Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

Large-scale magnetic fields in Bok globules

Context: The role of magnetic fields in the star formation process is a contentious matter of debate. In particular, no clear observational proof exists of a general influence by magnetic fields during the initial collapse of molecular clouds. Aims: Our aim is to examine magnetic fields and their influence on a wide range of spatial scales in low-mass star-forming regions. Method: We trace the large-scale magnetic field structure on scales of 10^3-10^5 AU in the local environment of Bok globules through optical and near-infrared polarimetry and combine these measurements with existing submillimeter measurements, thereby characterizing the small-scale magnetic field structure on scales of 10^2-10^3 AU. Results: For the first time, we present polarimetric observations in the optical and near-infrared of the three Bok globules B335, CB68, and CB54, combined with archival observations in the submillimeter and the optical. We find a significant polarization signal (P>=2%, P/sigma(P)>3) in the optical and near-infrared for all three globules. Additionally, we detect a connection between the structure on scales of 10^2-10^3 AU to 10^3-10^4 AU for both B335 and CB68. Furthermore, for CB54, we trace ordered polarization vectors on scales of ~10^5 AU. We determine a magnetic field orientation that is aligned with the CO outflow in the case of CB54, but nearly perpendicular to the CO outflow for CB68. For B335 we find a change in the magnetic field oriented toward the outflow direction, from the inner core to the outer regions. Conclusion: We find strongly aligned polarization vectors that indicate dominant magnetic fields on a wide range of spatial scales.

Fe I Oscillator Strengths for the Gaia-ESO Survey

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey (GES) is conducting a large-scale study of multi-element chemical abundances of some 100 000 stars in the Milky Way with the ultimate aim of quantifying the formation history and evolution of young, mature and ancient Galactic populations. However, in preparing for the analysis of GES spectra, it has been noted that atomic oscillator strengths of important Fe I lines required to correctly model stellar line intensities are missing from the atomic database. Here, we present new experimental oscillator strengths derived from branching fractions and level lifetimes, for 142 transitions of Fe I between 3526 {\AA} and 10864 {\AA}, of which at least 38 are urgently needed by GES. We also assess the impact of these new data on solar spectral synthesis and demonstrate that for 36 lines that appear unblended in the Sun, Fe abundance measurements yield a small line-by-line scatter (0.08 dex) with a mean abundance of 7.44 dex in good agreement with recent publications.

Discovery of new magnetic early-B stars within the MiMeS HARPSpol survey

To understand the origin of the magnetic fields in massive stars as well as their impact on stellar internal structure, evolution, and circumstellar environment, within the MiMeS project, we searched for magnetic objects among a large sample of massive stars, and build a sub-sample for in-depth follow-up studies required to test the models and theories of fossil field origins, magnetic wind confinement and magnetospheric properties, and magnetic star evolution. We obtained high-resolution spectropolarimetric observations of a large number of OB stars thanks to three large programs that have been allocated on the high-resolution spectropolarimeters ESPaDOnS, Narval, and the polarimetric module HARPSpol of the HARPS spectrograph. We report here on the methods and first analysis of the HARPSpol magnetic detections. We identified the magnetic stars using a multi-line analysis technique. Then, when possible, we monitored the new discoveries to derive their rotation periods, which are critical for follow-up and magnetic mapping studies. We also performed a first-look analysis of their spectra and identified obvious spectral anomalies (e.g., abundance peculiarities, Halpha emission), which are also of interest for future studies. In this paper, we focus on eight of the 11 stars in which we discovered or confirmed a magnetic field from the HARPSpol LP sample (the remaining three were published in a previous paper). Seven of the stars were detected in early-type Bp stars, while the last star was detected in the Ap companion of a normal early B-type star. We report obvious spectral and multiplicity properties, as well as our measurements of their longitudinal field strengths, and their rotation periods when we are able to derive them. We also discuss the presence or absence of Halpha emission with respect to the theory of centrifugally-supported magnetospheres. (Abriged)

Monte Carlo simulations of post-common-envelope white dwarf + main sequence binaries: comparison with the SDSS DR7 observed sample

Detached white dwarf + main sequence (WD+MS) systems represent the simplest population of post-common envelope binaries (PCEBs). Since the ensemble properties of this population carries important information about the characteristics of the common-envelope (CE) phase, it deserves close scrutiny. However, most population synthesis studies do not fully take into account the effects of the observational selection biases of the samples used to compare with the theoretical simulations. Here we present the results of a set of detailed Monte Carlo simulations of the population of WD+MS binaries in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7. We used up-to-date stellar evolutionary models, a complete treatment of the Roche lobe overflow episode, and a full implementation of the orbital evolution of the binary systems. Moreover, in our treatment we took into account the selection criteria and all the known observational biases. Our population synthesis study allowed us to make a meaningful comparison with the available observational data. In particular, we examined the CE efficiency, the possible contribution of internal energy, and the initial mass ratio distribution (IMRD) of the binary systems. We found that our simulations correctly reproduce the properties of the observed distribution of WD+MS PCEBs. In particular, we found that once the observational biases are carefully taken into account, the distribution of orbital periods and of masses of the WD and MS stars can be correctly reproduced for several choices of the free parameters and different IMRDs, although models in which a moderate fraction (<=10%) of the internal energy is used to eject the CE and in which a low value of CE efficiency is used (<=0.3) seem to fit better the observational data. We also found that systems with He-core WDs are over-represented in the observed sample, due to selection effects.

Collective outflow from a small multiple stellar system

The formation of high-mass stars is usually accompanied by powerful protostellar outflows. Such high-mass outflows are not simply scaled-up versions of their lower-mass counterparts, since observations suggest that the collimation degree degrades with stellar mass. Theoretically, the origins of massive outflows remain open to question because radiative feedback and fragmentation of the accretion flow around the most massive stars, with M > 15 M_Sun, may impede the driving of magnetic disk winds. We here present a three-dimensional simulation of the early stages of core fragmentation and massive star formation that includes a subgrid-scale model for protostellar outflows. We find that stars that form in a common accretion flow tend to have aligned outflow axes, so that the individual jets of multiple stars can combine to form a collective outflow. We compare our simulation to observations with synthetic H_2 and CO observations and find that the morphology and kinematics of such a collective outflow resembles some observed massive outflows, such as Cepheus A and DR 21. We finally compare physical quantities derived from simulated observations of our models to the actual values in the models to examine the reliability of standard methods for deriving physical quantities, demonstrating that those methods indeed recover the actual values to within a factor of 2-3.

Dust Production Factories in the Early Universe: Formation of Carbon Grains in Red-supergiant Winds of Very Massive Population III Stars

We investigate the formation of dust in a stellar wind during the red-supergiant (RSG) phase of a very massive Population III star with the zero-age main sequence mass of 500 M_sun. We show that, in a carbon-rich wind with a constant velocity, carbon grains can form with a lognormal-like size distribution, and that all of the carbon available for dust formation finally condense into dust for wide ranges of the mass-loss rate ((0.1-3)x10^{-3} M_sun yr^{-1}) and wind velocity (1-100 km s^{-1}). We also find that the acceleration of the wind driven by newly formed dust suppresses the grain growth but still allows more than half of gas-phase carbon to be finally locked up in dust grains. These results indicate that at most 1.7 M_sun of carbon grains can form in total during the RSG phase of 500 M_sun Population III stars. Such a high dust yield could place very massive primordial stars as important sources of dust at the very early epoch of the universe if the initial mass function of Population III stars was top-heavy. We also briefly discuss a new formation scenario of carbon-rich ultra-metal-poor stars considering the feedback from very massive Population III stars.

Planets Transiting Non-Eclipsing Binaries

The majority of binary stars do not eclipse. Current searches for transiting circumbinary planets concentrate on eclipsing binaries, and are therefore restricted to a small fraction of potential hosts. We investigate the concept of finding planets transiting non-eclipsing binaries, whose geometry would require mutually inclined planes. Using an N-body code we explore how the number and sequence of transits vary as functions of observing time and orbital parameters. The concept is then generalised thanks to a suite of simulated circumbinary systems. Binaries are constructed from radial-velocity surveys of the solar neighbourhood. They are then populated with orbiting gas giants, drawn from a range of distributions. The binary population is shown to be compatible with the Kepler eclipsing binary catalogue, indicating that the properties of binaries may be as universal as the initial mass function. These synthetic systems produce transiting circumbinary planets on both eclipsing and non-eclipsing binaries. Simulated planets transiting eclipsing binaries are compared with published Kepler detections. We obtain 1) that planets transiting non-eclipsing binaries probably exist in the Kepler data, 2) that observational biases alone cannot account for the observed over-density of circumbi- nary planets near the stability limit, implying a physical pile-up, and 3) that the distributions of gas giants orbiting single and binary stars are likely different. Estimating the frequency of circumbinary planets is degenerate with the spread in mutual inclination. Only a minimum occurrence rate can be produced, which we find to be compatible with 9%. Searching for inclined circumbinary planets may significantly increase the population of known objects and will test our conclusions. Their existence, or absence, will reveal the true occurrence rate and help develop circumbinary planet formation theories.

X-rays from Magnetically Confined Wind Shocks: Effect of Cooling-Regulated Shock Retreat

We use 2D MHD simulations to examine the effects of radiative cooling and inverse Compton (IC) cooling on X-ray emission from magnetically confined wind shocks (MCWS) in magnetic massive stars with radiatively driven stellar winds. For the standard dependence of mass loss rate on luminosity $\Mdot \sim L^{1.7} $, the scaling of IC cooling with $L$ and radiative cooling with $\Mdot$ means that IC cooling become formally more important for lower luminosity stars. However, because the sense of the trends is similar, we find the overall effect of including IC cooling is quite modest. More significantly, for stars with high enough mass loss to keep the shocks radiative, the MHD simulations indicate a linear scaling of X-ray luminosity with mass loss rate; but for lower luminosity stars with weak winds, X-ray emission is reduced and softened by a {\em shock retreat} resulting from the larger post-shock cooling length, which within the fixed length of a closed magnetic loop forces the shock back to lower pre-shock wind speeds. A semi-analytic scaling analysis that accounts both for the wind magnetic confinement and this shock retreat yields X-ray luminosities that have a similar scaling trend, but a factor few higher values, compared to time-averages computed from the MHD simulations. The simulation and scaling results here thus provide a good basis for interpreting available X-ray observations from the growing list of massive stars with confirmed large-scale magnetic fields.

An Analysis of the SEEDS High-Contrast Exoplanet Survey: Massive Planets or Low-Mass Brown Dwarfs?

We conduct a statistical analysis of a combined sample of direct imaging data, totalling nearly 250 stars observed by HiCIAO on the Subaru Telescope, NIRI on Gemini North, and NICI on Gemini South. The stars cover a wide range of ages and spectral types, and include five detections (kap And b, two ~60 M_J brown dwarf companions in the Pleiades, PZ Tel B, and CD-35 2722 B). We conduct a uniform, Bayesian analysis of the ages of our entire sample, using both membership in a kinematic moving group and activity/rotation age indicators, to obtain posterior age distributions. We then present a new statistical method for computing the likelihood of a substellar distribution function. By performing most integrals analytically, we achieve an enormous speedup over brute-force Monte Carlo. We use this method to place upper limits on the maximum semimajor axis beyond which the distribution function for radial-velocity planets cannot extend, finding model-dependent values of ~30–100 AU. Finally, we treat our entire substellar sample together, modeling it as a single power law distribution. After including GJ 758 B and GJ 504 b, two other HiCIAO detections, a distribution $p(M, a) \propto M^{-0.7 \pm 0.6} a^{-0.8 \pm 0.4}$ (1 sigma errors) from massive brown dwarfs to a theoretically motivated cutoff at ~5 M_J, provides an adequate fit to our data. This suggests that many of the directly imaged exoplanets known, including most (if not all) of the low-mass companions in our sample, formed by fragmentation in a cloud or disk, and represent the low-mass tail of the brown dwarfs.

Winds of low-metallicity OB-type stars: HST-COS spectroscopy in IC1613

We present the first quantitative UV spectroscopic analysis of resolved OB stars in IC1613. Because of its alleged very low metallicity (<~1/10 Zo, from HII regions), studies in this Local Group dwarf galaxy could become a significant step forward from the SMC towards the extremely metal-poor massive stars of the early Universe. We present HST-COS data covering the ~1150-1800{\AA} wavelength range with resolution R~2500. We find that the targets do exhibit wind features, and these are similar in strength to SMC stars. Wind terminal velocities were derived from the observed PCygni profiles with the SEI method. The vinf-Z relationship has been revisited. The terminal velocity of IC1613 O-stars is clearly lower than Milky Way counterparts, but there is no clear difference between IC1613 and SMC or LMC analogue stars. We find no clear segregation with host galaxy in the terminal velocities of B-supergiants, nor in the vinf/vesc ratio of the whole OB star sample in any of the studied galaxies. Finally, we present first evidence that the Fe-abundance of IC1613 OB stars is similar to the SMC, in agreement with previous results on red supergiants. With the confirmed ~1/10 solar oxygen abundances of B-supergiants, our results indicate that IC1613′s [alpha/Fe] ratio is sub-solar.

Tracing the ISM magnetic field morphology: The potential of multi-wavelength polarization measurements

$\textit{Aims.}$ We present a case study to demonstrate the potential of multi-wavelength polarization measurements. The aim is to investigate the effects that dichroic polarization and thermal re-emission have on tracing the magnetic field in the interstellar medium (ISM). Furthermore, we analyze the crucial influence of imperfectly aligned compact dust grains on the resulting synthetic continuum polarization maps.$\\ \textit{Methods.}$ We developed an extended version of the well-known 3D Monte-Carlo radiation transport code MC3D for multi-wavelength polarization simulations running on an adaptive grid.We investigated the interplay between radiation, magnetic fields and dust grains. Our results were produced by post-processing both ideal density distributions and sophisticated magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) collapse simulations with radiative transfer simulations. We derived spatially resolved maps of intensity, optical depth, and linear and circular polarization at various inclination angles and scales in a wavelength range from 7 $\mu m$ to 1 $mm$.$\\ \textit{Results.}$ We predict unique patterns in linear and circular polarization maps for different types of density distributions and magnetic field morphologies for test setups and sophisticated MHD collapse simulations. We show that alignment processes of interstellar dust grains can significantly influence the resulting synthetic polarization maps. Multi-wavelength polarization measurements allow one to predict the morphology of the magnetic field inside the ISM. The interpretation of polarization measurements of complex structures still remains ambiguous because of the large variety of the predominant parameters in the ISM.

Phase conversion dissipation in multi-component compact stars

We propose a mechanism for the damping of density oscillation modes in multi-component compact stars. The mechanism is the periodic conversion between different phases, i.e. the movement of their interface, induced by pressure oscillations in the star. The damping grows nonlinearly with the amplitude of the mode. We study in detail the case of r-modes in a hybrid star with a sharp interface, and we find that this mechanism can saturate the r-mode at a low saturation amplitude and could therefore be the dominant r-mode saturation mechanism in hybrid stars.

Stability Analysis of Strange-Modes in Hot Massive Stars with Time-Dependent Convection

We carry out a nonadiabatic analysis of strange-modes in hot massive stars with time-dependent convection (TDC). In envelopes of such stars, convective luminosity is not so dominant as that in envelopes of stars in the redder side of the classical instability strip. Around the Fe opacity bump, however, convection non-negligibly contributes to energy transfer. Indeed, instability of modes excited at the Fe bump is likely to be suppressed with TDC compared with the case of adopting the frozen-in convection approximation. But we make sure that unstable strange-modes certainly appear in hot massive stars even by taking into account TDC. We also examine properties of the strange-mode instability, which is related to destabilization of strange-modes without adiabatic counterparts. In this type of instability, the phase lag between density and pressure varies from 0 to $180^{\circ}$ in an excitation zone unlike the case of the $\kappa$-mechanism. In addition, we confirm by comparing models with $Z=0$ and $Z=0.02$ that dominance of radiation pressure is important for this type of instability.

Final common envelope ejection by migration and jets

I summarize recent analytical and numerical studies of the common envelope (CE) process and suggest to replace the commonly used alpha-prescription for the CE ejection by a prescription based on final migration and jets launched by the companion or the core of the giant stellar primary. In the migration process the core-companion binary systems is surrounded by a highly oblate (flatten) envelope, a thick circumbinary disk, formed by the large angular momentum transferred from the core-companion system to the envelope. I then show that the energy that can be released by an accreting main sequence companion can surpass the mutual gravitational energy of the core and the companion. An efficient channel to leash the accretion energy to expel the CE is through jets operating via a feedback mechanism (JFM).

Chemical abundances in Galactic Planetary Nebulae with Spitzer spectra

We present new low-resolution (R~800) optical spectra of 22 Galactic PNe with Spitzer spectra. These data are combined with recent optical spectroscopic data available in the literature to construct representative samples of compact (and presumably young) Galactic disc and bulge PNe with Spitzer spectra. Attending to the nature of the dust features seen in their Spitzer spectra, Galactic disc and bulge PNe are classified according to four major dust types (oxygen chemistry or OC, carbon chemistry or CC, double chemistry or DC, featureless or F) and subtypes (amorphous and crystalline, and aliphatic and aromatic). Nebular gas abundances of He, N, O, Ne, S, Cl and Ar, as well as plasma parameters (e.g. Ne, Te) are homogeneously derived and we study the median chemical abundances and nebular properties in Galactic disc and bulge PNe depending on their Spitzer dust types and subtypes. A comparison of the derived median abundance patterns with AGB nucleosynthesis predictions show mainly that: i) DC PNe, both with amorphous and crystalline silicates, display high-metallicity (solar/supra-solar) and the highest He abundances and N/O ratios, suggesting relatively massive (~3-5 M_sun) hot bottom burning AGB stars as progenitors; ii) PNe with O-rich and C-rich unevolved dust (amorphous and aliphatic) seem to evolve from sub-solar metallicity (z~0.008) and lower mass (<3 M_sun) AGB stars; iii) a few O-rich PNe and a significant fraction of C-rich PNe with more evolved dust (crystalline and aromatic, respectively) display chemical abundances similar to DC PNe, suggesting that they are related objects. A comparison of the derived nebular properties with predictions from models combining the theoretical central star evolution with a simple nebular model is also presented. Finally, a possible link between the Spitzer dust properties, chemical abundances and evolutionary status is discussed.

Angular momentum transport by stochastically excited oscillations in rapidly rotating massive stars

We estimate the amount of angular momentum transferred by the low-frequency oscillations detected in the rapidly rotating hot Be star HD 51452. Here, we assume that the oscillations detected are stochastically excited by convective motions in the convective core of the star, that is, we treat the oscillations as forced oscillations excited by the periodic convective motions of the core fluids having the frequencies observationally determined. With the observational amplitudes of the photometric variations, we determine the oscillation amplitudes, which makes it possible to estimate the net amount of angular momentum transferred by the oscillations using the wave-meanflow interaction theory. Since we do not have any information concerning the azimuthal wavenumber $m$ and spherical harmonic degree $l$ for each of the oscillations, we assume that all the frequencies detected are prograde or retrograde in the observer’s frame and they are all associated with a single value of $m$ both for even modes ($l=|m|$) and for odd modes ($l=|m|+1$). We estimate the amount of angular momentum transferred by the oscillations for $|m|=1$ and 2, which are typical $|m|$ values for Be stars, and find that the amount is large enough for a decretion disc to form around the star. Therefore, transport of angular momentum by waves stochastically excited in the core of Be stars might be responsible for the Be phenomenon.

Fine structure of flare ribbons and evolution of electric currents

Emission of solar flares across the electromagnetic spectrum is often observed in the form of two expanding ribbons. The standard flare model explains the flare ribbons as footpoints of magnetic arcades, emitting due to interaction of energetic particles with the chromospheric plasma. However, the physics of this interaction and properties of the accelerated particles are still unknown. We present results of multiwavelength observations of C2.1 flare of August 15, 2013, observed with New Solar Telescope (NST) of Big Bear Solar Observatory, Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), GOES and FERMI spacecraft. The observations reveal previously unresolved sub-arcsecond structure of the flare ribbons in regions of strong magnetic field consisting from numerous small-scale bright knots. We observe red-blue asymmetry of H alpha flare ribbons with a width as small as 100 km. We discuss the relationship between the ribbons and vertical electric currents estimated from vector magnetograms, and show that Joule heating can be responsible for energization of H alpha knots in the ribbons.

Temporal Evolution of the Magnetic Topology of the NOAA Active Region 11158

We studied the temporal evolution of the magnetic topology of the active region (AR) 11158 based on the reconstructed three-dimensional magnetic fields in the corona. The \nlfff\ extrapolation method was applied to the 12 minutes cadence data obtained with the \hmi\ (HMI) onboard the \sdo\ (SDO) during five days. By calculating the squashing degree factor Q in the volume, the derived quasi-separatrix layers (QSLs) show that this AR has an overall topology, resulting from a magnetic quadrupole, including an hyperbolic flux tube (HFT) configuration which is relatively stable at the time scale of the flare ($\sim 1-2$ hours). A strong QSL, which corresponds to some highly sheared arcades that might be related to the formation of a flux rope, is prominent just before the M6.6 and X2.2 flares, respectively. These facts indicate the close relationship between the strong QSL and the high flare productivity of AR 11158. In addition, with a close inspection of the topology, we found a small-scale HFT which has an inverse tear-drop structure above the aforementioned QSL before the X2.2 flare. It indicates the existence of magnetic flux rope at this place. Even though a global configuration (HFT) is recognized in this AR, it turns out that the large-scale HFT only plays a secondary role during the eruption. In final, we dismiss a trigger based on the breakout model and highlight the central role of the flux rope in the related eruption.

The solar abundance problem: the effect of the turbulent kinetic flux on the solar envelope model

Recent 3D-simulations have shown that the turbulent kinetic flux (TKF) is significant. We discuss the effects of TKF on the size of convection zone and find that the TKF may help to solve the solar abundance problem. The solar abundance problem is that, with new abundances, the solar convection zone depth, sound speed in the radiative interior, the helium abundance and density in the convective envelope are not in agreement with helioseismic inversions. We have done Monte Carlo simulations on solar convective envelope models with different profile of TKF to test the effects. The solar abundance problem is revealed in the standard solar convective envelope model with AGSS09 composition, which shows significant differences ($\rm{\sim 10 %}$) on density from the helioseicmic inversions, but the differences in the model with old composition GN93 is small ($\rm{\sim 0.5 %}$). In the testing models with different imposed TKF, it is found that the density profile is sensitive to the value of TKF at the base of convective envelope and insensitive to the structure of TKF in the convection zone. Required value of turbulent kinetic luminosity at the base is about $\rm{-13%\sim-19%L_{\odot}}$. Comparing with the 3D-simulations, this value is plausible. This study is for the solar convective envelope only. The evolutionary solar models with TKF are required for investigating its effects on the solar interior structure below the convection zone and the whole solar abundance problem, but the profile of TKF in the overshoot region is needed.

Towards precision distances and 3D dust maps using broadband Period--Magnitude relations of RR Lyrae stars

We determine the period-magnitude relations of RR Lyrae stars in 13 photometric bandpasses from 0.4 to 12 {\mu}m using timeseries observations of 134 stars. The Bayesian formalism, extended from our previous work to include the effects of line-of-sight dust extinction, allows for the simultaneous inference of the posterior distribution of the mean absolute magnitude, slope of the period-magnitude power-law, and intrinsic scatter about a perfect power-law for each bandpass. In addition, the distance modulus and line-of-sight dust extinction to each RR Lyrae star in the calibration sample is determined, yielding a sample median fractional distance error of 0.66%. The intrinsic scatter in all bands appears to be larger than the photometric errors, except in WISE W1 (3.4 {\mu}m) and W2 (4.6 {\mu}m) where the photometric error ($\sigma \approx 0.05$ mag) is to be comparable or larger than the intrinsic scatter. Additional observations at these wavelengths could improve the inferred distances to these sources further. As an application of the methodology, we infer the distance to the RRc-type star RZCep at low Galactic latitude ($b = 5.5^\circ$) to be $\mu=8.0397\pm0.0123$ mag ($405.4\pm2.3$ pc) with colour excess $E(B-V)=0.2461\pm0.0089$ mag. This distance, equivalent to a parallax of $2467\pm14$ microarcsec, is consistent with the published HST parallax measurement but with an uncertainty that is 13 times smaller than the HST measurement. If our measurements (and methodology) hold up to scrutiny, the distances to these stars have been determined to an accuracy comparable to those expected with Gaia. As RR Lyrae are one of the primary components of the cosmic distance ladder, the achievement of sub-1% distance errors within a formalism that accounts for dust extinction may be considered a strong buttressing of the path to eventual 1% uncertainties in Hubble’s constant.

Towards precision distances and 3D dust maps using broadband Period--Magnitude relations of RR Lyrae stars [Replacement]

We determine the period-magnitude relations of RR Lyrae stars in 13 photometric bandpasses from 0.4 to 12 {\mu}m using timeseries observations of 134 stars. The Bayesian formalism, extended from our previous work to include the effects of line-of-sight dust extinction, allows for the simultaneous inference of the posterior distribution of the mean absolute magnitude, slope of the period-magnitude power-law, and intrinsic scatter about a perfect power-law for each bandpass. In addition, the distance modulus and line-of-sight dust extinction to each RR Lyrae star in the calibration sample is determined, yielding a sample median fractional distance error of 0.66%. The intrinsic scatter in all bands appears to be larger than the photometric errors, except in WISE W1 (3.4 {\mu}m) and W2 (4.6 {\mu}m) where the photometric error ($\sigma \approx 0.05$ mag) is to be comparable or larger than the intrinsic scatter. Additional observations at these wavelengths could improve the inferred distances to these sources further. As an application of the methodology, we infer the distance to the RRc-type star RZCep at low Galactic latitude ($b = 5.5^\circ$) to be $\mu=8.0397\pm0.0123$ mag ($405.4\pm2.3$ pc) with colour excess $E(B-V)=0.2461\pm0.0089$ mag. This distance, equivalent to a parallax of $2467\pm14$ microarcsec, is consistent with the published HST parallax measurement but with an uncertainty that is 13 times smaller than the HST measurement. If our measurements (and methodology) hold up to scrutiny, the distances to these stars have been determined to an accuracy comparable to those expected with Gaia. As RR Lyrae are one of the primary components of the cosmic distance ladder, the achievement of sub-1% distance errors within a formalism that accounts for dust extinction may be considered a strong buttressing of the path to eventual 1% uncertainties in Hubble’s constant.

The W43-MM1 mini-starburst ridge, a test for star formation efficiency models

Context: Star formation efficiency (SFE) theories are currently based on statistical distributions of turbulent cloud structures and a simple model of star formation from cores. They remain poorly tested, especially at the highest densities. Aims: We investigate the effects of gas density on the SFE through measurements of the core formation efficiency (CFE). With a total mass of $\sim2\times10^4$ M$_\odot$, the W43-MM1 ridge is one of the most convincing candidate precursor of starburst clusters and thus one of the best place to investigate star formation. Methods: We used high-angular resolution maps obtained at 3 mm and 1 mm within W43-MM1 with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer to reveal a cluster of 11 massive dense cores (MDCs), and, one of the most massive protostellar cores known. An Herschel column density image provided the mass distribution of the cloud gas. We then measured the ‘instantaneous’ CFE and estimated the SFE and the star formation rate (SFR) within subregions of the W43-MM1 ridge. Results: The high SFE found in the ridge ($\sim$6% enclosed in $\sim$8 pc$^3$) confirms its ability to form a starburst cluster. There is however a clear lack of dense cores in the northern part of the ridge, which may be currently assembling. The CFE and the SFE are observed to increase with volume gas density while the SFR steeply decreases with the virial parameter, $\alpha_{vir}$. Statistical models of the SFR may well describe the outskirts of the W43-MM1 ridge but struggle to reproduce its inner part, which corresponds to measurements at low $\alpha_{vir}$. It may be that ridges do not follow the log-normal density distribution, Larson relations, and stationary conditions forced in the statistical SFR models.

Faint Population III supernovae as the origin of the most iron-poor stars [Replacement]

The most iron-deficient stars in the Milky Way provide important observational constraints on the nature of astrophysical objects that have enriched the primordial gas with heavy elements from which these stars were formed. Among them, the recently discovered iron-deficient star SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 shows a remarkable chemical composition with non-detection of iron ([Fe/H]$<-7.1$) and large enhancement of carbon and magnesium relative to calcium. We investigate the supernova yields of metal-free (Population III) stars to interpret the observed abundance pattern for this star. We report that the high [C/Ca] and [C/Mg] ratios and upper limits determined for other elemental abundances are well reproduced with the yields of core-collapse supernovae (that have normal kinetic energies of explosion $E$ of $E_{51}=E/10^{51}$erg$=1$) or hypernovae ($E_{51}\geq 10$) of the Population III 25$M_{\odot}$ or 40$M_{\odot}$ stars. The best-fit model assumes that the explosion of the Population III progenitor undergoes extensive matter mixing and fallback, leaving behind a black hole remnant. In these models, Ca is produced by static/explosive O burning and incomplete Si burning in the Population III supernova/hypernova, in contrast to the suggestion that Ca is originated from the hot CNO cycle during the presupernova evolution. Among the five most iron-poor stars with [Fe/H]$<-4.5$, four carbon-enhanced stars are consistent with the faint supernova models with the ejected mass of $^{56}$Ni less than 10$^{-3}M_{\odot}$.

Faint Population III supernovae as the origin of the most iron-poor stars

The most iron-deficient stars in the Milky Way provide important observational constraints on the nature of astrophysical objects that have enriched the primordial gas with heavy elements from which these stars were formed. Among them, the recently discovered iron-deficient star SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 shows a remarkable chemical composition with non-detection of iron ([Fe/H]$<-7.1$) and large enhancement of carbon and magnesium relative to calcium. We investigate the supernova yields of metal-free (Population III) stars to interpret the observed abundance pattern for this star. We report that the high [C/Ca] and [C/Mg] ratios and upper limits determined for other elemental abundances are well reproduced with the yields of core-collapse supernovae (that have normal kinetic energies of explosion $E$ of $E_{51}=E/10^{51}$erg$=1$) or hypernovae ($E_{51}\geq 10$) of the Population III 25$M_{\odot}$ or 40$M_{\odot}$ stars. The best-fit model assumes that the explosion of the Population III progenitor undergoes extensive matter mixing and fallback, leaving behind a black hole remnant. In these models, Ca is produced by static/explosive O burning and incomplete Si burning in the Population III supernova/hypernova, in contrast to the suggestion that Ca is originated from the hot CNO cycle during the presupernova evolution. Among the five most iron-poor stars with [Fe/H]$<-4.5$, four carbon-enhanced stars are consistent with the faint supernova models with the ejected mass of $^{56}$Ni less than 10$^{-3}M_{\odot}$.

Timing Analysis of the Periodic Radio and Optical Brightness Variations of the Ultracool Dwarf, TVLM 513-46546

We describe the arrival time measurements and timing modeling of the periodic radio flares and optical brightness variations of the M9 ultracool dwarf, TVLM 513-46546. We confirm the stability of the observed period and determine its best-fit value to be 7054.468(+/-)0.007 s over the last 7 years, based on both the new and archival radio observations and the archival optical data. The period, when measured separately for the radio flare and the optical periodicities, is the same to within (+/-)0.02 s. We show that the radio flares are out of phase with respect to the optical brightness maxima by 0.41(+/-)0.02 of the period. Our analysis also reveals that, on shorter timescales, the period varies with the amplitude of (+/-)1-2 s about its long-term average and that these variations are correlated between the radio and the optical wavelengths. These results provide further evidence that TVLM 513-46546 is equipped with a stable, approximately dipolar magnetic field which powers the activity of the star observed over a wide wavelength range, and that the active area has been maintaining its identity and positional stability over no less than 7 years. A stepwise decline of the apparent radio flaring period of TVLM 513-46546 deduced from timing observations with the Arecibo radio telescope in late 2012 and early 2013 suggests that this effect may be the manifestation of differential rotation of the star.

Interpretation of Solar Irradiance Monitor measurements through analysis of 3D MHD simulations

Measurements from the Solar Irradiance Monitor (SIM) onboard the SORCE mission indicate that solar spectral irradiance at Visible and IR wavelengths varies in counter phase with the solar activity cycle. The sign of these variations is not reproduced by most of the irradiance reconstruction techniques based on variations of surface magnetism employed so far, and it is not clear yet whether SIM calibration procedures need to be improved, or if instead new physical mechanisms must be invoked to explain such variations. We employ three-dimensional magneto hydrodynamic simulations of the solar photosphere to investigate the dependence of solar radiance in SIM Visible and IR spectral ranges on variations of the filling factor of surface magnetic fields. We find that the contribution of magnetic features to solar radiance is strongly dependent on the location on the disk of the features, being negative close to disk center and positive toward the limb. If features are homogeneously distributed over a region around the equator (activity belt) then their contribution to irradiance is positive with respect to the contribution of HD snapshots, but decreases with the increase of their magnetic flux for average magnetic flux larger than 50 G in at least two of the Visible and IR spectral bands monitored by SIM. Under the assumption that the 50 G snapshots are representative of quiet Sun regions we find thus that the Spectral Irradiance can be in counter-phase with the solar magnetic activity cycle.

Validating Time-Distance Helioseismology With Realistic Quiet Sun Simulations

Linear time-distance helioseismic inversions are carried out for vector flow velocities using travel times measured from two $\sim 100^2\,{\rm Mm^2}\times 20\,{\rm Mm}$ realistic magnetohydrodynamic quiet-Sun simulations of about 20 hr. The goal is to test current seismic methods on these state-of-the-art simulations. Using recent three-dimensional inversion schemes, we find that inverted horizontal flow maps correlate well with the simulations in the upper $\sim 3$ Mm of the domains for several filtering schemes, including phase-speed, ridge, and combined phase-speed and ridge measurements. In several cases, however, the velocity amplitudes from the inversions severely underestimate those of the simulations, possibly indicating nonlinearity of the forward problem. We also find that, while near-surface inversions of the vertical velocites are best using phase-speed filters, in almost all other example cases these flows are irretrievable due to noise, suggesting a need for statistical averaging to obtain better inferences.

Near-Infrared Detection and Characterization of the Exoplanet HD 95086 b with the Gemini Planet Imager

HD 95086 is an intermediate-mass debris-disk-bearing star. VLT/NaCo $3.8 \mu m$ observations revealed it hosts a $5\pm2 \mathrm{M}_{Jup}$ companion (HD 95086 b) at $\simeq 56$ AU. Follow-up observations at 1.66 and 2.18 $\mu m$ yielded a null detection, suggesting extremely red colors for the planet and the need for deeper direct-imaging data. In this Letter, we report H- ($1.7 \mu m$) and $\mathrm{K}_1$- ($2.05 \mu m$) band detections of HD 95086 b from Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) commissioning observations taken by the GPI team. The planet position in both spectral channels is consistent with the NaCo measurements and we confirm it to be comoving. Our photometry yields colors of H-L’= $3.6\pm 1.0$ mag and K$_1$-L’=$2.4\pm 0.7$ mag, consistent with previously reported 5-$\sigma$ upper limits in H and Ks. The photometry of HD 95086 b best matches that of 2M 1207 b and HR 8799 cde. Comparing its spectral energy distribution with the BT-SETTL and LESIA planet atmospheric models yields T$_{\mathrm{eff}}\sim$600-1500 K and log g$\sim$2.1-4.5. Hot-start evolutionary models yield M=$5\pm2$ M$_{Jup}$. Warm-start models reproduce the combined absolute fluxes of the object for M=4-14 M$_{Jup}$ for a wide range of plausible initial conditions (S$_{init}$=8-13 k$_{B}$/baryon). The color-magnitude diagram location of HD 95086 b and its estimated T$_{\mathrm{eff}}$ and log g suggest that the planet is a peculiar L-T transition object with an enhanced amount of photospheric dust.

The Brown dwarf Atmosphere Monitoring (BAM) Project I: The largest near-IR monitoring survey of L- & T-dwarfs

Using SofI on the 3.5m New Technology Telescope, we have conducted an extensive near-infrared monitoring survey of an unbiased sample of 69 brown dwarfs spanning the L0 and T8 spectral range, with at least one example of each spectral type. Each target was observed for a 2-4 hour period in the Js-band, and the median photometric precision of the data is ~0.7%. A total of 14 brown dwarfs were identified as variables with min-to-max amplitudes ranging from 1.7% to 10.8% over the observed duration. All variables satisfy a statistical significance threshold with a p-value <5% based on comparison with the median reference star light curve. Approximately half of the variables show sinusoidal amplitude variations similar to 2M2139, and the remainder shows short timescale evolving light curves similar to SIMP0136. The L/T transition has been suggested to be a region of a higher degree of variability if patchy clouds are present and this survey was designed to test the patchy cloud model with photometric monitoring of both the L/T transition and non-transition brown dwarfs. Considering the targets identified as variable with the same statistical threshold, the measured variability frequency of 13^{+10}_{-4}% for the L7 — T4 transition region is indistinguishable from that of the earlier spectral types (32^{+11}_{-8}%), the later spectral types (13^{+10}_{-4}%), or the combination of all non-transition region brown dwarfs (21^{+7}_{-5}%). The variables are not concentrated at the transition, in a specific colour, or with binaries. We note that of the systems previously monitored for variability only ~60% maintained the state of variability (variable or constant), with the remaining switching states. The 14 variables include nine newly identified variables that will provide important systems for follow-up multi-wavelength monitoring to further investigate brown dwarf atmosphere physics.

Magnetohydrodynamic Slow Mode with Drifting He$^{++}$: Implications for Coronal Seismology and the Solar Wind [Cross-Listing]

The MHD slow mode wave has application to coronal seismology, MHD turbulence, and the solar wind where it can be produced by parametric instabilities. We consider analytically how a drifting ion species (e.g. He$^{++}$) affects the linear slow mode wave in a mainly electron-proton plasma, with potential consequences for the aforementioned applications. Our main conclusions are: 1. For wavevectors highly oblique to the magnetic field, we find solutions that are characterized by very small perturbations of total pressure. Thus, our results may help to distinguish the MHD slow mode from kinetic Alfv\’en waves and non-propagating pressure-balanced structures, which can also have very small total pressure perturbations. 2. For small ion concentrations, there are solutions that are similar to the usual slow mode in an electron-proton plasma, and solutions that are dominated by the drifting ions, but for small drifts the wave modes cannot be simply characterized. 3. Even with zero ion drift, the standard dispersion relation for the highly oblique slow mode cannot be used with the Alfv\’en speed computed using the summed proton and ion densities, and with the sound speed computed from the summed pressures and densities of all species. 4. The ions can drive a non-resonant instability under certain circumstances. For low plasma beta, the threshold drift can be less than that required to destabilize electromagnetic modes, but damping from the Landau resonance can eliminate this instability altogether, unless $T_{\mathrm e}/T_{\mathrm p}\gg1$.

On the origin of stars with and without planets. Tc trends and clues to Galactic evolution

We explore a sample of 148 solar-like stars to search for a possible correlation between the slopes of the abundance trends versus condensation temperature (known as the Tc slope) with stellar parameters and Galactic orbital parameters in order to understand the nature of the peculiar chemical signatures of these stars and the possible connection with planet formation. We find that the Tc slope significantly correlates (at more than 4sigma) with the stellar age and the stellar surface gravity. We also find tentative evidence that the Tc slope correlates with the mean galactocentric distance of the stars (Rmean), suggesting that those stars that originated in the inner Galaxy have fewer refractory elements relative to the volatiles. While the average Tc slope for planet-hosting solar analogs is steeper than that of their counterparts without planets, this difference probably reflects the difference in their age and Rmean. We conclude that the age and probably the Galactic birth place are determinant to establish the star’s chemical properties. Old stars (and stars with inner disk origin) have a lower refractory-to-volatile ratio.

Next generation population synthesis of accreting white dwarfs: I. Hybrid calculations using BSE + MESA

Accreting, nuclear-burning white dwarfs have been deemed to be candidate progenitors of SNe Ia, and to account for supersoft X-ray sources, novae, etc. We have carried out a binary population synthesis (BPS) study of hydrogen-accreting WDs. First, we use the BPS code \textsf{BSE} as a baseline for the commonly used "rapid" approach. Second, we apply a "hybrid" approach: we use \textsf{BSE} to generate a population of WDs with non-degenerate companions on the verge of mass transfer. We then follow their evolution using the detailed stellar evolutionary code \textsf{MESA}. We investigate the evolution of the number of rapidly accreting white dwarfs (RAWDs), stably nuclear-burning white dwarfs (SNBWDs), and the SNe Ia rate produced by "single-degenerate" systems (SD). The two algorithms differ significantly in the predicted numbers of SNBWDs at early and late times, and also in the delay time distribution (DTD) of SD SNe Ia. The differences in the treatment of mass transfer may partially account for differences in the SNe Ia rate and DTD found by different groups. Using our hybrid algorithm, we found the number of RAWDs to be $\simeq (160 – 180)$ and $\simeq (2250 – 2500)$ in $10^{11}\,M_{\odot}$ elliptical and spiral-like galaxies, respectively. The numbers of SNBWDs found are $\simeq (750 – 1900)$ and $\simeq (4550 – 6550)$, respectively, larger than in previous studies. For 100% retention of accumulated helium, our calculations produce a SD SN Ia rate in a Milky-Way-like galaxy of $2.0\times10^{-4}\rm{yr}^{-1}$, an order of magnitude below that observed. In agreement with previous studies, our calculated SD DTD is inconsistent with observations. Subsequent articles will be devoted to the electromagnetic output from accreting WDs, and comparison of populations in varying accretion states with observations. (abridged)

Constraints on the winds of hot subdwarf stars from X-ray observations of two sdB binaries with compact companions: CD -30 11223 and PG 1232-136

Little observational data are available on the weak stellar winds of hot subdwarf stars of B spectral type (sdB). Close binary systems composed of an sdB star and a compact object (white dwarf, neutron star or black hole) could be detected as accretion-powered X-ray sources. The study of their X-ray emission can probe the properties of line-driven winds of sdB stars that can not be derived directly from spectroscopy because of the low luminosity of these stars. Here we report on the first sensitive X-ray observations of two sdB binaries with compact companions. CD -30 11223 is the sdB binary with the shortest known orbital period (1.2 h) and its companion is certainly a white dwarf. PG 1232-136 is an sdB binary considered the best candidate to host a black hole companion. We observed these stars with XMM-Newton in August 2013 for 50 ks and in July 2009 for 36 ks, respectively. None of them was detected and we derived luminosity upper limits of about 1.5×10^29 erg/s for CD -30 11223 5×10^29 erg/s for PG 1232-136. The corresponding mass loss rate for PG 1232-136 is poorly constrained, owing to the unknown efficiency for black hole accretion. On the other hand, in the case of CD -30 11223 we could derive, under reasonable assumptions, an upper limit of about 3×10^-13 solar masses/yr on the wind mass loss rate from the sdB star. This is one of the few observational constraints on the weak winds expected in this class of low mass hot stars. We also report the results on the X-ray emission from a cluster of galaxies serendipitously discovered in the field of CD -30 11223.

Perspectives of current-layer diagnostics in solar flares

A reconnecting current layer is a `heart’ of a solar flare, because it is a place of magnetic-field energy release. However there are no direct observations of these layers. The aim of our work is to understand why we actually do not directly observe current layers and what we need to do it in the future. The method is based on a simple mathematical model of a super-hot (T ~ 1E8 K) turbulent-current layer (SHTCL) and a model of plasma heating by the layer. The models allow us to study a correspondence between the main characteristics of the layer, such as temperature and dimensions, and the observational features, such as differential and integral emission measure of heated plasma, intensity of spectral lines Fe XXVI (1.78 and 1.51A) and Ni XXVII (1.59 A). This method provides a theoretical basis for determining parameters of the current layer from observations. Observations of SHTCLs are difficult, because the spectral line intensities are faint, but it is theoretically possible in the future. Observations in X-ray range 1.5–1.8 A with high spectral resolution (better than 0.01 A) and high temporal resolution (seconds) are needed. It is also very important to interpret the observations using a multi-temperature approach instead of the usual single or double temperature method.

Companions of Stars: From Other Stars to Brown Dwarfs to Planets: The Discovery of the First Methane Brown Dwarf

The discovery of the first methane brown dwarf provides a framework for describing the important advances in both fundamental physics and astrophysics that are due to the study of companions of stars. I present a few highlights of the history of this subject along with details of the discovery of the brown dwarf Gliese 229B. The nature of companions of stars is discussed with an attempt to avoid biases induced by anthropocentric nomenclature. With the newer types of remote reconnaissance of nearby stars and their systems of companions, an exciting and perhaps even more profound set of contributions to science is within reach in the near future. This includes an exploration of the diversity of planets in the universe and perhaps soon the first solid evidence for biological activity outside our Solar System.

Calibrating the updated overshoot mixing model on eclipsing binary stars: HY Vir, YZ Cas, X2 Hya & VV Crv

The detached eclipsing binary stars with convective cores provide a good tool to investigate the convective core overshoot. It has been performed on some binary stars to restrict the classical overshoot model which simply extends the boundary of fully mixed region. However, the classical overshoot model is physically unreasonable and inconsistent with the helioseismic investigation. An updated model of the overshoot mixing was established recently. There is a key parameter in the model. In this paper, we use the observations of four eclipsing binary stars, i.e., HY Vir, YZ Cas, $\rm{\chi^2}$ Hya and VV Crv, to investigate the suitable value for the parameter. It is found that the suggested value by the calibrations on eclipsing binary stars is same as the recommended value by other ways. And we have studied the effects of the updated overshoot model on the stellar structure. The diffusion coefficient of the convective/overshoot mixing is very high in the convection zone, then quickly decreases near the convective boundary, and exponentially decreases in the overshoot region. The low value of the diffusion coefficient in the overshoot region leads to weak mixing and the partially mixed overshoot region. The semi-convection, which appears in the standard stellar models of low-mass stars with convective core, is removed by the partial overshoot mixing.

The Light Curve Shapes as a Key to Resolving the Origin of Long Secondary Periods in Red Giant Stars

We present a study of OGLE light curves of red giant stars exhibiting long secondary periods (LSPs) – an enigmatic phenomenon commonly observed in stars on the upper red giant branch and asymptotic giant branch. We show that the light curves of LSP stars are essentially identical to those of the spotted variables with one dark spot on their photospheres. Such a behavior can be explained by a presence of a dusty cloud orbiting the red giant together with a low-mass companion in a close, circular orbit. We argue that the binary scenario is in agreement with most of the observational properties of LSP variables, including non-sinusoidal shapes of their radial velocity curves.

KOI-3278: A Self-Lensing Binary Star System

Over 40% of Sun-like stars are bound in binary or multistar systems. Stellar remnants in edge-on binary systems can gravitationally magnify their companions, as predicted 40 years ago. By using data from the Kepler spacecraft, we report the detection of such a "self-lensing" system, in which a 5-hour pulse of 0.1% amplitude occurs every orbital period. The white dwarf stellar remnant and its Sun-like companion orbit one another every 88.18 days, a long period for a white dwarf-eclipsing binary. By modeling the pulse as gravitational magnification (microlensing) along with Kepler’s laws and stellar models, we constrain the mass of the white dwarf to be ~63% of the mass of our Sun. Further study of this system, and any others discovered like it, will help to constrain the physics of white dwarfs and binary star evolution.

A 3D radiative transfer framework: XI. multi-level NLTE

Multi-level non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) radiation transfer calculations have become standard throughout the stellar atmospheres community and are applied to all types of stars as well as dynamical systems such as novae and supernovae. Even today spherically symmetric 1D calculations with full physics are computationally intensive. We show that full NLTE calculations can be done with fully 3 dimensional (3D) radiative transfer. With modern computational techniques and current massive parallel computational resources, full detailed solution of the multi-level NLTE problem coupled to the solution of the radiative transfer scattering problem can be solved without sacrificing the micro physics description. We extend the use of a rate operator developed to solve the coupled NLTE problem in spherically symmetric 1D systems. In order to spread memory among processors we have implemented the NLTE/3D module with a hierarchical domain decomposition method that distributes the NLTE levels, radiative rates, and rate operator data over a group of processes so that each process only holds the data for a fraction of the voxels. Each process in a group holds all the relevant data to participate in the solution of the 3DRT problem so that the 3DRT solution is parallelized within a domain decomposition group. We solve a spherically symmetric system in 3D spherical coordinates in order to directly compare our well-tested 1D code to the 3D case. We compare three levels of tests: a) a simple H+He test calculation, b) H+He+CNO+Mg, c) H+He+Fe. The last test is computationally large and shows that realistic astrophysical problems are solvable now, but they do require significant computational resources. With presently available computational resources it is possible to solve the full 3D multi-level problem with the same detailed micro-physics as included in 1D modeling.

Looking for activity cycles in late-type Kepler stars using time-frequency analysis

We analyse light curves covering four years of 39 fast-rotating ($P_\mathrm{rot}< 1d$) late-type active stars from the Kepler database. Using time-frequency analysis (Short-Term Fourier-Transform), we find hints for activity cycles of 300-900 days at 9 targets from the changing typical latitude of the starspots, which, with the differential rotation of the stellar surface change the observed rotation period over the activity cycle. We also give a lowest estimation for the shear parameter of the differential rotation, which is ~0.001 for the cycling targets. These results populate the less studied, short period end of the rotation-cycle length relation.

Rotational and Radial Velocities of 1.3-2.2 M_Sun Red Giants in Open Clusters

This study presents the rotational distribution of red giant stars (RGs) in eleven old to intermediate age open clusters. The masses of these stars are all above the Kraft break, so that they lose negligible amounts of their birth angular momentum (AM) during the main sequence evolution. However, they do span a mass range with quite different AM distributions imparted during formation, with the stars less massive than ~1.6 M_Sun arriving on the main sequence with lower rotation rates than the more massive stars. The majority of RGs in this study are slow rotators across the entire red giant branch regardless of mass, supporting the picture that intermediate mass stars rapidly spin down when they evolve off the main sequence and develop convection zones capable of driving a magnetic dynamo. Nevertheless, a small fraction of RGs in open clusters show some level of enhanced rotation, and faster rotators are as common in these clusters as in the field red giant population. Most of these enhanced rotators appear to be red clump stars, which is also true of the underlying stellar sample, while others are clearly RGs that are above or below the clump. In addition to rotational velocities, the radial velocities and membership probabilities of individual stars are also presented. Cluster heliocentric radial velocities for NGC 6005 and Pismis 18 are reported for the first time.

A comprehensive study of Kepler phase curves and secondary eclipses -- temperatures and albedos of confirmed Kepler giant planets

We present a comprehensive study of phase curves and secondary eclipses in the Kepler data set using all available data from 15 quarters. Our original sample consists of 489 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOI) with R_p > 4 R_e , P < 10d, V_mag < 15 from the latest data release. Here we focus on 20 confirmed planets from that sample and derive their temperatures and albedos. Our results confirm and in most cases improve parameters derived by previous studies. We present new results for Kepler 1b-8b, 12b-15b, 17b, 40b, 41b, 43b, 44b, 76b, 77b, and 412b derived in a consistent manner. Furthermore we present a lightcurve analysis of Kepler 91b and Kepler 74b. Both show extra dimmings at times other than of the expected primary and secondary eclipses. Corrected for thermal emission we find the 20 planets we analyzed separate into two groups of high (>0.1) and low (<0.1) albedos, with no significant correlation to any stellar or planetary parameters. However the most massive planets from our sample are all low in albedo.

Astrophysical parameters and orbital solution of the peculiar X-ray transient IGR J00370+6122

BD+6073 is the optical counterpart of the X-ray source IGR J00370+6122, a probable accretion-powered X-ray pulsar. The X-ray light curve of this binary system shows clear periodicity at 15.7 d, which has been interpreted as repeated outbursts around the periastron of an eccentric orbit. We obtained high-resolution spectra of BD+6073 at different epochs. We used the FASTWind code to generate a stellar atmosphere model to fit the observed spectrum and obtain physical magnitudes. The synthetic spectrum was used as a template for cross-correlation with the observed spectra to measure radial velocities. The radial velocity curve provided an orbital solution for the system. We have also analysed the RXTE/ASM and Swift/BAT light curves to confirm the stability of the periodicity. BD +6073 is a BN0.7 Ib low-luminosity supergiant located at an approximate distance of 3.1 kpc, in the CasOB4 association. We derive Teff=24000 K and log gc=3.0, and chemical abundances consistent with a moderately high level of evolution. The spectroscopic and evolutionary masses are consistent at the 1 sigma level with a mass of 15 solar masses. The recurrence time of the X-ray flares is the orbital period of the system. The NS is in a high eccentricity (e=0.56) orbit, and the X-ray emission is strongly peaked around orbital phase 0.2, though the observations are consistent with some level of X-ray activity happening at all orbital phases. The X-ray behaviour of IGR J00370+6122 is reminiscent of intermediate SFXTs, though its peak luminosity is rather low. The orbit is somewhat wider than those of classical persistent supergiant X-ray binaries, which, combined with the low luminosity of the mass donor, explains the low X-ray luminosity. IGR J00370+6122 will likely evolve towards a persistent supergiant system, highlighting the evolutionary connection between different classes of wind-accreting X-ray sources.

The angular momentum transport by unstable toroidal magnetic fields

We demonstrate with a nonlinear MHD code that angular momentum can be transported due to the magnetic instability of toroidal fields under the influence of differential rotation, and that the resulting effective viscosity may be high enough to explain the almost rigid-body rotation observed in radiative stellar cores. The fields are assumed strong enough and the density stratification weak enough that the influence of the ‘negative’ buoyancy in the radiative zones can be neglected. Only permanent current-free fields and only those combinations of rotation rates and magnetic field amplitudes which provide maximal numerical values of the viscosity are considered. We find that the dimensionless ratio of the turbulent over molecular viscosity, \nu_T/\nu, linearly grows with growing magnetic Reynolds number of the rotating fluid multiplied by the square root of the magnetic Prandtl number – which is of order unity for the considered red subgiant KIC 7341231, in contrast to the smaller values of the solar radiative interior. The outward angular momentum transport is thus stronger for hot and fast rotators than for solar-type stars. For the considered interval of magnetic Reynolds numbers – which is restricted by numerical constraints of the nonlinear MHD code – there is a remarkable influence of the magnetic Prandtl number on the relative importance of the contributions of the Reynolds stress and the Maxwell stress to the total viscosity, which is magnetically dominated only for Pm > 0.5. We also find that the magnetized plasma behaves as a non-Newtonian fluid, i.e. the resulting effective viscosity depends on the shear in the rotation law. The decay time of the differential rotation thus depends on its shear and becomes longer and longer during the spin-down of a stellar core, as the viscosity is reduced when the rotation law becomes flat.

On the RZ Draconis Sub-stellar Circumbinary Companions Stability Study of the Proposed Sub-stellar Circumbinary System

In this work we revisit the proposed multi-circumbinary system RZ Dra. We find the proposed system to be highly unstable. We attempt to find a best-fit light-travel time model rendering the orbits to follow stable orbits. We found a best-fit solution, but the resulting orbits also exhibit short-term orbital instabilities. We therefore conclude that the observed timing variation must be due to other astrophysical effects causing a change in the binary orbital period. Follow-up observations of this system is encouraged.

SiO masers from AGB stars in the vibrationally excited v=1,v=2, and v=3 states

The v=1 and v=2 J=1-0 (43 GHz), and v=1 J=2-1 (86 GHz) SiO masers are intense in AGB stars and have been mapped using VLBI showing ring-like distributions. Those of the v=1, v=2 J=1-0 masers are similar, but the spots are rarely coincident, while the v=1 J=2-1 maser arises from a well separated region farther out. These relative locations can be explained by models tools that include the overlap of two IR lines of SiO and H2O. The v=3 J=1-0 line is not directly affected by any line overlap and its spot structure and position, relative to the other lines, is a good test to the standard pumping models. We present single-dish and simultaneous VLBI observations of the v=1, v=2, and v=3 J=1-0 maser transitions of 28SiO in several AGB stars. The spatial distribution of the SiO maser emission in the v=3 J=1-0 transition from AGB stars is systematically composed of a series of spots that occupy a ring-like structure. The overall ring structure is extremely similar to that found in the other 43 GHz transitions and is very different from the structure of the v=1 J=2-1 maser. The positions of the individual spots of the different 43 GHz lines are, however, very rarely coincident, which in general is separated by about 0.3 AU (between 1 and 5 mas). These results are very difficult to reconcile with standard pumping models, which predict that the masers of rotational transitions within a given vibrational state require very similar excitation conditions, while the transitions of different vibrational states should appear in different positions. However, models including line overlap tend to predict v=1, v=2, v=3 J=1-0 population inversion to occur under very similar conditions, while the requirements for v=1 J=2-1 appear clearly different, and are compatible with the observational results.

Fast Magnetic Twister and Plasma Perturbations in a 3-D Coronal Arcade

We present results of 3-D numerical simulations of a fast magnetic twister excited above a foot-point of the potential solar coronal arcade that is embedded in the solar atmosphere with the initial VAL-IIIC temperature profile, which is smoothly extended into the solar corona. With the use of the FLASH code, we solve 3-D ideal magnetohydrodynamic equations by specifying a twist in the azimuthal component of magnetic field in the solar chromosphere. The imposed perturbation generates torsional Alfv\’en waves as well as plasma swirls that reach the other foot-point of the arcade and partially reflect back from the transition region. The two vortex channels are evident in the generated twisted flux-tube with a fragmentation near its apex that results from the initial twist as well as from the morphology of the tube. The numerical results are compared to observational data of plasma motions in a solar prominence. The comparison shows that the numerical results and the data qualitatively agree even though the observed plasma motions occur over comparatively large spatio-temporal scales in the prominence.

The solar dynamo: inferences from observations and modeling

It can be shown on observational grounds that two basic effects of dynamo theory for solar activity – production of the toroidal field from the poloidal one by differential rotation and reverse conversion of the toroidal field to the poloidal configuration by helical motions – are operating in the Sun. These two effects, however, do not suffice for constructing a realistic model for the solar dynamo. Only when a non-local version of the alpha-effect is applied, is downward diamagnetic pumping included and field advection by the equatorward meridional flow near the base of the convection zone allowed for, can the observed activity cycles be closely reproduced. Fluctuations in the alpha-effect can be estimated from sunspot data. Dynamo models with fluctuating parameters reproduce irregularities of solar cycles including the grand activity minima. The physics of parametric excitation of irregularities remains, however, to be understood.

Optical and infrared polarimetry of the transient LMXB Cen X-4 in quiescence

We present the first optical and infrared polarimetric study of the low mass transient X-ray binary Cen X-4 during its quiescent phase. This work is aimed to search for an intrinsic linear polarisation component in the system emitted radiation that might be due, e.g., to synchrotron emission from a compact jet, or to Thomson scattering with free electrons in an accretion disc. Multiband (BVRI) optical polarimetric observations were obtained during two nights in 2008 at the ESO La Silla 3.6 m telescope (EFOSC2) in polarimetric mode. These observations cover about the 30% of the 15.1 hours orbital period. J-band observations were obtained in 2007 with the NICS (TNG) instrument at La Palma, for a totality of 1 hour observation. We obtained 3-sigma upper limits to the polarisation degree in all the optical bands, with the most constraining one being in the I-band (P<0.5%). No phase-correlated variability has been noticed in all the filters. The J-band observations provided a 6% upper limit on the polarisation level. The constraining upper limits to the polarisation in the optical allowed us to evaluate the contribution of the possible emission of a relativistic particles jet to the total system radiation to be less then the 10%. This is in agreement with the observation of a spectral energy distribution typical of a single black body of a K-spectral type main sequence star irradiated from the compact object. Due to the low S/N ratio it was not possible to investigate the possible dependency of the polarisation degree from the wavelength, that could be suggestive of polarisation induced by Thomson scattering of radiation with free electrons in the outer part of the accretion disc. Observations with higher S/N ratio are required to examine in depth this hypothesis, searching for significant phase-correlated variability.

A Comprehensive Method of Estimating Electric Fields from Vector Magnetic Field and Doppler Measurements

Photospheric electric fields, estimated from sequences of vector magnetic field and Doppler measurements, can be used to estimate the flux of magnetic energy (the Poynting flux) into the corona and as time-dependent boundary conditions for dynamic models of the coronal magnetic field. We have modified and extended an existing method to estimate photospheric electric fields that combines a poloidal-toroidal (PTD) decomposition of the evolving magnetic field vector with Doppler and horizontal plasma velocities. Our current, more comprehensive method, which we dub the "{\bf P}TD-{\bf D}oppler-{\bf F}LCT {\bf I}deal" (PDFI) technique, can now incorporate Doppler velocities from non-normal viewing angles. It uses the \texttt{FISHPACK} software package to solve several two-dimensional Poisson equations, a faster and more robust approach than our previous implementations. Here, we describe systematic, quantitative tests of the accuracy and robustness of the PDFI technique using synthetic data from anelastic MHD (\texttt{ANMHD}) simulations, which have been used in similar tests in the past. We find that the PDFI method has less than $1%$ error in the total Poynting flux and a $10%$ error in the helicity flux rate at a normal viewing angle $(\theta=0$) and less than $25%$ and $10%$ errors respectively at large viewing angles ($\theta<60^\circ$). We compare our results with other inversion methods at zero viewing angle, and find that our method’s estimates of the fluxes of magnetic energy and helicity are comparable to or more accurate than other methods. We also discuss the limitations of the PDFI method and its uncertainties.


You need to log in to vote

The blog owner requires users to be logged in to be able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.

Powered by Vote It Up

^ Return to the top of page ^