Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

Conditions for Photospherically Driven Alfvenic Oscillations to Heat the Solar Chromosphere by Pedersen Current Dissipation

A magnetohydrodynamic model that includes a complete electrical conductivity tensor is used to estimate conditions for photospherically driven, linear, non-plane Alfvenic oscillations extending from the photosphere to the lower corona to drive a chromospheric heating rate due to Pedersen current dissipation that is comparable to the net chromospheric net radiative loss of $\sim 10^7$ ergs-cm$^{-2}$-sec$^{-1}$. The heating rates due to electron current dissipation in the photosphere and corona are also computed. The wave amplitudes are computed self-consistently as functions of an inhomogeneous background (BG) atmosphere. The effects of the conductivity tensor are resolved numerically using a resolution of 3.33 m. The oscillations drive a chromospheric heating flux $F_{Ch} \sim 10^7 – 10^8$ ergs-cm$^{-2}$-sec$^{-1}$ at frequencies $\nu \sim 10^2 – 10^3$ mHz for BG magnetic field strengths $B \gtrsim 700$ G and magnetic field perturbation amplitudes $\sim 0.01 – 0.1$ $B$. The total resistive heating flux increases with $\nu$. Most heating occurs in the photosphere. Thermalization of Poynting flux in the photosphere due to electron current dissipation regulates the Poynting flux into the chromosphere, limiting $F_{Ch}$. $F_{Ch}$ initially increases with $\nu$, reaches a maximum, and then decreases with increasing $\nu$ due to increasing electron current dissipation in the photosphere. The resolution needed to resolve the oscillations increases from $\sim 10$ m in the photosphere to $\sim 10$ km in the upper chromosphere, and is proportional to $\nu^{-1/2}$. Estimates suggest that these oscillations are normal modes of photospheric flux tubes with diameters $\sim 10-20$ km, excited by magnetic reconnection in current sheets with thicknesses $\sim 0.1$ km.

Photometry of Delta Scorpii from 1996 to 2013 using SOHO LASCO C3 coronograph

The variabile star Delta Scorpii is in conjunction with the Sun at the end of November each year. We studied its magnitude by averaging the observations of 28 Nov – 1 Dec from 1996 to 2013 using the coronograph LASCO C3 on-board the SOHO Satellite and we extended of four years, i.e. 25 % of the total light curve, back to 1996, with respect to the present AAVSO dataset on this star. The 0.2 magnitude scatters of the single measurements have been studied and the sources of such disturbances are vignetting and diffraction patterns from the coronograph. The new data collected on Delta Scorpii show its minimum at mv=2.5 magnitudes for 1996 and 1997, confirming the values observed during the minimum of 2009, and the main periodicity of 11 years in the stellar variability.

FTS atlas of the Sun's spectrally resolved center-to-limb variation

The Sun’s spectrum varies with center-to-limb distance. This variation is governed by the underlying temperature-density structure of the solar atmosphere. To explore the spectrally resolved center-to-limb variation (CLV) we make use of two spectral atlases recorded with the Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS) at the McMath-Pierce facility at Kitt Peak. One spectral atlas obtained 10 arcsec inside the solar limb was recorded in 1978-79 as part of the first survey of the Second Solar Spectrum, while the other atlas is the well used reference NSO/Kitt Peak FTS atlas for the disk center. Both atlases represent fully resolved spectra without any spectral stray light. We then construct an atlas of the limb/disk-center ratio between the two spectra over the wavelength range 4084-9950 \AA. This ratio spectrum, which expresses the CLV amplitude relative to the continuum, is as richly structured as the intensity spectrum itself, but the line profiles differ greatly in both shape and amplitude. It is as if we are dealing with a new, unfamiliar spectrum of the Sun, distinctly different from both the intensity spectrum (which we here refer to with the acronym SS1) and the linear polarization of the Second Solar Spectrum (for which we use acronym SS2). In analogy we refer to the new ratio spectrum as SS3. While there is hardly any resemblance between SS3 and SS2, we are able to identify a non-linear mapping that can translate SS1 to SS3 in the case of weak to medium-strong spectral lines that are mainly formed in LTE (being directly coupled to the local temperature-density structure). This non-linear mapping is successfully modeled in terms of two free parameters that are found to vary approximately linearly over the entire wavelength range covered. These parameters and the various SS3 line profiles provide a novel, rich set of observational constraints on model atmospheres.

Fast inversion of solar Ca II spectra

We present a fast (<< 1 s per profile) inversion code for solar Ca II lines. The code uses an archive of spectra that are synthesized prior to the inversion under the assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE). We show that it can be successfully applied to spectrograph data or more sparsely sampled spectra from two-dimensional spectrometers. From a comparison to a non-LTE inversion of the same set of spectra, we derive a first-order non-LTE correction to the temperature stratifications derived in the LTE approach. The correction factor is close to unity up to log tau ~ -3 and increases to values of 2.5 and 4 at log tau = -6 in the quiet Sun and the umbra, respectively.

Supersolar Ni/Fe production in the Type IIP SN 2012ec

SN 2012ec is a Type IIP supernova (SN) with a progenitor detection and comprehensive photospheric-phase observational coverage. Here, we present Very Large Telescope and PESSTO observations of this SN in the nebular phase. We model the nebular [O I] 6300, 6364 lines and find their strength to suggest a progenitor main-sequence mass of 13-15 Msun. SN 2012ec is unique among hydrogen-rich SNe in showing a distinct and unblended line of stable nickel [Ni II] 7378. This line is produced by 58Ni, a nuclear burning ash whose abundance is a sensitive tracer of explosive burning conditions. Using spectral synthesis modelling, we use the relative strengths of [Ni II] 7378 and [Fe II] 7155 (the progenitor of which is 56Ni) to derive a Ni/Fe production ratio of 0.19pm0.07, which is a factor 3.5pm1.2 times the solar value. High production of stable nickel is confirmed by a strong [Ni II] 1.939 micron line. This is the third reported case of a core-collapse supernova producing a Ni/Fe ratio far above the solar value, which has implications for core-collapse explosion theory and galactic chemical evolution models.

SN 2012ec: mass of the progenitor from PESSTO follow-up of the photospheric phase

We present the results of a photometric and spectroscopic monitoring campaign of SN 2012ec, which exploded in the spiral galaxy NGC 1084, during the photospheric phase. The photometric light curve exhibits a plateau with luminosity L= 0.9 times 10 to 42 (erg s to -1) and duration ~90 days; which is shorter than standard Type IIP supernovae. We estimate the nickel mass M(56Ni)= 0.040 pm 0.015 Msun from the luminosity at the beginning of the radioactive tail of the light curve. The explosion parameters of SN 2012ec were estimated from the comparison of the bolometric light curve and temperature and velocity evolution of the ejecta with predications from a hydrodynamical model. We derived an envelope mass of 12.6 Msun, an initial progenitor radius of 1.6 times 10 to 13 (cm) and explosion energy of 1.2 foe. These estimates agree with an independent study of the progenitor star identified in pre-explosion images, for which an initial mass of M=14-22 Msun was determined. We have applied the same analysis to two other type IIP supernovae (SNe 2012aw and 2012A), and carried out a comparison with the properties of SN 2012ec derived in this paper. We find a reasonable agreement between the masses of progenitor obtained from pre-explosion images and the masses derived from hydrodynamical models. We estimate distances to SN 2012ec with Standardized Candle Method (SCM) and compare with other estimates based on other primary and secondary indicators. SNe 2012A, 2012aw and 2012ec all follow the standard relations for SCM for the use of Type IIP SNe as distance indicators.

Supernova dust formation and the grain growth in the early universe: The critical metallicity for low-mass star formation

We investigate the condition for the formation of low-mass second-generation stars in the early universe. It has been proposed that gas cooling by dust thermal emission can trigger fragmentation of a low-metallicity star-forming gas cloud. In order to determine the critical condition in which dust cooling induces the formation of low-mass stars, we follow the thermal evolution of a collapsing cloud by a one-zone semi-analytic collapse model. Earlier studies assume the dust amount in the local universe, where all refractory elements are depleted onto grains, and/or assume the constant dust amount during gas collapse. In this paper, we employ the models of dust formation and destruction in early supernovae to derive the realistic dust compositions and size distributions for multiple species as the initial conditions of our collapse calculations. We also follow accretion of heavy elements in the gas phase onto dust grains, i.e., grain growth, during gas contraction. We find that grain growth well alters the fragmentation property of the clouds, and that this still does not approach to the value in the local universe. The critical conditions can be written by the gas metallicity Zcr and the initial depletion efficiency fdep,0 of gas-phase metal onto grains, or dust-to-metal mass ratio, as (Zcr/10^{-5.5} Zsun) = (fdep,0/0.18)^{-0.44} with small scatters in the range of Zcr = [0.06--3.2]x10^{-5} Zsun. We also show that the initial dust composition and size distribution are important to determine Zcr.

The Na-O anticorrelation in horizontal branch stars. V. NGC 6723

We used FLAMES+GIRAFFE (Medusa mode) at the VLT to obtain moderately high resolution spectra for 30 red horizontal branch (RHB) stars, 4 RR Lyrae variables, and 17 blue horizontal branch (BHB) stars in the low-concentration, moderately metal-rich globular cluster NGC6723 ([Fe/H]=-1.22+/-0.08 from our present sample). The spectra were optimized to derive O and Na abundances. In addition, we obtained abundances for other elements, including N, Fe, Mg, Ca, Ni, and Ba. We used these data to discuss the evidence of a connection between the distribution of stars along the horizontal branch (HB) and the multiple populations that are typically present in globular clusters. We found that all RHB and most (13 out of 17) BHB stars are O-rich, Na-poor, and N-poor; these stars probably belong to the first stellar generation in this cluster. Only the four warmest observed stars are (moderately) O-poor, Na-rich, and N-rich, and they probably belong to the second generation. While our sample is not fully representative of the whole HB population in NGC6723, our data suggest that in this cluster only HB stars warmer than ~9000 K, that is one fourth of the total, belong to the second generation, if at all. Since in many other clusters this fraction is about two thirds, we conclude that the fraction of first/second generation in globular clusters may be strongly variable. In addition, the wide range in colour of chemically homogeneous first-generation HB stars requires a considerable spread in mass loss (>0.10 Mo). The reason for this spread is yet to be understood. Finally, we found a high Ba abundance, with a statistically significant radial abundance gradient.

On the correlation between stellar chromospheric flux and the surface gravity of close-in planets

The chromospheric emission of stars with close-by transiting planets has been found to correlate with the surface gravity of their planets. Stars with low-gravity planets have an average lower chromospheric flux. We propose that such a correlation is due to the absorption by circumstellar matter that comes from the evaporation of the planets. Planets with a lower gravity have a greater mass loss rate that leads to a higher column density of circumstellar absorption thus explaining the lower level of chromospheric emission observed in their host stars. We estimate the required column density and find that planetary evaporation can account for it. A theoretical relationship between the chromospheric emission as measured in the core of the Ca II H&K lines and the planet gravity is derived. We apply our relationship to a sample of transiting systems for which both the stellar Ca II H&K emission and the planetary surface gravity are known and find a good agreement, given the various sources of uncertainties and the intrinsic variability of the stellar emissions and planetary evaporation rates. We consider implications for the radial velocity jitter applied to fit the spectroscopic orbits and for the age estimates of planetary systems based on the chromospheric activity level of their host stars.

Formation of redbacks via accretion induced collapse

We examine the growing class of binary millisecond pulsars known as redbacks. In these systems the pulsar’s companion has a mass between 0.1 and about 0.5 solar masses in an orbital period of less than 1.5 days. All show extended radio eclipses associated with circumbinary material. They do not lie on the period-companion mass relation expected from the canonical intermediate-mass X-ray binary evolution in which the companion filled its Roche lobe as a red giant and has now lost its envelope and cooled as a white dwarf. The redbacks lie closer to, but usually at higher period than, the period-companion mass relation followed by cataclysmic variables and low-mass X-ray binaries. In order to turn on as a pulsar mass accretion on to a neutron star must be sufficiently weak, considerably weaker than expected in systems with low-mass main-sequence companions driven together by magnetic braking or gravitational radiation. If a neutron star is formed by accretion induced collapse of a white dwarf as it approaches the Chandrasekhar limit some baryonic mass is abruptly lost to its binding energy so that its effective gravitational mass falls. We propose that redbacks form when accretion induced collapse of a white dwarf takes place during cataclysmic variable binary evolution because the loss of gravitational mass makes the orbit expand suddenly so that the companion no longer fills its Roche lobe. Once activated, the pulsar can ablate its companion and so further expand the orbit and also account for the extended eclipses in the radio emission of the pulsar that are characteristic of these systems. The whole period-companion mass space occupied by the redbacks can be populated in this way.

New Periodic 6.7 GHz Class II Methanol Maser Associated with G358.460-0.391

Eight new class II methanol masers selected from the 6.7 GHz Methanol Multibeam survey catalogues I and II were monitored at 6.7 GHz with the 26m Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) radio telescope for three years and seven months, from February 2011 to September 2014. The sources were also observed at 12.2 GHz and two were sufficiently bright to permit monitoring. One of the eight sources, namely G358.460-0.391, was found to show periodic variations at 6.7 GHz. The period was determined and tested for significance using the Lomb-Scargle, epoch-folding and Jurkevich methods, and by fitting a simple analytic function. The best estimate for the period of the 6.7 GHz class II methanol maser line associated with G358.460-0.391 is 220.0 $\pm$ 0.2 day.

The CoRoT discovery of a unique triple-mode cepheid in the galaxy

The exploitation of the CoRoT treasure of stars observed in the exoplanetary field allowed the detection of a unusual triple-mode Cepheid in the Milky Way, CoRoT 0223989566. The two modes with the largest amplitudes and period ratio of 0.80 are identified with the first (P1=1.29 d) and second (P2=1.03 d) radial overtones. The third period, which has the smallest amplitude but able to produce combination terms with the other two, is the longest one (P3=1.89 d). The ratio of 0.68 between the first-overtone period and the third period is the unusual feature. Its identification with the fundamental radial or a nonradial mode is discussed with respect to similar cases in the Magellanic Clouds. In both cases the period triplet and the respective ratios make the star unique in our Galaxy. The distance derived from the period-luminosity relation and the galactic coordinates put CoRoT~0223989566 in the metal-rich environment of the "outer arm" of the Milky Way.

Multiple star systems observed with CoRoT and Kepler (invited review)

The CoRoT and Kepler satellites were the first space platforms designed to perform high-precision photometry for a large number of stars. Multiple systems display a wide variety of photometric variability, making them natural benefactors of these missions. I review the work arising from CoRoT and Kepler observations of multiple systems, with particular emphasis on eclipsing binaries containing giant stars, pulsators, triple eclipses and/or low-mass stars. Many more results remain untapped in the data archives of these missions, and the future holds the promise of K2, TESS and PLATO.

Sunspot Waves and Triggering of Homologous Active Region Jets

We present and discuss multi-wavelength observations of five homologous recurrent solar jets that occurred in active region NOAA 11133 on 11 December, 2010. These jets were well observed by the Solar Dynamic observatory (SDO) with high spatial and temporal resolution. The speed of the jets ranged between 86 and 267 km/s. A type III radio burst was observed in association with all the five jets. The investigation of the over all evolution of magnetic field in the source regions suggested that the flux was continuously emerging on longer term. However, all the jets but J5 were triggered during a local dip in the magnetic flux, suggesting the launch of the jets during localised submergence of magnetic flux. Additionally, using the PFSS modelling of the photospheric magnetic field, we found that all the jets were ejected in the direction of open field lines. We also traced sunspot oscillations from the sunspot interior to foot-point of jets and found presence of ~ 3 minute oscillations in all the SDO/AIA passbands. The wavelet analysis revealed an increase in amplitude of the oscillations just before the trigger of the jets, that decreased after the jets were triggered. The observations of increased amplitude of the oscillation and its subsequent decrease provides evidence of wave-induced reconnection triggering the jets.

Variable magnetic field geometry of the young sun HN Peg (HD 206860)

The large-scale magnetic field of solar-type stars reconstructed from their spectropolarimetric observations provide important insight into their underlying dynamo processes.We aim to investigate the temporal variability of the large-scale surface magnetic field and chromospheric activity of a young solar analogue, the G0 dwarf HN Peg.The large-scale surface magnetic field topology is reconstructed using Zeeman Doppler Imaging at six observational epochs covering seven years.We also investigated the chromospheric activity variations by measuring the flux in the line cores of the three chromospheric activity indicators: Ca II H&K, H alpha, and the Ca II IRT lines.The magnetic topology of HN Peg shows a complex and variable geometry. While the radial field exhibits a stable positive polarity magnetic region at the poles at each observational epoch, the azimuthal field is strongly variable in strength, where a strong band of positive polarity magnetic field is present at equatorial latitudes. This field disappears during the middle of our time span, reappearing again during the last two epochs of observations. The mean magnetic field derived from the magnetic maps also follow a similar trend to the toroidal field, with the field strength at a minimum in epoch 2009.54. Summing the line of sight magnetic field over the visible surface at each observation, HN Peg exhibits a weak longitudinal magnetic field ranging from -14 G to 13 G, with no significant long-term trend, although there is significant rotational variability within each epoch. Those chromospheric activity indicators exhibit more long-term variations over the time span of observations, where the minimal is observed in Epoch 2008.71.

Empirical determination of Einstein A-coefficient ratios of bright [Fe II] lines

The Einstein spontaneous rates (A-coefficients) of Fe^+ lines have been computed by several authors, with results that differ from each other up to 40%. Consequently, models for line emissivities suffer from uncertainties which in turn affect the determination of the physical conditions at the base of line excitation. We provide an empirical determination of the A-coefficient ratios of bright [Fe II] lines, which would represent both a valid benchmark for theoretical computations and a reference for the physical interpretation of the observed lines. With the ESO-VLT X-shooter instrument between 3,000 A, and 24,700 A, we obtained a spectrum of the bright Herbig-Haro object HH1. We detect around 100 [Fe II] lines, some of which with a signal-to-noise ratio > 100. Among these latter, we selected those emitted by the same level, whose de-reddened intensity ratio is a direct function of the Einstein A-coefficient ratios. From the same X-shooter spectrum, we got an accurate estimate of the extinction toward HH1 through intensity ratios of atomic species, HI, recombination lines and H_2 ro-vibrational transitions. We provide seven reliable A-ooefficient ratios between bright [Fe II] lines, which are compared with the literature determinations. In particular, the A-coefficient ratios involving the brightest near-infrared lines (12570A/16440A and 13209A/16440A) are better in agreement with the predictions by Quinet et al. (1996) Relativistic Hartree-Fock model. However, none of the theoretical models predicts A-coefficient ratios in agreement with all our determinations. We also show that literature data of near-infrared intensity ratios better agree with our determinations than with theoretical expectations.

Sulfur-bearing species in molecular clouds

We study several molecules that could help in the solution of the missing sulfur problem in dense clouds and circumstellar regions, as well as in the clarification of the sulfur chemistry in comets. These sulfur molecules are: the trimer (CH2S)3 and the tetramer (CH2S)4 of thioformaldehyde, pentathian S5CH2, hexathiepan S6CH2, thiirane C2H4S, trisulfane HSSSH, and thioacetone (CH3)2CS. Infrared spectra of these species are calculated using density functional theory methods. The majority of calculated bands belong to the mid-infrared, with some of them occurring in the near and far-infrared region. We suggest that some of unidentified spectral features measured by Infrared Space Observatory in several active galactic nuclei and starburst galaxies could be caused by 1,3,5-trithiane ((CH2S)3), 1,3,5,7-tetrathiocane ((CH2S)4), and thiirane (C2H4S). The objects whose unidentified infrared features we compare with calculated bands are: NGC 253, M82, NGC 1068, Circinus, Arp 220, 30 Doradus, Orion KL, and Sgr B2.

The solar rotation in the period 1853-1870 from the sunspot catalogues of Carrington, Peters, and de la Rue

R. C. Carrington, C. H. F. Peters, and W. de la Rue observed the sunspots in the second half of the 19th century, determining their heliographic positions between 1853 and 1870, before the establishment of the solar program of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. The large tables of sunspot positions included in the catalogues published by these observers have recently been converted to a machine readable format. The present work analyses this data by calculating the sunspot group velocities for each observer. These results are then fitted with a differential rotation law to compare the data of the three observers with each other and with the results published by other authors. Finally, a study is made of the possible relationship between the sunspot group areas as determined by de la Rue and the corresponding sunspot group velocities.

Exploring stellar evolution models of sdB stars using MESA

Detection of g-mode pulsations in subdwarf B (sdB) stars allows a rare test of how well stellar evolution theory can predict the interior properties of stars. Asteroseismology suggests He-CO cores of the order of $\sim 0.22-0.28\,M_\odot$, i.e.\ $\gtrsim$ 40\,\% of the total stellar mass. Using mixing-length theory (MLT) without convective overshoot produces significantly smaller cores ($\sim 0.1 M_\odot$). We have used MESA (Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics) to explore how well stellar observational data can be reproduced by standard algorithms. Using the same parameters as previous investigators (not the MESA defaults), we show that our models can be made consistent with earlier sdB models in terms of timescales, qualitative evolutionary paths and position in the $\log g – T_{\rm{eff}}$ diagram. The sdB masses from our full stellar evolutionary sequences fall within the range of the empirical mass distribution of sdB stars, but are nearly always lower than the median. Also, the models are not completely consistent with observed atmospheric parameters. To investigate the discrepancy in convective core masses, we varied the amount of overshoot within standard formulations. Even with a very high value of $f_{\rm{ov}}= 0.08$, we could barely produce He-CO core masses comparable to the lowest values suggested by the asteroseismological analyses. The large amount of convective overshooting required would increase the sdB lifetime by a factor of $2$ to $2.5$. These inconsistencies are most simply explained by a flaw in standard mixing algorithms which diverts the {\it evolutionary} trajectories from the correct {\it structures}.

Can we explain non-typical solar flares?

We used multi-wavelength high-resolution data from ARIES, THEMIS, and SDO instruments, to analyze a non-standard, C3.3 class flare produced within the active region NOAA 11589 on 2012 October 16. Magnetic flux emergence and cancellation were continuously detected within the active region, the latter leading to the formation of two filaments. Our aim is to identify the origins of the flare taking into account the complex dynamics of its close surroundings. We analyzed the magnetic topology of the active region using a linear force-free field extrapolation to derive its 3D magnetic configuration and the location of quasi-separatrix layers (QSLs) which are preferential sites for flaring activity. Because the active region’s magnetic field was nonlinear force-free, we completed a parametric study using different linear force-free field extrapolations to demonstrate the robustness of the derived QSLs. The topological analysis shows that the active region presented a complex magnetic configuration comprising several QSLs. The considered data set suggests that an emerging flux episode played a key role for triggering the flare. The emerging flux likely activated the complex system of QSLs leading to multiple coronal magnetic reconnections within the QSLs. This scenario accounts for the observed signatures: the two extended flare-ribbons developed at locations matched by the photospheric footprints of the QSLs, and were accompanied with flare loops that formed above the two filaments which played no important role in the flare dynamics. This is a typical example of a complex flare that can a-priori show standard flare signatures that are nevertheless impossible to interpret with any standard model of eruptive or confined flare. We find that a topological analysis however permitted to unveil the development of such complex sets of flare signatures.

Detection of a Light Echo from the Otherwise Normal SN 2007af

We present the discovery of a light echo from SN 2007af, a normal Type Ia supernova (SN Ia) in NGC 5584. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images taken three years post explosion reveal two separate echoes; an outer echo and extended central region, which we propose as an unresolved inner echo. Multiple images were obtained in the F160W, F350LP, F555W, and F814W using the Wide Field Camera 3. If the outer echo is produced by an interstellar dust sheet perpendicular to the line of sight, it is located ~800 pc in front of the SN. The dust for the inner echo is 0.45 pc < d < 90 pc away from the SN. The inner echo color is consistent with typical interstellar dust wavelength-dependent scattering cross-sections, while the outer echo color does not match the predictions. Both dust sheets, if in the foreground, are optically thin for scattering, with the outer echo sheet thickness consistent with the inferred extinction from peak brightness. Whether the inner echo is from interstellar or circumstellar dust is ambiguous. Overall, the echo characteristics are quite similar to previously observed SN Ia echoes.

Detecting non-uniform period spacings in the Kepler photometry of gamma Doradus stars: methodology and case studies

Context. The analysis of stellar oscillations is one of the most reliable ways to probe stellar interiors. Recent space missions such as Kepler have provided us with an opportunity to study these oscillations with unprecedented detail. For many multi-periodic pulsators such as {\gamma} Doradus stars, this led to the detection of dozens to hundreds of oscillation frequencies that could not be found from ground-based observations. Aims. We aim to detect non-uniform period spacings in the Fourier spectra of a sample of {\gamma} Doradus stars observed by Kepler. Such detection is complicated by both the large number of significant frequencies in the space photometry and by overlapping non-equidistant rotationally split multiplets. Methods. Guided by theoretical properties of gravity-mode oscillation of {\gamma} Doradus stars, we developed a period-spacing detection method and applied it to Kepler observations of a few stars, after having tested the performance from simulations. Results. The application of the technique resulted in the clear detection of non-uniform period spacing series for three out of the five treated Kepler targets. Disadvantages of the technique are also discussed, and include the disability to distinguish between different values of the spherical degree and azimuthal order of the oscillation modes without additional theoretical modelling. Conclusions. Despite the shortcomings, the method is shown to allow solid detections of period spacings for {\gamma} Doradus stars, which will allow future asteroseismic analyses of these stars.

CO gas inside the protoplanetary disk cavity in HD 142527: disk structure from ALMA

Inner cavities and annular gaps in circumstellar disks are possible signposts of giant planet formation. The young star HD 142527 hosts a massive protoplanetary disk with a large cavity that extends up to 140 au from the central star, as seen in continuum images at infrared and millimeter wavelengths. Estimates of the survival of gas inside disk cavities are needed to discriminate between clearing scenarios. We present a spatially and spectrally resolved carbon monoxide isotopologue observations of the gas-rich disk HD 142527, in the J=2-1 line of 12CO, 13CO and C18O, obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). We detect emission coming from inside the dust-depleted cavity in all three isotopologues. Based on our analysis of the gas in the dust cavity, the 12CO emission is optically thick, while 13CO and C18O emission are both optically thin. The total mass of residual gas inside the cavity is about 1.5-2 Jupiter masses. We model the gas with an axisymmetric disk model. Our best fit model shows that the cavity radius is much smaller in CO than it is in millimeter continuum and scattered light observations, with a gas cavity that does not extend beyond 105 au (at 3-sigma). The gap wall at its outer edge is diffuse and smooth in the gas distribution, while in dust continuum it is manifestly sharper. The inclination angle, as estimated from the high velocity channel maps, is 28+/-0.5 degrees, higher than in previous estimates, assuming a fix central star mass of 2.2 Solar masses.

Quasi-periodic pulsations in solar and stellar flares: re-evaluating their nature in the context of power-law flare Fourier spectra

The nature of quasi-periodic pulsations in solar and stellar flares remains debated. Recent work has shown that power-law-like Fourier power spectra, also referred to as ‘red’ noise processes, are an intrinsic property of solar and stellar flare signals, a property that many previous studies of this phenomenon have not accounted for. Hence a re-evaluation of the existing interpretations and assumptions regarding QPP is needed. Here we adopt a Bayesian method for investigating this phenomenon, fully considering the Fourier power law properties of flare signals. Using data from the PROBA2/LYRA, Fermi/GBM, Nobeyama Radioheliograph and Yohkoh/HXT instruments, we study a selection of flares from the literature identified as QPP events. Additionally we examine optical data from a recent stellar flare that appears to exhibit oscillatory properties. We find that, for all but one event tested, an explicit oscillation is not required in order to explain the observations. Instead, the flare signals are adequately described as a manifestation of a power law in the Fourier power spectrum, rather than a direct signature of oscillating components or structures. However, for the flare of 1998 May 8, strong evidence for the existence of an explicit oscillation with P ~ 14-16 s is found in the 17 GHz radio data and the 13-23 keV Yohkoh HXT data. We conclude that, most likely, many previously analysed events in the literature may be similarly described in terms of power laws in the flare Fourier power spectrum, without the need to invoke a narrowband, oscillatory component. As a result the prevalence of oscillatory signatures in solar and stellar flares may be less than previously believed. The physical mechanism behind the appearance of the observed power laws is discussed.

Zombie Vortex Instability I: The "Dead" Zones of Protoplanetary Disks are Not Dead

There has been considerable interest in purely hydrodynamic instabilities in the dead zones of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) as a mechanism for driving angular momentum transport and as a source of vortices to incubate planetesimal formation. We present a series of numerical simulations with both a pseudo-spectral anelastic code and the fully compressible Godunov finite-volume code Athena, showing that stably stratified flows in a shearing, rotating box are violently unstable and produce space-filling, sustained turbulence dominated by large vortices with Rossby numbers of order 0.2-0.3. This Zombie Vortex Instability (ZVI) is observed in both codes and is triggered by initial Kolmogorov turbulence with Mach numbers less than 0.01. ZVI is robust and requires no special tuning of cooling times, boundary conditions, or initial radial entropy or vortensity gradients. ZVI has not been seen in previous studies of flows in a rotating, shearing box because those calculations frequently lacked vertical density stratification and/or sufficient numerical resolution. Although we do not observe appreciable angular momentum transport from ZVI in small domains, we hypothesize that ZVI in larger domains with the fully compressible equations may lead to significant angular transport via spiral density waves launched by vortices. In a companion paper, we derive the instability criterion for ZVI; although ZVI is a subcritical instability, rather than a linear one, we show that initial Kolmogorov noise with Mach number no greater than 10^{-6} will trigger ZVI.

A New Class of Nascent Eclipsing Binaries with Extreme Mass Ratios

Early B-type main-sequence (MS) stars (M$_1$ = 5-16 M$_{\odot}$) with closely orbiting low-mass stellar companions (q = M$_2$/M$_1$ < 0.25) can evolve to produce Type Ia supernovae, low-mass X-ray binaries, and millisecond pulsars. However, the formation mechanism and intrinsic frequency of such close extreme mass-ratio binaries have been debated, especially considering none have hitherto been detected. Utilizing observations of the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy conducted by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, we have discovered a new class of eclipsing binaries in which a luminous B-type MS star irradiates a closely orbiting low-mass pre-MS companion that has not yet fully formed. The primordial pre-MS companions have large radii and discernibly reflect much of the light they intercept from the B-type MS primaries ($\Delta$I$_{\rm refl}$ = 0.02-0.14 mag). For the 18 definitive MS + pre-MS eclipsing binaries in our sample with good model fits to the observed light curves, we measure short orbital periods P = 3.0-8.5 days, young ages $\tau$ = 0.6-8 Myr, and small secondary masses M$_2$ = 0.8-2.4 M$_{\odot}$ (q = 0.07-0.36). The majority of these nascent eclipsing binaries are still associated with stellar nurseries, e.g. the system with the deepest eclipse $\Delta$I$_1$ = 2.8 mag and youngest age $\tau$ = 0.6$\pm$0.4 Myr is embedded in the bright H II region 30 Doradus. After correcting for selection effects, we find that (2.0$\pm$0.6)% of B-type MS stars have companions with short orbital periods P = 3.0-8.5 days and extreme mass ratios q = 0.06-0.25. This is $\approx$10 times greater than that observed for solar-type MS primaries. We discuss how these new eclipsing binaries provide invaluable insights, diagnostics, and challenges for the formation and evolution of stars, binaries, and H II regions.

The VLA Nascent Disk And Multiplicity (VANDAM) Survey of Perseus Protostars. Resolving the Sub-Arcsecond Binary System in NGC 1333 IRAS2A

We are conducting a Jansky VLA Ka-band (8 mm and 1 cm) and C-band (4 cm and 6.4 cm) survey of all known protostars in the Perseus Molecular Cloud, providing resolution down to $\sim$0.06” and $\sim$0.35" in Ka-band and C-band, respectively. Here we present first results from this survey that enable us to examine the source NGC 1333 IRAS2A in unprecedented detail and resolve it into a proto-binary system separated by 0.621"$\pm$0.006" ($\sim$143 AU) at 8 mm, 1 cm, and 4 cm. These 2 sources (IRAS2A VLA1 and VLA2) are likely driving the two orthogonal outflows known to originate from IRAS2A. The brighter source IRAS2A VLA1 is extended perpendicular to its outflow in the VLA data, with a deconvolved size of 0.055" ($\sim$13 AU), possibly tracing a protostellar disk. The recently reported candidate companions (IRAS2A MM2 and MM3) are not detected in either our VLA data, CARMA 1.3 mm data, or SMA 850 $\mu$m data. SMA CO ($J=3\rightarrow2$), CARMA CO ($J=2\rightarrow1$), and lower resolution CARMA CO ($J=1\rightarrow0$) observations are used to examine the outflow origins and the nature of the candidate companions to IRAS2A VLA1. The CO ($J=3\rightarrow2$) and ($J=2\rightarrow1$) data show that IRAS2A MM2 is coincident with a bright CO emission spot in the east-west outflow, and IRAS2A MM3 is within the north-south outflow. In contrast, IRAS2A VLA2 lies at the east-west outflow symmetry point. We propose that IRAS2A VLA2 is the driving source of the East-West outflow and a true companion to IRAS2A VLA1, whereas IRAS2A MM2 and MM3 may not be protostellar.

Radiation-Driven Warping of Circumbinary Disks Around Eccentric Young Star Binaries

We study a warping instability of a geometrically thin, non-self-gravitating, circumbinary disk around young binary stars on an eccentric orbit. Such a disk is subject to both the tidal torques due to a time-dependent binary potential and the radiative torques due to radiation emitted from each star. The tilt angle between the circumbinary disk plane and the binary orbital plane is assumed to be very small. We find that there is a radius within/beyond which the circumbinary disk is unstable to radiation-driven warping, depending on the disk density and temperature gradient indices. This marginally stable warping radius is very sensitive to viscosity parameters, a fiducial disk radius and the temperature measured there, the stellar luminosity, and the disk surface density at a radius where the disk changes from the optically thick to thin for the irradiation from the central stars. On the other hand, it is insensitive to the orbital eccentricity and binary irradiation parameter, which is a function of the binary mass ratio and luminosity of each star. Since the tidal torques can suppress the warping in the inner part of the circumbinary disk, the disk starts to be warped in the outer part. While the circumbinary disks are most likely to be subject to the radiation-driven warping on a AU to kilo-AU scale for binaries with young massive stars more luminous than 10^4Lsun, the radiation driven warping does not work for those around young binaries with the luminosity comparable to the solar luminosity.

Chandrasekhar's relation and the stellar rotation in the Kepler field

According to the statistical law of large numbers, the expected mean of identically distributed random variables of a sample tends toward the actual mean as the sample increases. Under this law, it is possible to test the Chandrasekhar’s relation (CR), <V>=(\pi/4)^{-1}<Vsini>, using a large amount of <Vsini> and V data from different samples of similar stars. In this context, we conducted a statistical test to check the consistency of the CR in the Kepler field. In order to achieve this, we use three large samples of V obtained from Kepler rotation periods and a homogeneous control sample of <Vsini> to overcome the scarcity of <Vsini> data for stars in the Kepler field. We used the bootstrap-resampling method to estimate the mean rotations (<V> and <Vsini>) and their corresponding confidence intervals for the stars segregated by effective temperature. Then, we compared the estimated means to check the consistency of CR, and analyzed the influence of the uncertainties in radii measurements, and possible selection effects. We found that the CR with <Vsini>=\pi/4 is consistent with the behavior of the <V> as a function of <Vsini> for stars from the Kepler field as there is a very good agreement between such a relation and the data.

The effect of timing noise on targeted and narrow-band coherent searches for continuous gravitational waves

Most continuous gravitational-wave searches use Taylor expansions in the phase to model the spindown of neutron stars. Studies of pulsars demonstrate that their electromagnetic (EM) emissions suffer from timing noise, small deviations in the phase from Taylor expansion models. How the mechanism producing EM emission is related to any continuous gravitational-wave (CW) emission is unknown; if they either interact or are locked in phase then the CW will also experience timing noise. Any disparity between the signal and the search template used in matched filtering methods will result in a loss of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), referred to as ‘mismatch’. In this work we assume the CW suffers a similar level of timing noise to its EM counterpart. We inject and recover fake CW signals, which include timing noise generated from observational data on the Crab pulsar. Measuring the mismatch over durations of order ~ 10 months, the effect is for the most part found to be small. This suggests recent so-called ‘narrow-band’ searches which placed upper limits on the signals from the Crab and Vela pulsars will not be significantly affected. At a fixed observation time, we find the mismatch depends upon the observation epoch. Considering the averaged mismatch as a function of observation time, we find that it increases as a power law with time, and so may become relevant in long baseline searches.

The effect of timing noise on targeted and narrow-band coherent searches for continuous gravitational waves [Cross-Listing]

Most continuous gravitational-wave searches use Taylor expansions in the phase to model the spindown of neutron stars. Studies of pulsars demonstrate that their electromagnetic (EM) emissions suffer from timing noise, small deviations in the phase from Taylor expansion models. How the mechanism producing EM emission is related to any continuous gravitational-wave (CW) emission is unknown; if they either interact or are locked in phase then the CW will also experience timing noise. Any disparity between the signal and the search template used in matched filtering methods will result in a loss of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), referred to as ‘mismatch’. In this work we assume the CW suffers a similar level of timing noise to its EM counterpart. We inject and recover fake CW signals, which include timing noise generated from observational data on the Crab pulsar. Measuring the mismatch over durations of order ~ 10 months, the effect is for the most part found to be small. This suggests recent so-called ‘narrow-band’ searches which placed upper limits on the signals from the Crab and Vela pulsars will not be significantly affected. At a fixed observation time, we find the mismatch depends upon the observation epoch. Considering the averaged mismatch as a function of observation time, we find that it increases as a power law with time, and so may become relevant in long baseline searches.

Global Energetics of Solar Flares: I. Magnetic Energies

We present the first part of a project on the global energetics of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that includes about 400 M- and X-class flares observed with AIA and HMI onboard SDO. We calculate the potential energy, free energy, and the flare-dissipated magnetic energy. We calculate these magnetic parameters using two different NLFFF codes: The COR-NLFFF code uses the line-of-sight magnetic field component $B_z$ from HMI to define the potential field, and the 2D coordinates of automatically detected coronal loops in 6 coronal wavelengths from AIA to measure the helical twist of coronal loops caused by vertical currents, while the PHOT-NLFFF code extrapolates the photospheric 3D vector fields. We find agreement between the two codes in the measurement of free energies and dissipated energies within a factor of $ \approx 3$. The size distributions of magnetic parameters exhibit powerlaw slopes that are approximately consistent with the fractal-diffusive self-organized criticality model. The magnetic parameters exhibit scaling laws for the nonpotential energy, $E_{np} \propto E_p^{1.02}$, for the free energy, $E_{free} \propto E_p^{1.7}$ and $E_{free} \propto B_{\varphi}^{1.0} L^{1.5}$, for the dissipated energy, $E_{diss} \propto E_p^{1.6}$ and $E_{diss} \propto E_{free}^{0.9}$, and the energy dissipation volume, $V \propto E_{diss}^{1.2}$. The potential energies vary in the range of $E_p = 1 \times 10^{31} – 4 \times 10^{33}$ erg, while the free energy has a ratio of $E_{free}/E_p \approx 1%-25%$. The Poynting flux amounts to $F_{flare} \approx 5 \times 10^{8} – 10^{10}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ during flares, which averages to $F_{AR} \approx 6 \times 10^6$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ during the entire observation period and is comparable with the coronal heating rate requirement in active regions.

Possible role of coronal streamer as magnetically-closed structure in shock-induced energetic electrons and metric type II radio bursts

Two solar type II radio bursts, separated by ~24 hours in time, are examined together. Both events are associated with coronal mass ejections (CMEs) erupting from the same active region (NOAA 11176) beneath a well-observed helmet streamer. We find that the type II emissions in both events ended once the CME/shock fronts passed the white-light streamer tip, which is presumably the magnetic cusp of the streamer. This leads us to conjecture that the closed magnetic arcades of the streamer may play a role in electron acceleration and type II excitation at coronal shocks. To examine such a conjecture, we conduct a test-particle simulation for electron dynamics within a large-scale partially-closed streamer magnetic configuration swept by a coronal shock. We find that the closed field lines play the role of an electron trap, via which the electrons are sent back to the shock front for multiple times, and therefore accelerated to high energies by the shock. Electrons with an initial energy of 300eV can be accelerated to tens of keV concentrating at the loop apex close to the shock front with a counter-streaming distribution at most locations. These electrons are energetic enough to excite Langmuir waves and radio bursts. Considering the fact that most solar eruptions originate from closed field regions, we suggest that the scenario may be important to the generation of more metric type IIs. This study also provides an explanation to the general ending frequencies of metric type IIs at or above 20-30 MHz and the disconnection issue between metric and interplanetary type IIs.

Radial velocities and binarity of southern SIM grid stars

We present analysis of precision radial velocities (RV) of 1134 mostly red giant stars in the southern sky, selected as candidate astrometric grid objects for the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM). Only a few (typically, 2 or 3) spectroscopic observations per star have been collected, with the main goal of screening binary systems. The estimated rate of spectroscopic binarity in this sample of red giants is 32% at the 0.95 confidence level, and 46% at the 0.75 confidence. The true binarity rate is likely to be higher, because our method is not quite sensitive to very wide binaries and low-mass companions. The estimated lower and upper bounds of stellar RV jitter for the entire sample are 24 and 51 m/s, respectively; the adopted mean value is 37 m/s. A few objects of interest are identified with large variations of radial velocities, implying abnormally high mass ratios.

Kinematics of a globular cluster with an extended profile: NGC5694

We present a study of the kinematics of the remote globular cluster NGC5694 based on GIRAFFE@VLT medium resolution spectra. A sample of 165 individual stars selected to lie on the Red Giant Branch in the cluster Color Magnitude Diagram was considered. Using radial velocity and metallicity from Calcium triplet, we were able to select 83 bona-fide cluster members. The addition of six previously known members leads to a total sample of 89 cluster giants with typical uncertainties <1.0 km/s in their radial velocity estimates. The sample covers a wide range of projected distances from the cluster center, from ~0.2 arcmin to 6.5 arcmin = 23 half-light radii (r_h). We find only very weak rotation, as typical of metal-poor globular clusters. The velocity dispersion gently declines from a central value of sigma=6.1 km/s to sigma = 2.5 km/s at ~2 arcmin = 7.1= r_h, then it remainins flat out to the next (and last) measured point of the dispersion profile, at ~4 arcmin = 14.0 r_h, at odds with the predictions of isotropic King models. We show that both isotropic single-mass non-collisional models and multi-mass anisotropic models can reproduce the observed surface brightness and velocity dispersion profiles.

A Light Curve Analysis of Classical Novae: Free-free Emission vs. Photospheric Emission

We analyzed light curves of seven relatively slower novae, PW Vul, V705 Cas, GQ Mus, RR Pic, V5558 Sgr, HR Del, and V723 Cas, based on an optically thick wind theory of nova outbursts. For fast novae, free-free emission dominates the spectrum in optical bands rather than photospheric emission and nova optical light curves follow the universal decline law. Faster novae blow stronger winds with larger mass loss rates. Since the brightness of free-free emission depends directly on the wind mass loss rate, faster novae show brighter optical maxima. In slower novae, however, we must take into account photospheric emission because of their lower wind mass loss rates. We calculated three model light curves of free-free emission, photospheric emission, and the sum of them for various WD masses with various chemical compositions of their envelopes, and fitted reasonably with observational data of optical, near-IR (NIR), and UV bands. From light curve fittings of the seven novae, we estimated their absolute magnitudes, distances, and WD masses. In PW Vul and V705 Cas, free-free emission still dominates the spectrum in the optical and NIR bands. In the very slow novae, RR Pic, V5558 Sgr, HR Del, and V723 Cas, photospheric emission dominates the spectrum rather than free-free emission, which makes a deviation from the universal decline law. We have confirmed that the absolute brightnesses of our model light curves are consistent with the distance moduli of four classical novae with known distances (GK Per, V603 Aql, RR Pic, and DQ Her). We also discussed the reason why the very slow novae are about 1 mag brighter than the proposed maximum magnitude vs. rate of decline relation.

Simulated Performance of Timescale Metrics for Aperiodic Light Curves

Aperiodic variability is a characteristic feature of young stars, massive stars, and active galactic nuclei. With the recent proliferation of time domain surveys, it is increasingly essential to develop methods to quantify and analyze aperiodic variability. We develop three timescale metrics that have been little used in astronomy — {\Delta}m-{\Delta}t plots, peak-finding, and Gaussian process regression — and present simulations comparing their effectiveness across a range of aperiodic light curve shapes, characteristic timescales, observing cadences, and signal to noise ratios. We find that Gaussian process regression is easily confused by noise and by irregular sampling, even when the model being fit reflects the process underlying the light curve, but that {\Delta}m-{\Delta}t plots and peak-finding can coarsely characterize timescales across a broad region of parameter space. We make public the software we used for our simulations, both in the spirit of open research and to allow others to carry out analogous simulations for their own observing programs.

Spectral variability of the IR-source IRAS 01005+7910 optical component

Highly-resolution optical spectra of the optical component of the IR-source IRAS01005+7910 are used to determine the spectral type of its central star, B1.5$ \pm $0.3, identify the spectral features, and analyze their profile and radial velocity variations. The systemic velocity Vsys =$-50.5$ km/s is determined from the positions of the symmetric and stable profiles of the forbidden [NI], [NII], [OI], [SII], and [FeII] emission lines. The presence of the [NII] and [SII] forbidden emissions indicates the onset of the ionization of the circumstellar envelope and the fact that the star is very close to undergoing the planetary nebula stage. The broad range of heliocentric radial velocity Vr estimates based on the core lines, which amounts to about 34 km/s, is partly due to the deformations of the profiles caused by variable emissions. The variations of the Vr in the line wings are smaller, about 23 km/s, and may be due to pulsations and/or hidden binarity of the star. The deformations of the profiles of complex absorption-emission lines may result from variations of their absorption components caused by the variations of the geometry and kinematics in the wind base. The H$\alpha$ lines exhibit P Cyg III type wind profiles. Deviations of the wind from spherical symmetry are shown to be small. The relatively low wind velocity (27$\div$74 km/s from different observations) and the strong intensity of the red emission (it exceeds the continuum level by up to a factor of seven) are typical for hypergiants rather than the classical supergiants. IRAS01005 +7910 is an example of spectral mimicry of a low mass post-AGB star masquerading as a massive hypergiant.

Magnetorotational instability in decretion disks of critically rotating stars and the outer structure of Be and Be/X-ray disks

Evolutionary models of fast-rotating stars show that the stellar rotational velocity may approach the critical speed. Critically rotating stars cannot spin up more, therefore they lose their excess angular momentum through an equatorial outflowing disk. The radial extension of such disks is unknown, partly because we lack information about the radial variations of the viscosity. We study the magnetorotational instability, which is considered to be the origin of anomalous viscosity in outflowing disks. We used analytic calculations to study the stability of outflowing disks submerged in the magnetic field. The magnetorotational instability develops close to the star if the plasma parameter is large enough. At large radii the instability disappears in the region where the disk orbital velocity is roughly equal to the sound speed. The magnetorotational instability is a plausible source of anomalous viscosity in outflowing disks. This is also true in the region where the disk radial velocity approaches the sound speed. The disk sonic radius can therefore be roughly considered as an effective outer disk radius, although disk material may escape from the star to the insterstellar medium. The radial profile of the angular momentum-loss rate already flattens there, consequently, the disk mass-loss rate can be calculated with the sonic radius as the effective disk outer radius. We discuss a possible observation determination of the outer disk radius by using Be and Be/X-ray binaries.

The VMC Survey. XIII. Type II Cepheids in the Large Magellanic Cloud

The VISTA survey of the Magellanic Clouds System (VMC) is collecting deep $K_\mathrm{s}$–band time–series photometry of the pulsating variable stars hosted in the system formed by the two Magellanic Clouds and the Bridge connecting them. In this paper we have analysed a sample of 130 Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) Type II Cepheids (T2CEPs) found in tiles with complete or near complete VMC observations for which identification and optical magnitudes were obtained from the OGLE III survey. We present $J$ and $K_\mathrm{s}$ light curves for all 130 pulsators, including 41 BL Her, 62 W Vir (12 pW Vir) and 27 RV Tau variables. We complement our near-infrared photometry with the $V$ magnitudes from the OGLE III survey, allowing us to build a variety of Period-Luminosity ($PL$), Period-Luminosity-Colour ($PLC$) and Period-Wesenheit ($PW$) relationships, including any combination of the $V, J, K_\mathrm{s}$ filters and valid for BL Her and W Vir classes. These relationships were calibrated in terms of the LMC distance modulus, while an independent absolute calibration of the $PL(K_\mathrm{s})$ and the $PW(K_\mathrm{s},V)$ was derived on the basis of distances obtained from $Hubble Space Telescope$ parallaxes and Baade-Wesselink technique. When applied to the LMC and to the Galactic Globular Clusters hosting T2CEPs, these relations seem to show that: 1) the two population II standard candles RR Lyrae and T2CEPs give results in excellent agreement with each other; 2) there is a discrepancy of $\sim$0.1 mag between population II standard candles and Classical Cepheids when the distances are gauged in a similar way for all the quoted pulsators. However, given the uncertainties, this discrepancy is within the formal 1$\sigma$ uncertainties.

Kepler Flares I. Active and Inactive M dwarfs

We analyzed Kepler short-cadence M dwarf observations. Spectra from the ARC 3.5m telescope identify magnetically active (H$\alpha$ in emission) stars. The active stars are of mid-M spectral type, have numerous flares, and well-defined rotational modulation due to starspots. The inactive stars are of early-M type, exhibit less starspot signature, and have fewer flares. A Kepler to U-band energy scaling allows comparison of the Kepler flare frequency distributions with previous ground-based data. M dwarfs span a large range of flare frequency and energy, blurring the distinction between active and inactive stars designated solely by the presence of H$\alpha$. We analyzed classical and complex (multiple peak) flares on GJ 1243, finding strong correlations between flare energy, amplitude, duration and decay time, with only a weak dependence on rise time. Complex flares last longer and have higher energy at the same amplitude, and higher energy flares are more likely to be complex. A power law fits the energy distribution for flares with log $E_{K_p} >$ 31 ergs, but the predicted number of low energy flares far exceeds the number observed, at energies where flares are still easily detectable, indicating that the power law distribution may flatten at low energy. There is no correlation of flare occurrence or energy with starspot phase; the flare waiting time distribution is consistent with flares occurring randomly in time; and the energies of consecutive flares are uncorrelated. These observations support a scenario where many independent active regions on the stellar surface are contributing to the observed flare rate.

Hamiltonian Hydrodynamics and Irrotational Binary Inspiral

Gravitational waves from neutron-star and black-hole binaries carry valuable information on their physical properties and probe physics inaccessible to the laboratory. Although development of black-hole gravitational-wave templates in the past decade has been revolutionary, the corresponding work for double neutron-star systems has lagged. Neutron stars can be well-modelled as simple barotropic fluids during the part of binary inspiral most relevant to gravitational wave astronomy, but the crucial geometric and mathematical consequences of this simplification have remained computationally unexploited. In particular, Carter and Lichnerowicz have described barotropic fluid motion via classical variational principles as conformally geodesic. Moreover, Kelvin’s circulation theorem implies that initially irrotational flows remain irrotational. Applied to numerical relativity, these concepts lead to novel Hamiltonian or Hamilton-Jacobi schemes for evolving relativistic fluid flows. Hamiltonian methods can conserve not only flux, but also circulation and symplecticity, and moreover do not require addition of an artificial atmosphere typically required by standard conservative methods. These properties can allow production of high-precision gravitational waveforms at low computational cost. This canonical hydrodynamics approach is applicable to a wide class of problems involving theoretical or computational fluid dynamics.

Hamiltonian Hydrodynamics and Irrotational Binary Inspiral [Cross-Listing]

Gravitational waves from neutron-star and black-hole binaries carry valuable information on their physical properties and probe physics inaccessible to the laboratory. Although development of black-hole gravitational-wave templates in the past decade has been revolutionary, the corresponding work for double neutron-star systems has lagged. Neutron stars can be well-modelled as simple barotropic fluids during the part of binary inspiral most relevant to gravitational wave astronomy, but the crucial geometric and mathematical consequences of this simplification have remained computationally unexploited. In particular, Carter and Lichnerowicz have described barotropic fluid motion via classical variational principles as conformally geodesic. Moreover, Kelvin’s circulation theorem implies that initially irrotational flows remain irrotational. Applied to numerical relativity, these concepts lead to novel Hamiltonian or Hamilton-Jacobi schemes for evolving relativistic fluid flows. Hamiltonian methods can conserve not only flux, but also circulation and symplecticity, and moreover do not require addition of an artificial atmosphere typically required by standard conservative methods. These properties can allow production of high-precision gravitational waveforms at low computational cost. This canonical hydrodynamics approach is applicable to a wide class of problems involving theoretical or computational fluid dynamics.

On the Morphology and Chemical Composition of the HR 4796A Debris Disk

[abridged] We present resolved images of the HR 4796A debris disk using the Magellan adaptive optics system paired with Clio-2 and VisAO. We detect the disk at 0.77 \microns, 0.91 \microns, 0.99 \microns, 2.15 \microns, 3.1 \microns, 3.3 \microns, and 3.8 \microns. We find that the deprojected center of the ring is offset from the star by 4.76$\pm$1.6 AU and that the deprojected eccentricity is 0.06$\pm$0.02, in general agreement with previous studies. We find that the average width of the ring is 14$^{+3}_{-2}%$, also comparable to previous measurements. Such a narrow ring precludes the existence of shepherding planets more massive than \about 4 \mj, comparable to hot-start planets we could have detected beyond \about 60 AU in projected separation. Combining our new scattered light data with archival HST/STIS and HST/NICMOS data at \about 0.5-2 \microns, along with previously unpublished Spitzer/MIPS thermal emission data and all other literature thermal data, we set out to constrain the chemical composition of the dust grains. After testing 19 individual root compositions and more than 8,400 unique mixtures of these compositions, we find that good fits to the scattered light alone and thermal emission alone are discrepant, suggesting that caution should be exercised if fitting to only one or the other. When we fit to both the scattered light and thermal emission simultaneously, we find mediocre fits (reduced chi-square \about 2). In general, however, we find that silicates and organics are the most favored, and that water ice is usually not favored. These results suggest that the common constituents of both interstellar dust and solar system comets also may reside around HR 4796A, though improved modeling is necessary to place better constraints on the exact chemical composition of the dust.

Relativistic anisotropic star and its maximum mass in higher dimensions [Cross-Listing]

We present a class of relativistic solutions of cold compact anisotropic stars in hydrostatic equilibrium in the framework of higher dimensions using spheroidal geometry. The solutions obtained with Vaidya-Tikekar metric are used to construct stellar models of compact objects and studied their physical features. The effects of anisotropy and extra dimensions on the global properties namely, compactness, mass, radius, equation of state are determined in higher dimensions in terms of the spheroidicity parameter ($\lambda$). It is noted that for a given configuration, compactness of a star is found smaller in higher dimensions compared to that in four space-time dimensions. It is also noted that the maximum mass of compact objects increase with the increase of space-time dimensions which however attains a maximum when $D=5$ for a large ($\lambda=100$), thereafter it decreases as one increases number of extra dimensions. The effect of extra dimensions on anisotropy is also studied.

Relativistic anisotropic star and its maximum mass in higher dimensions

We present a class of relativistic solutions of cold compact anisotropic stars in hydrostatic equilibrium in the framework of higher dimensions using spheroidal geometry. The solutions obtained with Vaidya-Tikekar metric are used to construct stellar models of compact objects and studied their physical features. The effects of anisotropy and extra dimensions on the global properties namely, compactness, mass, radius, equation of state are determined in higher dimensions in terms of the spheroidicity parameter ($\lambda$). It is noted that for a given configuration, compactness of a star is found smaller in higher dimensions compared to that in four space-time dimensions. It is also noted that the maximum mass of compact objects increase with the increase of space-time dimensions which however attains a maximum when $D=5$ for a large ($\lambda=100$), thereafter it decreases as one increases number of extra dimensions. The effect of extra dimensions on anisotropy is also studied.

Modeling Transiting Circumstellar Disks: Characterizing the Newly Discovered Eclipsing Disk System OGLE LMC-ECL-11893

We investigate the nature of the unusual eclipsing star OGLE LMC-ECL-11893 (OGLE J05172127-6900558) in the Large Magellanic Cloud recently reported by Dong et al. 2014. The eclipse period for this star is 468 days, and the eclipses exhibit a minimum of ~1.4 mag, preceded by a plateau of ~0.8 mag. Spectra and optical/IR photometry are consistent with the eclipsed star being a lightly reddened B9III star of inferred age ~150 Myr and mass of ~4 solar masses. The disk appears to have an outer radius of ~0.2 AU with predicted temperatures of ~1100-1400 K. We model the eclipses as being due to either a transiting geometrically thin dust disk or gaseous accretion disk around a secondary object; the debris disk produces a better fit. We speculate on the origin of such a dense circumstellar dust disk structure orbiting a relatively old low-mass companion, and on the similarities of this system to the previously discovered EE Cep.

Wind mass transfer in S-type symbiotic binaries I. Focusing by the wind compression model

Context: Luminosities of hot components in symbiotic binaries require accretion rates that are higher than those that can be achieved via a standard Bondi-Hoyle accretion. This implies that the wind mass transfer in symbiotic binaries has to be more efficient. Aims: We suggest that the accretion rate onto the white dwarfs (WDs) in S-type symbiotic binaries can be enhanced sufficiently by focusing the wind from their slowly rotating normal giants towards the binary orbital plane. Methods: We applied the wind compression model to the stellar wind of slowly rotating red giants in S-type symbiotic binaries. Results: Our analysis reveals that for typical terminal velocities of the giant wind, 20 to 50 km/s, and measured rotational velocities between 6 and 10 km/s, the densities of the compressed wind at a typical distance of the accretor from its donor correspond to the mass-loss rate, which can be a factor of $\sim$10 higher than for the spherically symmetric wind. This allows the WD to accrete at rates of $10^{-8} – 10^{-7}$ M(Sun)/year, and thus to power its luminosity. Conclusions: We show that the high wind-mass-transfer efficiency in S-type symbiotic stars can be caused by compression of the wind from their slowly rotating normal giants, whereas in D-type symbiotic stars, the high mass transfer ratio can be achieved via the gravitational focusing, which has recently been suggested for very slow winds in Mira-type binaries.

Linking 1D Stellar Evolution to 3D Hydrodynamical Simulations

In this contribution we present initial results of a study on convective boundary mixing (CBM) in massive stellar models using the GENEVA stellar evolution code. Before undertaking costly 3D hydrodynamic simulations, it is important to study the general properties of convective boundaries, such as the: composition jump; pressure gradient; and `stiffness’. Models for a 15Mo star were computed. We found that for convective shells above the core, the lower (in radius or mass) boundaries are `stiffer’ according to the bulk Richardson number than the relative upper (Schwarzschild) boundaries. Thus, we expect reduced CBM at the lower boundaries in comparison to the upper. This has implications on flame front propagation and the onset of novae.

Analysis of cool DO-type white dwarfs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 10

We report on the identification of 22 new cool DO-type white dwarfs (WD) detected in Data Release 10 (DR10) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Among them, we found one more member of the so-called hot-wind DO WDs, which show ultrahigh excitation absorption lines. Our non-LTE model atmosphere analyses of these objects and two not previously analyzed hot-wind DO WDs, revealed effective temperatures and gravities in the ranges Teff=45-80kK and log g= 7.50-8.75. In eight of the spectra we found traces of C (0.001-0.01, by mass). Two of these are the coolest DO WDs ever discovered that still show a considerable amount of C in their atmospheres. This is in strong contradiction with diffusion calculations, and probably, similar to what is proposed for DB WDs, a weak mass-loss is present in DO WDs. One object is the most massive DO WD discovered so far with a mass of 1.07 M_sun if it is an ONe-WD or 1.09 M_sun if it is a CO-WD. We furthermore present the mass distribution of all known hot non-DA (pre-) WDs and derive the hot DA to non-DA ratio for the SDSS DR7 spectroscopic sample. The mass distribution of DO WDs beyond the wind limit strongly deviates from the mass distribution of the objects before the wind limit. We address this phenomenon by applying different evolutionary input channels. We argue that the DO WD channel may be fed by about 13% by post-extreme-horizontal branch stars and that PG1159 stars and O(He) stars may contribute in a similar extent to the non-DA WD channel.

 

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