Posts Tagged dust grains

Recent Postings from dust grains

PILOT: a balloon-borne experiment to measure the polarized FIR emission of dust grains in the interstellar medium

Future cosmology space missions will concentrate on measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background, which potentially carries invaluable information about the earliest phases of the evolution of our universe. Such ambitious projects will ultimately be limited by the sensitivity of the instrument and by the accuracy at which polarized foreground emission from our own Galaxy can be subtracted out. We present the PILOT balloon project which will aim at characterizing one of these foreground sources, the polarization of the dust continuum emission in the diffuse interstellar medium. The PILOT experiment will also constitute a test-bed for using multiplexed bolometer arrays for polarization measurements. We present the results of ground tests obtained just before the first flight of the instrument.

Measuring Polarization in microlensing events

We re-consider the polarization of the star light that may arise during microlensing events due to the high gradient of magnification across the atmosphere of the source star, by exploring the full range of microlensing and stellar physical parameters. Since it is already known that only cool evolved giant stars give rise to the highest polarization signals, we follow the model by Simmons et al. (2002) to compute the polarization as due to the photon scattering on dust grains in the stellar wind. Motivated by the possibility to perform a polarization measurement during an ongoing microlensing event, we consider the recently reported event catalog by the OGLE collaboration covering the 2001-2009 campaigns (OGLE-III events), that makes available the largest and more comprehensive set of single lens microlensing events towards the Galactic bulge. The study of these events, integrated by a Monte Carlo analysis, allows us to estimate the expected polarization profiles and to predict for which source stars and at which time is most convenient to perform a polarization measurement in an ongoing event. We find that about two dozens of OGLE-III events (about 1 percent of the total) have maximum polarization degree in the range 0.1 < P_{\rm max} <1 percent, corresponding to source stars with apparent magnitude I < 14.5, being very cool red giants.This signal is measurable by using the FORS2 polarimeter at VLT telescope with about 1 hour integration time.

Dusty tails of evaporating exoplanets. I. Constraints on the dust composition

Recently, two exoplanet candidates have been discovered, KIC 12557548b and KOI-2700b, whose transit profiles show evidence for a comet-like tail of dust trailing the planet, thought to be fed by the evaporation of the planet’s surface. We aim to put constraints on the composition of the dust ejected by these objects from the shape of their transit light curves. We derive a semi-analytical expression for the attenuation of dust cross-section in the tail, incorporating the sublimation of dust grains as well as their drift away from the planet. This expression shows that the length of the tail is highly sensitive to the sublimation properties of the dust material. We compute tail lengths for several possible dust compositions, and compare these to observational estimates of the tail lengths of KIC 12557548b and KOI-2700b, inferred from their light curves. The observed tail lengths are consistent with dust grains composed of corundum (Al2O3) or iron-rich silicate minerals (e.g., fayalite, Fe2SiO4). Pure iron and carbonaceous compositions are disfavoured. In addition, we estimate dust mass loss rates of 1.7 +/- 0.5 M_earth/Gyr for KIC 12557548b, and > 0.007 M_earth/Gyr (1-sigma lower limit) for KOI-2700b.

ALMA Observations of Anisotropic Dust Mass-loss in the Inner Circumstellar Environment of the Red Supergiant VY CMa

The processes leading to dust formation and the subsequent role it plays in driving mass-loss in cool evolved stars is an area of intense study. Here, we present high resolution ALMA Science Verification data of the continuum emission around the highly evolved oxygen-rich red supergiant VY CMa. These data enable us to study the dust in its inner circumstellar environment at a spatial resolution of 129 mas at 321 GHz and 59 mas at 658 GHz, allowing us to trace dust on spatial scales down to 11 R$_{\star}$ (71 AU). Two prominent dust components are detected and resolved. The brightest dust component, C, is located 334 mas (61 R$_{\star}$) south-east of the star and has a dust mass of at least $2.5\times 10^{-4} $M$_{\odot}$. It has an emissivity spectral index of $\beta =-0.1$ at its peak, implying that it is either optically thick at these frequencies with a cool core of $T_{d}\lesssim 100$ K, and/or contains very large dust grains. Interestingly, not a single molecule in the ALMA data has emission close to the peak of this massive dust clump. The other main dust component, VY, is located at the position of the star and contains a total dust mass of $4.0 \times 10^{-5} $M$_{\odot}$. It also contains a weaker dust feature extending over $60 $R$_{\star}$ to the north with the total component having a typical emissivity spectral index of $\beta =0.7$. We find that $>17\%$ of the dust mass around VY CMa is located in clumps ejected within a more quiescent roughly spherical stellar wind, with a quiescent dust mass loss rate of $5 \times 10^{-6}$ M$_{\odot} $yr$^{-1}$. The observations suggest a continuous preferentially directed mass-loss from the star over many decades and do not support current models of convective driven only mass loss in red supergiant stars. We thus suggest other forces, i.e., MHD disturbances, are also needed to explain the observations.

ALMA Observations of Anisotropic Dust Mass-loss in the Inner Circumstellar Environment of the Red Supergiant VY CMa [Replacement]

The processes leading to dust formation and the subsequent role it plays in driving mass-loss in cool evolved stars is an area of intense study. Here, we present high resolution ALMA Science Verification data of the continuum emission around the highly evolved oxygen-rich red supergiant VY CMa. These data enable us to study the dust in its inner circumstellar environment at a spatial resolution of 129 mas at 321 GHz and 59 mas at 658 GHz, allowing us to trace dust on spatial scales down to 11 R$_{\star}$ (71 AU). Two prominent dust components are detected and resolved. The brightest dust component, C, is located 334 mas (61 R$_{\star}$) south-east of the star and has a dust mass of at least $2.5\times 10^{-4} $M$_{\odot}$. It has an emissivity spectral index of $\beta =-0.1$ at its peak, implying that it is either optically thick at these frequencies with a cool core of $T_{d}\lesssim 100$ K, and/or contains very large dust grains. Interestingly, not a single molecule in the ALMA data has emission close to the peak of this massive dust clump. The other main dust component, VY, is located at the position of the star and contains a total dust mass of $4.0 \times 10^{-5} $M$_{\odot}$. It also contains a weaker dust feature extending over $60 $R$_{\star}$ to the north with the total component having a typical emissivity spectral index of $\beta =0.7$. We find that $>17%$ of the dust mass around VY CMa is located in clumps ejected within a more quiescent roughly spherical stellar wind, with a quiescent dust mass loss rate of $5 \times 10^{-6}$ M$_{\odot} $yr$^{-1}$. The observations suggest a continuous preferentially directed mass-loss from the star over many decades and do not support current models of convective driven only mass loss in red supergiant stars. We thus suggest other forces, i.e., MHD disturbances, are also needed to explain the observations.

Modeling and predicting the shape of the far-infrared to submillimeter emission in ultra-compact HII regions and cold clumps [Replacement]

Dust properties are very likely affected by the environment in which dust grains evolve. For instance, some analyses of cold clumps (7 K- 17 K) indicate that the aggregation process is favored in dense environments. However, studying warm (30 K-40 K) dust emission at long wavelength ($\lambda$$>$300 $\mu$m) has been limited because it is difficult to combine far infared-to-millimeter (FIR-to-mm) spectral coverage and high angular resolution for observations of warm dust grains. Using Herschel data from 70 to 500 $\mu$m, which are part of the Herschel infrared Galactic (Hi-GAL) survey combined with 1.1 mm data from the Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS), we compared emission in two types of environments: ultra-compact HII (UCHII) regions, and cold molecular clumps (denoted as cold clumps). With this comparison we tested dust emission models in the FIR-to-mm domain that reproduce emission in the diffuse medium, in these two environments (UCHII regions and cold clumps). We also investigated their ability to predict the dust emission in our Galaxy. We determined the emission spectra in twelve UCHII regions and twelve cold clumps, and derived the dust temperature (T) using the recent two-level system (TLS) model with three sets of parameters and the so-called T-$\beta$ (temperature-dust emissvity index) phenomenological models, with $\beta$ set to 1.5, 2 and 2.5. We tested the applicability of the TLS model in warm regions for the first time. This analysis indicates distinct trends in the dust emission between cold and warm environments that are visible through changes in the dust emissivity index. However, with the use of standard parameters, the TLS model is able to reproduce the spectral behavior observed in cold and warm regions, from the change of the dust temperature alone, whereas a T-$\beta$ model requires $\beta$ to be known.

Modeling and predicting the shape of the far-infrared/submillimeter emission in ultra-compact HII regions and cold clumps

Dust properties are likely affected by the environment in which dust grains evolve. For instance, some analyses of cold clumps (7 K- 17 K) lead to favor the aggregation process in dense environments. However, the study of warm (30 K-40 K) dust emission at long wavelength ($\lambda$$>$300 $\mu$m) has been limited by the difficulty in combining far infred-millimeter (FIR-mm) spectral coverage and high angular resolution to observe warm dust grains. Using Herschel data from 70 to 500 $\mu$m, as part of the Herschel infrared Galactic (Hi-GAL) survey associated to 1.1 mm data from the Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS), we compare emission in two types of environments: ultra-compact HII (UCHII) regions and cold molecular clumps (denoted as cold clumps). This comparison allows us to test models of dust emission in the FIR-mm domain used to reproduce emission in the diffuse medium, in these environments, and to check their ability to predict the dust emission in our Galaxy. We determine the emission spectra in twelve UCHII regions and twelve cold clumps, and derive the dust temperature (T) using the recent two-level system (TLS) model with three sets of parameters, and the so-called T-$\beta$ (Temperature-dust emissvity index) phenomenological models, with $\beta$ set up to 1.5, 2 and 2.5.The applicability of the TLS model in warm regions has been tested for the first time. This analysis points out distinct trends in the dust emission between cold and warm environments, visible through changes in the dust emissivity index. However, with the use of standard parameters, the TLS model is able to reproduce the spectral behavior observed in cold and warm regions, by the only change of the dust temperature, as opposed to a T-$\beta$ model which requires the knowledge of $\beta$.

Cool dust heating and temperature mixing in nearby star-forming galaxies

Physical conditions of the interstellar medium in galaxies are closely linked to the ambient radiation field and the heating of dust grains. In order to characterize dust properties in galaxies over a wide range of physical conditions, we present here the radial surface brightness profiles of the entire sample of 61 galaxies from Key Insights into Nearby Galaxies: Far-Infrared Survey with Herschel (KINGFISH). The main goal of our work is the characterization of the grain emissivities, dust temperatures, and interstellar radiation fields responsible for heating the dust. After fitting the dust and stellar radial profiles with exponential functions, we fit the far-infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) in each annular region with single-temperature modified black bodies using both variable (MBBV) and fixed (MBBF) emissivity indices beta, as well as with physically motivated dust models. Results show that while most SED parameters decrease with radius, the emissivity index beta also decreases with radius in some galaxies, but in others is increasing, or rising in the inner regions and falling in the outer ones. Despite the fixed grain emissivity (average beta~ 2.1) of the physically-motivated models, they are well able to accommodate flat spectral slopes with beta<= 1. We find that flatter slopes (beta<= 1.5) are associated with cooler temperatures, contrary to what would be expected from the usual Tdust-beta degeneracy. This trend is related to variations in Umin since beta and Umin are very closely linked over the entire range in Umin sampled by the KINGFISH galaxies: low Umin is associated with flat beta<=1. Both these results strongly suggest that the low apparent \beta values (flat slopes) in MBBV fits are caused by temperature mixing along the line-of-sight, rather than by intrinsic variations in grain properties. Abstract truncated for arXiv.

The origin of the most iron-poor star

We investigate the origin of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars starting from the recently discovered $\rm [Fe/H]<-7.1$ star SMSS J031300 (Keller et al. 2014). We show that the elemental abundances observed on the surface of SMSS J031300 can be well fit by the yields of faint, metal free, supernovae. Using properly calibrated faint supernova explosion models, we study, for the first time, the formation of dust grains in such carbon-rich, iron-poor supernova ejecta. Calculations are performed assuming both unmixed and uniformly mixed ejecta and taking into account the partial destruction by the supernova reverse shock. We find that, due to the paucity of refractory elements beside carbon, amorphous carbon is the only grain species to form, with carbon condensation efficiencies that range between (0.15-0.84), resulting in dust yields in the range (0.025-2.25)M$_{\odot}$. We follow the collapse and fragmentation of a star forming cloud enriched by the products of these faint supernova explosions and we explore the role played by fine structure line cooling and dust cooling. We show that even if grain growth during the collapse has a minor effect of the dust-to-gas ratio, due to C depletion into CO molecules at an early stage of the collapse, the formation of CEMP low-mass stars, such as SMSS J031300, could be triggered by dust cooling and fragmentation. A comparison between model predictions and observations of a sample of C-normal and C-rich metal-poor stars supports the idea that a single common pathway may be responsible for the formation of the first low-mass stars.

The origin of the most iron-poor star [Replacement]

We investigate the origin of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars starting from the recently discovered $\rm [Fe/H]<-7.1$ star SMSS J031300 (Keller et al. 2014). We show that the elemental abundances observed on the surface of SMSS J031300 can be well fit by the yields of faint, metal free, supernovae. Using properly calibrated faint supernova explosion models, we study, for the first time, the formation of dust grains in such carbon-rich, iron-poor supernova ejecta. Calculations are performed assuming both unmixed and uniformly mixed ejecta and taking into account the partial destruction by the supernova reverse shock. We find that, due to the paucity of refractory elements beside carbon, amorphous carbon is the only grain species to form, with carbon condensation efficiencies that range between (0.15-0.84), resulting in dust yields in the range (0.025-2.25)M$_{\odot}$. We follow the collapse and fragmentation of a star forming cloud enriched by the products of these faint supernova explosions and we explore the role played by fine structure line cooling and dust cooling. We show that even if grain growth during the collapse has a minor effect of the dust-to-gas ratio, due to C depletion into CO molecules at an early stage of the collapse, the formation of CEMP low-mass stars, such as SMSS J031300, could be triggered by dust cooling and fragmentation. A comparison between model predictions and observations of a sample of C-normal and C-rich metal-poor stars supports the idea that a single common pathway may be responsible for the formation of the first low-mass stars.

On the relevance of the H2 + O reaction pathway for the surface formation of interstellar water - A combined experimental and modeling study

The formation of interstellar water has been commonly accepted to occur on the surfaces of icy dust grains in dark molecular clouds at low temperatures (10-20 K), involving hydrogenation reactions of oxygen allotropes. As a result of the large abundances of molecular hydrogen and atomic oxygen in these regions, the reaction H2 + O has been proposed to contribute significantly to the formation of water as well. However, gas phase experiments and calculations, as well as solid-phase experimental work contradict this hypothesis. Here, we use precisely executed temperature programmed desorption (TPD) experiments in an ultra-high vacuum setup combined with kinetic Monte Carlo simulations to establish an upper limit of the water production starting from H2 and O. These reactants are brought together in a matrix of CO2 in a series of (control) experiments at different temperatures and with different isotopological compositions. The amount of water detected with the quadrupole mass spectrometer upon TPD is found to originate mainly from contamination in the chamber itself. However, if water is produced in small quantities on the surface through H2 + O, this can only be explained by a combined classical and tunneled reaction mechanism. An absolutely conservative upper limit for the reaction rate is derived with a microscopic kinetic Monte Carlo model that converts the upper limit into a maximal possible reaction rate. Incorporating this rate into simulations run for astrochemically relevant parameters, shows that the upper limit to the contribution of the reaction H2 + O in OH, and hence water formation, is 11% in dense interstellar clouds. Our combined experimental and theoretical results indicate however, that this contribution is likely to be much lower.

Cosmic-ray induced diffusion in interstellar ices

Cosmic rays are able to heat interstellar dust grains. This may enhance molecule mobility in icy mantles that have accumulated on the grains in dark cloud cores. A three-phase astrochemical model was used to investigate the molecule mobility in interstellar ices. Specifically, diffusion through pores in ice between the subsurface mantle and outer surface, assisted by whole-grain heating, was considered. It was found that the pores can serve as an efficient transport route for light species. The diffusion of chemical radicals from the mantle to the outer surface are most effective. These species accumulate in the mantle because of photodissociation by the cosmic-ray induced photons. The faster diffusion of hydrogen within the warm ice enhances the hydrogenation of radicals on pore surfaces. The overall result of the whole grain heating-induced radial diffusion in ice are higher abundances of the ice species whose synthesis involve light radicals. Examples of stable species synthesized this way include the complex organic molecules, OCS, H2O2 and cyanoplyynes.

Planck intermediate results. XXIX. All-sky dust modelling with Planck, IRAS, and WISE observations

We present all-sky dust modelling of the high resolution Planck, IRAS and WISE infrared (IR) observations using the physical dust model presented by Draine & Li in 2007 (DL). We study the performance of this model and present implications for future dust modelling. The present work extends to the full sky the dust modelling carried out on nearby galaxies using Herschel and Spitzer data. We employ the DL dust model to generate maps of the dust mass surface density, the dust optical extinction AV, and the starlight intensity heating the bulk of the dust, parametrized by Umin. We test the model by comparing these maps with independent estimates of the dust optical extinction AV . In molecular clouds, we compare the DL AV estimates with maps generated from stellar optical observations from the 2MASS survey. The DL AV estimates are a factor of about 3 larger than values estimated from 2MASS observations. In the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM) we compare the DL optical extinction AV estimates with optical estimates from approximately 200,000 QSOs observed in the Sloan digital sky survey. The DL AV estimates are larger than those determined from the QSOs, and this discrepancy depends on Umin. We propose an empirical renormalization of the DL AV estimate, dependent of Umin, which compensates for the systematic differences found here. This renormalization, bringing into agreement the AV estimates on QSOs, also brings into agreement the AV estimates on molecular clouds. In the diffuse ISM, the DL fitting parameter Umin, appears to trace variations in the far-IR opacity of the dust grains. Therefore, some of the physical assumptions of the DL model need to be revised. We provide a family of SEDs normalized by optical reddening, parameterized by Umin; these will be the constraints for a next generation of dust models.

Electrically charged matter in rigid rotation around magnetized black hole [Cross-Listing]

We study charged-fluid toroidal structures surrounding a non-rotating charged black hole immersed in a large-scale, asymptotically uniform magnetic field. In continuation of our former study on electrically charged matter in approximation of zero conductivity, we demonstrate existence of orbiting structures in permanent rigid rotation in the equatorial plane, and charged clouds hovering near the symmetry axis. We constrain the range of parameters that allow stable configurations and derive the geometrical shape of equi-pressure surfaces. Our simplified analytical study suggests that these regions of stability may be relevant for trapping electrically charged particles and dust grains in some areas of the black hole magnetosphere, being thus important in some astrophysical situations.

Electrically charged matter in rigid rotation around magnetized black hole

We study charged-fluid toroidal structures surrounding a non-rotating charged black hole immersed in a large-scale, asymptotically uniform magnetic field. In continuation of our former study on electrically charged matter in approximation of zero conductivity, we demonstrate existence of orbiting structures in permanent rigid rotation in the equatorial plane, and charged clouds hovering near the symmetry axis. We constrain the range of parameters that allow stable configurations and derive the geometrical shape of equi-pressure surfaces. Our simplified analytical study suggests that these regions of stability may be relevant for trapping electrically charged particles and dust grains in some areas of the black hole magnetosphere, being thus important in some astrophysical situations.

On the radiation driven alignment of dust grains: Detection of the polarization hole in a starless core

We aim to investigate the polarization properties of a starless core in a very early evolutionary stage. Linear polarization data reveal the properties of the dust grains in the distinct phases of the interstellar medium. Our goal is to investigate how the polarization degree and angle correlate with the cloud and core gas. We use optical, near infrared and submillimeter polarization observations toward the starless object Pipe-109 in the Pipe nebula. Our data cover a physical scale range of 0.08 to 0.4 pc, comprising the dense gas, envelope and the surrounding cloud. The cloud polarization is well traced by the optical data. The near infrared polarization is produced by a mixed population of grains from the core border and the cloud gas. The optical and near infrared polarization toward the cloud reach the maximum possible value and saturate with respect to the visual extinction. The core polarization is predominantly traced by the submillimeter data and have a steep decrease with respect to the visual extinction. Modeling of the submillimeter polarization indicates a magnetic field main direction projected onto the plane-of-sky and loss of grain alignment for densities higher than $6\times10^4$ cm$^{-3}$ (or $A_V > 30$ mag). Pipe-109 is immersed in a magnetized medium, with a very ordered magnetic field. The absence of internal source of radiation significantly affects the polarization efficiencies in the core, creating a polarization hole at the center of the starless core. This result supports the theory of dust grain alignment via radiative torques.

The gas-ice chemical interplay during cloud evolution

During the evolution of diffuse clouds to molecular clouds, gas-phase molecules freeze out on surfaces of small dust particles to form ices. On dust surfaces, water is the main constituent of the icy mantle in which a complex chemistry is taking place. We aim to study the formation pathways and the composition of the ices throughout the evolution of diffuse clouds. For this purpose, we use time-dependent rate equations to calculate the molecular abundances in both gas phase and on solid surfaces (onto dust grains). We fully consider the gas-dust interplay by including the details of freeze-out, chemical and thermal desorption, as well as the most important photo-processes on grain surfaces. The difference in binding energies of chemical species on bare and icy surfaces is also incorporated into our equations. Using the numerical code FLASH, we perform a hydrodynamical simulation of a gravitationally bound diffuse cloud and follow its contraction. We find that while the dust grains are still bare, water formation is enhanced by grain surface chemistry which is subsequently released into the gas phase, enriching the molecular medium. The CO molecules, on the other hand, tend to freeze out gradually on bare grains. This causes CO to be well mixed and strongly present within the first ice layer. Once one monolayer of water ice has formed, the binding energy of the grain surface changes significantly and an immediate and strong depletion of gas-phase water and CO molecules occur. While hydrogenation converts solid CO into formaldehyde (H$_2$CO) and methanol (CH$_3$OH), water ice becomes the main constituent of the icy grains. Inside molecular clumps formaldehyde is more abundant than water and methanol in the gas phase owing its presence mainly to chemical desorption.

Effect of lift force on the aerodynamics of dust grains in the protoplanetary disk

We newly introduce lift force into the aerodynamics of dust grains in the protoplanetary disk. Although many authors have so far investigated the effects of the drag force, gravitational force and electric force on the dust grains, the lift force has never been considered as a force exerted on the dust grains in the gas disk. If the grains are spinning and moving in the fluid, then the lift force is exerted on them. We show in this paper that the dust grains can be continuously spinning due to the frequent collisions so that the lift force continues to be exerted on them, which is valid in a certain parameter space where the grain size is larger than ~ 1 m and where the distance from the central star is larger than 1 AU for the minimum mass solar nebula. In addition, we estimate the effects of the force on the grain motion and obtain the result that the mean relative velocity between the grains due to the lift force is comparable to the gas velocity in the Kepler rotational frame when the Stokes number and lift-drag ratio are both ~ 1. This estimation is performed under the assumptions of the steady state and the isotropic spin angular momentum. We also estimate the mean relative velocity when the grains keep spinning and conclude that the lift force marginally affects the mean relative velocity in the minimum mass solar nebula. If there is a grain-concentrated part in the disk, the relative velocity due to the lift force may dominate there because of high collision rate.

A Study of Dust and Gas at Mars from Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)

Although the nucleus of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will safely pass Mars in October 2014, the dust in the coma and tail will more closely approach the planet. Using a dynamical model of comet dust, we estimate the impact fluence. Based on our nominal model no impacts are expected at Mars. Relaxing our nominal model’s parameters, the fluence is no greater than ~10^7 grains/m^2 for grain radii larger than 10 {\mu}m. Mars orbiting spacecraft are unlikely to be impacted by large dust grains, but Mars may receive as many as ~10^7 grains, or ~100 kg of total dust. We also estimate the flux of impacting gas molecules commonly observed in comet comae.

A Study of Dust and Gas at Mars from Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) [Replacement]

Although the nucleus of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will safely pass Mars in October 2014, the dust in the coma and tail will more closely approach the planet. Using a dynamical model of comet dust, we estimate the impact fluence. Based on our nominal model no impacts are expected at Mars. Relaxing our nominal model’s parameters, the fluence is no greater than ~10^-7 grains/m^2 for grain radii larger than 10 {\mu}m. Mars orbiting spacecraft are unlikely to be impacted by large dust grains, but Mars may receive as many as ~10^7 grains, or ~100 kg of total dust. We also estimate the flux of impacting gas molecules commonly observed in comet comae.

Deuterated methanol in the pre-stellar core L1544

Using the IRAM 30m telescope, we mapped the methanol emission in the pre-stellar core L1544 and observed singly deuterated methanol (CH$_2$DOH and CH$_3$OD) towards the dust peak of L1544. Non-LTE radiative transfer modelling was performed on three CH$_3$OH emissions lines at 96.7 GHz, using a Bonnor-Ebert sphere as a model for the source. We have also assumed a centrally decreasing abundance profile to take the molecule freeze-out in the inner core into account. The column density of CH$_2$DOH was derived assuming LTE excitation and optically thin emission. The CH$_3$OH emission has a highly asymmetric morphology, resembling a non-uniform ring surrounding the dust peak, where CO is mainly frozen onto dust grains. The observations provide an accurate measure of methanol deuteration in the cold pre-stellar gas. The derived abundance ratio is [CH$_2$DOH]/[CH$_3$OH] $= 0.10\pm 0.03$, which is significantly smaller than the ones found in low-mass Class 0 protostars and smaller than the deuterium Fraction measured in other molecules towards L1544. The low deuterium fractionation observed in L1544 and the morphology of the CH$_3$OH emission suggest that we are mainly tracing the outer parts of the core, where CO just started to freeze-out onto dust grains.

Probing the Terrestrial Regions of Planetary Systems: Warm Debris Disks with Emission Features

Observations of debris disks allow for the study of planetary systems, even where planets have not been detected. However, debris disks are often only characterized by unresolved infrared excesses that resemble featureless blackbodies, and the location of the emitting dust is uncertain due to a degeneracy with the dust grain properties. Here we characterize the Spitzer IRS spectra of 22 debris disks exhibiting 10 micron silicate emission features. Such features arise from small warm dust grains, and their presence can significantly constrain the orbital location of the emitting debris. We find that these features can be explained by the presence of an additional dust component in the terrestrial zones of the planetary systems, i.e. an exozodiacal belt. Aside from possessing exozodiacal dust, these debris disks are not particularly unique; their minimum grain sizes are consistent with the blowout sizes of their systems, and their brightnesses are comparable to those of featureless warm debris disks. These disks are in systems with a range of ages, although the older systems with features are found only around A-type stars. The features in young systems may be signatures of terrestrial planet formation. Analyzing the spectra of unresolved debris disks with emission features may be one of the simplest and most accessible ways to study the terrestrial regions of planetary systems.

Effect of dust grain porosity on the appearance of protoplanetary disks

We theoretically analyze protoplanetary disks consisting of porous dust grains. In the analysis of observations of protoplanetary disks the dust phase is often assumed to consist of spherical grains, allowing one to apply the Mie scattering formalism. However, in reality, the shape of dust grains is expected to deviate strongly from that of a sphere. We investigate the influence of porous dust grains on the temperature distribution and observable appearance of protoplanetary disks for dust grain porosities of up to 60 %. We performed radiative transfer modeling to simulate the temperature distribution, spectral energy distribution, and spatially resolved intensity and polarization maps. The optical properties of porous grains were calculated using the method of discrete dipole approximation. We find that the flux in the optical wavelength range is for porous grains higher than for compact, spherical grains. The profile of the silicate peak at 9.7 um strongly depends on the degree of grain porosity. The temperature distribution shows significant changes in the direction perpendicular to the midplane. Moreover, simulated polarization maps reveal an increase of the polarization degree by a factor of about four when porous grains are considered, regardless of the disk inclination. The polarization direction is reversed in selected disk regions, depending on the wavelength, grain porosity, and disk inclination. We discuss several possible explanations of this effect and find that multiple scattering explains the effect best. Porosity influences the observable appearance of protoplanetary disks. In particular, the polarization reversal shows a dependence on grain porosity. The physical conditions within the disk are altered by porosity, which might have an effect on the processes of grain growth and disk evolution.

Imaging the Inner and Outer Gaps of the Pre-Transitional Disk of HD 169142 at 7 mm

We present Very Large Array observations at 7 mm that trace the thermal emission of large dust grains in the HD 169142 protoplanetary disk. Our images show a ring of enhanced emission of radius ~25-30 AU, whose inner region is devoid of detectable 7 mm emission. We interpret this ring as tracing the rim of an inner cavity or gap, possibly created by a planet or a substellar companion. The ring appears asymmetric, with the western part significantly brighter than the eastern one. This azimuthal asymmetry is reminiscent of the lopsided structures that are expected to be produced as a consequence of trapping of large dust grains. Our observations also reveal an outer annular gap at radii from ~40 to ~70 AU. Unlike other sources, the radii of the inner cavity, the ring, and the outer gap observed in the 7 mm images, which trace preferentially the distribution of large (mm/cm sized) dust grains, coincide with those obtained from a previous near-infrared polarimetric image, which traces scattered light from small (micron- sized) dust grains. We model the broad-band spectral energy distribution and the 7 mm images to constrain the disk physical structure. From this modeling we infer the presence of a small (radius ~0.6 AU) residual disk inside the central cavity, indicating that the HD 169142 disk is a pre-transitional disk. The distribution of dust in three annuli with gaps in between them suggests that the disk in HD 169142 is being disrupted by at least two planets or substellar objects.

Formation and evolution of molecular hydrogen in disk galaxies with different masses and Hubble types

We investigate the physical properties of molecular hydrogen (H2) in isolated and interacting disk galaxies with different masses and Hubble types by using chemodynamical simulations with H2 formation on dust grains and dust growth and destruction in interstellar medium (ISM). We particularly focus on the dependences of H2 gas mass fractions (f_H2), spatial distributions of HI and H2, and local H2-scaling relations on initial halo masses (M_h), baryonic fractions (f_bary), gas mass fractions (f_g), and Hubble types. The principal results are as follows. The final f_H2 can be larger in disk galaxies with higher M_h, f_bary, and f_g. Some low-mass disk models with M_h smaller than 10^10 M_sun show extremely low f_H2 and thus no/little star formation, even if initial f_g is quite large (>0.9). Big galactic bulges can severely suppress the formation of H2 from HI on dust grains whereas strong stellar bars can not only enhance f_H2 but also be responsible for the formation of H2-dominated central rings. The projected radial distributions of H2 are significantly more compact than those of HI and the simulated radial profiles of H2-to-HI-ratios (R_mol) follow roughly R^-1.5 in MW-type disk models. Galaxy interaction can significantly increase f_H2 and total H2 mass in disk galaxies. The local surface mass densities of H2 can be correlated with those of dust in a galaxy. The observed correlation between R_mol and gas pressure (R_mol ~ P_g^0.92) can be well reproduced in the simulated disk galaxies.

A common column density threshold for scattering at 3.6 mum and water-ice in molecular clouds

Context: Observations of scattered light in the 1-5 $\mu$m range have revealed dust grains in molecular cores with sizes larger than commonly inferred for the diffuse interstellar medium. It is currently unclear whether these grains are grown within the molecular cores or are an ubiquitous component of the interstellar medium. Aims: We investigate whether the large grains necessary for efficient scattering at 1-5 mum are associated with the abundance of water-ice within molecular clouds and cores. Methods: We combined water-ice abundance measurements for sight lines through the Lupus IV molecular cloud complex with measurements of the scattered light at 3.6 mum for the same sight lines. Results: We find that there is a similar threshold for the cores in emission in scattered light at 3.6 mum (tau_9.7=0.15pm0.05, A_K=0.4pm0.2 as water-ice (tau_9.7=0.11pm0.01, A_K=0.19pm0.04) and that the scattering efficiency increases as the relative water-ice abundance increases. The ice layer increases the average grain size, which again strongly increases the albedo. Conclusions: The higher scattering efficiency is partly due to layering of ice on the dust grains. Although the layer can be relatively thin it can enhance the scattering substantially.

Dust properties inside molecular clouds from coreshine modeling and observations

Context. Using observations to deduce dust properties, grain size distribution, and physical conditions in molecular clouds is a highly degenerate problem. Aims. The coreshine phenomenon, a scattering process at 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m that dominates absorption, has revealed its ability to explore the densest parts of clouds. We want to use this effect to constrain the dust parameters. The goal is to investigate to what extent grain growth (at constant dust mass) inside molecular clouds is able to explain the coreshine observations. We aim to find dust models that can explain a sample of Spitzer coreshine data. We also look at the consistency with near-infrared data we obtained for a few clouds. Methods. We selected four regions with a very high occurrence of coreshine cases: Taurus-Perseus, Cepheus, Chameleon and L183/L134. We built a grid of dust models and investigated the key parameters to reproduce the general trend of surface bright- nesses and intensity ratios of both coreshine and near-infrared observations with the help of a 3D Monte-Carlo radiative transfer code. The grid parameters allow to investigate the effect of coagulation upon spherical grains up to 5 $\mu$m in size derived from the DustEm diffuse interstellar medium grains. Fluffiness (porosity or fractal degree), ices, and a handful of classical grain size distributions were also tested. We used the near- and mostly mid-infrared intensity ratios as strong discriminants between dust models. Results. The determination of the background field intensity at each wavelength is a key issue. In particular, an especially strong background field explains why we do not see coreshine in the Galactic plane at 3.6 and 4.5 $\mu$m. For starless cores, where detected, the observed 4.5 $\mu$m / 3.6 $\mu$m coreshine intensity ratio is always lower than $\sim$0.5 which is also what we find in the models for the Taurus-Perseus and L183 directions. Embedded sources can lead to higher fluxes (up to four times greater than the strongest starless core fluxes) and higher coreshine ratios (from 0.5 to 1.1 in our selected sample). Normal interstellar radiation field conditions are sufficient to find suitable grain models at all wavelengths for starless cores. The standard interstellar grains are not able to reproduce observations and, due to the multi-wavelength approach, only a few grain types meet the criteria set by the data. Porosity does not affect the flux ratios while the fractal dimension helps to explain coreshine ratios but does not seem able to reproduce near-infrared observations without a mix of other grain types. Conclusions. Combined near- and mid-infrared wavelengths confirm the potential to reveal the nature and size distribution of dust grains. Careful assessment of the environmental parameters (interstellar and background fields, embedded or nearby reddened sources) is required to validate this new diagnostic.

Disk Radii and Grain Sizes in Herschel-Resolved Debris Disks

(Abridged) The radii of debris disks and the sizes of their dust grains are tracers of the formation mechanisms and physical processes operating in these systems. We use a sample of 34 debris disks spatially resolved in various Herschel programs to constrain them. While we modeled disks with both warm and cold components, we focus our analysis only on the cold outer disks, i.e. Kuiper-belt analogs. The disk radii derived from the resolved images reveal a large dispersion, but no significant trend with the stellar luminosity, which argues against ice lines as a dominant player in setting the debris disk sizes. Fixing the disk radii to those inferred from the resolved images, we model the spectral energy distributions to determine the dust temperatures and the grain size distributions. While the dust temperature systematically increases towards earlier spectral types, its ratio to the blackbody temperature at the disk radius decreases with the stellar luminosity. This is explained by an increase of typical grain sizes towards more luminous stars. The sizes are compared to the radiation pressure blowout limit $s_\text{blow}$ that is proportional to the stellar luminosity-to-mass ratio and thus also increases towards earlier spectral classes. The grain sizes in the disks of G- to A-stars are inferred to be several times $s_\text{blow}$ at all stellar luminosities, in agreement with collisional models of debris disks. The sizes, measured in the units of $s_\text{blow}$, appear to decrease with the luminosity, which may be suggestive of the disk’s stirring level increasing towards earlier-type stars.

Rapid formation of large dust grains in the luminous supernova SN 2010jl

The origin of dust in galaxies is still a mystery. The majority of the refractory elements are produced in supernova explosions but it is unclear how and where dust grains condense and grow, and how they avoid destruction in the harsh environments of star-forming galaxies. The recent detection of 0.1-0.5 solar masses of dust in nearby supernova remnants suggests in situ dust formation, while other observations reveal very little dust in supernovae the first few years after explosion. Observations of the bright SN 2010jl have been interpreted as pre-existing dust, dust formation or no dust at all. Here we report the rapid (40-240 days) formation of dust in its dense circumstellar medium. The wavelength dependent extinction of this dust reveals the presence of very large (> 1 micron) grains, which are resistant to destructive processes. At later times (500-900 days), the near-IR thermal emission shows an accelerated growth in dust mass, marking the transition of the supernova from a circumstellar- to an ejecta-dominated source of dust. This provides the link between the early and late dust mass evolution in supernovae with dense circumstellar media.

Thermal design and performance of the balloon-borne large aperture submillimeter telescope for polarimetry BLASTPol

We present the thermal model of the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol). This instrument was successfully flown in two circumpolar flights from McMurdo, Antarctica in 2010 and 2012. During these two flights, BLASTPol obtained unprecedented information about the magnetic field in molecular clouds through the measurement of the polarized thermal emission of interstellar dust grains. The thermal design of the experiment addresses the stability and control of the payload necessary for this kind of measurement. We describe the thermal modeling of the payload including the sun-shielding strategy. We present the in-flight thermal performance of the instrument and compare the predictions of the model with the temperatures registered during the flight. We describe the difficulties of modeling the thermal behavior of the balloon-borne platform and establish landmarks that can be used in the design of future balloon-borne instruments.

ATLASGAL-selected massive clumps in the inner Galaxy: I. CO depletion and isotopic ratios

In the low-mass regime, it is found that the gas-phase abundances of C-bearing molecules in cold starless cores rapidly decrease with increasing density, as the molecules form mantles on dust grains. We study CO depletion in 102 massive clumps selected from the ATLASGAL 870 micron survey, and investigate its correlation with evolutionary stage and with the physical parameters of the sources. Moreover, we study the gradients in [12C]/[13C] and [18O]/[17O] isotopic ratios across the inner Galaxy, and the virial stability of the clumps. We use low-J emission lines of CO isotopologues and the dust continuum emission to infer the depletion factor fD. RATRAN one-dimensional models were also used to determine fD and to investigate the presence of depletion above a density threshold. The isotopic ratios and optical depth were derived with a Bayesian approach. We find a significant number of clumps with a large fD, up to ~20. Larger values are found for colder clumps, thus for earlier evolutionary phases. For massive clumps in the earliest stages of evolution we estimate the radius of the region where CO depletion is important to be a few tenths of a pc. Clumps are found with total masses derived from dust continuum emission up to ~20 times higher than the virial mass, especially among the less evolved sources. These large values may in part be explained by the presence of depletion: if the CO emission comes mainly from the low-density outer layers, the molecules may be subthermally excited, leading to an overestimate of the dust masses. CO depletion in high-mass clumps seems to behave as in the low-mass regime, with less evolved clumps showing larger values for the depletion than their more evolved counterparts, and increasing for denser sources. The C and O isotopic ratios are consistent with previous determinations, and show a large intrinsic scatter.

Using numerical models of bow shocks to investigate the circumstellar medium of massive stars

Many massive stars travel through the interstellar medium at supersonic speeds. As a result they form bow shocks at the interface between the stellar wind. We use numerical hydrodynamics to reproduce such bow shocks numerically, creating models that can be compared to observations. In this paper we discuss the influence of two physical phenomena, interstellar magnetic fields and the presence of interstellar dust grains on the observable shape of the bow shocks of massive stars. We find that the interstellar magnetic field, though too weak to restrict the general shape of the bow shock, reduces the size of the instabilities that would otherwise be observed in the bow shock of a red supergiant. The interstellar dust grains, due to their inertia can penetrate deep into the bow shock structure of a main sequence O-supergiant, crossing over from the ISM into the stellar wind. Therefore, the dust distribution may not always reflect the morphology of the gas. This is an important consideration for infrared observations, which are dominated by dust emission. Our models clearly show, that the bow shocks of massive stars are useful diagnostic tools that can used to investigate the properties of both the stellar wind as well as the interstellar medium.

Searching for Dust around Hyper Metal-Poor Stars

We examine the mid-infrared fluxes and spectral energy distributions for metal-poor stars with iron abundances [Fe/H] $\lesssim-5$, as well as two CEMP-no stars, to eliminate the possibility that their low metallicities are related to the depletion of elements onto dust grains in the formation of a debris disk. Six out of seven stars examined here show no mid-IR excess. These non-detections rule out many types of circumstellar disks, e.g. a warm debris disk ($T\!\le\!290$ K), or debris disks with inner radii $\le1$ AU, such as those associated with the chemically peculiar post-AGB spectroscopic binaries and RV Tau variables. However, we cannot rule out cooler debris disks, nor those with lower flux ratios to their host stars due to, e.g. a smaller disk mass, a larger inner disk radius, an absence of small grains, or even a multicomponent structure, as often found with the chemically peculiar Lambda Bootis stars. The only exception is HE0107-5240, for which a small mid-IR excess near 10 microns is detected at the 2-$\sigma$ level; if the excess is real and associated with this star, it may indicate the presence of (recent) dust-gas winnowing or a binary system.

Regular and Chaotic Motion in General Relativity: The Case of a Massive Magnetic Dipole

Circular motion of particles, dust grains and fluids in the vicinity of compact objects has been investigated as a model for accretion of gaseous and dusty environment. Here we further discuss, within the framework of general relativity, figures of equilibrium of matter under the influence of combined gravitational and large-scale magnetic fields, assuming that the accreted material acquires a small electric charge due to interplay of plasma processes and photoionization. In particular, we employ an exact solution describing the massive magnetic dipole and we identify the regions of stable motion. We also investigate situations when the particle dynamics exhibits the onset of chaos. In order to characterize the measure of chaoticness we employ techniques of Poincar\’e surfaces of section and of recurrence plots.

Characterizing the chemical pathways for water formation -- A deep search for hydrogen peroxide

In 2011, hydrogen peroxide (HOOH) was observed for the first time outside the solar system (Bergman et al., A&A, 2011, 531, L8). This detection appeared a posteriori quite natural, as HOOH is an intermediate product in the formation of water on the surface of dust grains. Following up on this detection, we present a search for HOOH in a diverse sample of sources in different environments, including low-mass protostars and regions with very high column densities, such as Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs). We do not detect the molecule in any other source than Oph A, and derive 3$\sigma$ upper limits for the abundance of HOOH relative to H$_2$ lower than in Oph A for most sources. This result sheds a different light on our understanding of the detection of HOOH in Oph A, and shifts the puzzle to why this source seems to be special. Therefore we rediscuss the detection of HOOH in Oph A, as well as the implications of the low abundance of HOOH, and its similarity with the case of O$_2$. Our chemical models show that the production of HOOH is extremely sensitive to the temperature, and favored only in the range 20$-$30 K. The relatively high abundance of HOOH observed in Oph A suggests that the bulk of the material lies at a temperature in the range 20$-$30 K.

Explaining Mercury's Density through Magnetic Erosion

In protoplanetary disks, dust grains rich in metallic iron can attract each other magnetically. If they are magnetized to values near saturation, the magnetically induced collision speeds are high enough to knock off the non-magnetized, loosely bound silicates. This process enriches the surviving portions of the dust grains in metallic iron, which further enhances the magnetically mediated collisions. The magnetic enhancement to the collisional cross-section between the iron rich dust results in rapid grain growth leading to planetesimal formation. While this process of knocking off silicates, which we term "magnetic erosion", occurs only in a very limited portion of a protoplanetary disk, it is a possible explanation for Mercury’s disproportionately large iron core.

Shadows and cavities in protoplanetary disks: HD163296, HD141569A, and HD150193A in polarized light

The morphological evolution of dusty disks around young (few Myr-old) stars is pivotal to better understand planet formation. Since both dust grains and the global disk geometry evolve on short timescale, high-resolution imaging of a sample of objects may provide important hints towards such an evolution. We enlarge the sample of protoplanetary disks imaged in polarized light with high-resolution by observing the Herbig Ae/Be stars HD163296, HD141569A, and HD150193A. We integrate our data with previous datasets to paint a larger picture of their morphology. We report a weak detection of the disk around HD163296 in both H and Ks band. The disk is resolved as a broken ring structure with a significan surface brightness drop inward of 0.6 arcsec. No sign of extended polarized emission is detected from the disk around HD141569A and HD150193A. We propose that the absence of scattered light in the inner 0.6 arcsec around HD163296 and the non-detection of the disk around HD150193A may be due to similar geometric factors. Since these disks are known to be flat or only moderately flared, self-shadowing by the disk inner wall is the favored explanation. We show that the polarized brightness of a number of disks is indeed related to their flaring angle. Other scenarios (such as dust grain growth or interaction with icy molecules) are also discussed. On the other hand, the non-detection of HD141569A is consistent with previous datasets revealing the presence of a huge cavity in the dusty disk.

Shadows and cavities in protoplanetary disks: HD163296, HD141569A, and HD150193A in polarized light [Replacement]

The morphological evolution of dusty disks around young (few Myr-old) stars is pivotal to better understand planet formation. Since both dust grains and the global disk geometry evolve on short timescale, high-resolution imaging of a sample of objects may provide important hints towards such an evolution. We enlarge the sample of protoplanetary disks imaged in polarized light with high-resolution by observing the Herbig Ae/Be stars HD163296, HD141569A, and HD150193A. We integrate our data with previous datasets to paint a larger picture of their morphology. We report a weak detection of the disk around HD163296 in both H and Ks band. The disk is resolved as a broken ring structure with a significan surface brightness drop inward of 0.6 arcsec. No sign of extended polarized emission is detected from the disk around HD141569A and HD150193A. We propose that the absence of scattered light in the inner 0.6 arcsec around HD163296 and the non-detection of the disk around HD150193A may be due to similar geometric factors. Since these disks are known to be flat or only moderately flared, self-shadowing by the disk inner wall is the favored explanation. We show that the polarized brightness of a number of disks is indeed related to their flaring angle. Other scenarios (such as dust grain growth or interaction with icy molecules) are also discussed. On the other hand, the non-detection of HD141569A is consistent with previous datasets revealing the presence of a huge cavity in the dusty disk.

Comparison of the dust and gas radial structure in the transition disk [PZ99] J160421.7-213028

We present ALMA observations of the 880um continuum and CO J= 3-2 line emission from the transition disk around [PZ99] J160421.7-213028, a solar mass star in the Upper Scorpius OB association. Analysis of the continuum data indicates that 80% of the dust mass is concentrated in an annulus extending between 79 and 114AU in radius. Dust is robustly detected inside the annulus, at a mass surface density 100 times lower than that at 80 AU. The CO emission in the inner disk also shows a significantly decreased mass surface density, but we infer a cavity radius of only 31AU for the gas. The large separation of the dust and gas cavity edges, as well as the high radial concentration of millimeter-sized dust grains, is qualitatively consistent with the predictions of pressure trap models that include hydrodynamical disk-planet interactions and dust coagulation/fragmentation processes.

Interactions of adsorbed CO$_2$ on water ice at low temperatures

We present a computational study into the adsorption properties of CO$_2$ on amorphous and crystalline water surfaces under astrophysically relevant conditions. Water and carbon dioxide are two of the most dominant species in the icy mantles of interstellar dust grains and a thorough understanding of their solid phase interactions at low temperatures is crucial for understanding the structural evolution of the ices due to thermal segregation. In this paper, a new H$_2$O-CO$_2$ interaction potential is proposed and used to model the ballistic deposition of CO$_2$ layers on water ice surfaces, and to study the individual binding sites at low coverages. Contrary to recent experimental results, we do not observe CO$_2$ island formation on any type of water substrate. Additionally, density functional theory calculations are performed to assess the importance of induced electrostatic interactions.

Influence of surface coverage on the chemical desorption process [Cross-Listing]

In cold astrophysical environments, some molecules are observed in the gas phase whereas they should have been depleted, frozen on dust grains. In order to solve this problem, astrochemists have proposed that a fraction of molecules synthesized on the surface of dust grains could desorb just after their formation. Recently the chemical desorption process has been demonstrated experimentally, but the key parameters at play have not yet been fully understood. In this article we propose a new procedure to analyze the ratio of di-oxygen and ozone synthesized after O atoms adsorption on oxidized graphite. We demonstrate that the chemical desorption efficiency of the two reaction paths (O+O and O+O$_2$) is different by one order of magnitude. We show the importance of the surface coverage: for the O+O reaction, the chemical desorption efficiency is close to 80 $\%$ at zero coverage and tends to zero at one monolayer coverage. The coverage dependence of O+O chemical desorption is proved by varying the amount of pre-adsorbed N$_2$ on the substrate from 0 to 1.5 ML. Finally, we discuss the relevance of the different physical parameters that could play a role in the chemical desorption process: binding energy, enthalpy of formation, and energy transfer from the new molecule to the surface or to other adsorbates.

Some Stars are Totally Metal: A New Mechanism Driving Dust Across Star-Forming Clouds, and Consequences for Planets, Stars, and Galaxies

Dust grains in neutral gas behave as aerodynamic particles, so they can develop large local density fluctuations entirely independent of gas density fluctuations. Specifically, gas turbulence can drive order-of-magnitude ‘resonant’ fluctuations in the dust density on scales where the gas stopping/drag timescale is comparable to the turbulent eddy turnover time. Here we show that for large grains (size >0.1 micron, containing most grain mass) in sufficiently large molecular clouds (radii >1-10 pc, masses >10^4 solar), this scale becomes longer than the characteristic sizes of pre-stellar cores (the sonic length), so large fluctuations in the dust-to-gas ratio are imprinted on cores. As a result, star clusters and protostellar disks formed in large clouds should exhibit substantial abundance spreads in the elements preferentially found in large grains (C, O, Si). This naturally predicts populations of carbon-enhanced stars, certain highly unusual stellar populations observed in nearby open clusters, and may explain the ‘UV upturn’ in early-type galaxies. It will also dramatically change planet formation in the resulting protostellar disks, by preferentially seeding disks with an enhancement in large carbonaceous or silicate grains. The relevant threshold for this behavior scales simply with cloud densities and temperatures, making straightforward predictions for clusters in starbursts and high-redshift galaxies. Because of the selective sorting by size, this process is not visible in extinction mapping. We also predict the shape of the abundance distribution. When these fluctuations occur, a small fraction of the cores are actually seeded with abundances Z~100 Z_mean, such that they are almost ‘totally metal’ (Z~1)! Assuming the cores collapse, these totally metal stars would be rare (1 in 10^4 in clusters where this occurs), but represent a fundamentally new stellar evolution channel.

Two fluid dust and gas mixtures in SPH: A semi-implicit approach

A method to avoid the explicit time integration of small dust grains in the two fluid gas/dust smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) approach is proposed. By assuming a very simple exponential decay model for the relative velocity between the gas and dust components, all the effective characteristics of the drag force can be reproduced. A series of tests has been performed to compare the accuracy of the method with analytical and explicit integration results. We find that the method performs well on a wide range of tests, and can provide large speed ups over explicit integration when the dust stopping time is small. We have also found that the method is much less dissipative than conventional explicit or implicit two-fluid SPH approaches when modelling dusty shocks.

Debris disc formation induced by planetary growth

Several hundred stars older than 10 million years have been observed to have infrared excesses. These observations are explained by dust grains formed by the collisional fragmentation of hidden planetesimals. Such dusty planetesimal discs are known as debris discs. In a dynamically cold planetesimal disc, collisional coagulation of planetesimals produces planetary embryos which then stir the surrounding leftover planetesimals. Thus, the collisional fragmentation of planetesimals that results from planet formation forms a debris disc. We aim to determine the properties of the underlying planetesimals in debris discs by numerically modelling the coagulation and fragmentation of planetesimal populations. The brightness and temporal evolution of debris discs depend on the radial distribution of planetesimal discs, the location of their inner and outer edges, their total mass, and the size of planetesimals in the disc. We find that a radially narrow planetesimal disc is most likely to result in a debris disc that can explain the trend of observed infrared excesses of debris discs around G-type stars, for which planet formation occurs only before 100 million years. Early debris disc formation is induced by planet formation, while the later evolution is explained by the collisional decay of leftover planetesimals around planets that have already formed. Planetesimal discs with underlying planetesimals of radii $\sim 100\,$km at $\approx 30$ AU most readily explain the Spitzer Space Telescope 24 and 70$ \mu$m fluxes from debris discs around G-type stars.

Deuterium chemistry of dense gas in the vicinity of low-mass and massive star forming regions

The standard interstellar ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (D/H) atoms is $\sim 1.5 \times 10^{-5}$. However, the deuterium fractionation is in fact found to be enhanced, to different degrees, in cold, dark cores, hot cores around massive star forming regions, lukewarm cores, and warm cores ({\it hereafter}, hot corinos) around low-mass star forming regions. In this paper, we investigate the overall differences in the deuterium chemistry between hot cores and hot corinos. We have modelled the chemistry of dense gas around low-mass and massive star forming regions using a gas-grain chemical model. We investigate the influence of varying the core density, the depletion efficiency of gaseous species on to dust grains, the collapse mode and the final mass of the protostar on the chemical evolution of star forming regions. We find that the deuterium chemistry is, in general, most sensitive to variations of the depletion efficiency on to grain surfaces, in agreement with observations. In addition, the results showed that the chemistry is more sensitive to changes in the final density of the collapsing core in hot cores than in hot corinos. Finally, we find that ratios of deuterated sulphur bearing species in dense gas around hot cores and corinos may be good evolutionary indicators in a similar way as their non deuterated counterparts.

Vacuum-UV spectroscopy of interstellar ice analogs. II. Absorption cross-sections of nonpolar ice molecules

Dust grains in cold circumstellar regions and dark-cloud interiors at 10-20 K are covered by ice mantles. A nonthermal desorption mechanism is invoked to explain the presence of gas-phase molecules in these environments, such as the photodesorption induced by irradiation of ice due to secondary ultraviolet photons. To quantify the effects of ice photoprocessing, an estimate of the photon absorption in ice mantles is required. In a recent work, we reported the vacuum-ultraviolet (VUV) absorption cross sections of nonpolar molecules in the solid phase. The aim was to estimate the VUV-absorption cross sections of nonpolar molecular ice components, including CH4, CO2, N2, and O2. The column densities of the ice samples deposited at 8 K were measured in situ by infrared spectroscopy in transmittance. VUV spectra of the ice samples were collected in the 120-160 nm (10.33-7.74 eV) range using a commercial microwave-discharged hydrogen flow lamp. We found that, as expected, solid N2 has the lowest VUV-absorption cross section, which about three orders of magnitude lower than that of other species such as O2, which is also homonuclear. Methane (CH4) ice presents a high absorption near Ly-alpha (121.6 nm) and does not absorb below 148 nm. Estimating the ice absorption cross sections is essential for models of ice photoprocessing and allows estimating the ice photodesorption rates as the number of photodesorbed molecules per absorbed photon in the ice.

Planck intermediate results. XXI. Comparison of polarized thermal emission from Galactic dust at 353 GHz with optical interstellar polarization

The Planck survey provides unprecedented full-sky coverage of the submillimetre polarized emission from Galactic dust, bringing new constraints on the properties of dust. The dust grains that emit the radiation seen by Planck in the submillimetre also extinguish and polarize starlight in the optical. Using ancillary catalogues of interstellar polarization and extinction of starlight, we obtain the degree of polarization, $p_V$, and the optical depth in the $V$ band to the star, $\tau_V$. We extract the submillimetre polarized intensity, $P_S$, and total intensity, $I_S$, measured toward these stars in the Planck 353 GHz channel. We compare the position angle measured in the optical with that measured at 353 GHz, and the column density measure $E(B – V)$ with that inferred from the Planck product map of the submillimetre dust optical depth. For those lines of sight suitable for this comparison, we measure the polarization ratios $R_{S/V} = (P_S/I_S)/(p_V/\tau_V)$ and $R_{P/p} = P_S / p_V$ through a correlation analysis. We find $R_{S/V} = 4.3$ with statistical and systematic uncertainties 0.2 and 0.4, respectively, and $R_{P/p} = 5.6$ MJy sr$^{-1}$, with statistical and systematic uncertainties 0.2 and 0.4 MJy sr$^{-1}$, respectively. Our estimate of $R_{S/V}$ is reasonably compatible with current dust models, not yet very discriminating among them. However, the observed $R_{P/p}$ is a more discriminating diagnostic for the polarizing grain population and is not compatible with predictions of dust models, the observations being higher by a factor of about 2.5. These new diagnostics from Planck, including the spectral dependence in the submillimetre, will be important for constraining and understanding the full complexity of the grain models, and for further interpretation of the Planck thermal dust polarization.

What sodium absorption lines tell us about type Ia supernovae

We propose that the sodium responsible for the variable Na I D absorption lines in some type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) originate from dust residing at ~1pc from the supernovae. In this Na-from-dust absorption (NaDA) model the process by which the SN Ia peak luminosity releases sodium from dust at ~1pc from the SN is similar to the processes by which solar radiation releases sodium from comet dust when comets approach a distance of ~1AU from the Sun. The dust grains are not sublimated but rather stay intact, and release sodium by photon-stimulated desorption (PSD; or photo-sputtering). We apply the NaDA model to SN 2006X and SN 2007le, and find it to comply better with the observed time variability of the Na I D absorption lines than the Na recombination model. The mass in the dusty shell of the NaDA model is much too high to be accounted for in the single-degenerate scenario for SN Ia. Therefore, the presence of variable Na I D lines in some SN Ia further weakens the already very problematic single-degenerate scenario for SN Ia.

What sodium absorption lines tell us about type Ia supernovae [Replacement]

We propose that the sodium responsible for the variable NaI D absorption lines in some type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) originate mainly from dust residing at ~1 pc from the supernovae. In this Na-from-dust absorption (NaDA) model the process by which the SN Ia peak luminosity releases sodium from dust at 1 pc from the SN is similar to the processes by which solar radiation releases sodium from cometary dust when comets approach a distance of 1 AU from the Sun. The dust grains are not sublimated but rather stay intact, and release sodium by photon-stimulated desorption (PSD; or photo-sputtering). Some of the Na might start in the gas phase before the explosion. Weakening in absorption strength is caused by Na-ionizing radiation of the SN. We apply the NaDA model to SN 2006X and SN 2007le, and find it to comply better with the observed time variability of the NaI D absorption lines than the Na recombination model. The mass in the dusty shell of the NaDA model is much too high to be accounted for in the single-degenerate scenario for SN Ia. Therefore, the presence of variable NaI D lines in some SN Ia further weakens the already very problematic single-degenerate scenario for SN Ia.

Chemical complexity in the Horsehead photodissociation region

The interstellar medium is known to be chemically complex. Organic molecules with up to 11 atoms have been detected in the interstellar medium, and are believed to be formed on the ices around dust grains. The ices can be released into the gas-phase either through thermal desorption, when a newly formed star heats the medium around it and completely evaporates the ices; or through non-thermal desorption mechanisms, such as photodesorption, when a single far-UV photon releases only a few molecules from the ices. The first one dominates in hot cores, hot corinos and strongly UV-illuminated PDRs, while the second one dominates in colder regions, such as low UV-field PDRs. This is the case of the Horsehead were dust temperatures are ~20-30K, and therefore offers a clean environment to investigate what is the role of photodesorption. We have carried-out an unbiased spectral line survey at 3, 2 and 1mm with the IRAM-30m telescope in the Horsehead nebula, with an unprecedented combination of bandwidth high spectral resolution and sensitivity. Two positions were observed: the warm PDR and a cold condensation shielded from the UV field (dense core), located just behind the PDR edge. We summarize our recently published results from this survey and present the first detection of the complex organic molecules HCOOH, CH2CO, CH3CHO and CH3CCH in a PDR. These species together with CH3CN present enhanced abundances in the PDR compared to the dense core. This suggests that photodesorption is an efficient mechanism to release complex molecules into the gas-phase in far-UV illuminated regions.

 

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