Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

Spectroscopic determination of masses (and implied ages) for red giants

The mass of a star is arguably its most fundamental parameter. For red giant stars, tracers luminous enough to be observed across the Galaxy, mass implies a stellar evolution age. It has proven to be extremely difficult to infer ages and masses directly from red giant spectra using existing methods. From the KEPLER and APOGEE surveys, samples of several thousand stars exist with high-quality spectra and asteroseismic masses. Here we show that from these data we can build a data-driven spectral model using The Cannon, which can determine stellar masses to $\sim$ 0.07 dex from APOGEE DR12 spectra of red giants; these imply age estimates accurate to $\sim$ 0.2 dex (40 percent). We show that The Cannon constrains these ages foremost from spectral regions with CN absorption lines, elements whose surface abundances reflect mass-dependent dredge-up. We deliver an unprecedented catalog of 80,000 giants (including 20,000 red-clump stars) with mass and age estimates, spanning the entire disk (from the Galactic center to R $\sim$ 20 kpc). We show that the age information in the spectra is not simply a corollary of the birth-material abundances [Fe/H] and [$\alpha$/Fe], and that even within a mono-abundance population of stars, there are age variations that vary sensibly with Galactic position. Such stellar age constraints across the Milky Way open up new avenues in Galactic archeology.

Red giant masses and ages derived from carbon and nitrogen abundances

We show that the masses of red giant stars can be well predicted from their photospheric carbon and nitrogen abundances, in conjunction with their spectroscopic stellar labels log g, Teff, and [Fe/H]. This is qualitatively expected from mass-dependent post main sequence evolution. We here establish an empirical relation between these quantities by drawing on 1,475 red giants with asteroseismic mass estimates from Kepler that also have spectroscopic labels from APOGEE DR12. We assess the accuracy of our model, and find that it predicts stellar masses with fractional r.m.s. errors of about 14% (typically 0.2 Msun). From these masses, we derive ages with r.m.s errors of 40%. This empirical model allows us for the first time to make age determinations (in the range 1-13 Gyr) for vast numbers of giant stars across the Galaxy. We apply our model to 52,000 stars in APOGEE DR12, for which no direct mass and age information was previously available. We find that these estimates highlight the vertical age structure of the Milky Way disk, and that the relation of age with [alpha/M] and metallicity is broadly consistent with established expectations based on detailed studies of the solar neighbourhood.

The role of binaries in the enrichment of the early Galactic halo. II. Carbon-Enhanced Metal-Poor Stars - CEMP-no stars

The detailed composition of most metal-poor halo stars has been found to be very uniform. However, a fraction of 20-70% (increasing with decreasing metallicity) exhibit dramatic enhancements in their abundances of carbon - the so-called carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars. A key question for Galactic chemical evolution models is whether this non-standard composition reflects that of the stellar natal clouds, or is due to local, post-birth mass transfer of chemically processed material from a binary companion; CEMP stars should then all be members of binary systems. Our aim is to determine the frequency and orbital parameters of binaries among CEMP stars with and without over-abundances of neutron-capture elements - CEMP-s and CEMP-no stars, respectively - as a test of this local mass-transfer scenario. This paper discusses a sample of 24 CEMP-no stars, while a subsequent paper will consider a similar sample of CEMP-s stars. Most programme stars exhibit no statistically significant radial-velocit variation over this period and appear to be single, while four are found to be binaries with orbital periods of 300-2,000 days and normal eccentricity; the binary frequency for the sample is 17+-9%. The single stars mostly belong to the recently-identified ``low-C band'', while the binaries have higher absolute carbon abundances. We conclude that the nucleosynthetic process responsible for the strong carbon excess in these ancient stars is unrelated to their binary status; the carbon was imprinted on their natal molecular clouds in the early Galactic ISM by an even earlier, external source, strongly indicating that the CEMP-no stars are likely bona fide second-generation stars. We discuss potential production sites for carbon and its transfer across interstellar distances in the early ISM, and implications for the composition of high-redshift DLA systems. Abridged.

Timing of eclipsing binary V0873 Per: a third body candidate

We analyse a set of moments of minima of eclipsing variable V0873 Per. V0873 Per is a short period low mass binary star. Data about moments of minima of V0873 Per were taken from literature and our observations during 2013-2014. Our aim is to test the system on existence of new bodies using timing of minima of eclipses. We found the periodical variation of orbital period of V0873 Per. This variation can be explained by the gravitational influence of a third companion on the central binary star. The mass of third body candidate is $\approx 0.2 M_{\odot}$, its orbital period is $\approx 300$ days. The paper also includes a table with moments of minima calculated from our observations which can be used in future investigations of V0873 Per.

A Hydrodynamical Study on the Conversion of Hadronic Matter to Quark Matter: I. Shock-Induced Conversion [Cross-Listing]

We study transitions of hadronic matter (HM) to 3-flavor quark matter (3QM) locally, regarding the conversion processes as combustion and describing them hydrodynamically. Not only the jump condition on both sides of the conversion front but the structures inside the front are also considered by taking into account what happens during the conversion processes on the time scale of weak interactions as well as equations of state (EOS's) in the mixed phase. Under the assumption that HM is metastable with their free energies being larger than those of 3QM but smaller than those of 2-flavor quark matter (2QM), we consider the transition via 2QM triggered by a rapid density rise in a shock wave. Based on the results, we discuss which combustion modes (strong/weak detonation) may be realized. HM is described by an EOS based on the relativistic mean field theory and 2, 3QM's are approximated by the MIT bag model. We demonstrate for a wide range of bag constant and strong coupling constant in this combination of EOS's that the combustion may occur in the so-called endothermic regime, in which the Hugoniot curve for combustion runs below the one for the shock wave in P-V plane, and which has no terrestrial counter part. We find that strong detonation always occurs. Depending on the EOS of quark matter (QM) as well as the density of HM and the Mach number of the detonation front, deconfinement from HM to 2QM is either completed or not completed in the shock wave. In the latter case, which is more likely if the EOS of QM ensures that deconfinement occurs above the nuclear saturation density and that the maximum mass of cold quark stars is larger than two solar mass, the conversion continues further via the mixing state of HM and 3QM on the time scale of weak interactions.

Nonrelativistic nucleon effective masses in nuclear matter: BHF versus RHF [Cross-Listing]

The density and isospin dependences of the nonrelativistic nucleon effective mass ($m^*$) are studied, which is a measure of the nonlocality of the single particle (s.p.) potential. We decouple it further into the so called k-mass ($m^*_k$, i.e., the nonlocality in space) and E-mass ($m^*_E$, i.e., the nonlocality in time). Both masses are determined and compared from the latest versions of the nonrelativistic Brueckner-Hartree Fock (BHF) model and the relativistic Hartree-Fock (RHF) model. The latter are achieved based on the corresponding Schr\"{o}dinger equivalent s.p. potential in a relativistic framework. We demonstrate the origins of different effective masses and discuss also their neutron-proton splitting in the asymmetric matter in different models. We find that the neutron-proton splittings of both the k-mass and the E-mass have the same asymmetry dependences at considered densities, namely $m^*_{k,n} > m^*_{k,p}$ and $m^*_{E,p} > m^*_{E,n}$. However, the resulting splittings of nucleon effective masses could have different asymmetry dependences in the two models, because they could be dominated either by that of the k-mass (then we have $m^*_n > m^*_p$ in the BHF model) or by that of the E-mass (then we have $m^*_p > m^*_n$ in the RHF model).

A Multi-Epoch SMA Study of the HH 211 Protostellar Jet: Jet Motion and Knot Formation

HH 211 is a highly collimated jet with a chain of well-defined knots, powered by a nearby young Class 0 protostar. We have used 4 epochs (2004, 2008, 2010, and 2013) of Submillimeter Array (SMA) archive data to study the properties of the HH 211 jet in SiO (J=8-7). The jet shows similar reflection-symmetric wiggle structures in all epochs. The wiggle structures can all be fitted by an orbiting jet source model that includes a position shift due to proper motion of the jet, indicating that the wiggle propagates along the jet axis. Thus, this suggests the wiggle is indeed due to an orbital motion of the jet source. Proper motions of the knots are measured by using the peak positions of the knots in four epochs, and they are roughly the same and independent of the distance from the central source. The mean proper motion of the knots is $\sim$ 0.087 arcsec per year, resulting in a transverse velocity of $\sim$ 114 km s$^{-1}$, about 30\% lower than that measured before. Knots BK2 and BK3 have a well-defined linear velocity structure, with the fast jet material upstream to the slow jet material. The gradient of the velocity structure decreases from knot BK2 to BK3. In addition, for each knot, the gradient decreases with time, as the knot propagates away from the central source. These results are both expected if the two knots trace internal shocks produced by a small periodical variation in ejection velocity of the jet.

The Araucaria Project: High-precision orbital parallax and masses of the eclipsing binary TZ~Fornacis

Context: Independent distance estimates are particularly useful to check the precision of other distance indicators, while accurate and precise masses are necessary to constrain evolution models. Aim: The goal is to measure the masses and distance of the detached eclipsing-binary TZ~For with a precision level lower than 1\,\% using a fully geometrical and empirical method. Method: We obtained the first interferometric observations of TZ~For with the VLTI/PIONIER combiner, which we combined with new and precise radial velocity measurements to derive its three-dimensional orbit, masses, and distance. Results: The system is well resolved by PIONIER at each observing epoch, which allowed a combined fit with eleven astrometric positions. Our derived values are in a good agreement with previous work, but with an improved precision. We measured the mass of both components to be $M_1 = 2.057 \pm 0.001\,M_\odot$ and $M_2 = 1.958 \pm 0.001\,M_\odot$. The comparison with stellar evolution models gives an age of the system of $1.20 \pm 0.10$\,Gyr. We also derived the distance to the system with a precision level of 1.1\,\%: $d = 185.9 \pm 1.9$\,pc. Such precise and accurate geometrical distances to eclipsing binaries provide a unique opportunity to test the absolute calibration of the surface brightness-colour relation for late-type stars, and will also provide the best opportunity to check on the future Gaia measurements for possible systematic errors.

KIC 8462852 - The Infrared Flux

We analyzed the warm Spitzer/IRAC data of KIC 8462852. We found no evidence of infrared excess at 3.6 micron and a small excess of 0.43 +/- 0.18 mJy at 4.5 micron, below the 3 sigma threshold necessary to claim a detection. The lack of strong infrared excess 2 years after the events responsible for the unusual light curve observed by Kepler, further disfavors the scenarios involving a catastrophic collision in a KIC 8462852 asteroid belt, a giant impact disrupting a planet in the system or a population of a dust-enshrouded planetesimals. The scenario invoking the fragmentation of a family of comets on a highly elliptical orbit is instead consistent with the lack of strong infrared excess found by our analysis.

Transition-Region/Coronal Signatures and Magnetic Setting of Sunspot Penumbral Jets: {\it Hinode} (SOT/FG), Hi-C and {\it SDO}/AIA Observations

Penumbral microjets (PJs) are transient narrow bright features in the chromosphere of sunspot penumbrae, first characterized by Katsukawa et al (2007) using the \CaII\ H-line filter on {\it Hinode}'s Solar Optical Telescope (SOT). It was proposed that the PJs form as a result of reconnection between two magnetic components of penumbra (spines and interspines), and that they could contribute to the transition region (TR) and coronal heating above sunspot penumbrae. We propose a modified picture of formation of PJs based on recent results on internal structure of sunspot penumbral filaments. Using data of a sunspot from {\it Hinode}/SOT, High Resolution Coronal Imager, and different passbands of the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) onboard the {\it Solar Dynamics Observatory}, we examine whether PJs have signatures in the TR and corona. We find hardly any discernible signature of normal PJs in any AIA passbands, except a few of them showing up in the 1600 \AA\ images. However, we discovered exceptionally stronger jets with similar lifetimes but bigger sizes (up to 600 km wide) occurring repeatedly in a few locations in the penumbra, where evidence of patches of opposite polarity fields at the tails of some penumbral filaments is seen in Stokes-V images. These large tail PJs do display signatures in the TR. Whether they have any coronal-temperature plasma is ambiguous. We infer that none of the PJs, including the large tail PJs, directly heat the corona in ARs significantly, but any penumbral jet might drive some coronal heating indirectly via generation of Alfv\'en waves and/or braiding of the coronal field.

Magnetic field topology of tau Sco. The uniqueness problem of Stokes V ZDI inversions

The early B-type star tau Sco exhibits an unusually complex, relatively weak surface magnetic field. Its topology was previously studied with the Zeeman Doppler imaging (ZDI) modelling of high-resolution circular polarisation (Stokes V) observations. Here we assess the robustness of the Stokes V ZDI reconstruction of the magnetic field geometry of tau Sco and explore the consequences of using different parameterisations of the surface magnetic maps. We succeeded in reproducing previously published magnetic field maps of tau Sco using both general harmonic expansion and a direct, pixel-based representation of the magnetic field. These maps suggest that the field topology of tau Sco is comprised of comparable contributions of the poloidal and toroidal magnetic components. At the same time, we also found that available Stokes V observations can be successfully fitted employing restricted harmonic expansions, by either neglecting the toroidal field altogether or linking the radial and horizontal components of the poloidal field as required by the widely used potential field extrapolation technique. These alternative modelling approaches lead to a stronger and topologically more complex surface field structure. The field distributions recovered with different ZDI options differ significantly, yielding indistinguishable Stokes V profiles but different linear polarisation (Stokes Q and U) signatures. Our investigation underscores the well-known problem of non-uniqueness of the Stokes V ZDI inversions. For the magnetic stars with properties similar to tau Sco (relatively complex field, slow rotation) the outcome of magnetic reconstruction depends sensitively on the adopted field parameterisation. Stokes Q and U spectropolarimetric observations represent the only way of breaking the degeneracy of surface magnetic field models.

SOLARPROP: Charge-sign Dependent Solar Modulation for Everyone

We present SOLARPROP, a tool to compute the influence of charge-sign dependent solar modulation for cosmic ray spectra. SOLARPROP is able to use the output of popular tools like GALPROP or DRAGON and offers the possibility to embed new models for solar modulation. We present some examples for proton, antiproton and positron fluxes in the light of the recent PAMELA and AMS-02 data.

Progenitor-dependent Explosion Dynamics in Self-consistent, Axisymmetric Simulations of Neutrino-driven Core-collapse Supernovae

We present self-consistent, axisymmetric core-collapse supernova simulations performed with the Prometheus-Vertex code for 18 pre-supernova models in the range of 11-28 solar masses, including progenitors recently investigated by other groups. All models develop explosions, but depending on the progenitor structure, they can be divided into two classes. With a steep density decline at the Si/Si-O interface, the arrival of this interface at the shock front leads to a sudden drop of the mass-accretion rate, triggering a rapid approach to explosion. With a more gradually decreasing accretion rate, it takes longer for the neutrino heating to overcome the accretion ram pressure and explosions set in later. Early explosions are facilitated by high mass-accretion rates after bounce and correspondingly high neutrino luminosities combined with a pronounced drop of the accretion rate and ram pressure at the Si/Si-O interface. Because of rapidly shrinking neutron star radii and receding shock fronts after the passage through their maxima, our models exhibit short advection time scales, which favor the efficient growth of the standing accretion-shock instability (SASI). The latter plays a supportive role at least for the initiation of the re-expansion of the stalled shock before runaway. Taking into account the effects of turbulent pressure in the gain layer, we derive a universal condition for the critical neutrino luminosity that captures the explosion behavior of all models very well. We validate the robustness of our findings by testing the influence of stochasticity, numerical resolution, and approximations in some aspects of the microphysics.

Planetary Candidates from the First Year of the K2 Mission

The Kepler Space Telescope is currently searching for planets transiting stars along the ecliptic plane as part of its extended K2 mission. We processed the publicly released data from the first year of K2 observations (Campaigns 0, 1, 2, and 3) and searched for periodic eclipse signals consistent with planetary transits. Out of 59,174 targets we searched, we detect 234 planetary candidates around 208 stars. These candidates range in size from gas giants to smaller than the Earth, and range in orbital periods from hours to over a month. We conducted initial reconnaissance spectroscopy of 68 of the brighter candidate host stars, and present high resolution optical spectra for these stars. We make all of our data products, including light curves, spectra, and vetting diagnostics available to users online.

Abundances of carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars as constraints on their formation

An increasing fraction of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars is found as their iron abundance, [Fe/H], decreases below [Fe/H] = -2.0. The CEMP-s stars have the highest absolute carbon abundances, [C/H], and are thought to owe their enrichment in carbon and the slow neutron-capture (s-process) elements to mass transfer from a former asymptotic giant-branch (AGB) binary companion. The most Fe-poor CEMP stars are normally single, exhibit somewhat lower [C/H] than CEMP-s stars, but show no s-process element enhancement (CEMP-no stars). CNO abundance determinations offer clues to their formation sites. C, N, Sr, and Ba abundances (or limits) and 12C/13C ratios where possible are derived for a sample of 27 faint metal-poor stars for which the X-shooter spectra have sufficient S/N ratios. These moderate resolution, low S/N (~10-40) spectra prove sufficient to perform limited chemical tagging and enable assignment of these stars into the CEMP sub-classes (CEMP-s and CEMP-no). According to the derived abundances, 17 of our sample stars are CEMP-s and three are CEMP-no, while the remaining seven are carbon-normal. For four CEMP stars, the sub-classification remains uncertain, and two of them may be pulsating AGB stars. The derived stellar abundances trace the formation processes and sites of our sample stars. The [C/N] abundance ratio is useful to identify stars with chemical compositions unaffected by internal mixing, and the [Sr/Ba] abundance ratio allows us to distinguish between CEMP-s stars with AGB progenitors and the CEMP-no stars. Suggested formation sites for the latter include faint supernovae with mixing and fallback and/or primordial, rapidly-rotating, massive stars (spinstars). X-shooter spectra have thus proved to be valuable tools in the continued search for their origin. Abridged.

Long-term trends of magnetic bright points: I. Number of MBPs at disc centre

Context. The Sun shows an activity cycle that is caused by its varying global magnetic field. During a solar cycle, sunspots, i.e. extended regions of strong magnetic fields, occur in activity belts that are slowly migrating from middle to lower latitudes, finally arriving close to the equator during the cycle maximum phase. While this have been well known for centuries, much less is known about the solar cycle evolution of small-scale magnetic fields. Aims. To address this question, we study magnetic bright points (MBPs) as proxies for such small-scale, kG solar magnetic fields. This study is based on a homogeneous data set that covers a period of eight years. Methods. An automated MBP identification algorithm was applied to the synoptic Hinode/SOT G-band data over the period November 2006 to August 2014, i.e. covering the decreasing phase of Cycle 23 and the rise, maximum, and early decrease of Cycle 24. This data set includes, at the moment of investigation, a total of 4 162 images, with about 2.9 million single MBP detections. Results. After a careful preselection and monthly median filtering of the data, the investigation revealed that the number of MBPs close to the equator is coupled to the global solar cycle but shifted in time by about 2.5 years. Furthermore, the instantaneous number of detected MBPs depends on the hemisphere, with one hemisphere being more prominent, i.e. showing a higher number of MBPs. After the end of Cycle 23 and at the starting point of Cycle 24, the more active hemisphere changed from south to north. Conclusions. These findings suggest that there is indeed a coupling between the activity of MBPs close to the equator with the global magnetic field. The results also indicate that a significant fraction of the magnetic flux that is visible as MBPs close to the equator originates from the sunspot activity belts.

A panoptic model for planetesimal formation and pebble delivery

The journey from dust particle to planetesimal involves physical processes acting on scales ranging from micrometers (the sticking and restructuring of aggregates) to hundreds of astronomical units (the size of the turbulent protoplanetary nebula). Considering these processes simultaneously is essential when studying planetesimal formation. We develop a novel, global, semi-analytical model for the evolution of the mass-dominating dust particles in a turbulent protoplanetary disk that takes into account the evolution of the dust surface density while preserving the essential characteristics of the porous coagulation process. This panoptic model is used to study the growth from submicron to planetesimal sizes in disks around Sun-like stars. For highly porous ices, unaffected by collisional fragmentation and erosion, rapid growth to planetesimal sizes is possible in a zone stretching out to ${\sim}10\mathrm{~AU}$ for massive disks. When porous coagulation is limited by erosive collisions, the formation of planetesimals through direct coagulation is not possible, but the creation of a large population of aggregates with Stokes numbers close to unity might trigger the streaming instability (SI). However, we find that reaching conditions necessary for SI is difficult and limited to dust-rich disks, (very) cold disks, or disks with weak turbulence. Behind the snow-line, porosity-driven aggregation of icy grains results in rapid (${\sim}10^{4}\mathrm{~yr}$) formation of planetesimals. If erosive collisions prevent this, SI might be triggered for specific disk conditions. The numerical approach introduced in this work is ideally suited for studying planetesimal formation and pebble delivery simultaneously and will help build a coherent picture of the start of the planet formation process.

Correlation of hard X-ray and white light emission in solar flares

A statistical study of the correlation between hard X-ray and white light emission in solar flares is performed in order to search for a link between flare-accelerated electrons and white light formation. We analyze 43 flares spanning GOES classes M and X using observations from RHESSI (Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager) and HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager). We calculate X-ray fluxes at 30 keV and white light fluxes at 6173 \r{A} summed over the hard X-ray flare ribbons with an integration time of 45 seconds around the peak hard-X ray time. We find a good correlation between hard X-ray fluxes and excess white light fluxes, with a highest correlation coefficient of 0.68 for photons with energy of 30 keV. Assuming the thick target model, a similar correlation is found between the deposited power by flare-accelerated electrons and the white light fluxes. The correlation coefficient is found to be largest for energy deposition by electrons above ~50 keV. At higher electron energies the correlation decreases gradually while a rapid decrease is seen if the energy provided by low-energy electrons is added. This suggests that flare-accelerated electrons of energy ~50 keV are the main source for white light production.

Michel accretion of a polytropic fluid with adiabatic index gamma > 5/3: Global flows versus homoclinic orbits [Cross-Listing]

We analyze the properties of a polytropic fluid which is radially accreted into a Schwarzschild black hole. The case where the adiabatic index gamma lies in the range 1 < gamma <= 5/3 has been treated in previous work. In this article we analyze the complementary range 5/3 < gamma <= 2. To this purpose, the problem is cast into an appropriate Hamiltonian dynamical system whose phase flow is analyzed. While for 1 < gamma <= 5/3 the solutions are always characterized by the presence of a unique critical saddle point, we show that when 5/3 < gamma <= 2, an additional critical point might appear which is a center point. For the parametrization used in this paper we prove that whenever this additional critical point appears, there is a homoclinic orbit.

The formation of Cataclysmic Variables: the influence of nova eruptions

The theoretical and observed populations of pre-cataclysmic variables (pre-CVs) are dominated by systems with low-mass white dwarfs (WDs), while the WD masses in CVs are typically high. In addition, the space density of CVs is found to be significantly lower than theoretical models. We investigate the influence of nova outbursts on the formation and (initial) evolution of CVs. In particular, we calculate the stability of the mass transfer in case all the material accreted on the WD is lost in classical novae, and part of the energy to eject the material comes from a common-envelope like interaction with the companion. In addition, we study the effect of an asymmetry in the mass ejection, that may lead to small eccentricities in the orbit. We find that a common-envelope like ejection significantly decreases the stability of the mass transfer, in particular for low-mass WD. Similarly, the influence of asymmetric mass loss can be important for short-period systems and even more so for low-mass WD, but likely disappears long before the next nova outburst due to orbital circularization. In both cases the mass-transfer rates increase, which may lead to observable (and perhaps already observed) consequences for systems that do survive to become CVs. However, a more detailed investigation of the interaction between nova ejecta and the companion and the evolution of slightly eccentric CVs is needed before definite conclusions can be drawn.

Detailed optical spectroscopy of the B[e] star MWC 17

Based on the data of multiple high-resolution R=60 000 observations obtained at the 6-meter telescope BTA in combination with the NES spectrograph, we studied the features of the optical spectrum of the star MWC 17 with the B[e] phenomenon. In the wavelength interval 4050-6750 A we identified numerous permitted and forbidden emissions, interstellar NaI lines, and diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). Radial velocities were estimated from lines of various origin. As the systemic velocity, Vsys, the velocity from the forbidden emissions can be accepted: Vr=-47 km/s (relative to the local standard Vlsr=-42 km/s). Comparison of the obtained data with the ealier measurements allows us to conclude on the absence of considerable variability of spectral details.

Massive star formation by accretion I. Disc accretion

Massive stars likely form by accretion and the evolutionary track of an accreting forming star corresponds to what is called the birthline in the HR diagram. The shape of this birthline is quite sensitive to the evolution of the entropy in the accreting star. We first study the reasons why some birthlines published in past years present different behaviours for a given accretion rate. We then revisit the question of the accretion rate, which allows us to understand the distribution of the observed pre-main-sequence (pre-MS) stars in the Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagram. Finally, we identify the conditions needed to obtain a large inflation of the star along its pre-MS evolution that may push the birthline towards the Hayashi line in the upper part of the HR diagram. We present new pre-MS models including accretion at various rates and for different initial structures of the accreting core. From the observed upper envelope of pre-MS stars in the HR diagram, we deduce the accretion law that best matches the accretion history of most of the intermediate-mass stars. In the case of cold disc accretion, the existence of a significant swelling during the accretion phase, which leads to radii $\gtrsim100\,R_\odot$ and brings the star back to the red part of the HR diagram, depends sensitively on the initial conditions. For an accretion rate of $10^{-3}\,M_\odot\rm\,yr^{-1}$, only models starting from a core with a significant radiative region evolve back to the red part of the HR diagram. We also obtain that, in order to reproduce the observed upper envelope of pre-MS stars in the HR diagram with an accretion law deduced from the observed mass outflows in ultra-compact HII regions, the mass effectively accreted onto the star with respect to the total in falling matter decreases when the mass of the star increases.

Large dust grains in the wind of VY Canis Majoris

Massive stars live short lives, losing large amounts of mass through their stellar wind. Their mass is a key factor determining how and when they explode as supernovae, enriching the interstellar medium with heavy elements and dust. During the red supergiant phase, mass-loss rates increase prodigiously, but the driving mechanism has proven elusive. Here we present high-contrast optical polarimetric-imaging observations of the extreme red supergiant VY Canis Majoris and its clumpy, dusty, mass-loss envelope, using the new extreme-adaptive-optics instrument SPHERE at the VLT. These observations allow us to make the first direct and unambiguous detection of submicron dust grains in the ejecta; we derive an average grain radius $\sim$ 0.5 $\mu$m, 50 times larger than in the diffuse ISM, large enough to receive significant radiation pressure by photon scattering. We find evidence for varying grain sizes throughout the ejecta, highlighting the dynamical nature of the envelope. Grains with 0.5 $\mu$m sizes are likely to reach a safe distance from the eventual explosion of VY Canis Majoris; hence it may inject upwards of 10$^{-2}$ M$_\odot$ of dust into the ISM.

Predicting Coronal Mass Ejections transit times to Earth with neural network

Predicting transit times of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from their initial parameters is a very important subject, not only from the scientific perspective, but also because CMEs represent a hazard for human technology. We used a neural network to analyse transit times for 153 events with only two input parameters: initial velocity of the CME, $v$, and Central Meridian Distance, CMD, of its associated flare. We found that transit time dependence on $v$ is showing a typical drag-like pattern in the solar wind. The results show that the speed at which acceleration by drag changes to deceleration is $v\approx$500 km s$^{-1}$. Transit times are also found to be shorter for CMEs associated with flares on the western hemisphere than those originating on the eastern side of the Sun. We attribute this difference to the eastward deflection of CMEs on their path to 1 AU. The average error of the NN prediction in comparison to observations is $\approx$12 hours which is comparable to other studies on the same subject.

DR Tau: Temporal variability of the brightness distribution in the potential planet-forming region

We investigate the variability of the brightness distribution and the changing density structure of the protoplanetary disk around DR Tau, a classical T Tauri star. DR Tau is known for its peculiar variations from the ultraviolet (UV) to the mid-infrared (MIR). Our goal is to constrain the temporal variation of the disk structure based on photometric and MIR interferometric data. We observed DR Tau with the MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI) at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at three epochs separated by about nine years, two months, respectively. We fit the spectral energy distribution and the MIR visibilities with radiative transfer simulations. We are able to reproduce the spectral energy distribution as well as the MIR visibility for one of the three epochs (third epoch) with a basic disk model. We were able to reproduce the very different visibility curve obtained nine years earlier with a very similar baseline (first epoch), using the same disk model with a smaller scale height. The same density distribution also reproduces the observation made with a higher spatial resolution in the second epoch, i.e. only two months before the third epoch.

The Gould's Belt Very Large Array Survey V: The Perseus Region

We present multi-epoch, large-scale ($\sim$ 2000 arcmin${}^2$), fairly deep ($\sim$ 16 $\mu$Jy), high-resolution ($\sim$ 1") radio observations of the Perseus star-forming complex obtained with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array at frequencies of 4.5 GHz and 7.5 GHz. These observations were mainly focused on the clouds NGC 1333 and IC 348, although we also observed several fields in other parts of the Perseus complex. We detect a total of 206 sources, 42 of which are associated with young stellar objects (YSOs). The radio properties of about 60% of the YSOs are compatible with a non-thermal radio emission origin. Based on our sample, we find a fairly clear relation between the prevalence of non-thermal radio emission and evolutionary status of the YSOs. By comparing our results with previously reported X-ray observations, we show that YSOs in Perseus follow a G\"udel-Benz relation with $\kappa$ = 0.03 consistent with other regions of star formation. We argue that most of the sources detected in our observations but not associated with known YSOs are extragalactic, but provide a list of 20 unidentified radio sources whose radio properties are consistent with being YSO candidates. Finally we also detect 5 sources with extended emission features which can clearly be associated with radio galaxies.

Radial velocity information content of M dwarf spectra in the near-infrared

Aims: We evaluate the radial velocity (RV) information content and achievable precision on M0-M9 spectra covering the ZYJHK bands. We do so while considering both a perfect atmospheric transmission correction and discarding areas polluted by deep telluric features, as done in previous works. Methods: To simulate the M-dwarf spectra, PHOENIX-ACES model spectra were employed; they were convolved with rotational kernels and instrumental profiles to reproduce stars with a $v.sin{i}$ of 1.0, 5.0, and 10.0 km/s when observed at resolutions of 60 000, 80 000, and 100 000. We considered the RV precision as calculated on the whole spectra, after discarding strongly polluted areas, and after applying a perfect telluric correction. In our simulations we paid particular attention to the details of the convolution and sampling of the spectra, and we discuss their impact on the final spectra. Results: Our simulations show that the most important parameter ruling the difference in attainable precision between the considered bands is the spectral type. For M0-M3 stars, the bands that deliver the most precise RV measurements are the Z, Y, and H band, with relative merits depending on the parameters of the simulation. For M6-M9 stars, the bands show a difference in precision that is within a factor of $\sim$2 and does not clearly depend on the band; this difference is reduced to a factor smaller than $\sim$1.5 if we consider a non-rotating star seen at high resolution. We also show that an M6-M9 spectrum will deliver a precision about two times better as an M0-M3 spectra with the same signal-to-noise ratio. Finally, we note that the details of modelling the Earth atmosphere and interpreting the results have a significant impact on which wavelength regions are discarded when setting a limit threshold at 2-3%. (abridged)

Two Dimensional Core-Collapse Supernova Explosions Aided by General Relativity with Multidimensional Neutrino Transport

We present results from computational simulations of core-collapse supernovae in {\tt FLASH} using a newly-implemented multidimensional neutrino transport scheme and a newly-implemented general relativistic (GR) treatment of gravity. For the neutrino transport, we use a two moment method with an analytic closure (so-called M1 transport). This transport is multienergy, multispecies and truly multidimensional since we do not assume the commonly used ray-by-ray approximation. Our GR gravity is implemented in our Newtonian hydrodynamics simulations via an effective relativistic potential that closely reproduces the GR structure of neutron stars and has been shown to match GR simulations of core collapse quite well. In axisymmetry, we simulate core-collapse supernovae with five different progenitor models in both Newtonian and GR gravity. We find that the more compact protoneutron star structure realized in simulations with GR gravity gives higher neutrino luminosities and higher neutrino energies. These differences in turn give higher neutrino heating rates ($\sim$20-30\% over the corresponding Newtonian gravity simulations) which increases the efficacy of the neutrino mechanism. All five models fail to explode in Newtonian gravity while three of the five models successfully explode, albeit weakly, in GR gravity. Our results, both in Newtonian and GR gravity, compare well with several other studies in the literature. These results conclusively show that the approximation of Newtonian gravity for simulating the core-collapse supernova central engine is not acceptable.

Asteroseismology of Exoplanet Host Stars

Asteroseismology is among the most powerful observational tools to determine fundamental properties of stars. Space-based photometry has recently enabled the systematic detection of oscillations in exoplanet host stars, allowing a combination of asteroseismology with transit and radial-velocity measurements to characterize planetary systems. In this contribution I will review the key synergies between asteroseismology and exoplanet science such as the precise determination of radii and ages of exoplanet host stars, as well as applications of asteroseismology to measure spin-orbit inclinations in multiplanet systems and orbital eccentricities of small planets. Finally I will give a brief outlook on asteroseismic studies of exoplanet hosts with current and future space-based missions such as K2 and TESS.

The Evolved Main-Sequence Channel: HST and LBT observations of CSS120422:111127+571239

The ''evolved main-sequence'' channel is thought to contribute significantly to the population of AM CVn type systems in the Galaxy, and also to the number of cataclysmic variables detected below the period minimum for hydrogen rich systems. CSS120422:J111127+571239 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in April 2012. Its period was found to be 56 minutes, well below the minimum, and the optical spectrum is clearly depleted in hydrogen relative to helium, but still has two orders of magnitude more hydrogen than AM CVn stars. Doppler tomography of the H$\alpha$ line hinted at a spiral structure existing in the disk. Here we present spectroscopy of CSS120422:J111127+571239 using the COS FUV instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope and using the MODS spectrograph on the Large Binocular Telescope. The UV spectrum shows SiIV, NV and HeII, but no detectable CIV. The anomalous nitrogen/carbon ratio is seen in a small number of other CVs and confirms a unique binary evolution. We also present and compare the optical spectrum of V418 Ser and advocate that it is also an evolved main-sequence system.

Almost Gone: SN~2008S and NGC~300 2008OT-1 are Fainter than their Progenitors

We present late-time Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope imaging of SN 2008S and NGC 300 2008OT-1, the prototypes of a common class of stellar transients whose true nature is debated. Both objects are still fading and are now >15 times fainter than the progenitors in the mid-IR and are undetected in the optical and near-IR. Data from the Large Binocular Telescope and Magellan show that neither source has been variable in the optical since fading in 2010. We present models of surviving sources obscured by dusty shells or winds and find that extreme dust models are needed for surviving stars to be successfully hidden by dust. Explaining these transients as supernovae explosions, such as the electron capture supernovae believed to be associated with extreme AGB stars, seems an equally viable solution. Though SN 2008S is not detected in Chandra X-Ray Observatory data taken in 2012, the flux limits allow the fading IR source to be powered solely by the shock interaction of ejecta with the circumstellar medium if the shock velocity at the time of the observation was >20% slower than estimated from emission line widths while the transient was still optically bright. Continued SST monitoring and 10-20 micron observations with JWST can resolve any remaining ambiguities.

The initial physical conditions of Kepler-36 b & c

The Kepler-36 planetary system consists of two exoplanets at similar separations (0.115 & 0.128 AU), which have dramatically different densities. The inner planet has a density consistent with an Earth-like composition, while the outer planet is extremely low-density, such that it must contain a voluminous H/He envelope. Such a density difference would pose a problem for any formation mechanism if their current densities were representative of their composition at formation. However, both planets are at close enough separations to have undergone significant evaporation in the past. We constrain the core mass, core composition, initial envelope mass, and initial cooling time of each planet using evaporation models conditioned on their present-day masses and radii, as inferred from Kepler photometry and transit timing analysis. The inner planet is consistent with being an evaporatively stripped core, while the outer planet has retained some of its initial envelope due to its higher core mass. Therefore, both planets could have had a similar formation pathway, with the inner planet having an initial envelope mass fraction of $\lesssim 10\%$ and core mass of $\sim 4.4$ M$_\oplus$, while the outer had an initial envelope mass fraction of order $15-30\%$ and core mass $\sim 7.3$ M$_\oplus$. Finally, our results indicate that the outer planet had a long ($\gtrsim 30$ Myr) initial cooling time, much longer than would naively be predicted from simple time-scale arguments. The long initial cooling time could be evidence for a dramatic early cooling episode such as the recently proposed "boil-off" process.

On Mode Conversion, Reflection and Transmission of Magneto-Acoustic Waves from Above in an Isothermal Stratified Atmosphere

We use the exact solutions for magnetoacoustic waves in a two dimensional isothermal atmosphere with uniform inclined magnetic field to calculate the wave reflection, transmission, and conversion of slow and fast waves incident from above ($z=\infty$). This is relevant to the question of whether waves excited by flares in the solar atmosphere can penetrate the Alfv\'en/acoustic equipartition layer (which we identify as the canopy) to reach the photosphere with sufficient energy to create sunquakes. It is found that slow waves above the acoustic cutoff frequency efficiently penetrate (transmit) as acoustic (fast) waves if directed at a small attack angle to the magnetic field, with the rest converting to magnetic (slow) waves, in accord with Generalized Ray Theory. This may help explain the compact nature of seismic sources of sunquakes identified using seismic holography. The incident slow waves can also efficiently transmit at low frequency in inclined field due to the reduction in acoustic cutoff frequency (ramp effect). Incident fast (magnetic) "waves" from infinity with specified nonzero horizontal wavenumber are necessarily evanescent, but can carry energy to the equipartition level by tunnelling. It is found that this can then efficiently convert to acoustic (fast) energy that can again reach the photosphere as a travelling wave. Overall, there appear to be ample avenues for substantial compressive wave energy to penetrate the canopy and impact the photosphere.

Propagating Disturbances in The Solar Corona and Spicular Connection

Spicules are small hairy like structures seen at the solar limb mainly at chromospheric and transition region lines. They generally live for 3-10 minutes. We observe these spicules in a south polar region of the Sun with a coordinated observations using the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instruments on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Propagating disturbances (PDs) are observed everywhere in the polar off-limb regions of the Sun at coronal heights. From this simultaneous observations we show that the spicules and the PDs may be originated by a common process. From space-time maps we find that the start of the trajectory of PDs is almost co-temporal with the time of the rise of the spicular envelope as seen by IRIS slit-jaw images at 2796 {\deg}A and 1400 A{\deg} . During the return of spicular material, brightenings are seen in AIA 171 {\deg}A and 193 {\deg}A images. The quasi-periodic nature of the spicular activity as revealed by the IRIS spectral image sequences and its relation to coronal PDs as recorded by the coronal AIA channels suggest that they have a common origin. We propose that reconnection like processes generate the spicules and waves simultaneously. The waves escape while the cool spicular material falls back

Probing the Accreting Hot Components in Six S-Type Symbiotic Variables

We have carried out a spectroscopic analysis of the far ultraviolet spectra of six symbiotic variables. Two systems, LT Del, which has had one recorded outburst, and BD-21 3873 (= IV Vir) which has had no recorded outburst, are yellow symbiotic systems. Two other systems, V443 Her and RW Hya, have also never had a recorded outburst. Two other symbiotics, StHa190 and CQ Dra, are more strongly interacting with an outburst history. We have studied these systems during their quiescence in order to shed light on the nature of their hot components by fitting their archival far ultraviolet spectra with optically thick accretion disk models and NLTE model white dwarf photospheres. Using the critical advantage offered by extending wavelength coverage down to the Lyman Limit with FUSE spectra, we find that the hot component in RW Hya is a low mass white dwarf with a surface temperature of 160,000K while the symbiotic system CQ Dra is a triple system with a red giant transferring matter to a hot component made up of a cataclysmic variable whose white dwarf has a surface temperature of $\sim$50,000K. Implications are discussed.

A Dark Spot on a Massive White Dwarf

We present the serendipitous discovery of eclipse-like events around the massive white dwarf SDSS J152934.98+292801.9 (hereafter J1529+2928). We selected J1529+2928 for time-series photometry based on its spectroscopic temperature and surface gravity, which place it near the ZZ Ceti instability strip. Instead of pulsations, we detect photometric dips from this white dwarf every 38 minutes. Follow-up optical spectroscopy observations with Gemini reveal no significant radial velocity variations, ruling out stellar and brown dwarf companions. A disintegrating planet around this white dwarf cannot explain the observed light curves in different filters. Given the short period, the source of the photometric dips must be a dark spot that comes into view every 38 min due to the rotation of the white dwarf. Our optical spectroscopy does not show any evidence of Zeeman splitting of the Balmer lines, limiting the magnetic field strength to B<70 kG. Since up to 15% of white dwarfs display kG magnetic fields, such eclipse-like events should be common around white dwarfs. We discuss the potential implications of this discovery on transient surveys targeting white dwarfs, like the K2 mission and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Cross-Calibrating Sunspot Magnetic Field Strength Measurements from the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope and the Dunn Solar Telescope

In this article we describe a recent effort to cross-calibrate data from an infrared detector at the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope and the Facility InfraRed Spectropolarimeter (FIRS) at the Dunn Solar Telescope. A synoptic observation program at the McMath-Pierce has measured umbral magnetic field strengths since 1998, and this data set has recently been compared with umbral magnetic field observations from SOHO MDI and SDO HMI. To further improve on the data from McMath-Pierce, we compared the data with measurements taken at the Dunn Solar Telescope with far greater spectral resolution than has been possible with space instrumentation. To minimise potential disruption to the study, concurrent umbral measurements were made so that the relationship between the two datasets can be most accurately characterised. We find that there is a strong agreement between the umbral magnetic field strengths recorded by each instrument, and we reduced the FIRS data in two different ways to successfully test this correlation further.

A Multi-Instrument Analysis of Sunspot Umbrae

The recent solar minimum and rise phase of solar cycle 24 have been unlike any period since the early 1900s. This article examines some of the properties of sunspot umbrae over the last 17 years with three different instruments on the ground and in space: MDI, HMI and BABO. The distribution of magnetic fields and their evolution over time is shown and reveals that the field distribution in cycle 24 is fundamentally different from that in cycle 23. The annual average umbral magnetic field is then examined for the 17 year observation period and shows a small decrease of 375 Gauss in sunspot magnetic fields over the period 1996 to 2013, but the mean intensity of sunspot umbrae does not vary significantly over this time. A possible issue with sample sizes in a previous study is then explored to explain disagreements in data from two of the source instruments. All three instruments show that the relationship between umbral magnetic fields and umbral intensity agrees with past studies in that the umbral intensity decreases as the field strength increases. This apparent contradiction can be explained by the range of magnetic field values measured for a given umbral intensity being larger than the measured 375 G change in umbral field strength over time.

Spectroscopic survey of emission-line stars. I. B[e] stars

Emission-line stars are typically surrounded by dense circumstellar material, often in form of rings or disc-like structures. Line emission from forbidden transitions trace a diversity of density and temperature regimes. Of particular interest are the forbidden lines of [O I] {\lambda}{\lambda}6300, 6364 and [Ca II] {\lambda}{\lambda}7291, 7324. They arise in complementary, high-density environments, such as the inner-disc regions around B[e] supergiants. To study physical conditions traced by these lines and to investigate how common they are, we initiated a survey of emission-line stars. Here, we focus on a sample of nine B[e] stars in different evolutionary phases. Emission of the [O I] lines is one of the characteristics of B[e] stars. We find that four of the objects display [Ca II] line emission: for the B[e] supergiants V1478 Cyg and 3 Pup the kinematics obtained from the [O I] and [Ca II] line profiles agrees with a Keplerian rotating disc scenario; the forbidden lines of the compact planetary nebula OY Gem display no kinematical broadening beyond spectral resolution; the LBV candidate V1429 Aql shows no [O I] lines, but the profile of its [Ca II] lines suggests that the emission originates in its hot, ionized circumbinary disc. As none of the B[e] stars of lower mass displays [Ca II] line emission, we conclude that these lines are more likely observable in massive stars with dense discs, supporting and strengthening the suggestion that their appearance requires high-density environments.

IPOPv2 online service for the generation of opacity tables

In the framework of the present phase -- IPOPv2 -- of the international Opacity Project (OP), a new web service has been implemented based on the latest release of the OP opacities. The user may construct online opacity tables to be conveniently included in stellar evolution codes in the format most commonly adopted by stellar physicists, namely the OPAL format. This facility encourages the use and comparison of both the OPAL and OP data sets in applications. The present service allows for the calculation of multi-element mixtures containing the 17 species (H, He, C, N, O, Ne, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ar, Ca, Cr, Mn, Fe and Ni) considered by the OP, and underpins the latest release of OP opacities. This new service provides tables of Rosseland mean opacites using OP atomic data. We provide an alternative to the OPAL opacity services allowing direct comparison as well as study of the effect of uncertainties in stellar modeling due to mean opacities.

Direct Detection of the L-Dwarf Donor in WZ Sagittae

Analysis of a large set of phase-resolved $K$-band spectra of the cataclysmic variable WZ Sge shows that the secondary star of this system appears to be an L-dwarf. Previous $K$-band spectra of WZ Sge found that the CO overtone bandheads were in emission. We show that absorption from the $^{\rm 12}$CO$_{\rm (2,0)}$ bandhead of the donor star creates a dip in the $^{\rm 12}$CO$_{\rm (2,0)}$ emission feature. Measuring the motion of this feature over the orbital period, we construct a radial velocity curve that gives a velocity amplitude of K$_{\rm abs}$ = 520 $\pm$ 35 km s$^{\rm -1}$, consistent with the previously published values for this parameter.

Leading and following sunspots: their magnetic properties and ultra-violet emission above them

Using SDO/HMI and SDO/AIA data for sunspot groups of the 24th solar cycle, we analyzed magnetic properties and He II 304 emission in leading and following sunspots separately. Simultaneous examination of umbral magnetic properties and atmospheric characteristics above the umbrae draws on average differences in He II 304 contrast over the umbrae of leading and following spots we discovered earlier for solar cycle 23 sunspot groups based on SOHO data as well as on the hypothetical relationship between contrast asymmetry and magnetic field asymmetry in umbrae. We use a more accurate and faster algorithm for solving the pi-uncertainty problem of the transverse magnetic field direction in this research producing new results on differences in magnetic field properties between magneto-conjugated leaders and followers. We found that, in ~78% of the cases, the minimum (over the umbra area) angle between the magnetic field line and the normal to the solar surface, a_min, is smaller in the leading spots, so the magnetic field there is more vertical than that in the counterpart following spot. It was also found that umbral area-averaged angle <a> in ~83% of the spot groups examined is smaller in the leader compared to the follower and the maximum and mean magnetic flux densities inside the umbra depend on the umbral area.

Center-to-limb variation of intensity and polarization in continuum spectra of FGK stars for spherical atmospheres

One of the necessary parameters needed for the interpretation of the light curves of transiting exoplanets or eclipsing binaries, as well as interferometric measurements of a star or microlensing events is how the intensity and polarization of a light change from the center to the limb. Scattering and absorption processes in stellar atmosphere affect both the center-to limb variation of intensity (CLVI) and polarization (CLVP). In this paper, we present a study of the CLVI and CLVP in continuum spectra considering different contributions of scattering and absorption opacity for different spectral type stars with spherical atmospheres. We solve the polarized radiative transfer equation in the presence of continuum scattering, considering spherical stellar model atmospheres. We developed two independent codes based on Feautrier and short characteristics methods to cross-check our results. We calculate the CLVI and CLVP in continuum for the Phoenix grid of spherical stellar model atmospheres for a range of $T_{eff} = 4000 - 7000 \rm K$, $\log g = 1.0 - 5.5$ and $\lambda = 4000 - 7000 \rm \AA$, which are tabulated and available at the CDS. For sub-giant and dwarf stars ($\log g = 3.0 - 4.5$), lower $\log g$ and lower $T_{eff}$ of a star lead to higher limb polarization of the star. For giant and supergiant stars ($\log g = 1.0 - 2.5$), the highest effective temperature yields the largest polarization. By decreasing of the $T_{eff}$ of a star down to $4500 - 5500 \rm K$ (depending on $\log g$) the limb polarization decreases and reaches a local minimum. It increases again down to $T_{eff}$ of $4000 \rm K$. For the most compact dwarf stars ($\log g = 5.0 - 5.5$) the limb polarization degree shows a maximum for models with $T_{eff}$ in the range $4200 - 4600 \rm K$ (depending on $\log g$) and decreases toward higher and lower temperatures.

Detection of high frequency oscillations and damping from multi-slit spectroscopic observations of the corona

During the total solar eclipse of 11 July 2010, multi-slit spectroscopic observations of the solar corona were performed from Easter Island, Chile. To search for high-frequency waves, observations were taken at a high cadence in the green line at 5303 A due to [Fe xiv] and the red line at 6374 A due to [Fe x]. The data are analyzed to study the periodic variations in the intensity, Doppler velocity and line width using wavelet analysis. The data with high spectral and temporal resolution enabled us to study the rapid dynamical changes within coronal structures. We find that at certain locations each parameter shows significant oscillation with periods ranging from 6 - 25 s. For the first time, we could detect damping of high-frequency oscillations with periods of the order of 10 s. If the observed damped oscillations are due to magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves then they can contribute significantly in the heating of the corona. From a statistical study we try to characterize the nature of the observed oscillations while looking at the distribution of power in different line parameters.

Resolved gas cavities in transitional disks inferred from CO isotopologues with ALMA

Transitional disks around young stars are promising candidates to look for recently formed, embedded planets. Planet-disk interaction models predict that planets clear a gap in the gas while trapping dust at larger radii. Other physical mechanisms could be responsible for cavities as well. Previous observations have revealed that gas is still present inside these cavities, but the spatial distribution of this gas remains uncertain. We present high spatial resolution observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of 13CO and C18O lines of four well-studied transitional disks. The observations are used to set constraints on the gas surface density, specifically cavity size and density drop inside the cavity. The physical-chemical model DALI is used to analyze the gas images of SR21, HD135344B, DoAr44 and IRS48. The main parameters of interest are the size, depth and shape of the gas cavity. CO isotope-selective photodissociation is included to properly constrain the surface density in the outer disk from C18O emission. The gas cavities are up to 3 times smaller than those of the dust in all four disks. Model fits indicate that the surface density inside the gas cavities decreases by a factor of 100-10000 compared with the surface density profile derived from the outer disk. A comparison with an analytical model of gap depths by planet-disk interaction shows that the disk viscosities are likely low, with a<1E-3 for planet masses <10 MJup. The resolved measurements of the gas and dust in transition disk cavities support the predictions of models that describe how planet-disk interactions sculpt gas disk structures and influence the evolution of dust grains. These observed structures strongly suggest the presence of giant planetary companions in transition disk cavities, although at smaller orbital radii than is typically indicated from the dust cavity radii alone.

The ATLASGAL survey: distribution of cold dust in the Galactic plane. Combination with Planck data

Sensitive ground-based submillimeter surveys, such as ATLASGAL, provide a global view on the distribution of cold dense gas in the Galactic plane. Here we use the 353 GHz maps from the Planck/HFI instrument to complement the ground-based APEX/LABOCA observations with information on larger angular scales. The resulting maps reveal the distribution of cold dust in the inner Galaxy with a larger spatial dynamic range. We find examples of elongated structures extending over angular scales of 0.5 degree. Corresponding to >30 pc structures in projection at a distance of 3 kpc, these dust lanes are very extended and show large aspect ratios. Furthermore, we assess the fraction of dense gas ($f_{\rm DG}$), and estimate 2-5% (above A$_{\rm{v}}>$7 mag) on average in the Galactic plane. PDFs of the column density reveal the typically observed log-normal distribution for low- and exhibit an excess at high column densities. As a reference for extragalactic studies, we show the line-of-sight integrated N-PDF of the inner Galaxy, and derive a contribution of this excess to the total column density of $\sim2.2$%, above $N_{\rm H_2} = 2.92\times10^{22}$ cm$^{-2}$. Taking the total flux density, we provide an independent estimate of the mass of molecular gas in the inner Galaxy of $\sim1\times10^9\,M_{\odot}$, which is consistent with previous estimates using CO emission. From the mass and $f_{\rm DG}$ we estimate a Galactic SFR of $\dot M = 1.3\,M_{\odot}$ yr$^{-1}$. While the distribution of diffuse gas is homogenous in the inner Galaxy, the CMZ stands out with a higher dense gas fraction. The low star formation efficiency of the Milky Way is well explained by the low $f_{\rm DG}$ in the Galactic ISM, while the high $f_{\rm DG}$ towards the CMZ, despite its low star formation activity, suggests that, in that particular region of our Galaxy, high-density gas is not the bottleneck for star formation.

Investigating Cepheid $\ell$ Carinae's Cycle-to-cycle Variations via Contemporaneous Velocimetry and Interferometry

Baade-Wesselink-type (BW) techniques enable geometric distance measurements of Cepheid variable stars in the Galaxy and the Magellanic clouds. The leading uncertainties involved concern projection factors required to translate observed radial velocities (RVs) to pulsational velocities and recently discovered modulated variability. We carried out an unprecedented observational campaign involving long-baseline interferometry (VLTI/PIONIER) and spectroscopy (Euler/Coralie) to search for modulated variability in the long-period (P $\sim$ 35.5 d) Cepheid Carinae. We determine highly precise angular diameters from squared visibilities and investigate possible differences between two consecutive maximal diameters, $\Delta_{\rm{max}} \Theta$. We characterize the modulated variability along the line-of-sight using 360 high-precision RVs. Here we report tentative evidence for modulated angular variability and confirm cycle-to-cycle differences of $\ell$ Carinae's RV variability. Two successive maxima yield $\Delta_{\rm{max}} \Theta$ = 13.1 $\pm$ 0.7 (stat.) {\mu}as for uniform disk models and 22.5 $\pm$ 1.4 (stat.) {\mu}as (4% of the total angular variation) for limb-darkened models. By comparing new RVs with 2014 RVs we show modulation to vary in strength. Barring confirmation, our results suggest the optical continuum (traced by interferometry) to be differently affected by modulation than gas motions (traced by spectroscopy). This implies a previously unknown time-dependence of projection factors, which can vary by 5% between consecutive cycles of expansion and contraction. Additional interferometric data are required to confirm modulated angular diameter variations. By understanding the origin of modulated variability and monitoring its long-term behavior, we aim to improve the accuracy of BW distances and further the understanding of stellar pulsations.

Kinematics of Interacting CMEs of September 25 and 28, 2012

We have studied two Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that occurred on September 25 and 28, 2012 and interacted near the Earth. By fitting the Graduated Cylindrical Shell (GCS) model on the SECCHI/COR2 images and applying the Stereoscopic Self-Similar Expansion (SSSE) method on the SECCHI/HI images, the initial direction of both the CMEs is estimated to be west of the Sun-Earth line. Further, the three-dimensional (3D) heliospheric kinematics of these CMEs have been estimated using Self-Similar Expansion (SSE) reconstruction method. We show that use of SSE method with different values of angular extent of the CMEs, leads to significantly different kinematics estimates for the CMEs propagating away from the observer. Using the estimated kinematics and true masses of the CMEs, we have derived the coefficient of restitution for the collision which is found to be close to elastic. The in situ measurements at 1 AU show two distinct structures of interplanetary CMEs, heating of the following CME, as well as ongoing interaction between the preceding and the following CME. We highlight the signatures of interaction in remote and in situ observations of these CMEs and the role of interaction in producing a major geomagnetic storm.

Validation Of The Coronal Thick Target Source Model

We present detailed 3D modeling of a dense, coronal thick target X-ray flare using the GX Simulator tool, photospheric magnetic measurements, and microwave imaging and spectroscopy data. The developed model offers a remarkable agreement between the synthesized and observed spectra and images in both X-ray and microwave domains, which validates the entire model. The flaring loop parameters are chosen to reproduce the emission measure, temperature, and the nonthermal electron distribution at low energies derived from the X-ray spectral fit, while the remaining parameters, unconstrained by the X-ray data, are selected such as to match the microwave images and total power spectra. The modeling suggests that the accelerated electrons are trapped in the coronal part of the flaring loop, but away from where the magnetic field is minimal, and, thus, demonstrates that the data are clearly inconsistent with electron magnetic trapping in the weak diffusion regime mediated by the Coulomb collisions. Thus, the modeling supports the interpretation of the coronal thick-target sources as sites of electron acceleration in flares and supplies us with a realistic 3D model with physical parameters of the acceleration region and flaring loop.

The Gaia-ESO Survey: Stellar radii in the young open clusters NGC 2264, NGC 2547 and NGC 2516

Rapidly rotating, low-mass members of eclipsing binary systems have measured radii significantly larger than predicted by standard models. It has been proposed that magnetic activity is responsible for radius inflation. By estimating the radii of low-mass stars in three young clusters (NGC 2264, NGC 2547, NGC 2516, with ages of 5, 35 and 140 Myr respectively), we aim to establish whether similar radius inflation is seen in single, magnetically active stars. We use radial velocities from the Gaia-ESO Survey (GES) and published photometry to establish cluster membership and combine GES measurements of vsini with published rotation periods to estimate average radii for groups of fast-rotating cluster members as a function of their luminosity and age. The average radii are compared with the predictions of both standard evolutionary models and variants that include magnetic inhibition of convection and starspots. At a given luminosity, the stellar radii in NGC 2516 and NGC 2547 are larger than predicted by standard evolutionary models at the ages of these clusters. The discrepancy is least pronounced and not significant ~10 percent) in ZAMS stars with radiative cores, but more significant in lower-mass, fully convective pre main-sequence cluster members, reaching 30+/-10 percent. The uncertain age and distance of NGC 2264 preclude a reliable determination of any discrepancy for its members. The median radii we have estimated for low-mass fully convective stars in the older clusters are inconsistent (at the 2-3 sigma level) with non-magnetic evolutionary models and more consistent with models that incorporate the effects of magnetic fields or dark starspots. The available models suggest this requires either surface magnetic fields exceeding 2.5 kG, spots that block about 30 per cent of the photospheric flux, or a more moderate combination of both. [Abridged]


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