarkable nova LMC 2012

We present the results of an intensive multiwavelength campaign on nova LMC 2012. This nova evolved very rapidly in all observed wavelengths. The time to fall two magnitudes in the V band was only 2 days. In X-rays the super soft phase began 13$\pm$5 days after discovery and ended around day 50 after discovery. During the super soft phase, the \Swift/XRT and \Chandra\ spectra were consistent with the underlying white dwarf being very hot, $\sim$ 1 MK, and luminous, $\sim$ 10$^{38}$ erg s$^{-1}$. The UV, optical, and near-IR photometry showed a periodic variation after the initial and rapid fading had ended. Timing analysis revealed a consistent 19.24$\pm$0.03 hr period in all UV, optical, and near-IR bands with amplitudes of $\sim$ 0.3 magnitudes which we associate with the orbital period of the central binary. No periods were detected in the corresponding X-ray data sets. A moderately high inclination system, $i$ = 60$\pm$10$^{\arcdeg}$, was inferred from the early optical emission lines. The {\it HST}/STIS UV spectra were highly unusual with only the \ion{N}{5} (1240\AA) line present and superposed on a blue continuum. The lack of emission lines and the observed UV and optical continua from four epochs can be fit with a low mass ejection event, $\sim$ 10$^{-6}$ M$_{\odot}$, from a hot and massive white dwarf near the Chandrasekhar limit. The white dwarf, in turn, significantly illuminated its subgiant companion which provided the bulk of the observed UV/optical continuum emission at the later dates. The inferred extreme white dwarf characteristics and low mass ejection event favor nova LMC 2012 being a recurrent nova of the U Sco subclass.

MHD Effects on Pulsed YSO Jets. I. 2.5-D Simulations

In this paper we explore the dynamics of radiative axisymmetric MHD jets at high resolution using AMR methods. The goal of the study is to determine both the dynamics and emission properties of such jets. To that end we have implemented microphysics enabling us to produce synthetic maps of H$\alpha$ and [S II]. The jets are pulsed either sinusoidally or randomly via a time-dependent ejection velocity which leads to a complicated structure of internal shocks and rarefactions as has been seen in previous simulations. The high resolution of our simulations allows us to explore in great detail the effect of pinch forces (due to the jet’s toroidal magnetic field) within the "working surfaces" where pulses interact. We map the strong H$\alpha$ emission marking shock fronts and the strong [S II] emission inside cooling regions behind shocks as observed with high-resolution images of jets. We find that pinch forces in the stronger field cases produce additional emission regions along the axis as compared with purely hydrodynamic runs. These simulations are a first step to understanding the full 3-D emission properties of radiative MHD jets.

Temperature diagnostics of the solar atmosphere using SunPy

The solar atmosphere is a hot (about 1MK), magnetised plasma of great interest to physicists. There have been many previous studies of the temperature of the Sun’s atmosphere (Plowman2012, Wit2012, Hannah2012, Aschwanden2013, etc.). Almost all of these studies use the SolarSoft software package written in the commercial Interactive Data Language (IDL), which has been the standard language for solar physics. The SunPy project aims to provide an open-source library for solar physics. This work presents (to the authors’ knowledge) the first study of its type to use SunPy rather than SolarSoft. This work uses SunPy to process multi-wavelength solar observations made by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument aboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and produce temperature maps of the Sun’s atmosphere. The method uses SunPy’s utilities for querying databases of solar events, downloading solar image data, storing and processing images as spatially aware Map objects, and tracking solar features as the Sun rotates. An essential consideration in developing this software is computational efficiency due to the large amount of data collected by AIA/SDO, and in anticipating new solar missions which will result in even larger sets of data. An overview of the method and implementation is given, along with tests involving synthetic data and examples of results using real data for various regions in the Sun’s atmosphere.

Tomography of Galactic star-forming regions and spiral arms with the Square Kilometer Array

Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) at radio wavelengths can provide astrometry accurate to 10 micro-arcseconds or better (i.e. better than the target GAIA accuracy) without being limited by dust obscuration. This means that unlike GAIA, VLBI can be applied to star-forming regions independently of their internal and line-of-sight extinction. Low-mass young stellar objects (particularly T Tauri stars) are often non-thermal compact radio emitters, ideal for astrometric VLBI radio continuum experiments. Existing observations for nearby regions (e.g. Taurus, Ophiuchus, or Orion) demonstrate that VLBI astrometry of such active T Tauri stars enables the reconstruction of both the regions’ 3D structure (through parallax measurements) and their internal kinematics (through proper motions, combined with radial velocities). The extraordinary sensitivity of the SKA telescope will enable similar "tomographic mappings" to be extended to regions located several kpc from Earth, in particular to nearby spiral arm segments. This will have important implications for Galactic science, galactic dynamics and spiral structure theories.

The Gould Belt Very Large Array Survey IV: The Taurus-Auriga complex

We present a multi-epoch radio study of the Taurus-Auriga star-forming complex made with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array at frequencies of 4.5 GHz and 7.5 GHz. We detect a total of 610 sources, 59 of which are related to young stellar objects and 18 to field stars. The properties of 56\% of the young stars are compatible with non-thermal radio emission. We also show that the radio emission of more evolved young stellar objects tends to be more non-thermal in origin and, in general, that their radio properties are compatible with those found in other star forming regions. By comparing our results with previously reported X-ray observations, we notice that young stellar objects in Taurus-Auriga follow a G\"{u}del-Benz relation with $\kappa$=0.03, as we previously suggested for other regions of star formation. In general, young stellar objects in Taurus-Auriga and in all the previous studied regions seem to follow this relation with a dispersion of $\sim1$ dex. Finally, we propose that most of the remaining sources are related with extragalactic objects but provide a list of 46 unidentified radio sources whose radio properties are compatible with a YSO nature.

IGR J17480-2446: a new class of accreting binaries?

The recent discovery of long-period, low magnetic field pulsars in low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) represents a challenge for the standard evolutionary scenario. These pulsars have a magnetic field strength comparable to that of millisecond pulsars ($\sim 10^8 – 10^9$ G), but their period is at least an order of magnitude longer. We discuss the origin of this new class of pulsars within the standard picture of LMXBs formation and apply our results to the case of IGR J17480-2446. The magnetothermal evolution of the binary system is studied numerically by taking into account the effect of different accretion rates during the Roche-lobe overflow in the framework of the minimal cooling scenario. We show that, in addition to standard millisecond pulsars, long-period low magnetic field pulsars should also be expected as a possible outcome of the binary evolution, depending on the strength of the accretion rate during the Roche-lobe overflow. In particular, we argue that IGR J17480-2446 belongs to this new class of objects.

Radio Jets in Young Stellar Objects with the SKA

Jets are ubiquitous in the star-forming process since accretion is intimately associated with outflow. Weak free-free continuum emission in the centimeter domain is associated with these jets. Observations in the cm range are most useful to trace the base of the ionized jets, close to the YSO and its accretion disk, where jets are accelerated and collimated. Optical or near-IR images are obscured by the high extinction present. Radio recombination lines in jets (in combination with proper motions) should provide their 3D kinematics. SKA will be crucial to perform this kind of observations. Thermal radio jets are associated with both low and high mass protostars. The ionizing mechanism appears to be related to shocks in the associated outflows, as suggested by the observed correlation between the centimeter luminosity and the outflow momentum rate. From this correlation and that with the bolometric luminosity of the driving star it will be possible to discriminate with SKA between unresolved HII regions and jets, and to infer physical properties of the embedded objects. Some jets show indications of non-thermal emission (negative spectral indices) in their lobes. Linearly polarized synchrotron emission has been found in the lobes of the jet of HH 80-81, allowing us to measure the direction and intensity of the magnetic field, a clue ingredient in determining the jet collimation and ejection mechanisms. As only a fraction of the emission is polarized, very sensitive observations such as those that will be feasible with SKA are required to perform these studies in other objects. Jets are common in many kinds of astrophysical scenarios. Characterizing YSO radio jets, whose physical conditions can be reliably determined from their thermal emission, would be also useful in understanding acceleration and collimation mechanisms in all kinds of astrophysical jets.

The PAC2MAN mission: a new tool to understand and predict solar energetic events

An accurate forecast of flare and CME initiation requires precise measurements of the magnetic energy build up and release in the active regions of the solar atmosphere. We designed a new space weather mission that performs such measurements using new optical instruments based on the Hanle and Zeeman effects. The mission consists of two satellites, one orbiting the L1 Lagrangian point (Spacecraft Earth, SCE) and the second in heliocentric orbit at 1AU trailing the Earth by 80$^\circ$ (Spacecraft 80, SC80). Optical instruments measure the vector magnetic field in multiple layers of the solar atmosphere. The orbits of the spacecraft allow for a continuous imaging of nearly 73\% of the total solar surface. In-situ plasma instruments detect solar wind conditions at 1AU and ahead of our planet. Earth directed CMEs can be tracked using the stereoscopic view of the spacecraft and the strategic placement of the SC80 satellite. Forecasting of geoeffective space weather events is possible thanks to an accurate surveillance of the magnetic energy build up in the Sun, an optical tracking through the interplanetary space, and in-situ measurements of the near-Earth environment.

Why Galaxies Care about AGB Stars: Setting the Stage

In this introduction to the Third Congress of Vienna on AGB stars I first try to highlight why it is so hard to cope with the AGB evolutionary phase. This phase is indeed dominated by three main physical processes concerning bulk motions of matter inside/around stars, namely envelope convection, mixing and mass loss. They are inextricably interlaced with each other in a circular sequence of reactions and counter-reactions which has so far undermined our attempts at calibrating such processes one independent of the other. The second part of this introduction is focused on Globular Clusters, illustrating how they came to be a {\it new frontier} for the AGB evolution and a new opportunity to understand it.

Multiwaveband photometry of the irradiated brown dwarf WD0137-349B

WD0137-349 is a white dwarf-brown dwarf binary system in a 116 minute orbit. We present radial velocity observations and multiwaveband photometry from V, R and I in the optical, to J, H and Ks in the near-IR and [3.6], [4.5], [5.8] and [8.0] microns in the mid-IR. The photometry and lightcurves show variability in all wavebands, with the amplitude peaking at [4.5] microns, where the system is also brightest. Fluxes and brightness temperatures were computed for the heated and unheated atmosphere of the brown dwarf (WD0137-349B) using synthetic spectra of the white dwarf using model atmosphere simulations. We show that the flux from the brown dwarf dayside is brighter than expected in the Ks and [4.5] micron bands when compared to models of irradiated brown dwarfs with full energy circulation and suggest this over-luminosity may be attributed to H2 fluorescence or H3+ being generated in the atmosphere by the UV irradiation.

The role of magnetic field for quiescence-outburst models in CVs

In this paper we present the elementary assumptions of our research on the role of the magnetic field in modelling the quiescence-outbursts cycle in Cataclysmic Variables (CVs). The behaviour of the magnetic field is crucial not only to integrate the disk instability model (Osaki 1974), but also to determine the cause and effect nexus among parameters affecting the behavior of complex systems. On the ground of our interpretation of the results emerging from the literature, we suggest that in models describing DNe outbursts, such as the disk instability model, the secondary instability model (Bath 1973) and the thermonuclear runaway model (Mitrofanov 1978), the role of the magnetic field is at least twofold. On the one hand, it activates a specific dynamic pathway for the accreting matter by channelling it. On the other hand, it could be indirectly responsible for switching a particular outburst modality. In order to represent these two roles of the magnetic field, we need to integrate the disk instability model by looking at the global behaviour of the system under analysis. Stochastic resonance in dynamo models, we believe, is a suitable candidate for accomplishing this task. We shall present the MHD model including this mechanism elsewhere.

Enhancement of the sterile neutrinos yield at high matter density and at increasing the medium neutronization

The relative yields of active and sterile neutrinos in the matter with a high density and different degree of neutronization are calculated. A significant increase in the proportion of sterile neutrinos produced in superdense matter when approaching the medium neutronization degree to value of two is found. The results obtained can be used in the calculations of the neutrino fluxes for media with a high density and different neutronization degrees in astrophysical processes such as the formation of protoneutron core of a supernova.

Enhancement of the sterile neutrinos yield at high matter density and at increasing the medium neutronization [Cross-Listing]

The relative yields of active and sterile neutrinos in the matter with a high density and different degree of neutronization are calculated. A significant increase in the proportion of sterile neutrinos produced in superdense matter when approaching the medium neutronization degree to value of two is found. The results obtained can be used in the calculations of the neutrino fluxes for media with a high density and different neutronization degrees in astrophysical processes such as the formation of protoneutron core of a supernova.

Modeling Complex Organic Molecules in dense regions: Eley-Rideal and complex induced reaction

Recent observations have revealed the existence of Complex Organic Molecules (COMs) in cold dense cores and prestellar cores. The presence of these molecules in such cold conditions is not well understood and remains a matter of debate since the previously proposed "warm- up" scenario cannot explain these observations. In this article, we study the effect of Eley- Rideal and complex induced reaction mechanisms of gas-phase carbon atoms with the main ice components of dust grains on the formation of COMs in cold and dense regions. Based on recent experiments we use a low value for the chemical desorption efficiency (which was previously invoked to explain the observed COM abundances). We show that our introduced mechanisms are efficient enough to produce a large amount of complex organic molecules in the gas-phase at temperatures as low as 10K.

Field topologies in ideal and near ideal magnetohydrodynamics and vortex dynamics

Magnetic field topology frozen in ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and its breakage in near ideal MHD are reviewed in two parts. The first part gives a physically complete description of the frozen in field topology, taking magnetic flux conservation as fundamental and treating four topics, Eulerian and Lagrangian descriptions of MHD, Chandrasekhar-Kendall and Euler-potential field representations, magnetic helicity, and inviscid vortex dynamics in comparison to ideal MHD. A corollary clarifies the challenge of achieving a high degree of the frozen in condition in numerical MHD. The second part treats field topology breakage centered on the Parker Magnetostatic Theorem on a general incompatibility of a continuous magnetic field with the dual demand of force free equilibrium and an arbitrarily prescribed, 3D field topology. Preserving field topology as a global constraint readily results in formation of tangential magnetic discontinuities, i.e., electric current sheets of zero thickness. A similar incompatibility is present in the steady, force and thermal balance of a heated radiating fluid subject to an anisotropic thermal flux conducted strictly along the frozen in magnetic field in the low beta limit. In a weakly resistive fluid the thinning of current sheets by these incompatibilities inevitably results in sheet dissipation, resistive heating and topological changes in the field despite the small resistivity. Faraday induction drives but also macroscopically limits this mode of energy dissipation, storing free energy in self organized, ideal MHD structures. This property of MHD turbulence captured by the Taylor hypothesis is reviewed in relation to the Sun’s corona, calling for a basic quantitative description of the breakdown of flux conservation in the low resistivity limit. A cylindrical, initial boundary value problem provides specificity in the review.

Characterization of the Most Luminous Star in M33: A Super Symbiotic Binary

We present the first spectrum of the most luminous infrared star in M33, and use it to demonstrate that the object is almost certainly a binary composed of a massive O star and a dust-enshrouded Red Hypergiant. This is the most luminous symbiotic binary ever discovered. Its radial velocity is an excellent match to that of the hydrogen gas in the disk of M33, supporting our interpretation that it is a very young and massive binary star.

Kepler Flares III: Stellar Activity on GJ 1245 A and B

We present the flare occurrence rates and starspot evolution for GJ 1245 A and B, two active M5 stars, based on nine months of Kepler short cadence observations, and four years of nearly continuous long cadence observations. The A component is separated from the B component by 7 arcseconds, and the stars are not resolved in the Kepler pipeline processing due to Kepler’s large plate scale of 4 arcseconds/pixel. Analyzing the target pixel data, we have generated separate light curves for components A and B using the PyKE pixel response function modeling procedures, and note the effects of CCD saturation and non-linear response to high energy flares. In our sample, GJ 1245A and B exhibit an average of 3.0 and 2.6 flares per day, respectively. We introduce a new metric, $L_{fl}/L_{\mathrm{Kp}}$, to compare the flare rates between stars, and discuss this in the context of GJ 1245 A and B. Both stars exhibit starspot features that evolve on long time scales, with the slower rotating B component showing evidence of differential rotation. Intriguingly, the angular separation between the A and B component photocenters decreases during the four years of observations in a manner consistent with a shift in the position of the A photocenter due to the orbit of its unseen M8 companion (GJ 1245C), which is $\sim$94% less bright. Among the most detailed photometric studies of fully convective M dwarfs in a multiple system, these results provide an important constraint on stellar age-rotation-activity models.

Direct Spectrum of the Benchmark T dwarf HD 19467 B

HD 19467 B is presently the only directly imaged T dwarf companion known to induce a measurable Doppler acceleration around a solar type star. We present spectroscopy measurements of this important benchmark object taken with the Project 1640 integral field unit at Palomar Observatory. Our high-contrast R~30 observations obtained simultaneously across the $JH$ bands confirm the cold nature of the companion as reported from the discovery article and determine its spectral type for the first time. Fitting the measured spectral energy distribution to SpeX/IRTF T dwarf standards and synthetic spectra from BT-Settl atmospheric models, we find that HD 19467 B is a T5.5+/-1 dwarf with effective temperature Teff=$978^{+20}_{-43}$ K. Our observations reveal significant methane absorption affirming its substellar nature. HD 19467 B shows promise to become the first T dwarf that simultaneously reveals its mass, age, and metallicity independent from the spectrum of light that it emits.

Stable Umbral Chromospheric Structures

Aims. To understand the morphology of the chromosphere in sunspot umbra. We investigate if the horizontal structures observed in the spectral core of the Ca II H line are ephemeral visuals caused by the shock dynamics of more stable structures, and examine their relationship with observables in the H-alpha line. Methods. Filtergrams in the core of the Ca II H and H-alpha lines as observed with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope are employed. We utilise a technique that creates composite images and tracks the flash propagation horizontally. Results. We find 0"15 wide horizontal structures, in all of the three target sunspots, for every flash where the seeing was moderate to good. Discrete dark structures are identified that are stable for at least two umbral flashes, as well as systems of structures that live for up to 24 minutes. We find cases of extremely extended structures with similar stability, with one such structure showing an extent of 5". Some of these structures have a correspondence in H-alpha but we were unable to find a one to one correspondence for every occurrence. If the dark streaks are formed at the same heights as umbral flashes then there are systems of structures with strong departures from the vertical for all three analysed sunspots. Conclusions. Long-lived Ca II H filamentary horizontal structures are a common and likely ever-present feature in the umbra of sunspots. If the magnetic field in the chromosphere of the umbra is indeed aligned with the structures, then the present theoretical understanding of the typical umbra needs to be revisited.

Very Long Baseline Interferometry with the SKA

Adding VLBI capability to the SKA arrays will greatly broaden the science of the SKA, and is feasible within the current specifications. SKA-VLBI can be initially implemented by providing phased-array outputs for SKA1-MID and SKA1-SUR and using these extremely sensitive stations with other radio telescopes, and in SKA2 by realising a distributed configuration providing baselines up to thousands of km, merging it with existing VLBI networks. The motivation for and the possible realization of SKA-VLBI is described in this paper.

The JCMT Gould Belt Survey: Evidence for radiative heating in Serpens MWC 297 and its influence on local star formation [Replacement]

We present SCUBA-2 450micron and 850micron observations of the Serpens MWC 297 region, part of the JCMT Gould Belt Survey of nearby star-forming regions. Simulations suggest that radiative feedback influences the star-formation process and we investigate observational evidence for this by constructing temperature maps. Maps are derived from the ratio of SCUBA-2 fluxes and a two component model of the JCMT beam for a fixed dust opacity spectral index of beta = 1.8. Within 40 of the B1.5Ve Herbig star MWC 297, the submillimetre fluxes are contaminated by free-free emission with a spectral index of 1.03+-0.02, consistent with an ultra-compact HII region and polar winds/jets. Contamination accounts for 73+-5 per cent and 82+-4 per cent of peak flux at 450micron and 850micron respectively. The residual thermal disk of the star is almost undetectable at these wavelengths. Young Stellar Objects are confirmed where SCUBA-2 850micron clumps identified by the fellwalker algorithm coincide with Spitzer Gould Belt Survey detections. We identify 23 objects and use Tbol to classify nine YSOs with masses 0.09 to 5.1 Msun. We find two Class 0, one Class 0/I, three Class I and three Class II sources. The mean temperature is 15+-2K for the nine YSOs and 32+-4K for the 14 starless clumps. We observe a starless clump with an abnormally high mean temperature of 46+-2K and conclude that it is radiatively heated by the star MWC 297. Jeans stability provides evidence that radiative heating by the star MWC 297 may be suppressing clump collapse.

The JCMT Gould Belt Survey: Evidence for radiative heating in Serpens MWC 297 and its influence on local star formation

We present SCUBA-2 450\mu m and 850\mu m observations of the Serpens MWC 297 region, part of the JCMT Gould Belt Survey of nearby star-forming regions. Simulations suggest that radiative feedback influences the star-formation process and we investigate observational evidence for this by constructing temperature maps. Maps are derived from the ratio of SCUBA-2 fluxes and a two component model of the JCMT beam for a fixed dust opacity spectral index of beta = 1.8. Within 40 of the B1.5Ve Herbig star MWC 297, the submillimetre fluxes are contaminated by free-free emission with a spectral index of 1.03\pm0.02, consistent with an ultra-compact HII region and polar winds/jets. Contamination accounts for 73\pm5 per cent and 82\pm4 per cent of peak flux at 450\mu m and 850\mu m respectively. The residual thermal disk of the star is almost undetectable at these wavelengths. Young Stellar Objects are confirmed where SCUBA-2 850\mu m clumps identified by the fellwalker algorithm coincide with Spitzer Gould Belt Survey detections. We identify 23 objects and use Tbol to classify nine YSOs with masses 0.09 to 5.1 M\odot. We find two Class 0, one Class 0/I, three Class I and three Class II sources. The mean temperature is 15\pm2K for the nine YSOs and 32\pm4K for the 14 starless clumps. We observe a starless clump with an abnormally high mean temperature of 46\pm2K and conclude that it is radiatively heated by the star MWC 297. Jeans stability provides evidence that radiative heating by the star MWC 297 may be suppressing clump collapse.

Uncertainties in asteroseismic grid-based estimates of stellar ages. SCEPtER: Stellar CharactEristics Pisa Estimation gRid

We study the impact on stellar age determination by means of grid-based techniques adopting asteroseismic constraints of the uncertainty in the radiative opacity, in the initial helium abundance, in the mixing-length value, in the convective core overshooting, and in the microscopic diffusion efficiency adopted in stellar model computations. We extended our SCEPtER grid (Valle et al. 2014) to include stars with mass in the range [0.8; 1.6] Msun and evolutionary stages from the ZAMS to the central hydrogen depletion. The current typical uncertainty in the observations accounts for 1 sigma statistical relative error in age determination which in mean ranges from about -35% to +42%, depending on the mass. However, due to the strong dependence on the evolutionary phase, the age relative error can be higher than 120% for stars near the ZAMS, while it is typically of the order of 20% or lower in the advanced main-sequence phase. The systematic bias on age determination due to a variation of $\pm$ 1 in the helium-to-metal enrichment ratio Delta Y/Delta Z is about one-forth of the statistical error in the first 30% of the evolution while it is negligible for more evolved stages. The maximum bias due to the presence of the convective core overshooting is of -7% and -13% for mild and strong overshooting scenarios. For all the examined models the impact of a variation of $\pm$ 5 in the radiative opacity was found to be negligible. The most important source of bias are the uncertainty in the mixing-length value alpha_ml and the neglect of microscopic diffusion. Each of these effects accounts for a bias which is nearly equal to the random error uncertainty. Comparison of the results of our technique with other grid techniques on a set of common stars showed a general agreement. However, the adoption of a different grid can account for a variation in the mean estimated age up to 1 Gyr.

The unusual glitch recoveries of the high magnetic field pulsar J1119$-$6127

Providing a link between magnetars and radio pulsars, high magnetic field neutron stars are ideal targets to investigate how bursting/magnetospheric activity and braking torque variations are connected to rotational glitches. The last spin-up glitch of the highly magnetised pulsar J1119$-$6127 back in 2007 was the first glitch in a rotationally powered radio pulsar to be accompanied by radiative changes. Moreover, it was followed by an uncommon glitch relaxation that resulted in a smaller spin-down rate relative to the prediction of the pre-glitch timing model. Here, we present 4 years of new radio timing observations and analyse the total of 16 years of timing data for this source. The new data uncover an ongoing evolution of the spin-down rate, thereby allowing us to exclude permanent changes in the external or internal torque as a stand-alone cause of the peculiar features of the glitch recovery. Furthermore, no additional variations of the radio pulse profile are detected, strengthening the association of the previously observed transient emission features with the glitching activity. A self-consistent measurement of the braking index yields a value $n\simeq2.7$, indicating a trajectory in the $P-\dot{P}$ plane inclined towards the magnetars. Such a potential evolutionary link might be strengthened by a, possibly permanent, reduction of $\sim15\%$ in $n$ at the epoch of the 2007 glitch.

Magnetically-driven crustquakes in neutron stars

Crustquake events may be connected with both rapid spin-up `glitches’ within the regular slowdown of neutron stars, and high-energy magnetar flares. We argue that magnetic field decay builds up stresses in a neutron star’s crust, as the elastic shear force resists the Lorentz force’s desire to rearrange the global magnetic-field equilibrium. We derive a criterion for crust-breaking induced by a changing magnetic-field configuration, and use this to investigate strain patterns in a neutron star’s crust for a variety of different magnetic-field models. Universally, we find that the crust is most liable to break if the magnetic field has a strong toroidal component, in which case the epicentre of the crustquake is around the equator. We calculate the energy released in a crustquake as a function of the fracture depth, finding that it is independent of field strength. Crust-breaking is, however, associated with a characteristic local field strength of $2.4\times 10^{14}$ G for a breaking strain of $0.001$, or $2.4\times 10^{15}$ G at a breaking strain of $0.1$. We find that even the most luminous magnetar giant flare could have been powered by crustal energy release alone.

The impact of the SKA on Galactic Radioastronomy: continuum observations

The SKA will be a state of the art radiotelescope optimized for both large area surveys as well as for deep pointed observations. In this paper we analyze the impact that the SKA will have on Galactic studies, starting from the immense legacy value of the all-sky survey proposed by the continuum SWG but also presenting some areas of Galactic Science that particularly benefit from SKA observations both surveys and pointed. The planned all-sky survey will be characterized by unique spatial resolution, sensitivity and survey speed, providing us with a wide-field atlas of the Galactic continuum emission. Synergies with existing, current and planned radio Galactic Plane surveys will be discussed. SKA will give the opportunity to create a sensitive catalog of discrete Galactic radio sources, most of them representing the interaction of stars at various stages of their evolution with the environment: complete census of all stage of HII regions evolution; complete census of late stages of stellar evolution such as PNe and SNRs; detection of stellar winds, thermal jets, Symbiotic systems, Chemically Peculiar and dMe stars, active binary systems in both flaring and quiescent states. Coherent emission events like Cyclotron Maser in the magnetospheres of different classes of stars can be detected. Pointed, deep observations will allow new insights into the physics of the coronae and plasma processes in active stellar systems and single stars, enabling the detection of flaring activity in larger stellar population for a better comprehension of the mechanism of energy release in the atmospheres of stars with different masses and age.

The SiO outflow from IRAS 17233-3603 at high resolution

Context: Jets and outflows are key ingredients in the formation of stars across the mass spectrum. In clustered regions, understanding powering sources and outflow components poses a significant problem. Aims: To understand the dynamics in the outflow(s) from a cluster in the process of forming massive stars. Methods: We use new VLA observations of the molecular gas (SiO, CS, OCS and \molec) in the massive star forming region IRAS 17233-3606 which contains a number of HII regions. We compare these observations to previously published molecular data for this source in order to get a holistic view of the outflow dynamics. Results:We find that the dynamics of the various species can be explained by a single large scale ($\sim 0.15$ pc) outflow when compared to the sizes of the HII regions, with the different morphologies of the blue and red outflow components explained with respect to the morphology of the surrounding envelope. We further find that the direction of the velocity gradients seen in OCS and \molec are suggestive of a combination of rotation and outflow motions in the warm gas surrounding the HII regions near the base of the large scale outflow. Conclusions: Our results show that the massive protostars forming within this region appear to be contributing to a single outflow on large scales. This single large scale outflow is traced by a number of different species as the outflow interacts with its surroundings. On the small scales, there appear to be multiple mechanisms contributing to the dynamics which could be a combination of either a small scale outflow or rotation with the dynamics of the large scale outflow.

Eclipse Timing Variation Analyses of Eccentric Binaries with Close Tertiaries in the Kepler field

We report eclipse timing variation analyses of 26 compact hierarchical triple stars comprised of an eccentric eclipsing (‘inner’) binary and a relatively close tertiary component found in the {\em Kepler} field. We simultaneously fit the primary and secondary $O-C$ curves of each system for the light-travel time effect (LTTE), as well as dynamical perturbations caused by the tertiary on different timescales. For the first time, we include those contributions of three-body interactions which originate from the eccentric nature of the inner binary. These effects manifest themselves both on the period of the triple system, $P_2$, and on the longer "apse-node" timescale. We demonstrate that consideration of the dynamically forced rapid apsidal motion yields an efficient and independent tool for the determination of the binary orbit’s eccentricity and orientation, as well as the 3D configuration of the triple. Modeling the forced apsidal motion also helps to resolve the degeneracy between the shapes of the LTTE and the dynamical delay terms on the $P_2$ timescale, due to the strong dependence of the apsidal motion period on the triple’s mass ratio. This can lead to the independent determination of the binary and tertiary masses without the need for independent radial velocity measurements. Through the use of our analytic method for fitting $O-C$ curves we have obtained robust solutions for system parameters for the ten most ideal triples of our sample, and only somewhat less robust, but yet acceptable, fits for the remaining systems. Finally we study the results of our 26 system parameter fits via a set of distributions of various physically important parameters, including mutual inclination angle, and mass and period ratios.

The first stars: CEMP--no stars and signatures of spinstars

(Abridged) The CEMP–no stars are "carbon-enhanced-metal-poor" stars that in principle show no evidence of s– and r–elements from neutron captures. We try to understand the origin and nucleosynthetic site of their peculiar CNO, Ne–Na, and Mg–Al abundances. We compare the observed abundances to the nucleosynthetic predictions of AGB models and of models of rotating massive stars with internal mixing and mass loss. We also analyze the different behaviors of $\alpha$– and CNO–elements, as well the abundances of elements involved in the Ne–Na and Mg–Al cycles. We show that CEMP-no stars exhibit products of He–burning that have gone through partial mixing and processing by the CNO cycle, producing low $^{12}$C/$^{13}$C and a broad variety of [C/N] and [O/N] ratios. From a $^{12}$C/$^{13}$C vs. [C/N] diagram, we conclude that neither the yields of AGB stars (in binaries or not) nor the yields of classic supernovae can fully account for the observed CNO abundances in CEMP-no stars. Better agreement is obtained once the chemical contribution by stellar winds of fast-rotating massive stars is taken into account, where partial mixing takes place, leading to various amounts of CNO being ejected. CEMP–no stars present a wide variety in the [C/Fe], [N/Fe], [O/Fe], [Na/Fe], [Mg/Fe], [Al/Fe], and [Sr/Fe] ratios. We show that back-and-forth, partial mixing between the He– and H–regions may account for this variety. Some s–elements, mainly of the first peak, may even be produced by these processes in a small fraction of the CEMP–no stars. We propose a classification scheme for the CEMP–no and low–s stars, based on the changes in composition produced by these successive back-and-forth mixing motions.

Star formation in turbulent molecular clouds with colliding flow

Using self-gravitational hydrodynamical numerical simulations, we investigated the evolution of high-density turbulent molecular clouds swept by a colliding flow. The interaction of shock waves due to turbulence produces networks of thin filamentary clouds with a sub-parsec width. The colliding flow accumulates the filamentary clouds into a sheet cloud and promotes active star formation for initially high-density clouds. Clouds with a colliding flow exhibit a finer filamentary network than clouds without a colliding flow. The probability distribution functions (PDFs) for the density and column density can be fitted by lognormal functions for clouds without colliding flow. When the initial turbulence is weak, the column density PDF has a power-law wing at high column densities. The colliding flow considerably deforms the PDF, such that the PDF exhibits a double peak. The stellar mass distributions reproduced here are consistent with the classical initial mass function with a power-law index of $-1.35$ when the initial clouds have a high density. The distribution of stellar velocities agrees with the gas velocity distribution, which can be fitted by Gaussian functions for clouds without colliding flow. For clouds with colliding flow, the velocity dispersion of gas tends to be larger than the stellar velocity dispersion. The signatures of colliding flows and turbulence appear in channel maps reconstructed from the simulation data. Clouds without colliding flow exhibit a cloud-scale velocity shear due to the turbulence. In contrast, clouds with colliding flow show a prominent anti-correlated distribution of thin filaments between the different velocity channels, suggesting collisions between the filamentary clouds.

$\Lambda \Lambda$ Interaction and Neutron Stars [Cross-Listing]

We investigate the effect of the $\Lambda\Lambda$ interactions on the bulk properties of neutron star (NS). We employ a few Skyrme-type models and a finite-range force model in order to describe the $\Lambda \Lambda$ interactions for the nuclear matter of NS. With the model parameters that reproduce the binding energies of the double-$\Lambda$ hypernuclei, we calculate the equation of state (EoS) for the matter of NS self-consistently. By solving the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff equation with the new EoS, we find that the bulk properties of NS, such as mass and radius, strongly depend on the $\Lambda \Lambda$ interactions. It has been generally known (as "hyperonization puzzle") that the existence of hyperons in NS matter is not well supported by the recent discovery of the high mass NS ($M_{NS} \approx 2 M_\odot$) because hyperons make the EoS soft. However, we find that some of our NS models can predict both the existence of the $\sim 2 M_\odot$ NS and the observationally constrained mass-radius relations. Our results indicate that the $\Lambda \Lambda$ interactions could provide a clue to this puzzle.

$\Lambda \Lambda$ Interaction and Neutron Stars [Cross-Listing]

We investigate the effect of the $\Lambda\Lambda$ interactions on the bulk properties of neutron star (NS). We employ a few Skyrme-type models and a finite-range force model in order to describe the $\Lambda \Lambda$ interactions for the nuclear matter of NS. With the model parameters that reproduce the binding energies of the double-$\Lambda$ hypernuclei, we calculate the equation of state (EoS) for the matter of NS self-consistently. By solving the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff equation with the new EoS, we find that the bulk properties of NS, such as mass and radius, strongly depend on the $\Lambda \Lambda$ interactions. It has been generally known (as "hyperonization puzzle") that the existence of hyperons in NS matter is not well supported by the recent discovery of the high mass NS ($M_{NS} \approx 2 M_\odot$) because hyperons make the EoS soft. However, we find that some of our NS models can predict both the existence of the $\sim 2 M_\odot$ NS and the observationally constrained mass-radius relations. Our results indicate that the $\Lambda \Lambda$ interactions could provide a clue to this puzzle.

Variable stars in two open clusters within the Kepler 2-Campaign-0 field: M 35 and NGC 2158

We present a multi-year survey aimed at collecting (1) high-precision (~5 milli-mag), (2) fast-cadence (~3 min), and (3) relatively long duration (~10 days) multi-band photometric series. The goal of the survey is to discover and characterize efficiently variable objects and exoplanetary transits in four fields containing five nearby open clusters spanning a broad range of ages. More in detail, our project will (1) constitute a preparatory survey for HARPS-N@TNG, which will be used for spectroscopic follow-up of any target of interest that this survey discovers or characterizes, (2) measure rotational periods and estimate the activity level of targets we are already monitoring with HARPS and HARPS-N for exoplanet transit search, and (3) long term characterization of selected targets of interest in open clusters within the planned K2 fields. In this first paper we give an overview of the project, and report on the variability of objects within the first of our selected fields, which contains two open clusters: M 35 and NGC 2158. We detect 519 variable objects, 273 of which are new discoveries, while the periods of most of the previously known variables are considerably improved.

Time series photometry of the helium atmosphere pulsating white dwarf EC 04207-474

We present the analysis of 71 hours of high quality time-series CCD photometry of the helium atmosphere pulsating white dwarf (DBV) EC 04207-4748 obtained using the facilities at Mt John University Observatory in New Zealand. The photometric data set consists of four week-long observing sessions covering the period March to November 2011. A Fourier analysis of the lightcurves yielded clear evidence of four independent eigenmodes in the star with the dominant mode having a period of 447 s. The lightcurve variations exhibit distinct nonsinusoidal shapes, which results in significant harmonics of the dominant frequency appearing in the Fourier transforms. These observed variations are interpreted in terms of nonlinear contributions from the energy flux transmission through the subsurface convection zone in the star. Our modelling of this mechanism, using the methods first introduced by Montgomery (2005), yields a time-averaged convective response time of tau_0 ~ 150 s for the star, and this is shown to be broadly consistent with a MLT/alpha parameter value between 0.8 and 1.2. It is argued that for the DBV pulsators the measured value of tau_0 is a better estimate of the relative stellar surface temperatures than those obtained via spectroscopic techniques.

Characterizing K2 Planet Discoveries: A super-Earth transiting the bright K-dwarf HIP 116454

We report the first planet discovery from the two-wheeled Kepler (K2) mission: HIP 116454 b. The host star HIP 116454 is a bright (V = 10.1, K = 8.0) K1-dwarf with high proper motion, and a parallax-based distance of 55.2 +/- 5.4 pc. Based on high-resolution optical spectroscopy, we find that the host star is metal-poor with [Fe/H] = -.16 +/- .18, and has a radius R = 0.716 +/- .0024 R_sun and mass M = .775 +/- .027 Msun. The star was observed by the Kepler spacecraft during its Two-Wheeled Concept Engineering Test in February 2014. During the 9 days of observations, K2 observed a single transit event. Using a new K2 photometric analysis technique we are able to correct small telescope drifts and recover the observed transit at high confidence, corresponding to a planetary radius of Rp = 2.53 +/- 0.18 Rearth. Radial velocity observations with the HARPS-N spectrograph reveal a 11.82 +/- 1.33 Mearth planet in a 9.1 day orbit, consistent with the transit depth, duration, and ephemeris. Follow-up photometric measurements from the MOST satellite confirm the transit observed in the K2 photometry and provide a refined ephemeris, making HIP 116454 b amenable for future follow-up observations of this latest addition to the growing population of transiting super-Earths around nearby, bright stars.

Merging Binary Stars and the magnetic white dwarfs

A magnetic dynamo driven by differential rotation generated when stars merge can explain strong fields in certain classes of magnetic stars, including the high field magnetic white dwarfs (HFMWDs). In their case the site of the differential rotation has been variously proposed to be within a common envelope, the massive hot outer regions of a merged degenerate core or an accretion disc formed by a tidally disrupted companion that is subsequently incorporated into a degenerate core. We synthesize a population of binary systems to investigate the stellar merging hypothesis for observed single HFMWDs. Our calculations provide mass distribution and the fractions of white dwarfs that merge during a common envelope phase or as double degenerate systems in a post common envelope phase. We vary the common envelope efficiency parameter alpha and compare with observations. We find that this hypothesis can explain both the observed incidence of magnetism and the mass distribution of HFMWDs for a wide range of alpha. In this model, the majority of the HFMWDs are of the Carbon Oxygen type and merge within a common envelope. Less than about a quarter of a per cent of HFMWDs originate from double degenerate stars that merge after common envelope evolution and these populate the high-mass tail of the HFMWD mass distribution.

CAF\'E-BEANS: An exhaustive hunt for high-mass binaries

CAF\’E-BEANS is an on-going survey running on the 2.2 m telescope at Calar Alto. For more than two years, CAF\’E-BEANS has been collecting high-resolution spectra of early-type stars with the aim of detecting and characterising spectroscopic binaries. The main goal of this project is a thorough characterisation of multiplicity in high-mass stars by detecting all spectroscopic and visual binaries in a large sample of Galactic O-type stars, and solving their orbits. Our final objective is eliminating all biases in the high-mass-star IMF created by undetected binaries.

Atmospheric Response to of an Active Region to new Small Flux Emergence

We investigate the atmospheric response to a small emerging flux region (EFR) that occurred in the positive polarity of Active Region 11236 on 23 \,-\ 24 June 2011. Data from the \textit{Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmopheric Imaging Assembly} (AIA), the \textit{Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager} (HMI) and Hinode’s \textit{EUV imaging spectrometer} (EIS) are used to determine the atmospheric response to new flux emerging into a pre-existing active region. Brightenings are seen forming in the upper photosphere, chromosphere, and corona over the EFR’s location whilst flux cancellation is observed in the photosphere. The impact of the flux emergence is far reaching, with new large-scale coronal loops forming up to 43 Mm from the EFR and coronal upflow enhancements of approximately 10 km s$^{-1}$ on the north side of the EFR. Jets are seen forming in the chromosphere and the corona over the emerging serpentine field. This is the first time that coronal jets have been seen over the serpentine field.

The interplay of disk wind and dynamical ejecta in the aftermath of neutron star - black hole mergers [Cross-Listing]

We explore the evolution of the different ejecta components generated during the merger of a neutron star (NS) and a black hole (BH). Our focus is the interplay between material ejected dynamically during the merger, and the wind launched on a viscous timescale by the remnant accretion disk. These components are expected to contribute to an electromagnetic transient and to produce r-process elements, each with a different signature when considered separately. Here we introduce a two-step approach to investigate their combined evolution, using two- and three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. Starting from the output of a merger simulation, we identify each component in the initial condition based on its phase space distribution, and evolve the accretion disk in axisymmetry. The wind blown from this disk is injected into a three-dimensional computational domain where the dynamical ejecta is evolved. We find that the wind can suppresses fallback accretion on timescales longer than ~100 ms. Due to self-similar viscous evolution, the disk accretion at late times nevertheless approaches a power-law time dependence $\propto t^{-2.2}$. This can power some late-time GRB engine activity, although the available energy is significantly less than in traditional fallback models. Inclusion of radioactive heating due to the r-process does not significantly affect the fallback accretion rate or the disk wind. We do not find any significant modification to the wind properties at large radius due to interaction with the dynamical ejecta. This is a consequence of the different expansion velocities of the two components.

The interplay of disk wind and dynamical ejecta in the aftermath of neutron star - black hole mergers

We explore the evolution of the different ejecta components generated during the merger of a neutron star (NS) and a black hole (BH). Our focus is the interplay between material ejected dynamically during the merger, and the wind launched on a viscous timescale by the remnant accretion disk. These components are expected to contribute to an electromagnetic transient and to produce r-process elements, each with a different signature when considered separately. Here we introduce a two-step approach to investigate their combined evolution, using two- and three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. Starting from the output of a merger simulation, we identify each component in the initial condition based on its phase space distribution, and evolve the accretion disk in axisymmetry. The wind blown from this disk is injected into a three-dimensional computational domain where the dynamical ejecta is evolved. We find that the wind can suppresses fallback accretion on timescales longer than ~100 ms. Due to self-similar viscous evolution, the disk accretion at late times nevertheless approaches a power-law time dependence $\propto t^{-2.2}$. This can power some late-time GRB engine activity, although the available energy is significantly less than in traditional fallback models. Inclusion of radioactive heating due to the r-process does not significantly affect the fallback accretion rate or the disk wind. We do not find any significant modification to the wind properties at large radius due to interaction with the dynamical ejecta. This is a consequence of the different expansion velocities of the two components.

Doppler Tomography by Total Variation Minimization [Replacement]

We have developed a new model of the Doppler tomography using total variation minimization (DTTVM). This method can reconstruct localized and non-axisymmetric profiles having sharp edges in the Doppler map. This characteristic is emphasized in the case that the number of the input data is small. We apply this model to real data of the dwarf novae, WZ Sge in superoutburst and TU Men in quiescence. We confirmed that DTTVM can reproduce the observed spectra with a high precision. Compared with the models based on the maximum entropy method, DTTVM provides the Doppler maps that little depend on the hyper-parameter and on the presence of the absorption core. We also introduce a cross-validation method to estimate reasonable values of a hyperparameter in the model by the data itself.

Doppler Tomography by Total Variation Minimization

We have developed a new model of the Doppler tomography using total variation minimization (DTTVM). This method can reconstruct localized and non-axisymmetric profiles having sharp edges in the Doppler map. This characteristic is emphasized in the case that the number of the input data is small. We apply this model to real data of the dwarf novae, WZ Sge in superoutburst and TU Men in quiescence. We confirmed that DTTVM can reproduce the observed spectra with a high precision. Compared with the models based on the maximum entropy method, DTTVM provides the Doppler maps that little depend on the hyper-parameter and on the presence of the absorption core. We also introduce a cross-validation method to estimate reasonable values of a hyperparameter in the model by the data itself.

Condensation of dust in the ejecta of type II-P supernovae

Aims: We study the production of dust in Type II-P supernova by coupling the gas-phase chemistry to the dust nucleation and condensation phases. We consider two supernova progenitor masses with homogeneous and clumpy ejecta to assess the chemical type and quantity of dust that forms. Grain size distributions are derived as a function of post-explosion time. Methods: The chemistry of the gas phase and the simultaneous formation of dust clusters are described by a chemical network. The formation of key species (CO, SiO) and dust clusters of silicates, alumina, silica, metal carbides and sulphides, pure metals, and amorphous carbon is considered. The master equations describing the chemistry of the nucleation phase are coupled to a dust condensation formalism based on Brownian coagulation. Results: Type II-P supernovae produce dust grains of various chemical compositions and size distributions as a function of time. The grain size distributions gain in complexity with time, are slewed towards large grains, and differ from the usual MRN power-law distribution used for interstellar dust. Gas density enhancements in the form of clumps strongly affect the dust chemical composition and the grain size distributions. Silicates and pure metallic grains are highly dependent on clumpiness. Specifically, clumpy ejecta produce grains over 0.1 micron, and the final dust mass reaches 0.14 Msun. Conversely, carbon and alumina dust masses are controlled by the mass yields of alumina and carbon in the zones where the dust is produced. Several dust components form in the ejecta and the total dust mass gradually builds up over a time span of 3 to 5 years post-outburst. This gradual growth provides a possible explanation for the discrepancy between the small dust masses formed at early post-explosion times and the high dust masses derived from recent observations of supernova remnants.

Chromospheric diagnosis with Ca II lines: forward modeling in forward scattering (I)

This paper shows the first synthetic tomography of the quiet solar chromosphere formed by spatial maps of scattering polarization. It has been calculated for the CaII 8498, 8542 and 3934 A lines by solving the NLTE (non-local thermodynamical equilibrium) RT (radiative transfer) problem of the second kind in a 3D atmosphere model obtained from realistic MHD (magneto-hydrodynamical) simulations. Maps of circular polarization were calculated neglecting atomic polarization. Our investigation focuses on the linear polarization signals induced by kinematics, radiation field anisotropy and Hanle effect in forward-scattering geometry. Thus, instead of considering slit profiles at the limb as normally done in the study of the second solar spectrum, we synthetize and analyze spatial maps of polarization at disk center. It allows us to understand the spatial signatures of dynamics and magnetic field in the linear polarization for discriminating them observationally. Our results suggest new ideas for chromospheric diagnosis that will be developed throughout a serie of papers. In particular, Hanle Polarity Inversion Lines and dynamic Hanle diagrams are two concepts introduced in the present work. We find that chromospheric dynamics and magnetic field topology create spatial fingerprints in the polarization maps that trace the dynamic situation of the plasma and the magnetic field. Based on such spatial features we reconstruct the magnetic field intensity in the middle chromosphere along grooves of null linear polarization. We finally address the problems of diagnosing Hanle saturation and kinematic amplification of scattering signals using Hanle diagrams.

The exclusion of a significant range of ages in a massive star cluster

Stars spend most of their lifetimes on the main sequence in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. The extended main-sequence turn-off regions — containing stars leaving the main sequence after having spent all of the hydrogen in their cores — found in massive (more than a few tens of thousands of solar masses), intermediate-age (about one to three billion years old) star clusters are usually interpreted as evidence of cluster-internal age spreads of more than 300 million years, although young clusters are thought to quickly lose any remaining star-forming fuel following a period of rapid gas expulsion on timescales of order $10^7$ years. Here we report that the stars beyond the main sequence in the two billion-year-old cluster NGC 1651, characterized by a mass of $\sim 1.7 \times 10^5$ solar masses, can be explained only by a single-age stellar population, even though the cluster has clearly extended main-sequence turn-off region. The most plausible explanation for the extended main-sequence turn-offs invokes the presence of a population of rapidly rotating stars, although the secondary effects of the prolonged stellar lifetimes associated with such a stellar-population mixture are as yet poorly understood. From preliminary analysis of previously obtained data, we find that similar morphologies are apparent in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagrams of at least five additional intermediate-age star clusters, suggesting that an extended main-sequence turn-off does not necessarily imply the presence of a significant cinternal age dispersion.

Asteroseismic measurement of slow, nearly-uniform surface-to-core rotation in the main sequence F star KIC 9244992

We have found a rotationally split series of core g-mode triplets and surface p-mode multiplets in a main sequence F star, KIC 9244992. Comparison with models shows that the star has a mass of about 1.45 M$_\odot$, and is at an advanced stage of main sequence evolution in which the central hydrogen abundance mass fraction is reduced to about 0.1. This is the second case, following KIC 11145123, of an asteroseismic determination of the rotation of the deep core and surface of an A-F main-sequence star. We have found, essentially model-independently, that the rotation near the surface, obtained from p-mode splittings, is 66 d, slightly slower than the rotation of 64 d in the core, measured by g-mode splittings. KIC 9244992 is similar to KIC 11145123 in that both are near the end of main-sequence stage with very slow and nearly uniform rotation. This indicates the angular momentum transport in the interior of an A-F star during the main sequence stage is much stronger than that expected from standard theoretical formulations.

Search for magnetic fields in particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries

Some colliding-wind massive binaries, called particle-accelerating colliding-wind binaries (PACWB), exhibit synchrotron radio emission, which is assumed to be generated by a stellar magnetic field. However, no measurement of magnetic fields in these stars has ever been performed. We aim at quantifying the possible stellar magnetic fields present in PACWB to provide constraints for models. We gathered 21 high-resolution spectropolarimetric observations of 9 PACWB available in the ESPaDOnS, Narval and HarpsPol archives. We analysed these observations with the Least Squares Deconvolution method. We separated the binary spectral components when possible. No magnetic signature is detected in any of the 9 PACWB stars and all longitudinal field measurements are compatible with 0 G. We derived the upper field strength of a possible field that could have remained hidden in the noise of the data. While the data are not very constraining for some stars, for several stars we could derive an upper limit of the polar field strength of the order of 200 G. We can therefore exclude the presence of strong or moderate stellar magnetic fields in PACWB, typical of the ones present in magnetic massive stars. Weak magnetic fields could however be present in these objects. These observational results provide the first quantitative constraints for future models of PACWB.

New Luminous Blue Variables in the Andromeda galaxy

We performed spectroscopy of five Luminous Blue Variable (LBV) candidates and two known LBV stars (AE And and Var A-1) in M31. We obtained the same-epoch near-infrared (NIR) and optical spectra of these stars. The NIR spectra were taken with Triplespec spectrograph at the 3.5-m telescope at Apache Point Observatory, and the optical spectroscopy was done with SCORPIO focal reducer at the 6-m BTA telescope (SAO RAS). The candidates demonstrate typical LBV features in their spectra: broad and strong hydrogen lines, HeI, FeII, and [FeII] lines. All our candidates show photometric variability. We develop a new approach to the LBV parameters estimation based on the inherent property of LBVs to change their spectral type at constant bolometric luminosity. We compare the spectral energy distributions of the variable stars obtained in two or more different states and estimate temperatures, reddening, radii and luminosities of the stars using this method. Two considered candidates (J004526.62+415006.3 and J004051.59+403303.0) have to be classified as new LBV stars. Two more candidates are, apparently, B[e]-supergiants. The nature of one more star (J004350.50+414611.4) is not clear. It does not show obvious LBV-like variability and remains an LBV-candidate.

 

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