Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

New OB star candidates in the Carina Arm around Westerlund 2 from VPHAS+

O and early B stars are at the apex of galactic ecology, but in the Milky Way, only a minority of them may yet have been identified. We present the results of a pilot study to select and parametrise OB star candidates in the Southern Galactic plane, down to a limiting magnitude of $g=20$. A 2 square-degree field capturing the Carina Arm around the young massive star cluster, Westerlund 2, is examined. The confirmed OB stars in this cluster are used to validate our identification method, based on selection from the $(u-g, g-r)$ diagram for the region. Our Markov Chain Monte Carlo fitting method combines VPHAS+ $u, g, r, i$ with published $J, H, K$ photometry in order to derive posterior probability distributions of the stellar parameters $\log(\rm T_{\rm eff})$ and distance modulus, together with the reddening parameters $A_0$ and $R_V$. The stellar parameters are sufficient to confirm OB status while the reddening parameters are determined to a precision of $\sigma(A_0)\sim0.09$ and $\sigma(R_V)\sim0.08$. There are 489 objects that fit well as new OB candidates, earlier than $\sim$B2. This total includes 74 probable massive O stars, 5 likely blue supergiants and 32 reddened subdwarfs. This increases the number of previously known and candidate OB stars in the region by nearly a factor of 10. Most of the new objects are likely to be at distances between 3 and 6 kpc. We have confirmed the results of previous studies that, at these longer distances, these sight lines require non-standard reddening laws with $3.5<R_V<4$.

Solar type II radio bursts associated with CME expansions as shown by EUV waves

We investigate the physical conditions of the sources of two metric Type-II bursts associated with CME expansions with the aim of verifying the relationship between the shocks and the CMEs, comparing the heights of the radio sources and the heights of the EUV waves associated with the CMEs. The heights of the EUV waves associated with the events were determined in relation to the wave fronts. The heights of the shocks were estimated by applying two different density models to the frequencies of the Type-II emissions and compared with the heights of the EUV waves. For the 13 June 2010 event, with band-splitting, the shock speed was estimated from the frequency drifts of the upper and lower branches of the harmonic lane, taking into account the H/F frequency ratio fH/fF = 2. Exponential fits on the intensity maxima of the branches revealed to be more consistent with the morphology of the spectrum of this event. For the 6 June 2012 event, with no band-splitting and with a clear fundamental lane on the spectrum, the shock speed was estimated directly from the frequency drift of the fundamental emission, determined by linear fit on the intensity maxima of the lane. For each event, the most appropriate density model was adopted to estimate the physical parameters of the radio source. The 13 June 2010 event presented a shock speed of 664-719 km/s, consistent with the average speed of the EUV wave fronts of 609 km/s. The 6 June 2012 event was related to a shock of speed of 211-461 km/s, also consistent with the average speed of the EUV wave fronts of 418 km/s. For both events, the heights of the EUV wave revealed to be compatible with the heights of the radio source, assuming a radial propagation of the shock.

Time-variable non-thermal emission in the planetary nebula IRAS 15103-5754

The beginning of photoionization marks the transition between the post-Asymptotic Giant Branch (post-AGB) and planetary nebula (PN) phases of stars with masses < 8 M_sun. This critical phase is difficult to observe, as it lasts only a few decades. The combination of jets and magnetic fields, the key agents of PNe shaping, could give rise to synchrotron emission, but this has never been observed before in any PNe, since free-free emission from the ionized gas is expected to dominate its radio spectrum. In this paper we report radio continuum observations taken with the Australia Telescope Compact Array between 1 and 46 GHz of the young PN IRAS 15103-5754. Our observations in 2010-2011 show non-thermal emission compatible with synchrotron emission from electrons accelerated at a shock with spectral index $\alpha \simeq -0.54$. However, in 2012, the spectral index $\alpha \simeq -0.28$ is no longer compatible with synchrotron emission in these types of processes. Several hypothesis are discussed to explain this change. The more plausible ones are related to the presence of the newly photoionized region in this young PN: either energy loss of electrons due to Coulomb collisions with the plasma, or selective suppression of synchrotron radiation due to the Razin effect. We postulate that the observed flattening of non-thermal radio spectra could be a hallmark identifying the beginning of the PN phase.

E-BOSS: An Extensive stellar BOw Shock Survey. II. Catalogue second release

Context. Stellar bow shocks have been studied not only observationally, but also theoretically since the late 1980s. Only a few catalogues of them exist. The bow shocks show emission along all the electromagnetic spectrum, but they are detected more easily in infrared wavelengths. The release of new and high-quality infrared data eases the discovery and subsequent study of new objects. Aims. We search stellar bow-shock candidates associated with nearby runaway stars, and gather them together with those found elsewhere, to enlarge the list of the E-BOSS first release. We aim to characterize the bow-shock candidates and provide a database suitable for statistical studies. We investigate the low-frequency radio emission at the position of the bow-shock features, that can contribute to further studies of high-energy emission from these objects. Methods. We considered samples from different literature sources and searched for bow-shaped structures associated with stars in the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) images. We looked for each bow-shock candidate on centimeter radio surveys. Results. We reunited 45 bow-shock candidates and generated composed WISE images to show the emission in different infrared bands. Among them there are new sources, previously studied objects, and bow shocks found serendipitously. Five bow shocks show evidence of radio emission. Conclusions. Stellar bow shocks constitute an active field with open questions and enormous amounts of data to be analyzed. Future research at all wavelengths databases, and use of instruments like Gaia, will provide a more complete picture of these objects. For instance, infrared spectral energy distributions can give information about physical parameters of the bow shock matter. In addition, dedicated high-sensitivity radio observations can help to understand the radio-$\gamma$ connection.

The IACOB spectroscopic database: recent updates and first data release

The IACOB project is an ambitious long-term project which is contributing to step forward in our knowledge about the physical properties and evolution of Galactic massive stars. The project aims at building a large database of high-resolution, multi-epoch, spectra of Galactic OB stars, and the scientific exploitation of the database using state-of-the-art models and techniques. In this proceeding, we summarize the latest updates of the IACOB spectroscopic database and highlight some of the first scientific results from the IACOB project; we also announce the first data release and the first public version of the iacob-broad tool for the line-broadening characterization of OB-type spectra.

A unifying explanation of complex frequency spectra of gamma Dor, SPB and Be stars: combination frequencies and highly non-sinusoidal light curves

There are many Slowly Pulsating B (SPB) stars and gamma Dor stars in the Kepler Mission data set. The light curves of these pulsating stars have been classified phenomenologically into stars with symmetric light curves and with asymmetric light curves. In the same effective temperature ranges as the gamma Dor and SPB stars, there are variable stars with downward light curves that have been conjectured to be caused by spots. Among these phenomenological classes of stars, some show `frequency groups’ in their amplitude spectra that have not previously been understood. While it has been recognised that nonlinear pulsation gives rise to combination frequencies in a Fourier description of the light curves of these stars, such combination frequencies have been considered to be a only a minor constituent of the amplitude spectra. In this paper we unify the Fourier description of the light curves of these groups of stars, showing that many of them can be understood in terms of only a few base frequencies, which we attribute to g mode pulsations, and combination frequencies, where sometimes a very large number of combination frequencies dominate the amplitude spectra. The frequency groups seen in these stars are thus tremendously simplified. We show observationally that the combination frequencies can have amplitudes greater than the base frequency amplitudes, and we show theoretically how this arises. Thus for some gamma Dor and SPB stars combination frequencies can have the highest observed amplitudes. Among the B stars are pulsating Be stars that show emission lines in their spectra from occasional ejection of material into a circumstellar disk. Our analysis gives strong support to the understanding of these pulsating Be stars as rapidly rotating SPB stars, explained entirely by g mode pulsations.

Massive disk outflows mediated by extreme magnetic fields

We argue that magnetic fields amplified within a very high accretion-rate disk around main sequence stars can lead to the formation of massive bipolar outflows that can remove most of the disk’s mass and energy. This efficient directional removal of energy and mass allows the high accretion-rate disk to be built. We construct thick disks where the magnetic fields are amplified by an Alpha-Omega dynamo in the disk, bringing the fluctuating components of the magnetic field to be much stronger than the large-scale component. By examining the possible activity of the magnetic fields we conclude that main sequence stars can accrete mass at very high rates, up to 0.01Mo/yr for solar type stars, and up to 1Mo/yr for very massive stars. Such energetic outflows can account for the powering of some eruptive objects, such as merging main sequence stars, major eruptions of luminous blue variables, such as the Great Eruption of Eta Carinae, and other intermediate luminosity optical transients (ILOTs; Red Novae; Red Transients). Such powerful outflows can also supply the extra energy required in the common envelope process and in the grazing envelope evolution of binary systems where the companion is a main sequence star.

Statistical studies of supernova environments

Investigations of the environments of SNe allow statistical constraints to be made on progenitor properties. We review progress that has been made in this field. Pixel statistics using tracers of e.g. star formation within galaxies show differences in the explosion sites of, in particular SNe types II and Ibc (SNe II and SNe Ibc), suggesting differences in population ages. Of particular interest is that SNe Ic are significantly more associated with H-alpha emission than SNe Ib, implying shorter lifetimes for the former. In addition, such studies have shown that the interacting SNe IIn do not explode in regions containing the most massive stars, which suggests that at least a significant fraction of their progenitors arise from the lower end of the core-collapse SN mass range. Host HII region spectroscopy has been obtained for a significant number of core-collapse events, however definitive conclusions have to-date been elusive. Single stellar evolution models predict that the fraction of SNe Ibc to SNe II should increase with increasing metallicity, due to the dependence of mass-loss rates on progenitor metallicity. We present a meta-analysis of host HII region oxygen abundances for CC SNe. It is concluded that the SN II to SN Ibc ratio shows little variation with oxygen abundance, with only a suggestion that the ratio increases in the lowest bin. Radial distributions of different SNe are discussed, where a central excess of SNe Ibc has been observed within disturbed galaxy systems, which is difficult to ascribe to metallicity or selection effects. Environment studies are evolving to enable studies at higher spatial resolutions than previously possible, while in addition the advent of wide-field integral field unit instruments allows galaxy-wide spectral analyses which will provide fruitful results to this field. Some example contemporary results are shown in that direction.

Testing the recovery of stellar rotation signals from Kepler light curves using a blind hare-and-hounds exercise

We present the results of a blind exercise to test the recoverability of stellar rotation and differential rotation in Kepler light curves. The simulated light curves lasted 1000 days and included activity cycles, Sun-like butterfly patterns, differential rotation and spot evolution. The range of rotation periods, activity levels and spot lifetime were chosen to be representative of the Kepler data of solar like stars. Of the 1000 simulated light curves, 770 were injected into actual quiescent Kepler light curves to simulate Kepler noise. The test also included five 1000-day segments of the Sun’s total irradiance variations at different points in the Sun’s activity cycle. Five teams took part in the blind exercise, plus two teams who participated after the content of the light curves had been released. The methods used included Lomb-Scargle periodograms and variants thereof, auto-correlation function, and wavelet-based analyses, plus spot modelling to search for differential rotation. The results show that the `overall’ period is well recovered for stars exhibiting low and moderate activity levels. Most teams reported values within 10% of the true value in 70% of the cases. There was, however, little correlation between the reported and simulated values of the differential rotation shear, suggesting that differential rotation studies based on full-disk light curves alone need to be treated with caution, at least for solar-type stars. The simulated light curves and associated parameters are available online for the community to test their own methods.

Time variation of Kepler transits induced by stellar rotating spots - a way to distinguish between prograde and retrograde motion. II. Application to KOIs

Mazeh, Holczer, and Shporer (2015) have presented an approach that can, in principle, use the derived transit timing variation (TTV) of some transiting planets observed by the Kepler mission to distinguish between prograde and retrograde motion of their orbits with respect to the rotation of their parent stars. The approach utilizes TTVs induced by spot-crossing events that occur when the transiting planet moves across a spot on the stellar surface, by looking for a correlation between the derived TTVs and the stellar brightness derivatives at the corresponding transits, even in data that can not resolve the spot-crossing events themselves. We present here the application of this approach to the Kepler KOIs, identifying nine systems where the photometric spot modulation is large enough and the transit timing accurate enough to allow detection of a TTV-brightness-slope correlation. Excluding KOI-1546, which has been found recently to be a stellar binary, we are left with eight hot-Jupiter systems with high sensitivity to the correlation detection. Five of those eight systems show highly significant prograde motion, including two confirmed planets (KOI-203.01 = Kepler-17b and KOI-217.01 = Kepler-71b) and three planetary candidates (KOI-883.01, KOI-895.01, and KOI-1074.01), while no system displays retrograde motion, consistent with the suggestion that planets orbiting cool stars have prograde motion. All five systems have derived impact parameter $\lesssim$0.5, and all systems with an impact parameter in that range show significant correlation, except KOI-3.01 (= Kepler-3b = HAT-P-11b) where the lack of a correlation is explained by its large stellar obliquity. Although our sample is small, these findings hint that stellar spots, or at least the larger ones, have a tendency to be located at a low latitude on the stellar disc, similar to the Sun.

Higgs portals to pulsar collapse [Cross-Listing]

Pulsars apparently missing from the galactic center could have been destroyed by asymmetric fermionic dark matter ($m_X = 1-100$ GeV) coupled to a light scalar ($m_{\phi}= 5-20$ MeV), which mixes with the Higgs boson. We point out that this pulsar-collapsing dark sector can resolve the core-cusp problem and will either be excluded or discovered by upcoming direct detection experiments. Another implication is a maximum pulsar age curve that increases with distance from the galactic center, with a normalization that depends on the couplings and masses of dark sector particles. In addition, we use old pulsars outside the galactic center to place bounds on asymmetric Higgs portal models.

Higgs portals to pulsar collapse

Pulsars apparently missing from the galactic center could have been destroyed by asymmetric fermionic dark matter ($m_X = 1-100$ GeV) coupled to a light scalar ($m_{\phi}= 5-20$ MeV), which mixes with the Higgs boson. We point out that this pulsar-collapsing dark sector can resolve the core-cusp problem and will either be excluded or discovered by upcoming direct detection experiments. Another implication is a maximum pulsar age curve that increases with distance from the galactic center, with a normalization that depends on the couplings and masses of dark sector particles. In addition, we use old pulsars outside the galactic center to place bounds on asymmetric Higgs portal models.

Thermal properties of hot and dense matter with finite range interactions

We explore the thermal properties of hot and dense matter using a model that reproduces the empirical properties of isospin symmetric and asymmetric bulk nuclear matter, optical model fits to nucleon-nucleus scattering data, heavy-ion flow data in the energy range 0.5-2 GeV/A, and the largest well-measured neutron star mass of 2 $\rm{M}_\odot$. Results of this model which incorporates finite range interactions through Yukawa type forces are contrasted with those of a zero-range Skyrme model that yields nearly identical zero-temperature properties at all densities for symmetric and asymmetric nucleonic matter and the maximum neutron star mass, but fails to account for heavy-ion flow data due to the lack of an appropriate momentum dependence in its mean field. Similarities and differences in the thermal state variables and the specific heats between the two models are highlighted. Checks of our exact numerical calculations are performed from formulas derived in the strongly degenerate and non-degenerate limits. Our studies of the thermal and adiabatic indices, and the speed of sound in hot and dense matter for conditions of relevance to core-collapse supernovae, the thermal evolution of neutron stars from their birth and mergers of compact binary stars reveal that substantial variations begin to occur at sub-saturation densities before asymptotic values are reached at supra-nuclear densities.

The age-metallicity dependence for white dwarfs

We present a theoretical study on the metallicity dependence of the initial$-$to$-$final mass relation and its influence on white dwarf age determinations. We compute a grid of evolutionary sequences from the main sequence to $\sim 3\, 000$ K on the white dwarf cooling curve, passing through all intermediate stages. During the thermally-pulsing asymptotic giant branch no third dredge-up episodes are considered and thus the photospheric C/O ratio is below unity for sequences with metallicities larger than $Z=0.0001$. We consider initial metallicities from $Z=0.0001$ to $Z=0.04$, accounting for stellar populations in the galactic disk and halo, with initial masses below $\sim 3M_{\odot}$. We found a clear dependence of the shape of the initial$-$to$-$final mass relation with the progenitor metallicity, where metal rich progenitors result in less massive white dwarf remnants, due to an enhancement of the mass loss rates associated to high metallicity values. By comparing our theoretical computations with semi empirical data from globular and old open clusters, we found that the observed intrinsic mass spread can be accounted for by a set of initial$-$to$-$final mass relations characterized by different metallicity values. Also, we confirm that the lifetime spent before the white dwarf stage increases with metallicity. Finally, we estimate the mean mass at the top of the white dwarf cooling curve for three globular clusters NGC 6397, M4 and 47 Tuc, around $0.53 M_{\odot}$, characteristic of old stellar populations. However, we found different values for the progenitor mass, lower for the metal poor cluster, NGC 6397, and larger for the younger and metal rich cluster 47 Tuc, as expected from the metallicity dependence of the initial$-$to$-$final mass relation.

Gas density drops inside dust cavities of transitional disks around young stars observed with ALMA

Transitional disks with large dust cavities are important laboratories to study planet formation and disk evolution. Cold gas may still be present inside these cavities, but the quantification of this gas is challenging. The gas content is important to constrain the origin of the dust cavity. We use Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations of 12CO 6–5 and 690 GHz (Band 9) continuum of five well-studied transitional disks. In addition, we analyze previously published Band 7 observations of a disk in 12CO 3–2 line and 345 GHz continuum. The observations are used to set constraints on the gas and dust surface density profiles, in particular the drop delta-gas of the gas density inside the dust cavity. The physical-chemical modeling code DALI is used to analyze the gas and dust images simultaneously. We model SR21, HD135344B, LkCa15, SR24S and RXJ1615-3255 (Band 9) and J1604-2130 (Band 7). The SED and continuum visibility curve constrain the dust surface density. Subsequently, the same model is used to calculate the 12CO emission, which is compared with the observations through spectra and intensity cuts. The amount of gas inside the cavity is quantified by varying the delta-gas parameter. Model fits to the dust and gas indicate that gas is still present inside the dust cavity for all disks but at a reduced level. The gas surface density drops inside the cavity by at least a factor 10, whereas the dust density drops by at least a factor 1000. Disk masses are comparable with previous estimates from the literature, cavity radii are found to be smaller than in the 345 GHz SubMillimeter Array (SMA) data. The derived gas surface density profiles suggest clearing of the cavity by one or more companions in all cases, trapping the millimeter-sized dust at the edge of the cavity.

New age-metallicity diagnostic diagram for the Washington photometric system

The age calibration of the Washington deltaT1 index is mainly used to estimate ages of star clusters older than 1 Gyr, no age-metallicity degeneracy effect is considered. We have profusely exploited synthetic T1 versus C-T1 colour magnitude diagrams aiming at exploring the intrinsic behaviour of the deltaT1 index. The analysis shows that deltaT1 varies with age and metal content as well. In general, the dependence on age weakens for ages greater than ~ 6 Gyr, and results even less sensitive to age as the metallicity decreases. For ages younger than ~ 5 Gyr deltaT1 shows a strong correlation with both age and metallicity. The deltaC index -defined as deltaT1 for the C passband- is also a combined measurement of age and metallicity. We introduce a new age-metallicity diagnostic diagram, deltaT1 versus deltaC – deltaT1, which has shown the ability of unambiguously providing age and metallicity estimates, simultaneously. The new procedure allows to derive ages from 1 up to 13 Gyr and metallicities [Fe/H] from -2.0 up to +0.5 dex, and is independent of the cluster reddening and distance modulus. It does solve the constraints found in the deltaT1 index and surpasses the performance of the standard giant branch metallicity method. All these features make the diagnostic diagram a powerful tool for estimating accurate ages as well as metallicities.

New variables in M5 (NGC 5904) and some identification corrections

We report twelve variables not previously detected in the globular cluster M5 (NGC 5904); one SX Phe and eleven semi-regular variables (SR). Their identifications, equatorial coordinates, ephemerides, and light curves are given. Furthermore, we have explored the light curves of a group of stars whose variability has not been confirmed and that are marked as probable non- variables in the CVSGC. Finally, we offer detailed identifications for some of the known variables in crowded regions that were misidentified in previous studies. We shall also address the cases of the cataclysmic variable or U Gem type V101 and of the variable blue straggler V159.

The Physical Nature and Orbital Behavior of the Eclipsing System DK Cygni [Replacement]

New CCD photometry is presented for the hot overcontact binary DK Cyg, together with reasonable explanations for the light and period variations. Historical light and velocity curves from 1962 to 2012 were simultaneously analyzed with the Wilson-Devinney (W-D) synthesis code. The brightness disturbances were satisfactorily modeled by applying a magnetic cool spot on the primary star. Based on 261 times of minimum light including 116 new timings and spanning more than 87 yrs, a period study reveals that the orbital period has varied due to a periodic oscillation superposed on an upward parabola. The period and semi-amplitude of the modulation are about 78.1 yrs and 0.0037 d, respectively. This detail is interpreted as a light-travel-time effect due to a circumbinary companion with a minimum mass of $M_3$=0.065 $M_\odot$, within the theoretical limit of $\sim$0.07 M$_\odot$ for a brown dwarf star. The observed period increase at a fractional rate of $+$2.74 $\times $10$^{-10}$ is in excellent agreement with that calculated from our W-D synthesis. Mass transfer from the secondary to the primary component is mainly responsible for the secular period change. We examined the evolutionary status of the DK Cyg system from the absolute dimensions.

The Physical Nature and Orbital Behavior of the Eclipsing System DK Cygni

New CCD photometry is presented for the hot overcontact binary DK Cyg, together with reasonable explanations for the light and period variations. Historical light and velocity curves from 1962 to 2012 were simultaneously analyzed with the Wilson-Devinney (W-D) synthesis code. The brightness disturbances were satisfactorily modeled by applying a magnetic cool spot on the primary star. Based on 261 times of minimum light including 116 new timings and spanning more than 87 yrs, a period study reveals that the orbital period has varied due to a periodic oscillation superposed on an upward parabola. The period and semi-amplitude of the modulation are about 78.1 yrs and 0.0037 d, respectively. This detail is interpreted as a light-travel-time effect due to a circumbinary companion with a minimum mass of $M_3 =0.065 $M_\odot$, within the theoretical limit of $\sim$0.07 M$_\odot$ for a brown dwarf star. The observed period increase at a fractional rate of $+$2.74 $\times $10$^{-10}$ is in excellent agreement with that calculated from our W-D synthesis. Mass transfer from the secondary to the primary component is mainly responsible for the secular period change. We examined the evolutionary status of the DK Cyg system from the absolute dimensions.

Magnetic Untwisting in Solar Jets that Go into the Outer Corona in Polar Coronal Holes

We study 14 large solar jets observed in polar coronal holes. In EUV movies from SDO/AIA, each jet appears similar to most X-ray jets and EUV jets that erupt in coronal holes, but each is exceptional in that it goes higher than most, so high that it is observed in the outer corona beyond 2.2 RSun in images from the SOHO/LASCO/C2 coronagraph. From AIA He II 304 {\AA} movies and LASCO/C2 running-difference images of these high-reaching jets, we find: (1) the front of the jet transits the corona below 2.2 RSun at a speed typically several times the sound speed; (2) each jet displays an exceptionally large amount of spin as it erupts; (3) in the outer corona, most of the jets display measureable swaying and bending of a few degrees in amplitude; in three jets the swaying is discernibly oscillatory with a period of order 1 hour. These characteristics suggest that the driver in these jets is a magnetic-untwisting wave that is basically a large-amplitude (i.e., non-linear) torsional Alfven wave that is put into the reconnected open field in the jet by interchange reconnection as the jet erupts. From the measured spinning and swaying we estimate that the magnetic-untwisting wave loses most of its energy in the inner corona below 2.2 RSun. We point out that the torsional waves observed in Type-II spicules might dissipate in the corona in the same way as the magnetic-untwisting waves in our big jets and thereby power much of the coronal heating in coronal holes.

Red Supergiants as Cosmic Abundance Probes: The Magellanic Clouds

Red Supergiants (RSGs) are cool (~4000K), highly luminous stars (L – 10^5 Lsun), and are among the brightest near-infrared (NIR) sources in star-forming galaxies. This makes them powerful probes of the properties of their host galaxies, such as kinematics and chemical abundances. We have developed a technique whereby metallicities of RSGs may be extracted from a narrow spectral window around 1{\mu}m from only moderate resolution data. The method is therefore extremely efficient, allowing stars at large distances to be studied, and so has tremendous potential for extragalactic abundance work. Here, we present an abundance study of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC respectively) using samples of 9-10 RSGs in each. We find average abundances for the two galaxies of [Z]LMC = -0.37 +/- 0.14 and [Z]SMC = -0.53 +/- 0.16 (with respect to a Solar metallicity of Zsun=0.012). These values are consistent with other studies of young stars in these galaxies, and though our result for the SMC may appear high it is consistent with recent studies of hot stars which find 0.5-0.8dex below Solar. Our best-fit temperatures are on the whole consistent with those from fits to the optical-infrared spectral energy distributions, which is remarkable considering the narrow spectral range being studied. Combined with our recent study of RSGs in the Galactic cluster Per OB1, these results indicate that this technique performs well over a range of metallicities, paving the way for forthcoming studies of more distant galaxies beyond the Local Group.

Inefficient star formation through turbulence, magnetic fields and feedback

Star formation is inefficient. Only a few percent of the available gas in molecular clouds forms stars, leading to the observed low star formation rate (SFR). The same holds when averaged over many molecular clouds, such that the SFR of whole galaxies is again surprisingly low. Indeed, considering the low temperatures, molecular clouds should be highly gravitationally unstable and collapse on their global mean freefall timescale. And yet, they are observed to live about 10-100 times longer, i.e., the SFR per freefall time (SFR_ff) is only a few percent. Thus, other physical mechanisms must provide support against quick global collapse. Magnetic fields, turbulence and stellar feedback have been proposed as stabilising agents, but it is still unclear which of these processes is the most important and what their relative contributions are. Here we run high-resolution simulations including gravity, turbulence, magnetic fields, and jet/outflow feedback. We confirm that clouds collapse on a mean freefall time, if only gravity is considered, producing stars at an unrealistic rate. In contrast, if turbulence, magnetic fields, and feedback are included step-by-step, the SFR is reduced by a factor of 2-3 with each additional physical ingredient. When they all act in concert, we find a constant SFR_ff = 0.04, currently the closest match to observations, but still about a factor of 2-4 higher than the average. A detailed comparison with other simulations and with observations leads us to conclude that only models with turbulence producing large virial parameters, and including magnetic fields and feedback can produce realistic SFRs.

NBODY6++GPU: Ready for the gravitational million-body problem

Accurate direct $N$-body simulations help to obtain detailed information about the dynamical evolution of star clusters. They also enable comparisons with analytical models and Fokker-Planck or Monte-Carlo methods. NBODY6 is a well-known direct $N$-body code for star clusters, and NBODY6++ is the extended version designed for large particle number simulations by supercomputers. We present NBODY6++GPU, an optimized version of NBODY6++ with hybrid parallelization methods (MPI, GPU, OpenMP, and AVX/SSE) to accelerate large direct $N$-body simulations, and in particular to solve the million-body problem. We discuss the new features of the NBODY6++GPU code, benchmarks, as well as the first results from a simulation of a realistic globular cluster initially containing a million particles. For million-body simulations, NBODY6++GPU is $400-2000$ times faster than NBODY6 with 320 CPU cores and 32 NVIDIA K20X GPUs. With this computing cluster specification, the simulations of million-body globular clusters including $5\%$ primordial binaries require about an hour per half-mass crossing time.

Doppler Imaging of LQ Hya for 1998-2002

We study the spot distribution on the surface of LQ~Hya during the observing seasons October 1998 — November 2002. We look for persistent active longitudes, trends in the level of spot activity and compare to photometric data, specifically to the derived time epochs of the lightcurve minima. We apply the Doppler Imaging technique on photospheric spectral lines using an inversion code to retrieve images of the surface temperature. We present new temperature maps using multiple spectral lines for a total of 7 seasons. We calculate spot coverage fractions from each map, and as a result we find a general trend that is interpreted to be an indication of a spot cycle. There is a minimum during the observing season of March 1999. After this the activity increases until November 2000, followed by a general decrease in activity again. We find no evidence for active longitudes persisting over multiple observing seasons. The spot activity appears to be concentrated to two latitude regions. The high latitude spots are particularly strong when the spot coverage is at a maximum. Using the currently accepted rotation period, we find spot structures to show a trend in the phase-time plot, indicative of a need for a longer period. We conclude that the long-term activity of LQ~Hya is more chaotic than that of some magnetically active binary stars analyzed with similar methods, but still with clear indications of an activity cycle.

The young low-mass star ISO-Oph-50: Extreme variability induced by a clumpy, evolving circumstellar disk

ISO-Oph-50 is a young low-mass object in the ~Myr old Ophiuchus star forming region undergoing dramatic changes in its optical/near/mid-infrared brightness by 2-4 mag. We present new multi-band photometry and near-infrared spectra, combined with a synopsis of the existing literature data. Based on the spectroscopy, the source is confirmed as a mid M dwarf, with evidence for ongoing accretion. The near-infrared lightcurves show large-scale variations, with 2-4 mag amplitude in the bands IJHK, with the object generally being bluer when faint. Near its brightest state, the object shows colour changes consistent with variable extinction of dAV~7 mag. High-cadence monitoring at 3.6mu reveals quasi-periodic variations with a typical timescale of 1-2 weeks. The best explanation for these characteristics is a low-mass star seen through circumstellar matter, whose complex variability is caused by changing inhomogeneities in the inner parts of the disk. When faint, the direct stellar emission is blocked; the near-infrared radiation is dominated by scattered light. When bright, the emission is consistent with a photosphere strongly reddened by circumstellar dust. Based on the available constraints, the inhomogeneities have to be located at or beyond ~0.1 AU distance from the star. If this scenario turns out to be correct, a major portion of the inner disk has to be clumpy, structured, and/or in turmoil. In its observational characteristics, this object resembles other types of YSOs with variability caused in the inner disk. Compared to other objects, however, ISO-Oph-50 is clearly an extreme case, given the large amplitude of the brightness and colour changes combined with the erratic behaviour. ISO-Oph-50 has been near its brightest state since 2013; further monitoring is highly encouraged.

Star and Stellar Cluster Formation: ALMA-SKA Synergies

Over the next decade, observations conducted with ALMA and the SKA will reveal the process of mass assembly and accretion onto young stars and will be revolutionary for studies of star formation. Here we summarise the capabilities of ALMA and discuss recent results from its early science observations. We then review infrared and radio variability observations of both young low-mass and high-mass stars. A time domain SKA radio continuum survey of star forming regions is then outlined. This survey will produce radio light-curves for hundreds of young sources, providing for the first time a systematic survey of radio variability across the full range of stellar masses. These light-curves will probe the magnetospheric interactions of young binary systems, the origins of outflows, trace episodic accretion on the central sources and potentially constrain the rotation rates of embedded sources.

Oscillating light wall above a sunspot light bridge

With the high tempo-spatial \emph{Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph} 1330 {\AA} images, we find that many bright structures are rooted in the light bridge of NOAA 12192, forming a \emph{light wall}. The light wall is brighter than the surrounding areas, and the wall top is much brighter than the wall body. The New Vacuum Solar Telescope H$\alpha$ and the \emph{Solar Dynamics Observatory} 171 {\AA} and 131 {\AA} images are also used to study the light wall properties. In 1330 {\AA}, 171 {\AA}, and 131 {\AA}, the top of the wall has a higher emission, while in the H$\alpha$ line, the wall top emission is very low. The wall body corresponds to bright areas in 1330 {\AA} and dark areas in the other lines. The top of the light wall moves upward and downward successively, performing oscillations in height. The deprojected mean height, amplitude, oscillation velocity, and the dominant period are determined to be 3.6 Mm, 0.9 Mm, 15.4 km s$^{-1}$, and 3.9 min, respectively. We interpret the oscillations of the light wall as the leakage of \emph{p}-modes from below the photosphere. The constant brightness enhancement of the wall top implies the existence of some kind of atmospheric heating, e.g., via the persistent small-scale reconnection or the magneto-acoustic waves. In another series of 1330 {\AA} images, we find that the wall top in the upward motion phase is significantly brighter than in the downward phase. This kind of oscillations may be powered by the energy released due to intermittent impulsive magnetic reconnection.

Multi-wavelength Fibril Dynamics and Oscillations Above Sunspot - I. Morphological Signature

In this work we selected one particular fibril from a high resolution solar chromosphere observation from the Dutch Open Telescope, and tried to obtain a broad picture of the intricate mechanism that might be incorporated in the multiple layer of the Solar atmosphere in high cadence multi-wavelength observation. We analyzed the changingvfibril patter using multi-wavelength tomography, which consists of both H$\alpha$ line center \& the blue wing, Doppler-signal, Ca II H, and the G-band. We have found that the intermittent ejected material through fibril from Doppler images has clearly shown oscillation mode, as seen in the H$\alpha$ blue wing. The oscillations in the umbrae and penumbrae magnetic field lines that are above the sunspot cause a broadening and forms the area like a ring shape from 3 to 15-minute oscillations as function of height. These made a distinct boundary of umbrae and penumbrae which suggest the comb structure, and indicate that the oscillations could propagate along the inclined magnetic flux tubes from below. The 3-minute strongly appeared in the broadly inclined penumbrae magnetic filed lines and gave the clear light-bridge. The well known 5-minute was dominated in the umbrae-penumbrae region boundary, the long 7-minute one was transparent in the H$\alpha$ blue wing, but this was the same with 10 and 15-minute, it was concentrated in the inner-penumbrae, as seen in the H$\alpha$ line center. From these findings we propose a picture on the role of fibril as the fabric of interaction between the layers, also the related activites around the active region under investigation.

Extracting parameters from Colour-Magnitude Diagrams

We present a simple approach for obtaining robust values of astrophysical parameters from the observed colour-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of star clusters. The basic inputs are the Hess diagram built with the photometric measurements of a star cluster and a set of isochrones covering wide ranges of age and metallicity. In short, each isochrone is shifted in apparent distance modulus and colour excess until it crosses over the maximum possible Hess density. Repeating this step for all available isochrones leads to the construction of the solution map, in which the optimum values of age and metallicity – as well as foreground/background reddening and distance from the Sun – can be searched for. Controlled tests with simulated CMDs show that the approach is efficient in recovering the input values. We apply the approach to the open clusters M\,67, NGC\,6791, and NGC\,2635, which are characterised by different ages, metallicities and distances from the Sun.

The Gaia-ESO Survey: Detailed Abundances in the Metal-poor Globular Cluster NGC 4372

We present the abundance analysis for a sample of 7 red giant branch stars in the metal-poor globular cluster NGC 4372 based on UVES spectra acquired as part of the Gaia-ESO Survey. This is the first extensive study of this cluster from high resolution spectroscopy. We derive abundances of O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, Fe, Cr, Ni, Y, Ba, and La. We find a metallicity of [Fe/H] = -2.19 $\pm$ 0.03 and find no evidence for a metallicity spread. This metallicity makes NGC 4372 one of the most metal-poor galactic globular clusters. We also find an {\alpha}-enhancement typical of halo globular clusters at this metallicity. Significant spreads are observed in the abundances of light elements. In particular we find a Na-O anti-correlation. Abundances of O are relatively high compared with other globular clusters. This could indicate that NGC 4372 was formed in an environment with high O for its metallicity. A Mg-Al spread is also present which spans a range of more than 0.5 dex in Al abundances. Na is correlated with Al and Mg abundances at a lower significance level. This pattern suggests that the Mg-Al burning cycle is active. This behavior can also be seen in giant stars of other massive, metal-poor clusters. A relation between light and heavy s-process elements has been identified.

Formation and evolution of coronal rain observed by SDO/AIA on February 22, 2012

The formation and dynamics of coronal rain are currently not fully understood. Coronal rain is the fall of cool and dense blobs formed by thermal instability in the solar corona towards the solar surface with acceleration smaller than gravitational free fall. We aim to study the observational evidence of the formation of coronal rain and to trace the detailed dynamics of individual blobs. We used time series of the 171 \AA\, and 304 \AA\, spectral lines obtained by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) above active region AR 11420 on February 22, 2012. Observations show that a coronal loop disappeared in the 171 \AA\ channel and appeared in the 304 \AA\ line$\text{}\text{}$ more than one hour later, which indicates a rapid cooling of the coronal loop from 1 MK to 0.05 MK. An energy estimation shows that the radiation is higher than the heat input, which indicates so-called catastrophic cooling. The cooling was accompanied by the formation of coronal rain in the form of falling cold plasma. We studied two different sequences of falling blobs. The first sequence includes three different blobs. The mean velocities of the blobs were estimated to be 50 km s$^{-1}$, 60 km s$^{-1}$ and 40 km s$^{-1}$. A polynomial fit shows the different values of the acceleration for different blobs, which are lower than free-fall in the solar corona. The first and second blob move along the same path, but with and without acceleration, respectively. We performed simple numerical simulations for two consecutive blobs, which show that the second blob moves in a medium that is modified by the passage of the first blob. Therefore, the second blob has a relatively high speed and no acceleration, as is shown by observations. The second sequence includes two different blobs with mean velocities of 100 km s$^{-1}$ and 90 km s$^{-1}$, respectively.

Solution of nonlinear space time fractional differential equations via the fractional projective Riccati expansion method

In this paper, the fractional projective Riccati expansion method is proposed to solve fractional differential equations. To illustrate the effectiveness of the method, we discuss the space-time fractional Burgers equation, the space-time fractional mKdV equation and time fractional biological population model. The solutions are expressed in terms of fractional hyperbolic functions. These solutions are useful to understand the mechanisms of the complicated nonlinear physical phenomena and fractional differential equations. Among these solutions, some are found for the first time. The fractal index for the obtained results is equal to one. Counter examples to compute the fractal index are introduced in appendix.

Post-outburst spectra of a stellar-merger remnant of V1309 Scorpii: from a twin of V838 Monocerotis to a clone of V4332 Sagittarii

We present optical and infrared spectroscopy of V1309 Sco, an object which erupted in 2008 in a stellar-merger event. During the outburst, V1309 Sco displayed characteristics typical for red transients, a class of objects similar to V838 Mon. Our observations were obtained in 2009 and 2012, i.e. months and years after the eruption of V1309 Sco, and illustrate severe changes in the remnant, mainly in its circumstellar surroundings. In addition to atomic gas observed in earlier epochs, we identified molecular bands of TiO, VO, H$_2$O, ScO, AlO, and CrO. Infrared bands of CrO we analyze are first astronomical identification of those features. Over the whole period covered by our data, the remnant was associated with a cool ($\lesssim$1000 K) outflow with a terminal velocity of about 200 km\s. Signatures of warmer atomic gas, likely to be still dissipating the energy of the 2008 outburst, dramatically decreased their brightness between 2009 and 2012. Also, sometime before 2012 the source of optical continuum disappeared, likely owing to formation of new dust. The final stage captured by our spectra show an object remarkably similar to an older red transient, V4332 Sgr. In addition to providing a detailed view on the settling of the eruptive object, the observations presented here reinforce the conclusion that all the Galactic red transients are a manifestation of the same phenomenon, i.e. a stellar merger. Also, the late spectra of V1309 Sco suggest peculiarities in the chemical composition of the remnant, which yet need to be explored.

Automated Detection of Solar Eruptions

Observation of the solar atmosphere reveals a wide range of motions, from small scale jets and spicules to global-scale coronal mass ejections. Identifying and characterizing these motions are essential to advancing our understanding the drivers of space weather. Both automated and visual identifications are currently used in identifying CMEs. To date, eruptions near the solar surface (which may be precursors to CMEs) have been identified primarily by visual inspection. Here we report on EruptionPatrol (EP): a software module that is designed to automatically identify eruptions from data collected by SDO/AIA. We describe the method underlying the module and compare its results to previous identifications found in the Heliophysics Event Knowledgebase. EP identifies eruptions events that are consistent with those found by human annotations, but in a significantly more consistent and quantitative manner. Eruptions are found to be distributed within 15Mm of the solar surface. They possess peak speeds ranging from 4 to 100 km/sec and display a power-law probability distribution over that range. These characteristics are consistent with previous observations of prominences.

Witnessing the Emergence of a Carbon Star

During the late stages of their evolution, Sun-like stars bring the products of nuclear burning to the surface. Most of the carbon in the Universe is believed to originate from stars with masses up to a few solar masses. Although there is a chemical dichotomy between oxygen-rich and carbon-rich evolved stars, the dredge-up itself has never been directly observed. In the last three decades, however, a few stars have been shown to display both carbon- and oxygen-rich material in their circumstellar envelopes. Two models have been proposed to explain this dual chemistry: one postulates that a recent dredge-up of carbon produced by nucleosynthesis inside the star during the Asymptotic Giant Branch changed the surface chemistry of the star. The other model postulates that oxygen-rich material exists in stable keplerian rotation around the central star. The two models make contradictory, testable, predictions on the location of the oxygen-rich material, either located further from the star than the carbon-rich gas, or very close to the star in a stable disk. Using the Faint Object InfraRed CAmera (FORCAST) instrument on board the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Telescope, we obtained images of the carbon-rich planetary nebula (PN) BD+30 3639 which trace both carbon-rich polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and oxygen-rich silicate dust. With the superior spectral coverage of SOFIA, and using a 3D photoionisation and dust radiative transfer model we prove that the O-rich material is distributed in a shell in the outer parts of the nebula, while the C-rich material is located in the inner parts of the nebula. These observations combined with the model, suggest a recent change in stellar surface composition for the double chemistry in this object. This is evidence for dredge-up occurring ~1000yr ago.

Far infrared CO and H$_2$O emission in intermediate-mass protostars

Intermediate-mass young stellar objects (YSOs) provide a link to understand how feedback from shocks and UV radiation scales from low to high-mass star forming regions. Aims: Our aim is to analyze excitation of CO and H$_2$O in deeply-embedded intermediate-mass YSOs and compare with low-mass and high-mass YSOs. Methods: Herschel/PACS spectral maps are analyzed for 6 YSOs with bolometric luminosities of $L_\mathrm{bol}\sim10^2 – 10^3$ $L_\odot$. The maps cover spatial scales of $\sim 10^4$ AU in several CO and H$_2$O lines located in the $\sim55-210$ $\mu$m range. Results: Rotational diagrams of CO show two temperature components at $T_\mathrm{rot}\sim320$ K and $T_\mathrm{rot}\sim700-800$ K, comparable to low- and high-mass protostars probed at similar spatial scales. The diagrams for H$_2$O show a single component at $T_\mathrm{rot}\sim130$ K, as seen in low-mass protostars, and about $100$ K lower than in high-mass protostars. Since the uncertainties in $T_\mathrm{rot}$ are of the same order as the difference between the intermediate and high-mass protostars, we cannot conclude whether the change in rotational temperature occurs at a specific luminosity, or whether the change is more gradual from low- to high-mass YSOs. Conclusions: Molecular excitation in intermediate-mass protostars is comparable to the central $10^{3}$ AU of low-mass protostars and consistent within the uncertainties with the high-mass protostars probed at $3\cdot10^{3}$ AU scales, suggesting similar shock conditions in all those sources.

High-Resolution Spectroscopic Study of Extremely Metal-Poor Star Candidates from the SkyMapper Survey

The SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey is carrying out a search for the most metal-poor stars in the Galaxy. It identifies candidates by way of its unique filter set that allows for estimation of stellar atmospheric parameters. The set includes a narrow filter centered on the Ca II K 3933A line, enabling a robust estimate of stellar metallicity. Promising candidates are then confirmed with spectroscopy. We present the analysis of Magellan-MIKE high-resolution spectroscopy of 122 metal-poor stars found by SkyMapper in the first two years of commissioning observations. 41 stars have [Fe/H] <= -3.0. Nine have [Fe/H] <= -3.5, with three at [Fe/H] ~ -4. A 1D LTE abundance analysis of the elements Li, C, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Sc, Ti, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Zn, Sr, Ba and Eu shows these stars have [X/Fe] ratios typical of other halo stars. One star with low [X/Fe] values appears to be "Fe-enhanced," while another star has an extremely large [Sr/Ba] ratio: >2. Only one other star is known to have a comparable value. Seven stars are "CEMP-no" stars ([C/Fe] > 0.7, [Ba/Fe] < 0). 21 stars exhibit mild r-process element enhancements (0.3 <=[Eu/Fe] < 1.0), while four stars have [Eu/Fe] >= 1.0. These results demonstrate the ability to identify extremely metal-poor stars from SkyMapper photometry, pointing to increased sample sizes and a better characterization of the metal-poor tail of the halo metallicity distribution function in the future.

Fingering convection and cloudless models for cool brown dwarf atmospheres

This work aims to improve the current understanding of the atmospheres of brown dwarfs, especially cold ones with spectral type T and Y, whose modeling is a current challenge. Silicate and iron clouds are believed to disappear at the photosphere at the L/T transition, but cloudless models fail to reproduce correctly the spectra of T dwarfs, advocating for the addition of more physics, e.g. other types of clouds or internal energy transport mechanisms. We use a one-dimensional (1D) radiative/convective equilibrium code ATMO to investigate this issue. This code includes both equilibrium and out-of-equilibrium chemistry and solves consistently the PT structure. Included opacity sources are H2-H2, H2-He, H2O, CO, CO2, CH4, NH3, K, Na, and TiO, VO if they are present in the atmosphere. We show that the spectra of Y dwarfs can be accurately reproduced with a cloudless model if vertical mixing and NH3 quenching are taken into account. T dwarf spectra still have some reddening in e.g. J – H compared to cloudless models. This reddening can be reproduced by slightly reducing the temperature gradient in the atmosphere. We propose that this reduction of the stabilizing temperature gradient in these layers, leading to cooler structures, is due to the onset of fingering convection, triggered by the destabilizing impact of condensation of very thin dust.

The Pillars of Creation revisited with MUSE: gas kinematics and high-mass stellar feedback traced by optical spectroscopy

Integral field unit (IFU) data of the iconic Pillars of Creation in M16 are presented. The ionisation structure of the pillars was studied in great detail over almost the entire visible wavelength range, and maps of the relevant physical parameters, e.g. extinction, electron density, electron temperature, line-of-sight velocity of the ionised and neutral gas are shown. In agreement with previous authors, we find that the pillar tips are being ionised and photo-evaporated by the massive members of the nearby cluster NGC 6611. They display a stratified ionisation structure where the emission lines peak in a descending order according to their ionisation energies. The IFU data allowed us to analyse the kinematics of the photo-evaporative flow in terms of the stratified ionisation structure, and we find that, in agreement with simulations, the photo-evaporative flow is traced by a blueshift in the position-velocity profile. The gas kinematics and ionisation structure have allowed us to produce a sketch of the 3D geometry of the Pillars, positioning the pillars with respect to the ionising cluster stars. We use a novel method to detect a previously unknown bipolar outflow at the tip of the middle pillar and suggest that it has an embedded protostar as its driving source. Furthermore we identify a candidate outflow in the leftmost pillar. With the derived physical parameters and ionic abundances, we estimate a mass loss rate due to the photo-evaporative flow of 70 M$_{\odot}$ Myr$^{-1}$ which yields an expected lifetime of approximately 3 Myr.

Spectroscopic Confirmation of the Existence of Large, Diffuse Galaxies in the Coma Cluster

We recently identified a population of low surface brightness objects in the field of the z=0.023 Coma cluster, using the Dragonfly Telephoto Array. Here we present Keck spectroscopy of one of the largest of these "ultra-diffuse galaxies" (UDGs), confirming that it is a member of the cluster. The galaxy has prominent absorption features, including the Ca II H+K lines and the G-band, and no detected emission lines. Its radial velocity of cz=6280 +- 120 km/s is within the 1 sigma velocity dispersion of the Coma cluster. The galaxy has an effective radius of 4.3 +- 0.3 kpc and a Sersic index of 0.89 +- 0.06, as measured from Keck imaging. We find no indications of tidal tails or other distortions, at least out to a radius of ~2 r_e. We show that UDGs are located in a previously sparsely populated region of the size – magnitude plane of quiescent stellar systems, as they are ~6 magnitudes fainter than normal early-type galaxies of the same size. It appears that the luminosity distribution of large quiescent galaxies is not continuous, although this could largely be due to selection effects. Dynamical measurements are needed to determine whether the dark matter halos of UDGs are similar to those of galaxies with the same luminosity or to those of galaxies with the same size.

Magnetic Energy Dissipation during the 2014 March 29 Solar Flares

We calculated the time evolution of the free magnetic energy during the 2014-Mar-29 flare (SOL2014-03-29T17:48), the first X-class flare detected by IRIS. The free energy was calculated from the difference between the nonpotential field, constrained by the geometry of observed loop structures, and the potential field. We use AIA/SDO and IRIS images to delineate the geometry of coronal loops in EUV wavelengths, as well as to trace magnetic field directions in UV wavelengths in the chromosphere and transition region. We find an identical evolution of the free energy for both the coronal and chromospheric tracers, as well as agreement between AIA and IRIS results, with a peak free energy of $E_{free}(t_{peak}) \approx (45 \pm 2) \times 10^{30}$ erg, which decreases by an amount of $\Delta E_{free} \approx (29 \pm 3) \times 10^{30}$ erg during the flare decay phase. The consistency of free energies measured from different EUV and UV wavelengths for the first time here, demonstrates that vertical electric currents (manifested in form of helically twisted loops) can be detected and measured from both chromospheric and coronal tracers.

Orientation of x-lines in asymmetric magnetic reconnection - mass ratio dependency [Cross-Listing]

Using fully kinetic simulations, we study the x-line orientation of magnetic reconnection in an asymmetric configuration. A spatially localized perturbation is employed to induce a single x-line, that has sufficient freedom to choose its orientation in three-dimensional systems. The effect of ion to electron mass ratio is investigated, and the x-line appears to bisect the magnetic shear angle across the current sheet in the large mass ratio limit. The orientation can generally be deduced by scanning through corresponding 2D simulations to find the reconnection plane that maximizes the peak reconnection electric field. The deviation from the bisection angle in the lower mass ratio limit can be explained by the physics of tearing instability.

New Constraints on the Star Formation History of the Star Cluster NGC 1856

We use the Wide Field Camera 3 onboard the Hubble Space Telescope to obtain deep, high-resolution photometry of the young (age ~ 300 Myr) star cluster NGC1856 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. We compare the observed colour-magnitude diagram (CMD), after having applied a correction for differential reddening, with Monte Carlo simulations of simple stellar populations (SSPs) of various ages. We find that the main sequence turn-off (MSTO) region is wider than that derived from the simulation of a single SSP. Using constraints based on the distribution of stars in the MSTO region and the red clump, we find that the CMD is best reproduced using a combination of two different SSPs with ages separated by 80 Myr (0.30 and 0.38 Gyr, respectively). However, we can not formally exclude that the width of the MSTO could be due to a range of stellar rotation velocities if the efficiency of rotational mixing is higher than typically assumed. Using a King-model fit to the surface number density profile in conjunction with dynamical evolution models, we determine the evolution of cluster mass and escape velocity from an age of 10 Myr to the present age, taking into account the possible effects of primordial mass segregation. We find that the cluster has an escape velocity Vesc ~ 17 km/s at an age of 10 Myr, and it remains high enough during a period of ~ 100 Myr to retain material ejected by slow winds of first-generation stars. Our results are consistent with the presence of an age spread in NGC1856, in contradiction to the results of Bastian & Silva-Villa (2013).

The magnetic field and spectral variability of the He-weak star HR 2949

We analyze a high resolution spectropolarimetric dataset collected for the He-weak B3p IV star HR 2949. The Zeeman effect is visible in the circularly polarized component of numerous spectral lines. The longitudinal magnetic field varies between approximately $-650$ and $+150$ G. The polar strength of the surface magnetic dipole is calculated to be 2.4$^{+0.3}_{-0.2}$ kG. The star has strong overabundances of Fe-peak elements, along with extremely strong overabundances of rare-earth elements; however, He, Al, and S are underabundant. This implies that HR 2949 is a chemically peculiar star. Variability is seen in all photospheric lines, likely due to abundance patches as seen in many Ap/Bp stars. Longitudinal magnetic field variations measured from different spectral lines yield different results, likely a consequence of uneven sampling of the photospheric magnetic field by the abundance patches. Analysis of photometric and spectroscopic data for both HR 2949 and its companion star, HR 2948, suggests a revision of HR 2949′s fundamental parameters: in particular, it is somewhat larger, hotter, and more luminous than previously believed. There is no evidence of optical or ultraviolet emission originating in HR 2949′s magnetosphere, despite its moderately strong magnetic field and relatively rapid rotation; however, when calculated using theoretical and empirical boundaries on the initial rotational velocity, the spindown age is compatible with the stellar age. With the extensive phase coverage presented here, HR 2949 will make an excellent subject for Zeeman Doppler Imaging.

Thermal Diagnostics with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory: A Validated Method for Differential Emission Measure Inversions

We present a new method for performing differential emission measure (DEM) inversions on narrow-band EUV images from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The method yields positive definite DEM solutions by solving a linear program. This method has been validated against a diverse set of thermal models of varying complexity and realism. These include (1) idealized gaussian DEM distributions, (2) 3D models of NOAA Active Region 11158 comprising quasi-steady loop atmospheres in a non-linear force-free field, and (3) thermodynamic models from a fully-compressible, 3D MHD simulation of AR corona formation following magnetic flux emergence. We then present results from the application of the method to AIA observations of Active Region 11158, comparing the region’s thermal structure on two successive solar rotations. Additionally, we show how the DEM inversion method can be adapted to simultaneously invert AIA and XRT data, and how supplementing AIA data with the latter improves the inversion result. The speed of the method allows for routine production of DEM maps, thus facilitating science studies that require tracking of the thermal structure of the solar corona in time and space.

Multiple stellar populations in Magellanic Cloud clusters. III. The first evidence of an extended main sequence turn-off in a young cluster: NGC1856

Recent studies have shown that the extended main-sequence turn off (eMSTO) is a common feature of intermediate-age star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds (MCs). The most simple explanation is that these stellar systems harbor multiple generations of stars with an age difference of a few hundred Myrs. However, while an eMSTO has been detected in a large number of clusters with ages between ~1-2 Gyrs, several studies of young clusters in both MCs and in nearby galaxies do not find any evidence for a prolonged star-formation history, i.e. for multiple stellar generations. These results have suggested alternative interpretation of the eMSTOs observed in intermediate-age star clusters. The eMSTO could be due to stellar rotation mimicking an age spread or to interacting binaries. In these scenarios, intermediate-age MC clusters would be simple stellar populations, in close analogy with younger clusters. Here we provide the first evidence for an eMSTO in a young stellar cluster. We exploit multi-band Hubble Space Telescope photometry to study the ~300-Myr old star cluster NGC1856 in the Large Magellanic Cloud and detected a broadened MSTO that is consistent with a prolonged star-formation which had a duration of about 150 Myrs. Below the turn-off, the MS of NGC1856 is split into a red and blue component, hosting 33+/-5% and 67+/-5% of the total number of MS stars, respectively. We discuss these findings in the context of multiple-stellar-generation, stellar-rotation, and interacting-binary hypotheses.

New binaries among UV-selected, hot subdwarf stars and population properties

We have measured the orbital parameters of seven close binaries, including six new objects, in a radial velocity survey of 38 objects comprising a hot subdwarf star with orbital periods ranging from ~0.17 to 3 d. One new system, GALEX J2205-3141, shows reflection on a M dwarf companion. Three other objects show significant short-period variations, but their orbital parameters could not be constrained. Two systems comprising a hot subdwarf paired with a bright main-sequence/giant companion display short-period photometric variations possibly due to irradiation or stellar activity and are also short-period candidates. All except two candidates were drawn from a selection of subluminous stars in the Galaxy Evolution Explorer ultraviolet sky survey. Our new identifications also include a low-mass subdwarf B star and likely progenitor of a low mass white dwarf (GALEX J0805-1058) paired with an unseen, possibly substellar, companion. The mass functions of the newly identified binaries imply minimum secondary masses ranging from 0.03 to 0.39 M_solar. Photometric time series suggest that, apart from GALEX J0805-1058 and J2205-3141, the companions are most likely white dwarfs. We update the binary population statistics: Close to 40 per cent of hot subdwarfs have a companion. Also, we found that the secondary mass distribution shows a low-mass peak attributed to late-type dwarfs, and a higher-mass peak and tail distribution attributed to white dwarfs and a few spectroscopic composites. Also, we found that the population kinematics imply an old age and include a few likely halo population members.

The Herschel view of the nebula around the luminous blue variable star AG Carinae

Far-infrared Herschel PACS imaging and spectroscopic observations of the nebula around the luminous blue variable (LBV) star AG Car have been obtained along with optical imaging in the Halpha+[NII] filter. In the infrared light, the nebula appears as a clumpy ring shell that extends up to 1.2 pc with an inner radius of 0.4 pc. It coincides with the Halpha nebula, but extends further out. Dust modeling of the nebula was performed and indicates the presence of large grains. The dust mass is estimated to be ~ 0.2 Msun. The infrared spectrum of the nebula consists of forbidden emission lines over a dust continuum. Apart from ionized gas, these lines also indicate the existence of neutral gas in a photodissociation region that surrounds the ionized region. The abundance ratios point towards enrichment by processed material. The total mass of the nebula ejected from the central star amounts to ~ 15 Msun, assuming a dust-to-gas ratio typical of LBVs. The abundances and the mass-loss rate were used to constrain the evolutionary path of the central star and the epoch at which the nebula was ejected, with the help of available evolutionary models. This suggests an ejection during a cool LBV phase for a star of ~ 55 Msun with little rotation.

Stellar mixing length theory with entropy rain

Stellar mixing length theory is modified to include the effects of a nongradient term that originates from the motion of convective elements with entropy perturbations of either sign. It is argued that such a term, first studied by Deardorff in the meteorological context, represents the effects of thin intense downdrafts caused by the rapid cooling in the granulation layer at the top of the convection zone. They transport heat nonlocally, as originally anticipated by Spruit in the 1990s, who describes the convection in the strongly stratified simulations of Stein & Nordlund as entropy rain. Although our model has ill-determined free parameters, it demonstrates that solutions can be found that look similar to the original ones, except that the deeper layers are now Schwarzschild stable, so no giant cells are produced and the typical convective scale is that of granules even at larger depth. Consequences for modeling solar differential, the global dynamo, and sunspots are briefly discussed.

Flare Hybrids

Svestka (Solar Phys. 1989, 121, 399) on the basis of the Solar Maximum Mission observations introduced a new class of flares, the so-called flare hybrids. When they start, they look as typical compact flares (phase 1), but later on they look like flares with arcades of magnetic loops (phase 2). We summarize the features of flare hybrids in soft and hard X-rays as well as in extreme-ultraviolet; these allow us to distinguish them from other flares. Additional energy release or long plasma cooling timescales have been suggested as possible cause of phase 2. Estimations of frequency of flare hybrids have been given. Magnetic configurations supporting their origin have been presented. In our opinion, flare hybrids are quite frequent and a difference between lengths of two interacting systems of magnetic loops is a crucial parameter for recognizing their features.


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