Recent Postings from Solar and Stellar

The Identification of Extreme Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars and Red Supergiants in M33 by 24 {\mu}m Variability

We present the first detection of 24 {\mu}m variability in 24 sources in the Local Group galaxy M33. These results are based on 4 epochs of MIPS observations, which are irregularly spaced over ~750 days. We find that these sources are constrained exclusively to the Holmberg radius of the galaxy, which increases their chances of being members of M33. We have constructed spectral energy distributions (SEDs) ranging from the optical to the sub-mm to investigate the nature of these objects. We find that 23 of our objects are most likely heavily self-obscured, evolved stars; while the remaining source is the Giant HII region, NGC 604. We believe that the observed variability is the intrinsic variability of the central star reprocessed through their circumstellar dust shells. Radiative transfer modeling was carried out to determine their likely chemical composition, luminosity, and dust production rate (DPR). As a sample, our modeling has determined an average luminosity of (3.8 $\pm$ 0.9) x 10$^4$ L$_\odot$ and a total DPR of (2.3 $\pm$ 0.1) x 10$^{-5}$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$. Most of the sources, given the high DPRs and short wavelength obscuration, are likely "extreme" AGB (XAGB) stars. Five of the sources are found to have luminosities above the classical AGB limit (M$_{\rm bol}$ < -7.1, L > 54,000 L$_\odot$), which classifies them as probably red supergiants (RSGs). Almost all of the sources are classified as oxygen rich. As also seen in the LMC, a significant fraction of the dust in M33 is produced by a handful of XAGB and RSG stars.

Analysis of Late--time Light Curves of Type IIb, Ib and Ic Supernovae

The shape of the light curve peak of radioactive-powered core-collapse "stripped-envelope," supernovae constrains the ejecta mass, nickel mass, and kinetic energy by the brightness and diffusion time for a given opacity and observed expansion velocity. Late-time light curves give constraints on the same parameters, given the gamma-ray opacity. Previous work has shown that the principal light curve peaks for SN IIb with small amounts of hydrogen and for hydrogen/helium-deficient SN Ib/c are often rather similar near maximum light, suggesting similar ejecta masses and kinetic energies, but that late-time light curves show a wide dispersion, suggesting a dispersion in ejecta masses and kinetic energies. It was also shown that SN IIb and SN Ib/c can have very similar late-time light curves, but different ejecta velocities demanding significantly different ejecta masses and kinetic energies. We revisit these topics by collecting and analyzing well-sampled single color and quasi-bolometric light curves from the literature. We find that the late-time light curves of all stripped-envelope core collapse supernovae are heterogeneous. The peak behavior is a poor predictor of the late-time light curve. The values for ejecta mass and energy derived from the peak nearly always predict too steep a late-time decline. The physics of the late-time light curves is fairly simple, so the discrepancies may lie in the physics of the peak. These discrepancies may point the way to asymmetries on small or large scales that alter the gamma-ray deposition near peak light or to time-dependent optical opacities that are not captured in simple models.

The Sun's interior structure and dynamics, and the solar cycle

The Sun’s internal structure and dynamics can be studied with helioseismology, which uses the Sun’s natural acoustic oscillations to build up a profile of the solar interior. We discuss how solar acoustic oscillations are affected by the Sun’s magnetic field. Careful observations of these effects can be inverted to determine the variations in the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s interior as the solar cycle progresses. Observed variations in the structure and dynamics can then be used to inform models of the solar dynamo, which are crucial to our understanding of how the Sun’s magnetic field is generated and maintained.

Quest for finding the lost siblings of the Sun

The aim of this paper is to find lost siblings of the Sun by analyzing high resolution spectra. Finding solar siblings will enable us to constrain the parameters of the parental cluster and the birth place of the Sun in the Galaxy. The solar siblings can be identified by accurate measurements of metallicity, stellar age and elemental abundances for solar neighbourhood stars. The solar siblings candidates were kinematically selected based on their proper motions, parallaxes and colours. Stellar parameters were determined through a purely spectroscopic approach and partly physical method, respectively. Comparing synthetic with observed spectra, elemental abundances were computed based on the stellar parameters obtained using a partly physical method. A chemical tagging technique was used to identify the solar siblings. We present stellar parameters, stellar ages, and detailed elemental abundances for Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, Fe, and Ni for 32 solar sibling candidates. Our abundances analysis shows that four stars are chemically homogenous together with the Sun. Technique of chemical tagging gives us a high probability that they might be from the same open cluster. Only one candidate HIP 40317 which has solar metallicity and age could be a solar sibling. We performed simulations of the Sun’s birth cluster in analytical Galactic model and found that most of the radial velocities of the solar siblings lie in the range $-10 \leq \mathrm{V_r}\leq 10$ $\mathrm{km~s^{-1}}$, which is smaller than the radial velocity of HIP 40317 $(\mathrm{V_r} = 34.2~\mathrm{km~s^{-1}})$, under different Galactic parameters and different initial conditions of the Sun’s birth cluster. The sibling status for HIP 40317 is not directly supported by our dynamical analysis.

Overdamped Alfven waves due to ion-neutral collisions in the solar chromosphere

Alfvenic waves are ubiquitous in the solar atmosphere and their dissipation may play an important role in atmospheric heating. In the partially ionized solar chromosphere, collisions between ions and neutrals are an efficient dissipative mechanism for Alfven waves with frequencies near the ion-neutral collision frequency. The collision frequency is proportional to the ion-neutral collision cross section for momentum transfer. Here, we investigate Alfven wave damping as a function of height in a simplified chromospheric model and compare the results for two sets of collision cross sections, namely those of the classic hard-sphere model and those based on recent quantum-mechanical computations. We find important differences between the results for the two sets of cross sections. There is a critical interval of wavelengths for which impulsively excited Alfven waves are overdamped as a result of the strong ion-neutral dissipation. The critical wavelengths are in the range from 1 km to 50 km for the hard-sphere cross sections, and from 1 m to 1 km for the quantum-mechanical cross sections. Equivalently, for periodically driven Alfven waves there is an optimal frequency for which the damping is most effective. The optimal frequency varies from 1 Hz to 10^2 Hz for the hard-sphere cross sections, and from 10^2 Hz to 10^4 Hz for the quantum-mechanical cross sections. Future observations at sufficiently high spatial or temporal resolution may show the importance of high-frequency Alfven waves for chromospheric heating. For instance, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) may be able to detect the critical wavelengths and optimal frequencies and so to test the effective collision cross section in the chromospheric plasma.

Stirring in massive, young debris discs from spatially resolved Herschel images

A significant fraction of main-sequence stars are encircled by dusty debris discs, where the short-lived dust particles are replenished through collisions between planetesimals. Most destructive collisions occur when the orbits of smaller bodies are dynamically stirred up, either by the gravitational effect of locally formed Pluto-sized planetesimals (self-stirring scenario), or via secular perturbation caused by an inner giant planet (planetary stirring). The relative importance of these scenarios in debris systems is unknown. Here we present new Herschel Space Observatory imagery of 11 discs selected from the most massive and extended known debris systems. All discs were found to be extended at far-infrared wavelengths, five of them being resolved for the first time. We evaluated the feasibility of the self-stirring scenario by comparing the measured disc sizes with the predictions of the model calculated for the ages of our targets. We concluded that the self-stirring explanation works for seven discs. However, in four cases, the predicted pace of outward propagation of the stirring front, assuming reasonable initial disc masses, was far too low to explain the radial extent of the cold dust. Therefore, for HD 9672, HD 16743, HD 21997, and HD 95086, another explanation is needed. We performed a similar analysis for {\ss} Pic and HR 8799, reaching the same conclusion. We argue that planetary stirring is a promising possibility to explain the disk properties in these systems. In HR 8799 and HD 95086 we may already know the potential perturber, since their known outer giant planets could be responsible for the stirring process. Our study demonstrates that among the largest and most massive debris discs self-stirring may not be the only active scenario, and potentially planetary stirring is responsible for destructive collisions and debris dust production in a number of systems.

The surface magnetic field and chemical abundance distributions of the B2V helium-strong star HD184927

A new time series of high-resolution Stokes I and V spectra of the magnetic B2V star HD 184927 has been obtained in the context of the Magnetism in Massive Stars (MiMeS) Large Program with the ESPaDOnS spectropolarimeter at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and dimaPol liquid crystal spectropolarimeter at 1.8-m telescope of Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. We model the optical and UV spectrum obtained from the IUE archive to infer the stellar physical parameters. Using magnetic field measurements we derive an improved rotational period of 9.53102+-0.0007d. We infer the longitudinal magnetic field from lines of H, He and various metals, revealing large differences between the apparent field strength variations determined from different elements. Magnetic Doppler Imaging using He and O lines yields strongly nonuniform surface distributions of these elements. We demonstrate that the diversity of longitudinal field variations can be understood as due to the combination of element-specific surface abundance distributions in combination with a surface magnetic field that is comprised of dipolar and quadrupolar components. We have reanalyzed IUE high resolution spectra, confirming strong modulation of wind-sensitive Civ and Siv resonance lines. However, we are unable to detect any modulation of the H$\alpha$ profile attributable to a stellar magnetosphere. We conclude that HD 184927 hosts a centrifugal magnetosphere, albeit one that is undetectable at optical wavelengths. The magnetic braking timescale of HD 184927 is computed to be $\tau_J = 0.96$ or $5.8$ Myr. These values are consistent with the slow rotation and estimated age of the star.

Census of blue stars in SDSS DR8

We present a census of the 12,060 spectra of blue objects ($(g-r)_0<-0.25$) in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 8 (DR8). As part of the data release, all of the spectra were cross-correlated with 48 template spectra of stars, galaxies and QSOs to determine the best match. We compared the blue spectra by eye to the templates assigned in SDSS DR8. 10,856 of the objects matched their assigned template, 170 could not be classified due to low signal-to-noise (S/N), and 1034 were given new classifications. We identify 7458 DA white dwarfs, 1145 DB white dwarfs, 273 rarer white dwarfs (including carbon, DZ, DQ, and magnetic), 294 subdwarf O stars, 648 subdwarf B stars, 679 blue horizontal branch stars, 1026 blue stragglers, 13 cataclysmic variables, 129 white dwarf – M dwarf binaries, 36 objects with spectra similar to DO white dwarfs, 179 QSOs, and 10 galaxies. We provide two tables of these objects, sample spectra that match the templates, figures showing all of the spectra that were grouped by eye, and diagnostic plots that show the positions, colors, apparent magnitudes, proper motions, etc. for each classification. Future surveys will be able to use templates similar to stars in each of the classes we identify to classify blue stars, including rare types, automatically.

The Role of the Magnetorotational Instability in Massive Stars

The magnetorotational instability (MRI) is key physics in accretion disks and is widely considered to play some role in massive-star core collapse. Models of rotating massive stars naturally develop very strong shear at composition boundaries, a necessary condition for MRI instability, and the MRI is subject to triply-diffusive destabilizing effects in radiative regions. We have used the MESA stellar evolution code to compute magnetic effects due to the Spruit-Taylor mechanism and the MRI, separately and together, in a sample of massive star models. We find that the MRI can be active in the later stages of massive star evolution, leading to mixing effects that are not captured in models that neglect the MRI. The MRI and related magneto-rotational effects can move models of given ZAMS mass across "boundaries" from degenerate CO cores to degenerate O/Ne/Mg cores and from degenerate O/Ne/Mg cores to iron cores, thus affecting the final evolution and the physics of core collapse. The MRI acting alone can slow the rotation of the inner core in general agreement with the observed "initial" rotation rates of pulsars. The MRI analysis suggests that localized fields ~10^{12} G may exist at the boundary of the iron core. With both the ST and MRI mechanisms active in the 20 solar mass model, we find that the helium shell mixes entirely out into the envelope. Enhanced mixing could yield a population of yellow or even blue supergiant supernova progenitors that would not be standard SN IIP.

New low-mass members of the Octans stellar association and an updated 30-40 Myr lithium age

The Octans association is one of several young stellar moving groups recently discovered in the Solar neighbourhood, and hence a valuable laboratory for studies of stellar, circumstellar disc and planetary evolution. However, a lack of low-mass members or any members with trigonometric parallaxes means the age, distance and space motion of the group are poorly constrained. To better determine its membership and age, we present the first spectroscopic survey for new K and M-type Octans members, resulting in the discovery of 29 UV-bright K5-M4 stars with kinematics, photometry and distances consistent with existing members. Nine new members possess strong Li I absorption, which allow us to estimate a lithium age of 30-40 Myr, similar to that of the Tucana-Horologium association and bracketed by the firm lithium depletion boundary ages of the Beta Pictoris (20 Myr) and Argus/IC 2391 (50 Myr) associations. Several stars also show hints in our medium-resolution spectra of fast rotation or spectroscopic binarity. More so than other nearby associations, Octans is much larger than its age and internal velocity dispersion imply. It may be the dispersing remnant of a sparse, extended structure which includes some younger members of the foreground Octans-Near association recently proposed by Zuckerman and collaborators.

Properties and nature of Be stars 30. Reliable physical properties of a semi-detached B9.5e+G8III binary BR CMi = HD 61273 compared to those of other well studied semi-detached emission-line binaries

Reliable determination of the basic physical properties of hot emission-line binaries with Roche-lobe filling secondaries is important for developing the theory of mass exchange in binaries. It is a very hard task, however, which is complicated by the presence of circumstellar matter in these systems. So far, only a small number of systems with accurate values of component masses, radii, and other properties are known. Here, we report the first detailed study of a new representative of this class of binaries, BR CMi, based on the analysis of radial velocities and multichannel photometry from several observatories, and compare its physical properties with those for other well-studied systems. BR CMi is an ellipsoidal variable seen under an intermediate orbital inclination of ~51 degrees, and it has an orbital period of 12.919059(15) d and a circular orbit. We used the disentangled component spectra to estimate the effective temperatures 9500(200) K and 4655(50) K by comparing them with model spectra. They correspond to spectral types B9.5e and G8III. We also used the disentangled spectra of both binary components as templates for the 2-D cross-correlation to obtain accurate RVs and a reliable orbital solution. Some evidence of a secular period increase at a rate of 1.1+/-0.5 s per year was found. This, together with a very low mass ratio of 0.06 and a normal mass and radius of the mass gaining component, indicates that BR CMi is in a slow phase of the mass exchange after the mass-ratio reversal. It thus belongs to a still poorly populated subgroup of Be stars for which the origin of Balmer emission lines is safely explained as a consequence of mass transfer between the binary components.

Stellar Diameters and Temperatures VI. High angular resolution measurements of the transiting exoplanet host stars HD 189733 and HD 209458 and implications for models of cool dwarfs

We present direct radii measurements of the well-known transiting exoplanet host stars HD 189733 and HD 209458 using the CHARA Array interferometer. We find the limb-darkened angular diameters to be theta_LD = 0.3848 +/- 0.0055 and 0.2254 +/- 0.0072 milliarcsec for HD 189733 and HD 209458, respectively. HD 189733 and HD 209458 are currently the only two transiting exoplanet systems where detection of the respective planetary companion’s orbital motion from high resolution spectroscopy has revealed absolute masses for both star and planet. We use our new measurements together with the orbital information from radial velocity and photometric time series data, Hipparcos distances, and newly measured bolometric fluxes to determine the stellar effective temperatures (T_eff = 4875 +/- 43, 6093 +/- 103 K), stellar linear radii (R_* = 0.805 +/- 0.016, 1.203 +/- 0.061 R_sun), mean stellar densities (rho_* = 1.62 +/- 0.11, 0.58 +/- 0.14 rho_sun), planetary radii (R_p = 1.216 +/- 0.024, 1.451 +/- 0.074 R_Jup), and mean planetary densities (rho_p = 0.605 +/- 0.029, 0.196 +/- 0.033 rho_Jup) for HD 189733 b and HD 209458 b, respectively. The stellar parameters for HD 209458, a F9 dwarf, are consistent with indirect estimates derived from spectroscopic and evolutionary modeling. However, we find that models are unable to reproduce the observational results for the K2 dwarf, HD 189733. We show that, for stellar evolutionary models to match the observed stellar properties of HD 189733, adjustments lowering the solar-calibrated mixing length parameter from 1.83 to 1.34 need to be employed.

G305.136+0.068: A massive and dense cold core in an early stage of evolution

We report molecular line observations, made with ASTE and SEST, and dust continuum observations at 0.87 mm, made with APEX, towards the cold dust core G305.136+0.068. The molecular observations show that the core is isolated and roughly circularly symmetric and imply that it has a mass of $1.1\times10^3~M_\odot$. A simultaneous model fitting of the spectra observed in four transitions of CS, using a non-LTE radiative transfer code, indicates that the core is centrally condensed, with the density decreasing with radius as $r^{-1.8}$, and that the turbulent velocity increases towards the center. The dust observations also indicate that the core is highly centrally condensed and that the average column density is 1.1 g cm$^{-2}$, value slightly above the theoretical threshold required for the formation of high mass stars. A fit to the spectral energy distribution of the emission from the core indicates a dust temperature of $17\pm2$ K, confirming that the core is cold. Spitzer images show that the core is seen in silhouette from 3.6 to 24.0 $\mu$m and that is surrounded by an envelope of emission, presumably tracing an externally excited photo-dissociated region. We found two embedded sources within a region of 20" centered at the peak of the core, one of which is young, has a luminosity of $66~L_\odot$ and is accreting mass with a high accretion rate, of $\sim1\times10^{-4}~M_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$. We suggest that this object corresponds to the seed of a high mass protostar still in the process of formation. The present observations support the hypothesis that G305.136+0.068 is a massive and dense cold core in an early stage of evolution, in which the formation of a high mass star has just started.

Magnetic Twist and Writhe of Active Regions: On the Origin of Deformed Flux Tubes

We study the long term evolution of a set of 22 bipolar active regions (ARs) in which the main photospheric polarities are seen to rotate one around the other during several solar rotations. We first show that differential rotation is not at the origin of this large change in the tilt angle. A possible origin of this distortion is the nonlinear development of a kink-instability at the base of the convective zone; this would imply the formation of a non-planar flux tube which, while emerging across the photosphere, would show a rotation of its photospheric polarities as observed. A characteristic of the flux tubes deformed by this mechanism is that their magnetic twist and writhe should have the same sign. From the observed evolution of the tilt of the bipoles, we derive the sign of the writhe of the flux tube forming each AR; while we compute the sign of the twist from transverse field measurements. Comparing the handedness of the magnetic twist and writhe, we find that the presence of kink-unstable flux tubes is coherent with no more than 35\% of the 20 cases for which the sign of the twist can be unambiguously determined. Since at most only a fraction of the tilt evolution can be explained by this process, we discuss the role that other mechanisms may play in the inferred deformation. We find that 36\% of the 22 cases may result from the action of the Coriolis force as the flux tube travels through the convection zone. Furthermore, because several bipoles overpass in their rotation the mean toroidal (East-West) direction or rotate away from it, we propose that a possible explanation for the deformation of all these flux tubes may lie in the interaction with large-scale vortical motions of the plasma in the convection zone, including also photospheric or shallow sub-photospheric large scale flows.

On the consistency of magnetic field measurements of Ap stars: lessons learned from the FORS1 archive

CONTEXT. The ESO archive of FORS1 spectropolarimetric observations may be used to create a homogeneous database of magnetic field measurements. However, no systematic comparison of FORS field measurements to those obtained with other instruments has been undertaken so far. AIMS. We exploit the FORS archive of circular spectropolarimetric data to examine in a general way how reliable and accurate field detections obtained with FORS are. METHODS. We examine the observations of Ap and Bp stars, on the grounds that almost all of the unambiguous detections of magnetic fields in the FORS1 archive are in these kinds of stars. We assess the overall quality of the FORS1 magnetic data by examining the consistency of field detections with what is known from previous measurements obtained with other instruments, and we look at patterns of internal consistency. RESULTS. FORS1 magnetic measurements are fully consistent with those made with other instruments, and the internal consistency of the data is excellent. However, it is important to recognise that each choice of grism and wavelength window constitutes a distinct instrumental measuring system, and that simultaneous field measurements in different instrumental systems may produce field strength values that differ up to 20 %, or more. Furthermore, we found that field measurements using hydrogen lines only yield results that meaningfully reflect the field strength as sampled specifically by lines of hydrogen for stars with effective temperatures above about 9000 K. CONCLUSIONS. In general the magnetic field measurements of Ap and Bp stars obtained with FORS1 are of excellent quality, accuracy and precision, and FORS1 provides an extremely useful example that offers valuable lessons for field measurements with other low- resolution Cassegrain spectropolarimeters.

Doppler images of the eclipsing binary ER Vulpeculae

We present Doppler images of both components of the eclipsing binary system ER Vul, based on the spectra obtained in 2004 November, 2006 September and 2008 November. The least-squares deconvolution technique is used for enhancing the signal-to-noise ratios of the observed profiles. The new surface images reveal that both stars of ER Vul show strong starspot activities and the starspots appear at various latitudes. The surface maps of 2006 and 2008 both show the presence of large high-latitude starspots on each component of ER Vul. We find no obvious phase shift of the active regions during our observations. The longitude distributions of starspots are non-uniform on both stars. At low-to-mid latitudes, the active regions are almost exclusively found in the hemisphere facing the other star. However, we find no pronounced concentration of spots at the sub-stellar points.

Observational studies of transiting extrasolar planets (invited review)

The study of transiting extrasolar planets is only 15 years old, but has matured into a rich area of research. I review the observational aspects of this work, concentrating on the discovery of transits, the characterisation of planets from photometry and spectroscopy, the Homogeneous Studies project, starspots, orbital obliquities, and the atmospheric properties of the known planets. I begin with historical context and conclude with a glance to a future of TESS, CHEOPS, Gaia and PLATO.

Astrophysical implications of the proton-proton cross section updates

The p(p,$e^+\nu_e$)$^2$H reaction rate is an essential ingredient for theoretical computations of stellar models. In the past several values of the corresponding S-factor have been made available by different authors. Prompted by a recent evaluation of S(E), we analysed the effect of the adoption of different proton-proton reaction rates on stellar models, focusing, in particular, on the age of mid and old stellar clusters (1-12 Gyr) and on standard solar model predictions. By comparing different widely adopted p(p,$e^+\nu_e$)$^2$H reaction rates, we found a maximum difference in the temperature regimes typical of main sequence hydrogen-burning stars ($5\times 10^6-3 \times 10^7$ K) of about 3%. Such a variation translates into a change of cluster age determination lower than 1%. A slightly larger effect is observed in the predicted solar neutrino fluxes with a maximum difference, in the worst case, of about 8%. Finally we also notice that the uncertainty evaluation of the present proton-proton rate is at the level of few per mil, thus the p(p,$e^+\nu_e$)$^2$H reaction rate does not constitute anymore a significant uncertainty source in stellar models.

Recalibrating the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) W4 Filter

We present a revised effective wavelength and photometric calibration for the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) W4 band, including tests of empirically motivated modifications to its pre-launch laboratory-measured relative system response curve. We derived these by comparing measured W4 photometry with photometry synthesised from spectra of galaxies and planetary nebulae. The difference between measured and synthesised photometry using the pre-launch laboratory-measured W4 relative system response can be as large as 0.3 mag for galaxies and 1 mag for planetary nebulae. We find the W4 effective wavelength should be revised upward by 3.3%, from 22.1 micron to 22.8 micron, and the W4 AB magnitude of Vega should be revised from m = 6.59 to m = 6.66. In an attempt to reproduce the observed W4 photometry, we tested three modifications to the pre-launch laboratory-measured W4 relative system response curve, all of which have an effective wavelength of 22.8 micron. Of the three relative system response curve models tested, a model that matches the laboratory-measured relative system response curve, but has the wavelengths increased by 3.3% (or 0.73 micron) achieves reasonable agreement between the measured and synthesised photometry.

A direct imaging search for close stellar and sub-stellar companions to young nearby stars

A total of 28 young nearby stars (ages $\leq 60$,Myr) have been observed in the K$_{\rm s}$-band with the adaptive optics imager Naos-Conica of the Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Among the targets are ten visual binaries and one triple system at distances between 10 and 130 pc, all previously known. During a first observing epoch a total of 20 faint stellar or sub-stellar companion-candidates were detected around seven of the targets. These fields, as well as most of the stellar binaries, were re-observed with the same instrument during a second epoch, about one year later. We present the astrometric observations of all binaries. Their analysis revealed that all stellar binaries are co-moving. In two cases (HD 119022 AB and FG Aqr B/C) indications for significant orbital motions were found. However, all sub-stellar companion-candidates turned out to be non-moving background objects except PZ Tel which is part of this project but whose results were published elsewhere. Detection limits were determined for all targets, and limiting masses were derived adopting three different age values; they turn out to be less than 10 Jupiter masses in most cases, well below the brown dwarf mass range. The fraction of stellar multiplicity and of the sub-stellar companion occurrence in the star forming regions in Chamaeleon are compared to the statistics of our search, and possible reasons for the observed differences are discussed.

Filament Channel Formation Via Magnetic Helicity Condensation

A major unexplained feature of the solar atmosphere is the accumulation of magnetic shear, in the form of filament channels, at photospheric polarity inversion lines (PILs). In addition to free energy, this shear also represents magnetic helicity, which is conserved under reconnection. In this paper, we address the problem of filament channel formation and show how they acquire their shear and magnetic helicity. The results of 3D simulations using the Adaptively Refined Magnetohydrodynamics Solver (ARMS) are presented that support the model of filament channel formation by magnetic helicity condensation developed by \citet{Antiochos13}. We consider the supergranular twisting of a quasi-potential flux system that is bounded by a PIL and contains a coronal hole (CH). The magnetic helicity injected by the small-scale photospheric motions is shown to inverse-cascade up to the largest allowable scales that define the closed flux system: the PIL and the CH. This process produces field lines that are both sheared and smooth, and are sheared in opposite senses at the PIL and the CH. The accumulated helicity and shear flux are shown to be in excellent quantitative agreement with the helicity-condensation model. We present a detailed analysis of the simulations, including comparisons of our analytical and numerical results, and discuss their implications for observations.

Time-monitoring Observations of Br$\gamma$ Emission from Young Stars

We present multiple epochs of near-IR spectroscopy for a sample of 25 young stars, including T Tauri, Herbig Ae/Be, and FU Ori objects. Using the FSPEC instrument on the Bok 90-inch telescope, we obtained K-band spectra of the BrGamma transition of hydrogen, with a resolution of ~3500. Epochs were taken over a span of >1 year, sampling time-spacings of roughly one day, one month, and one year. The majority of our targets show BrGamma emission, and in some cases these are the first published detections. Time-variability is seen in approximately half of the targets showing BrGamma emission. We compare the observed variability with expectations for rotationally-modulated accretion onto the central stars and time-variable continuum emission or extinction from matter in the inner disk. Our observations are not entirely consistent with models of rotationally-modulated magnetospheric accretion. Further monitoring, over a larger number of epochs, will facilitate more quantitative constraints on variability timescales and amplitudes, and a more conclusive comparison with theoretical models.

GRMHD formulation of highly super-Chandrasekhar magnetized white dwarfs: Stable configurations of non-spherical white dwarfs

The topic of magnetized super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs is in the limelight, particularly in the last few years, since our proposal of their existence. By full-scale general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) numerical analysis, we confirm in this work the existence of stable, highly magnetized, significantly super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs with mass more than 3 solar mass. While a poloidal field geometry renders the white dwarfs oblate, a toroidal field makes them prolate retaining an overall quasi-spherical shape, as speculated in our earlier work. These white dwarfs are expected to serve as the progenitors of over-luminous type Ia supernovae.

GRMHD formulation of highly super-Chandrasekhar magnetized white dwarfs: Stable configurations of non-spherical white dwarfs [Cross-Listing]

The topic of magnetized super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs is in the limelight, particularly in the last few years, since our proposal of their existence. By full-scale general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) numerical analysis, we confirm in this work the existence of stable, highly magnetized, significantly super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs with mass more than 3 solar mass. While a poloidal field geometry renders the white dwarfs oblate, a toroidal field makes them prolate retaining an overall quasi-spherical shape, as speculated in our earlier work. These white dwarfs are expected to serve as the progenitors of over-luminous type Ia supernovae.

Long-lasting dust rings in gas-rich disks: sculpting by single and multiple planets

We propose a mechanism by which dust rings in protoplanetary disks can form and be long-lasting compared to gas rings. This involves the existence of a pressure maximum which traps dust either in between two gap-opening planets or at the outermost gap edge of a single or multiple planet system, combined with the decoupling of large dust particles from the gas. We perform 2D gas hydrodynamical simulations of disks with one and two giant planets which may open deep or partial gaps. A gas ring forms in between two planets such that the surface mass density is higher than on either side of it. This ring is a region of pressure maximum where we expect large grains, which are marginally coupled to the gas and would otherwise be subject to radial drift, to collect. Such a pressure maximum also occurs at the outermost gap edge in a disk with one or more planets. We infer the dust evolution in these regions as the gas disk evolves, to understand the longer term behavior of the resulting dust rings. Over time the gas surface density in the ring(s) decreases, which may cause the larger trapped particles to decouple. Consequently, these particles are expected to stay in ring structure(s) longer than the gas. For a Minimum Mass Solar Nebula model, we expect that millimeter and centimeter-sized grains in the outer O(10) au would most likely undergo this trapping and decoupling process.

Long term evolution of an interacting binary system

We describe a new code to simulate the stellar evolution of a close interacting binary system. It is then used to calculate the evolution of a classical nova system composed of a 1.25 Msun Main-Sequence (MS) star and a 1.0 Msun white dwarf (WD) companion. The system begins as a well separated non-interacting binary system. Initially, the two stars evolve independently of each other. However, Roche lobe overflow begins as the MS star expands on its way to become a Red Giant. We follow the mass accreted onto the WD and the ensuing nuclear runaways for several thousand flashes. The main finding is that the Roche-Lobe mass transfer rate is modulated by oscillations in the MS star, with a period that is somewhat shorter than the thermal time scale of the star. This periodically modulates the rate of thermonuclear flashes on the WD, between once every 12000 yrs, such that the WD can cool, to once every 300 yrs, such that it cannot. The system is further complicated by the secular drift in the secondary modulation. Such secondary modulation could explain systems like T Pyxidis. Last, we find that the overall process of mass gain by the WD has an efficiency of roughly 9%, thus requiring a donor with an initial mass of larger than about 5 Msun MS for an initial 1 Msun WD, if the WD is to reach the Chandrasekhar mass.

Discovery of true, likely and possible symbiotic stars in the dwarf spheroidal NGC 205

In this paper we discuss the photometric and spectroscopic observations of newly discovered (symbiotic) systems in the dwarf spheroidal galaxy NGC 205. The Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on-off band [O III] 5007 A emission imaging highlighted several [O III] line emitters, for which optical spectra were then obtained (Gon\c{c}alves et al. 2014). The detailed study of the spectra of three objects allow us to identify them as true, likely and possible symbiotic systems (SySts), the first ones discovered in this galaxy. SySt-1 is unambiguously classified as a symbiotic star, because of the presence of unique emission lines which belong only to symbiotic spectra, the well known O VI Raman scattered lines. SySt-2 is only possibly a SySt because the Ne VII Raman scattered line at 4881 A, recently identified in a well studied Galactic symbiotic as another very conspicuous property of symbiotic, could as well be identified as N III or [Fe III]. Finally, SySt-3 is likely a symbiotic binary because in the red part of the spectrum it shows the continuum of a late giant, and forbidden lines of moderate- to high-ionization, like [Fe v] 4180 A. The main source for skepticism on the symbiotic nature of the latter systems is their location in the PN region in the [O III] 4363/H\gamma\ vs [O III] 5007/H\beta\ diagnostic diagram (Gutierrez-Moreno et al. 1995). It is worth mentioning that at least another two confirmed symbiotics, one of the Local Group dwarf spheroidal IC 10 and the other of the Galaxy, are also misplaced in this diagram.

White dwarf research with Gaia

The results of the Gaia mission will have tremendous influence on many topics in white dwarf research. In this paper the current status of the Gaia mission is described. At the end a short outlook on the release scenario and the expected accuracy of the Gaia data is provided.

Solar Hard X-ray Source Sizes in a Beam-Heated and Ionised Chromosphere

Solar flare hard X-rays (HXRs) are produced as bremsstrahlung when an accelerated population of electrons interacts with the dense chromospheric plasma. HXR observations presented by using the Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) have shown that HXR source sizes are 3-6 times more extended in height than those predicted by the standard collisional thick target model (CTTM). Several possible explanations have been put forward including the multi-threaded nature of flare loops, pitch-angle scattering, and magnetic mirroring. However, the nonuniform ionisation (NUI) structure along the path of the electron beam has not been fully explored as a solution to this problem. Ionised plasma is known to be less effective at producing nonthermal bremsstrahlung HXRs when compared to neutral plasma. If the peak HXR emission was produced in a locally ionised region within the chromosphere, the intensity of emission will be preferentially reduced around this peak, resulting in a more extended source. Due to this effect, along with the associated density enhancement in the upper chromosphere, injection of a beam of electrons into a partially ionised plasma should result in a HXR source which is substantially more vertically extended relative to that for a neutral target. Here we present the results of a modification to the CTTM which takes into account both a localised form of chromospheric NUI and an increased target density. We find 50 keV HXR source widths, with and without the inclusion of a locally ionised region, of ~3 Mm and ~0.7 Mm, respectively. This helps to provide a theoretical solution to the currently open question of overly-extended HXR sources.

Statistical Evidence for the Existence of Alfv\'enic Turbulence in Solar Coronal Loops

Recent observations have demonstrated that waves which are capable of carrying large amounts of energy are ubiquitous throughout the solar corona. However, the question of how this wave energy is dissipated (on which time and length scales) and released into the plasma remains largely unanswered. Both analytic and numerical models have previously shown that Alfv\’enic turbulence may play a key role not only in the generation of the fast solar wind, but in the heating of coronal loops. In an effort to bridge the gap between theory and observations, we expand on a recent study [De Moortel et al., ApJL, 782:L34, 2014] by analyzing thirty-seven clearly isolated coronal loops using data from the Coronal Multi-channel Polarimeter (CoMP) instrument. We observe Alfv\’enic perturbations with phase speeds which range from 250-750 km/s and periods from 140-270 s for the chosen loops. While excesses of high frequency wave-power are observed near the apex of some loops (tentatively supporting the onset of Alfv\’enic turbulence), we show that this excess depends on loop length and the wavelength of the observed oscillations. In deriving a proportional relationship between the loop length/wavelength ratio and the enhanced wave power at the loop apex, and from the analysis of the line-widths associated with these loops, our findings are supportive of the existence of Alfv\’enic turbulence in coronal loops.

Discovery of ZZ Cetis in detached white dwarf plus main-sequence binaries

We present the first results of a dedicated search for pulsating white dwarfs (WDs) in detached white dwarf plus main-sequence binaries. Candidate systems were selected from a catalogue of WD+MS binaries, based on the surface gravities and effective temperatures of the WDs. We observed a total of 26 systems using ULTRACAM mounted on ESO’s 3.5m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla. Our photometric observations reveal pulsations in seven WDs of our sample, including the first pulsating white dwarf with a main-sequence companion in a post common envelope binary, SDSSJ1136+0409. Asteroseismology of these new pulsating systems will provide crucial insight into how binary interactions, particularly the common envelope phase, affect the internal structure and evolution of WDs. In addition, our observations have revealed the partially eclipsing nature of one of our targets, SDSSJ1223-0056.

The Hubble Space Telescope UV Legacy Survey of Galactic Globular Clusters. II. The seven stellar populations of NGC7089 (M2)

We present high-precision multi-band photometry for the globular cluster (GC) M2. We combine the analysis of the photometric data obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope UV Legacy Survey of Galactic GCs GO-13297, with chemical abundances by Yong et al.(2014), and compare the photometry with models in order to analyze the multiple stellar sequences we identified in the color-magnitude diagram (CMD). We find three main stellar components, composed of metal-poor, metal-intermediate, and metal-rich stars (hereafter referred to as population A, B, and C, respectively). The components A and B include stars with different $s$-process element abundances. They host six sub-populations with different light-element abundances, and exhibit an internal variation in helium up to Delta Y~0.07 dex. In contrast with M22, another cluster characterized by the presence of populations with different metallicities, M2 contains a third stellar component, C, which shows neither evidence for sub-populations nor an internal spread in light-elements. Population C does not exhibit the typical photometric signatures that are associated with abundance variations of light elements produced by hydrogen burning at hot temperatures. We compare M2 with other GCs with intrinsic heavy-element variations and conclude that M2 resembles M22, but it includes an additional stellar component that makes it more similar to the central region of the Sagittarius galaxy, which hosts a GC (M54) and the nucleus of the Sagittarius galaxy itself.

Marginal likelihoods of distances and extinctions to stars: computation and compact representation

We present a method for obtaining the likelihood function of distance and extinction to a star given its photometry. The other properties of the star (its mass, age, metallicity and so on) are marginalised assuming a simple Galaxy model. We demonstrate that the resulting marginalised likelihood function can be described faithfully and compactly using a Gaussian mixture model. For dust mapping applications we strongly advocate using monochromatic over bandpass extinctions, and provide tables for converting from the former to the latter for different stellar types.

Are the orbital poles of binary stars in the solar neighbourhood anisotropically distributed?

We test whether or not the orbital poles of the systems in the solar neighbourhood are isotropically distributed on the celestial sphere. The problem is plagued by the ambiguity on the position of the ascending node. Of the 95 systems closer than 18 pc from the Sun with an orbit in the 6th Catalogue of Orbits of Visual Binaries, the pole ambiguity could be resolved for 51 systems using radial velocity collected in the literature and CORAVEL database or acquired with the HERMES-Mercator spectrograph. For several systems, we can correct the erroneous nodes in the 6th Catalogue of Orbits and obtain new combined spectroscopic-astrometric orbits for seven systems [WDS 01083+5455Aa,Ab; 01418+4237AB; 02278+0426AB (SB2); 09006+4147AB (SB2); 16413+3136AB; 17121+4540AB; 18070+3034AB]. We used of spherical statistics to test for possible anisotropy. After ordering the binary systems by increasing distance from the Sun, we computed the false-alarm probability for subsamples of increasing sizes, from N = 1 up to the full sample of 51 systems. Rayleigh-Watson and Beran tests deliver a false-alarm probability of 0.5% for the 20 systems closer than 8.1 pc. To evaluate the robustness of this conclusion, we used a jackknife approach, for which we repeated this procedure after removing one system at a time from the full sample. The false-alarm probability was then found to vary between 1.5% and 0.1%, depending on which system is removed. The reality of the deviation from isotropy can thus not be assessed with certainty at this stage, because only so few systems are available, despite our efforts to increase the sample. However, when considering the full sample of 51 systems, the concentration of poles toward the Galactic position l = 46.0{\deg}, b = 37{\deg}, as observed in the 8.1 pc sphere, totally vanishes (the Rayleigh-Watson false-alarm probability then rises to 18%).

Testing Magnetic Field Models for the Class 0 Protostar L1527

For the Class 0 protostar, L1527, we compare 131 polarization vectors from SCUPOL/JCMT, SHARP/CSO and TADPOL/CARMA observations with the corresponding model polarization vectors of four ideal-MHD, non-turbulent, cloud core collapse models. These four models differ by their initial magnetic fields before collapse; two initially have aligned fields (strong and weak) and two initially have orthogonal fields (strong and weak) with respect to the rotation axis of the L1527 core. Only the initial weak orthogonal field model produces the observed circumstellar disk within L1527. This is a characteristic of nearly all ideal-MHD, non-turbulent, core collapse models. In this paper we test whether this weak orthogonal model also has the best agreement between its magnetic field structure and that inferred from the polarimetry observations of L1527. We found that this is not the case; based on the polarimetry observations the most favored model of the four is the weak aligned model. However, this model does not produce a circumstellar disk, so our result implies that a non-turbulent, ideal-MHD global collapse model probably does not represent the core collapse that has occurred in L1527. Our study also illustrates the importance of using polarization vectors covering a large area of a cloud core to determine the initial magnetic field orientation before collapse; the inner core magnetic field structure can be highly altered by a collapse and so measurements from this region alone can give unreliable estimates of the initial field configuration before collapse.

Bipolar magnetic spots from dynamos in stratified spherical shell turbulence

Recent work by Mitra et al. (2014) has shown that in strongly stratified forced two-layer turbulence with helicity and corresponding large-scale dynamo action in the lower layer, a magnetic field occurs in the upper layer in the form of sharply bounded bipolar magnetic spots. Here we extend this model to spherical wedge geometry covering the northern hemisphere up to 75{\deg} latitude and an azimuthal extent of 180{\deg}. The kinetic helicity and therefore also the large-scale magnetic field are strongest at low latitudes. For moderately strong stratification, several bipolar spots form that fill eventually the full longitudinal extent. At early times, the polarity of spots reflects the orientation of the underlying azimuthal field, as expected from {\Omega}-shaped flux loops. At late times their tilt changes such that there is a radial field of opposite orientation at different latitudes separated by about 10{\deg}. Our model demonstrates for the first time the spontaneous formation of spots of sizes much larger than the pressure scale height. Their tendency to produce filling factors close to unity is argued to be reminiscent of highly active stars. We confirm that strong stratification is an essential ingredient behind magnetic spot formation, which appears to be associated with downflows at larger depths.

Bipolar magnetic spots from dynamos in stratified spherical shell turbulence [Replacement]

Recent work by Mitra et al. (2014) has shown that in strongly stratified forced two-layer turbulence with helicity and corresponding large-scale dynamo action in the lower layer, a magnetic field occurs in the upper layer in the form of sharply bounded bipolar magnetic spots. Here we extend this model to spherical wedge geometry covering the northern hemisphere up to 75{\deg} latitude and an azimuthal extent of 180{\deg}. The kinetic helicity and therefore also the large-scale magnetic field are strongest at low latitudes. For moderately strong stratification, several bipolar spots form that fill eventually the full longitudinal extent. At early times, the polarity of spots reflects the orientation of the underlying azimuthal field, as expected from {\Omega}-shaped flux loops. At late times their tilt changes such that there is a radial field of opposite orientation at different latitudes separated by about 10{\deg}. Our model demonstrates for the first time the spontaneous formation of spots of sizes much larger than the pressure scale height. Their tendency to produce filling factors close to unity is argued to be reminiscent of highly active stars. We confirm that strong stratification is an essential ingredient behind magnetic spot formation, which appears to be associated with downflows at larger depths.

Many-body forces in the equation of state of hyperonic matter

In this work we introduce an extended version of the formalism proposed originally by Taurines et al. that considers the effects of many-body forces simulated by non-linear self-couplings and meson-meson interaction contributions. In this extended version of the model, we assume that matter is at zero temperature, charge neutral and in beta-equilibrium, considering that the baryon octet interacts by the exchange of scalar-isoscalar ($\sigma$,$\,\sigma^*$), vector-isoscalar ($\omega$,$\,\phi$), vector-isovector ($\varrho$) and scalar-isovector ($\delta$) meson fields. Using nuclear matter properties, we constrain the parameters of the model that describe the intensity of the indirectly density dependent baryon-meson couplings to a small range of possible values. We then investigate asymmetric hyperonic matter properties. We report that the formalism developed in this work is in agreement with experimental data and also allows for the existence of massive hyperon stars (with more than $2M_{\odot}$) with small radii, compatible with astrophysical observations.

Inversion of stellar fundamental parameters from Espadons and Narval high-resolution spectra

The general context of this study is the inversion of stellar fundamental parameters from high-resolution Echelle spectra. We aim indeed at developing a fast and reliable tool for the post-processing of spectra produced by Espadons and Narval spectropolarimeters. Our inversion tool relies on principal component analysis. It allows reduction of dimensionality and the definition of a specific metric for the search of nearest neighbours between an observed spectrum and a set of observed spectra taken from the Elodie stellar library. Effective temperature, surface gravity, total metallicity and projected rotational velocity are derived. Various tests presented in this study, and done from the sole information coming from a spectral band centered around the Mg I b-triplet and with spectra from FGK stars are very promising.

Direct study of the alpha-nucleus optical potential at astrophysical energies using the 64Zn(p,alpha)61Cu reaction [Cross-Listing]

In the model calculations of heavy element nucleosynthesis processes the nuclear reaction rates are taken from statistical model calculations which utilize various nuclear input parameters. It is found that in the case of reactions involving alpha particles the calculations bear a high uncertainty owing to the largely unknown low energy alpha-nucleus optical potential. Experiments are typically restricted to higher energies and therefore no direct astrophysical consequences can be drawn. In the present work a (p,alpha) reaction is used for the first time to study the alpha-nucleus optical potential. The measured 64Zn(p,alpha)61Cu cross section is uniquely sensitive to the alpha-nucleus potential and the measurement covers the whole astrophysically relevant energy range. By the comparison to model calculations, direct evidence is provided for the incorrectness of global optical potentials used in astrophysical models.

Photoionization rates for helium: update

The NIS He gas has been observed at a few AU to the Sun almost from the beginning of the space age. To model its flow an estimate of the loss rates due to ionization by solar extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) flux is needed. The EUV irradiance has been measured directly from mid 1990-ties, but with high temporal and spectral resolution only from 2002. Beforehand only EUV proxies are available. A new method of reconstruction of the Carrington rotation averaged photoionization rates for neutral interstellar helium (NIS He) in the ecliptic at 1 AU to the Sun before 2002 is presented. We investigate the relation between the solar rotation averaged time series of the ionization rates for NIS He at 1 AU derived from TIMED measurements of EUV irradiance and the solar 10.7 cm flux (F10.7) only. We perform a weighted iterative fit of a nonlinear model to data split into sectors. The obtained formula allows to reconstruct the solar rotation averages of photoionization rates for He between ~1947 and 2002 with an uncertainty ranging from less than 10% during solar minimum up to 20% for solar maximum.

Solar Radio Bursts with Spectral Fine Structures in Preflares

A good observation of preflare activities is important for us to understand the origin and triggering mechanism of solar flares, and to predict the occurrence of solar flares. This work presents the characteristics of microwave spectral fine structures as preflare activities of four solar flares observed by Ond\v{r}ejov radio spectrograph in the frequency range of 0.8–2.0 GHz. We found that these microwave bursts which occurred 1–4 minutes before the onset of flares have spectral fine structures with relatively weak intensities and very short timescales. They include microwave quasi-periodic pulsations (QPP) with very short period of 0.1-0.3 s and dot bursts with millisecond timescales and narrow frequency bandwidths. Accompanying these microwave bursts, there are filament motions, plasma ejection or loop brightening on the EUV imaging observations and non-thermal hard X-ray emission enhancements observed by RHESSI. These facts may reveal certain independent non-thermal energy releasing processes and particle acceleration before the onset of solar flares. They may be conducive to understand the nature of solar flares and predict their occurrence.

Coronal upflows from edges of an active region observed with EUV Imaging Spectrometer onboard Hinode

In order to better understand the plasma supply and leakage at active regions, we investigated physical properties of the upflows from edges of active region NOAA AR10978 observed with the EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) onboard Hinode. Our observational aim is to measure two quantities of the outflows: Doppler velocity and electron density.

The Turbulent Dynamo in Highly Compressible Supersonic Plasmas

The turbulent dynamo may explain the origin of cosmic magnetism. While the exponential amplification of magnetic fields has been studied for incompressible gases, little is known about dynamo action in highly-compressible, supersonic plasmas, such as the interstellar medium of galaxies and the early Universe. Here we perform the first quantitative comparison of theoretical models of the dynamo growth rate and saturation level with three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamical simulations of supersonic turbulence with grid resolutions of up to 1024^3 cells. We obtain numerical convergence and find that dynamo action occurs for both low and high magnetic Prandtl numbers Pm = nu/eta = 0.1-10 (the ratio of viscous to magnetic dissipation), which had so far only been seen for Pm >= 1 in supersonic turbulence. We measure the critical magnetic Reynolds number, Rm_crit = 129 (+43, -31), showing that the compressible dynamo is almost as efficient as in incompressible gas. Considering the physical conditions of the present and early Universe, we conclude that magnetic fields need to be taken into account during structure formation from the early to the present cosmic ages, because they suppress gas fragmentation and drive powerful jets and outflows, both greatly affecting the initial mass function of stars.

Effective Temperatures of Selected Main-sequence Stars with Most Accurate Parameters

In this study, the distributions of the double-lined detached binaries (DBs) on the planes of mass-luminosity, mass radius and mass-effective temperature have been studied. We improved the classical mass-luminosity relation based on the database of DBs by Eker et al. (2004a). With accurate observational data available to us, a method for improving effective temperatures for eclipsing binaries with accurate masses and radii were suggested.

Dusty Cradles in a Turbulent Nursery: The Sgr A East HII Region Complex at the Galactic Center

We present imaging at 19, 25, 31, and 37 {\mu}m of the compact HII region complex G-0.02-0.07 located 6 pc in projection from the center of the Galaxy obtained with SOFIA using FORCAST. G-0.02-0.07 contains three compact HII regions (A, B, and C) and one ultra-compact HII region (D). Our observations reveal the presence of two faint, infrared sources located 23” and 35” to the east of region C (FIRS 1 and 2) and detect dust emission in two of the three "ridges" of ionized gas west of region A. The 19/37 color temperature and 37 {\mu}m optical depth maps of regions A – C are used to characterize the dust energetics and morphology. Regions A and B exhibit average 19/37 color temperatures of ~105 K, and regions C and D exhibit color temperatures of ~115 K and ~130 K, respectively. Using the DustEM code we model the SEDs of regions A – D and FIRS 1, all of which require populations of very small, transiently heated grains and large, equilibrium-heated grains. We also require the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in regions A – C in order to fit the 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8.0 {\mu}m fluxes observed by Spitzer/IRAC. The location of the heating source for region A is determined by triangulation from distances and temperatures derived from DustEM models fit to SEDs of three different points around the region, and is found to be displaced to the northeast of the center of curvature near the color temperature peak. Based on total luminosity, expected 1.90 {\mu}m fluxes, and proximity to the mid-IR color temperature peaks we identify heating source candidates for regions A, B, and C. However, for region D, the observed fluxes at 1.87 and 1.90 {\mu}m of the previously proposed ionizing star are a factor of ~40 times too bright to be the heating source and hence is likely just a star lying along the line of sight towards region D.

Main-sequence stars masquerading as Young Stellar Objects in the central molecular zone

In contrast to most other galaxies, star-formation rates in the Milky Way can be estimated directly from Young Stellar Objects (YSOs). In the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) the star-formation rate calculated from the number of YSOs with 24 microns emission is up to order of magnitude higher than the value estimated from methods based on diffuse emission (such as free-free emission). Whether this effect is real or whether it indicates problems with either or both star formation rate measures is not currently known. In this paper, we investigate whether estimates based on YSOs could be heavily contaminated by more evolved objects such as main-sequence stars. We present radiative transfer models of YSOs and of main-sequence stars in a constant ambient medium which show that the main-sequence objects can indeed mimic YSOs at 24 microns. However, we show that in some cases the main-sequence models can be marginally resolved at 24 microns, whereas the YSO models are always unresolved. Based on the fraction of resolved MIPS 24 microns sources in the sample of YSOs previously used to compute the star formation rate, we estimate the fraction of misclassified "YSOs" to be at least 63%, which suggests that the star-formation rate previously determined from YSOs is likely to be at least a factor of three too high.

The role of strangeness in hybrid stars and possible observables

We study the effects of strangeness on the quark sector of a hybrid star equation of state. Since the model we use to describe quarks is the same as the one we use to describe hadrons, we can also study the effects of strangeness on the chiral symmetry restoration and deconfinement phase transitions (first order or crossover). Finally, we analyze combined effects of hyperons and quarks on global properties of hybrid stars, like mass, radius and cooling profiles. It is found that a large amount of strangeness in the core is related to the generation of twin-star solutions, which can have the same mass as the lower or zero strangeness counterpart, but with smaller radii.

Determining Energy Balance in the Flaring Chromosphere from Oxygen V Line Ratios

The impulsive phase of solar flares is a time of rapid energy deposition and heating in the lower solar atmosphere, leading to changes in the temperature and density structure of the region. We use an O V density diagnostic formed of the 192 to 248 line ratio, provided by Hinode EIS, to determine the density of flare footpoint plasma, at O V formation temperatures of 250,000 K, giving a constraint on the properties of the heated transition region. Hinode EIS rasters from 2 small flare events in December 2007 were used. Raster images were co-aligned to identify and establish the footpoint pixels, multiple-component Gaussian line fitting of the spectra was carried out to isolate the diagnostic pair, and the density was calculated for several footpoint areas. The assumptions of equilibrium ionization and optically thin radiation for the O V lines were found to be acceptable. Properties of the electron distribution, for one event, were deduced from earlier RHESSI hard X-ray observations and used to calculate the plasma heating rate, delivered by an electron beam adopting collisional thick-target assumptions, for 2 model atmospheres. Electron number densities of at least log n = 12.3 cm-3 were measured during the flare impulsive phase, far higher than previously expected. For one footpoint, the radiative loss rate for this plasma was found to exceed that which can be delivered by an electron beam implied by the RHESSI data. However, when assuming a completely ionised target atmosphere the heating rate exceeded the losses. A chromospheric thickness of 70-700 km was found to be required to balance a conductive input to the O V-emitting region with radiative losses. The analysis shows that for heating by collisional electrons, it is difficult, or impossible to raise the temperature of the chromosphere to explain the observed densities without assuming a completely ionised atmosphere.

Deceleration of Alpha Particles in the Solar Wind by Instabilities and the Rotational Force: Implications for Heating, Azimuthal Flow, and the Parker Spiral Magnetic Field [Cross-Listing]

Protons and alpha particles in the fast solar wind are only weakly collisional and exhibit a number of non-equilibrium features, including relative drifts between particle species. Two non-collisional mechanisms have been proposed for limiting differential flow between alpha particles and protons: plasma instabilities and the rotational force. Both mechanisms decelerate the alpha particles. In this paper, we derive an analytic expression for the rate $Q_{\mathrm{flow}}$ at which energy is released by alpha-particle deceleration, accounting for azimuthal flow and conservation of total momentum. We find that $Q_{\mathrm{flow}} > 0 $ at $r<r_{\mathrm{crit}}$ and $Q_{\mathrm{flow}} = 0$ at $r\geq r_{\mathrm{crit}}$, where $r_{\mathrm{crit}} \simeq 2.5 \,\mathrm{AU}$ in the fast solar wind in the ecliptic plane. We show that instabilities control the deceleration of alpha particles at $r<r_{\mathrm{crit}}$, and the rotational force controls the deceleration of alpha particles at $r> r_{\mathrm{crit}}$. We compare the value of $Q_{\mathrm{flow}}$ at $r< r_{\mathrm{crit}}$ with empirical heating rates for protons and alpha particles, denoted $Q_{\mathrm{p}}$ and $Q_{\alpha}$, deduced from in-situ measurements of fast-wind streams from the Helios and Ulysses spacecraft. We find that $Q_{\mathrm{flow}}$ exceeds $Q_{\alpha}$ at $r < 1\,\mathrm{AU}$, $Q_{\mathrm{flow}} \simeq Q_{\rm p}$ at $r = 60 – 90 R_{\odot}$, and $Q_{\mathrm{flow}}/Q_{\rm p}$ decreases with increasing $r$, reaching a value of $\simeq 1/4$ at $r = 1 {AU}$. We conclude that the continuous energy input from alpha-particle deceleration at $r< r_{\mathrm{crit}}$ makes an important contribution to the heating of the fast solar wind. We also discuss the implications of the alpha-particle drift for the azimuthal flow velocities of the ions and for the Parker spiral magnetic field.

 

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