Posts Tagged orbital plane

Recent Postings from orbital plane

How to determine an exomoon's sense of orbital motion

We present two methods to determine an exomoon’s sense of orbital motion (SOM), one with respect to the planet’s circumstellar orbit and one with respect to the planetary rotation. Our simulations show that the required measurements will be possible with the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The first method relies on mutual planet-moon events during stellar transits. Eclipses with the moon passing behind (in front of) the planet will be late (early) with regard to the moon’s mean orbital period due to the finite speed of light. This "transit timing dichotomy" (TTD) determines an exomoon’s SOM with respect to the circumstellar motion. For the ten largest moons in the solar system, TTDs range between 2 and 12 s. The E-ELT will enable such measurements for Earth-sized moons around nearby stars. The second method measures distortions in the IR spectrum of the rotating giant planet when it is transited by its moon. This Rossiter-McLaughlin effect (RME) in the planetary spectrum reveals the angle between the planetary equator and the moon’s circumplanetary orbital plane, and therefore unveils the moon’s SOM with respect to the planet’s rotation. A reasonably large moon transiting a directly imaged planet like beta Pic b causes an RME amplitude of almost 100 m/s, about twice the stellar RME amplitude of the transiting exoplanet HD209458b. Both new methods can be used to probe the origin of exomoons, that is, whether they are regular or irregular in nature.

The Vast Polar Structure of the Milky Way Attains New Members

The satellite galaxies of the Milky Way (MW) align with and preferentially orbit in a vast polar structure (VPOS), which also contains globular clusters, stellar and gaseous streams. Similar alignments have been discovered around several other host galaxies. We test whether recently discovered objects in the MW halo, the satellite galaxy/globular cluster transition object named PSO J174.0675-10.8774 or Crater and three stellar streams, are part of the VPOS. Crater is situated close to the VPOS. Incorporating the new object in the VPOS-plane fit slightly improves the alignment of the plane with other features such as the Magellanic stream and the average orbital plane of the satellites co-orbiting in the VPOS. We predict Crater’s proper motion by assuming that it, too, orbits in the VPOS. One of the three streams aligns well with the VPOS. Surprisingly, it appears to lie in the exact same orbital plane as the Palomar 5 stream and shares its distance, suggesting a direct connection between the two. The stream also crosses close to the Fornax dwarf galaxy and is oriented approximately along the galaxy’s direction of motion. The two other streams cannot align closely with the VPOS because they were discovered in the direction of M31/M33, which is outside of the satellite structure. The VPOS thus attains two new members. This further emphasizes that the highly anisotropic and correlated distribution of satellite objects requires an explanation beyond the suggestion that the MW satellite system is an extreme statistical outlier of a $\Lambda$CDM sub-halo system.

Simultaneous Resonant Excitation of Low-frequency Eccentric Wave and Tilt Wave on Tidally Deformed Disks

Simultaneous excitation of low-frequency eccentric precessing mode (one-armed p-mode) and tilt mode on tidally deformed disks is considered. If the orbit of the secondary star is eccentric and its orbital plane is misaligned with the disk plane of the primary, the above-mentioned two low-frequency oscillation modes are simultaneously excited on the primary disk, the former having prograte precession and the latter having retrograde precession. This excitation of disk oscillations is due to a wave-wave resonant excitation process considered by Kato (2013). If parameter values relevant to Be/X-ray binary systems are adopted, the periods of these excited oscillations are around ten times of the orbital period of the secondary, which may be comparable with the time scale of giant outbursts observed in Be/X-ray systems.

The origin of the tilted disk in the low mass X-ray binary GR Mus (XB 1254-690)

We present photometric and spectroscopic observations of the low mass X-ray binary GR Mus (XB 1254-690), and find strong evidence for the presence of a negative superhump with a period that is 2.4+/-0.3% shorter than the orbital. This provides further support that GR Mus indeed harbours a precessing accretion disk (with a period of 6.74+/-0.07 day) that has retrograde precession and is completely tilted out of the orbital plane along its line of nodes. This tilt causes a large fraction of the gas in the accretion stream to either over- or underflow the accretion disk instead of hitting the disk rim, and could be a feature of all low mass X-ray binaries with characteristics similar to GR Mus (i.e. the so-called atoll sources). Furthermore, we also find marginal evidence for the presence of a positive superhump, suggesting that the accretion disk in GR Mus is eccentric due to tidal resonances. If true, than the relationship between the positive superhump period excess and the mass ratio (q) provides a constraint of q=M_donor/M_NS=0.33-0.36. Together with the radial velocity semi-amplitude measurements of the compact object, and previous modeling of the inclination we obtain a mass for the neutron star of 1.2<M_NS/M_sun<1.8 (95% confidence).

The effects of disc warping on the inclination of planetary orbits

The interaction between a planet located in the inner region of a disc and the warped outer region is studied. We consider the stage of evolution after the planet has cleared-out a gap, so that the planetary orbit evolves only under the gravitational potential from the disc. We develop a secular analysis and compute the evolution of the orbital elements by solving Lagrange’s equations valid to second order in the eccentricity. We also perform numerical simulations with the full disc potential. In general, the interaction between the disc and the planet leads to the precession of the orbit. The orbital plane therefore becomes tilted relative to the disc’s inner parts, with no change in the eccentricity. When the inclination approaches 90 degrees, there is an instability and the eccentricity increases. In this case, both the inclination and the eccentricity develop large variations, with the orbit becoming retrograde. As the eccentricity reaches high values, we would expect tidal capture on a short orbit of the planet by the star to occur. This instability happens when the disc is severely warped, or if there is a significant amount of mass in a ring inclined by at least 45 degrees relative to the initial orbital plane. The inclination of the orbit does not depend on the semimajor axis nor on the planet’s mass. However, for a significant inclination to be generated on a timescale of at most a few Myr, the planet should be beyond the snow line. The process described here would therefore produce two distinct populations of inclined planets: one with objects beyond the snow line with at most moderate eccentricities, and another with objects on short circularized orbits.

Evidence of a Binary-Induced Spiral from an Incomplete Ring Pattern of CIT 6

With the advent of high-resolution high-sensitivity observations, spiral patterns have been revealed around several asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. Such patterns can provide possible evidence for the existence of central binary stars embedded in outflowing circumstellar envelopes. Here, we suggest the viability of explaining the previously observed incomplete ring-like patterns with the spiral-shell structure due to the motion of (unknown) binary components viewed at an inclination with respect to the orbital plane. We describe a method of extracting such spiral-shells from an incomplete ring-like pattern to place constraints on the characteristics of the central binary stars. The use of gas kinematics is essential in facilitating a detailed modeling for the three-dimensional structure of the circumstellar pattern. We show that a hydrodynamic radiative transfer model can reproduce the structure of the HC3N molecular line emission of the extreme carbon star, CIT 6. This method can be applied to other sources in the AGB phase and to the outer ring-like patterns of pre-planetary nebulae for probing the existence of embedded binary stars, which are highly anticipated with future observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array.

Measurement of Spin-Orbit Misalignment and Nodal Precession for the Planet around Pre-Main-Sequence Star PTFO 8-8695 From Gravity Darkening

PTFO 8-8695b represents the first transiting exoplanet candidate orbiting a pre-main-sequence star. We find that the unusual lightcurve shapes of PTFO 8-8695 can be explained by transits of a planet across an oblate, gravity-darkened stellar disk. We simultaneously and self-consistently fit two separate lightcurves observed in 2009 December and 2010 December. Our two self-consistent fits yield M_p = 3.0 M_Jup and M_p = 3.6 M_Jup for assumed stellar masses of M_* = 0.34 M_Sun and M_* = 0.44 M_Sun respectively. The two fits have precession periods of 293 days and 581 days. These mass determinations (consistent with previous upper limits) along with the strength of the gravity-darkened precessing model together validate PTFO 8-8695b as just the second Hot Jupiter known to orbit an M-dwarf. Our fits show a high degree of spin-orbit misalignment in the PTFO 8-8695 system: 69 +/- 2 or 73.1 +/- 0.5 degrees, in the two cases. The large misalignment is consistent with the hypothesis that planets become Hot Jupiters with random orbital plane alignments early in a system’s lifetime. We predict that as a result of the highly misaligned, precessing system, the transits should disappear for months at a time over the course of the system’s precession period. The precessing, gravity-darkened model also predicts other observable effects: changing orbit inclination that could be detected by radial velocity observations, changing stellar inclination that would manifest as varying v sin i, changing projected spin-orbit alignment that could be seen by the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, changing transit shapes over the course of the precession, and differing lightcurves as a function of wavelength. Our measured planet radii of 1.64 R_Jup and 1.68 R_Jup in each case are consistent with a young, hydrogen-dominated planet that results from a hot-start formation mechanism.

A Systematic Search for Trojan Planets in the Kepler data

Trojans are circumstellar bodies that reside in characteristic 1:1 orbital resonances with planets. While all the trojans in our Solar System are small (< ~100 km), stable planet-size trojans may exist in extrasolar planetary systems, and the Kepler telescope constitutes a formidable tool to search for them. Here we report on a systematic search for extrasolar trojan companions to 2244 known Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs), with epicyclic orbital characteristics similar to those of the Jovian trojan families. No convincing trojan candidates are found, despite a typical sensitivity down to Earth-size objects. This fact can however not be used to stringently exclude the existence of trojans in this size range, since stable trojans need not necessarily share the same orbital plane as the planet, and thus may not transit. Following this reasoning, we note that if Earth-sized trojans exist at all, they are almost certainly both present and in principle detectable in the full set of Kepler data, although a very substantial computational effort would be required to detect them. On the same token, we also note that some of the existing KOIs could in principle be trojans themselves, with a primary planet orbiting outside of the transiting plane. A few examples are given for which this is a readily testable scenario.

Orbital, Superhump, and Superorbital Periods in the Cataclysmic Variables AQ Mensae and IM Eridani [Replacement]

We report photometric detections of orbital and superorbital signals, and negative orbital sidebands, in the light curves of the nova-like cataclysmic variables AQ Mensae and IM Eridani. The frequencies of the orbital, superorbital, and sideband signals are 7.0686 (3), 0.263 (3), and 7.332 (3) cycles per day (c/d) in AQ Mensae, and 6.870 (1), 0.354 (7), and 7.226 (1) c/d in IM Eridani. We also find a spectroscopic orbital frequency in IM Eridani of 6.86649 (2) c/d. These observations can be reproduced by invoking an accretion disc that is tilted with respect to the orbital plane. This model works well for X-ray binaries, in which irradiation by a primary neutron star can account for the disc’s tilt. A likely tilt mechanism has yet to be identified in CVs, yet the growing collection of observational evidence indicates that the phenomenon of tilt is indeed at work in this class of object. The results presented in this paper bring the number of CVs known to display signals associated with retrograde disc precession to twelve. We also find AQ Mensae to be an eclipsing system. The eclipse depths are highly variable, which suggests that the eclipses are grazing. This finding raises the possibility of probing variations in disc tilt by studying systematic variations in the eclipse profile.

Orbital, Superhump, and Superorbital Periods in the Cataclysmic Variables AQ Mensae and IM Eridani

We report photometric detections of orbital and superorbital signals, and negative orbital sidebands, in the light curves of the nova-like cataclysmic variables AQ Mensae and IM Eridani. The frequencies of the orbital, superorbital, and sideband signals are 7.0686 (3), 0.263 (3), and 7.332 (3) cycles per day (c/d) in AQ Mensae, and 6.870 (1), 0.354 (7), and 7.226 (1) c/d in IM Eridani. We also find a spectroscopic orbital frequency in IM Eridani of 6.86649 (2) c/d. These observations can be reproduced by invoking an accretion disc that is tilted with respect to the orbital plane. This model works well for X-ray binaries, in which irradiation by a primary neutron star can account for the disc’s tilt. A likely tilt mechanism has yet to be identified in CVs, yet the growing collection of observational evidence indicates that the phenomenon of tilt is indeed at work in this class of object. The results presented in this paper bring the number of CVs known to display signals associated with retrograde disc precession to twelve. We also find AQ Mensae to be an eclipsing system. The eclipse depths are highly variable, which suggests that the eclipses are grazing. This finding raises the possibility of probing variations in disc tilt by studying systematic variations in the eclipse profile.

Investigating the effect of precession on searches for neutron-star-black-hole binaries with Advanced LIGO [Cross-Listing]

The first direct detection of neutron-star-black-hole binaries will likely be made with gravitational-wave observatories. Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo will be able to observe neutron-star-black-hole mergers at a maximum distance of 900Mpc. To acheive this sensitivity, gravitational-wave searches will rely on using a bank of filter waveforms that accurately model the expected gravitational-wave signal. The angular momentum of the black hole is expected to be comparable to the orbital angular momentum. This angular momentum will affect the dynamics of the inspiralling system and alter the phase evolution of the emitted gravitational-wave signal. In addition, if the black hole’s angular momentum is not aligned with the orbital angular momentum it will cause the orbital plane of the system to precess. In this work we demonstrate that if the effect of the black hole’s angular momentum is neglected in the waveform models used in gravitational-wave searches, the detection rate of $(10+1.4)M_{\odot}$ neutron-star–black-hole systems would be reduced by $33 – 37%$. The error in this measurement is due to uncertainty in the Post-Newtonian approximations that are used to model the gravitational-wave signal of neutron-star-black-hole inspiralling binaries. We describe a new method for creating a bank of filter waveforms where the black hole has non-zero angular momentum, but is aligned with the orbital angular momentum. With this bank we find that the detection rate of $(10+1.4)M_{\odot}$ neutron-star-black-hole systems would be reduced by $26-33%$. Systems that will not be detected are ones where the precession of the orbital plane causes the gravitational-wave signal to match poorly with non-precessing filter waveforms. We identify the regions of parameter space where such systems occur and suggest methods for searching for highly precessing neutron-star-black-hole binaries.

Variability survey in the CoRoT SRa01 field: Implications of eclipsing binary distribution on cluster formation in NGC 2264

Time-series photometry of the CoRoT field SRa01 was carried out with the Berlin Exoplanet Search Telescope II (BEST II) in 2008/2009. A total of 1,161 variable stars were detected, of which 241 were previously known and 920 are newly found. Several new, variable young stellar objects have been discovered. The study of the spatial distribution of eclipsing binaries revealed the higher relative frequency of Algols toward the center of the young open cluster NGC 2264. In general Algol frequency obeys an isotropic distribution of their angular momentum vectors, except inside the cluster, where a specific orientation of the inclinations is the case. We suggest that we see the orbital plane of the binaries almost edge-on.

A Nearly Polar Orbit for the Extrasolar Hot Jupiter WASP-79b

We report the measurement of a spin-orbit misalignment for WASP-79b, a recently discovered, extremely bloated transiting hot Jupiter from the WASP survey. Data were obtained using the CYCLOPS2 optical-fiber bundle and its simultaneous calibration system feeding the UCLES spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory. We have used the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect to determine the sky-projected spin-orbit angle to be lambda = -106+10-8 degrees. This result indicates a significant misalignment between the spin axis of the host star and the orbital plane of the planet — the planet being in a nearly polar orbit. WASP-79 is consistent with other stars that have Teff > 6250K and host hot Jupiters in spin-orbit misalignment.

A Nearly Polar Orbit for the Extrasolar Hot Jupiter WASP-79b [Replacement]

We report the measurement of a spin-orbit misalignment for WASP-79b, a recently discovered, bloated transiting hot Jupiter from the WASP survey. Data were obtained using the CYCLOPS2 optical-fiber bundle and its simultaneous calibration system feeding the UCLES spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. We have used the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect to determine the sky-projected spin-orbit angle to be lambda = -106+19-13 degrees. This result indicates a significant misalignment between the spin axis of the host star and the orbital plane of the planet — the planet being in a nearly polar orbit. WASP-79 is consistent with other stars that have Teff > 6250K and host hot Jupiters in spin-orbit misalignment.

Misaligned streamers around a galactic centre black hole from a single cloud's infall

We follow the near radial infall of a prolate cloud onto a 4 x 10^6 Msun supermassive black hole in the Galactic Centre using smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH). We show that a prolate cloud oriented perpendicular to its orbital plane naturally produces a spread in angular momenta in the gas which can translate into misaligned discs as is seen in the young stars orbiting Sagittarius A*. A turbulent or otherwise highly structured cloud is necessary to avoid cancelling too much angular momentum through shocks at closest approach. Our standard model of a 2 x 10^4 Msun gas cloud brought about the formation of a disc within 0.3 pc from the black hole and a larger, misaligned streamer at 0.5 pc. A total of 1.5 x 10^4 Msun of gas formed these structures. Our exploration of the simulation parameter space showed that when star formation occurred, it resulted in top-heavy IMFs with stars on eccentric orbits with semi-major axes 0.02 to 0.3 pc and inclinations following the gas discs and streamers. We suggest that the single event of an infalling prolate cloud can explain the occurrence of multiple misaligned discs of young stars.

Accretion Disks Around Binary Black Holes: A Simple GR-Hybrid Evolution Model [Replacement]

We consider a geometrically thin, Keplerian disk in the orbital plane of a binary black hole (BHBH) consisting of a spinning primary and low-mass secondary (mass ratio q < 1). To account for the principle effects of general relativity (GR), we propose a modification of the standard Newtonian evolution equation for the (orbit-averaged) time-varying disk surface density. In our modified equation the viscous torque in the disk is treated in full GR, while the tidal torque is handled in the Newtonian limit. Our GR-hybrid treatment is reasonable because the tidal torque is concentrated near the orbital radius of the secondary and is most important prior to binary-disk decoupling, when the orbital separation is large and resides in the weak-field regime. The tidal torque on the disk diminishes during late merger and vanishes altogether following merger. By contrast, the viscous torque drives the flow into the strong-field region and onto the primary during all epochs. Following binary coalescence, the viscous torque alone governs the time-dependent accretion onto the remnant, as well as the temporal behavior, strength and spectrum of the aftermath electromagnetic radiation from the disk. We solve our GR-hybrid equation for a representative BHBH-disk system, identify several observable EM signatures of the merger, and compare results obtained for the gas and EM radiation with those found with the Newtonian prescription.

Accretion Disks Around Binary Black Holes: A Simple GR-Hybrid Evolution Model

We consider a geometrically thin, Keplerian disk in the orbital plane of a binary black hole (BHBH) consisting of a spinning primary and low-mass secondary (mass ratio q < 1). To account for the principle effects of general relativity (GR), we propose a modification of the standard Newtonian evolution equation for the (orbit-averaged) time-varying disk surface density. In our modified equation the viscous torque in the disk is treated in full GR, while the tidal torque is handled in the Newtonian limit. Our GR-hybrid treatment is reasonable because the tidal torque is concentrated near the orbital radius of the secondary and is most important prior to binary-disk decoupling, when the orbital separation is large and resides in the weak-field regime. The tidal torque on the disk diminishes during late merger and vanishes altogether following merger. By contrast, the viscous torque drives the flow into the strong-field region and onto the primary during all epochs. Following binary coalescence, the viscous torque alone governs the time-dependent accretion onto the remnant, as well as the temporal behavior, strength and spectrum of the aftermath electromagnetic (E & M) radiation from the disk. We solve our GR-hybrid equation for a representative BHBH-disk system, identify several observable E & M signatures of the merger, and compare results obtained for the gas and E & M radiation with those found with the Newtonian prescription.

Spin-orbit alignment in the very low mass binary regime: The L dwarf tight binary 2MASSW J0746425+200032AB

Studies of solar-type binaries have found coplanarity between the equatorial and orbital planes of systems with $<$40 AU separation. By comparison, the alignment of the equatorial and orbital axes in the substellar regime, and the associated implications for formation theory, are relatively poorly constrained. Here we present the discovery of the rotation period of 3.32 $\pm$ 0.15 hours from 2MASS J0746+20A – the primary component of a tight (2.7 AU) ultracool dwarf binary system (L0+L1.5). The newly discovered period, together with the established period via radio observations of the other component, and the well constrained orbital parameters and rotational velocity measurements, allow us to infer alignment of the equatorial planes of both components with the orbital plane of the system to within 10 degrees. This result suggests that solar-type binary formation mechanisms may extend down into the brown dwarf mass range, and we consider a number of formation theories that may be applicable in this case. This is the first such observational result in the very low mass binary regime. In addition, the detected period of 3.32 $\pm$ 0.15 hours implies that the reported radio period of 2.07 $\pm$ 0.002 hours is associated with the secondary star, not the primary, as was previously claimed. This in turn refutes the claimed radius of 0.78 $\pm$ 0.1 $R_{J}$ for 2MASS J0746+20A, which we demonstrate to be 0.99 $\pm$ 0.03 $R_{J}$.

A Primordial Origin for Misalignments Between Stellar Spin Axes and Planetary Orbits

The presence of gaseous giant planets whose orbits lie in extreme proximity to their host stars ("hot Jupiters"), can largely be accounted for by planetary migration, associated with viscous evolution of proto-planetary nebulae. Recently, observations of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect during planetary transits have revealed that a considerable fraction of detected hot Jupiters reside on orbits that are misaligned with respect to the spin-axes of their host stars. This observational fact has cast significant doubts on the importance of disk-driven migration as a mechanism for production of hot Jupiters, thereby reestablishing the origins of close-in planetary orbits as an open question. Here we show that misaligned orbits can be a natural consequence of disk migration. Our argument rests on an enhanced abundance of binary stellar companions in star formation environments, whose orbital plane is uncorrelated with the spin axes of the individual stars. We analyze the dynamical evolution of idealized proto-planetary disks under perturbations from massive distant bodies and demonstrate that the resulting gravitational torques act to misalign the orbital planes of the disks relative to the spin poles of their host stars. As a result, we predict that in the absence of strong disk-host star angular momentum coupling or sufficient dissipation that acts to realign the stellar spin axis and the planetary orbits, the fraction of planetary systems (including systems of hot Neptunes and Super-Earths), whose angular momentum vectors are misaligned with respect to their host-stars should be commensurate with the rate of primordial stellar multiplicity.

The 7.1 hour X-ray-UV-NIR period of the gamma-ray classical Nova Monocerotis 2012

Nova Mon 2012 is the third gamma-ray transient identified with a thermonuclear runaway on a white dwarf, that is, a nova event. Swift monitoring has revealed the distinct evolution of the harder and super-soft X-ray spectral components, while Swift-UV and V and I-band photometry show a gradual decline with subtle changes of slope. During the super-soft emission phase, a coherent 7.1 hr modulation was found in the soft X-ray, UV, optical and near-IR data, varying in phase across all wavebands. Assuming this period to be orbital, the system has a near-main sequence secondary, with little appreciable stellar wind. This distinguishes it from the first GeV nova, V407 Cyg, where the gamma-rays were proposed to form through shock-accelerated particles as the ejecta interacted with the red giant wind. We favor a model in which the gamma-rays arise from the shock of the ejecta with material close to the white dwarf in the orbital plane. This suggests that classical novae may commonly be GeV sources. We ascribe the orbital modulation to a raised section of an accretion disk passing through the line of sight, periodically blocking and reflecting much of the emission. The disk must, therefore, have reformed by day 150 after outburst.

Dynamics of Large Fragments in the Tail of Active Asteroid P/2010 A2

We examine the motions of large fragments at the head of the dust tail of active asteroid P/2010 A2. In previous work we showed that these fragments were ejected from the primary nucleus in early 2009, either following a hypervelocity impact or by rotationally induced break-up. Here, we follow their positions through a series of Hubble Space Telescope images taken during the first half of 2010. The orbital evolution of each fragment allows us to constrain its velocity relative to the main nucleus after leaving its sphere of gravitational influence. We find that the fragments constituting a prominent X-shaped tail feature were emitted in a direction opposite to the motion of the asteroid and towards the south of its orbital plane. Derived emission velocities of these primary fragments range between 0.02 and 0.3 m/s, comparable to the ~0.08 m/s gravitational escape speed from the nucleus. Their sizes are on the order of decimeters or larger. We obtain the best fits to our data with ejection velocity vectors lying in a plane that includes the nucleus. This may suggest that the cause of the disruption of P/2010 A2 is rotational break-up.

General relativistic simulations of binary black hole-neutron stars: Precursor electromagnetic signals

We perform the first general relativistic force-free simulations of neutron star (NS) magnetospheres in orbit about spinning and non-spinning black holes. We find promising precursor electromagnetic emission: typical Poynting luminosities at, e.g., an orbital separation of 6.6 times the NS radius are L ~ 6 x 10^{42} erg/s for a 1.4 solar-mass NS with a 10^{13}G polar magnetic field. The Poynting flux peaks within a broad beam of ~40 degrees in the azimuthal direction and within ~60 degrees from the orbital plane, establishing a possible lighthouse effect. Our calculations, though preliminary, preview more detailed simulations of these systems that we plan to perform in the future.

General relativistic simulations of binary black hole-neutron stars: Precursor electromagnetic signals [Replacement]

We perform the first general relativistic force-free simulations of neutron star (NS) magnetospheres in orbit about spinning and non-spinning black holes. We find promising precursor electromagnetic emission: typical Poynting luminosities at, e.g., an orbital separation of 6.6 times the NS radius are L ~ 6 x 10^{42} erg/s for a 1.4 solar-mass NS with a 10^{13}G polar magnetic field. The Poynting flux peaks within a broad beam of ~40 degrees in the azimuthal direction and within ~60 degrees from the orbital plane, establishing a possible lighthouse effect. Our calculations, though preliminary, preview more detailed simulations of these systems that we plan to perform in the future.

General relativistic simulations of binary black hole-neutron stars: Precursor electromagnetic signals [Replacement]

We perform the first general relativistic force-free simulations of neutron star (NS) magnetospheres in orbit about spinning and non-spinning black holes. We find promising precursor electromagnetic emission: typical Poynting luminosities at, e.g., an orbital separation of 6.6 times the NS radius are L ~ 6 x 10^{42} erg/s for a 1.4 solar-mass NS with a 10^{13}G polar magnetic field. The Poynting flux peaks within a broad beam of ~40 degrees in the azimuthal direction and within ~60 degrees from the orbital plane, establishing a possible lighthouse effect. Our calculations, though preliminary, preview more detailed simulations of these systems that we plan to perform in the future.

Local and global dynamics of warped astrophysical discs [Replacement]

Astrophysical discs are warped whenever a misalignment is present in the system, or when a flat disc is made unstable by external forces. The evolution of the shape and mass distribution of a warped disc is driven not only by external influences but also by an internal torque, which transports angular momentum through the disc. This torque depends on internal flows driven by the oscillating pressure gradient associated with the warp, and on physical processes operating on smaller scales, which may include instability and turbulence. We introduce a local model for the detailed study of warped discs. Starting from the shearing sheet of Goldreich & Lynden-Bell, we impose the oscillating geometry of the orbital plane by means of a coordinate transformation. This warped shearing sheet (or box) is suitable for analytical and computational treatments of fluid dynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, etc., and it can be used to compute the internal torque that drives the large-scale evolution of the disc. The simplest hydrodynamic states in the local model are horizontally uniform laminar flows that oscillate at the orbital frequency. These correspond to the nonlinear solutions for warped discs found in previous work by Ogilvie, and we present an alternative derivation and generalization of that theory. In a companion paper we show that these laminar flows are often linearly unstable, especially if the disc is nearly Keplerian and of low viscosity. The local model can be used in future work to determine the nonlinear outcome of the hydrodynamic instability of warped discs, and its interaction with others such as the magnetorotational instability.

Local and global dynamics of warped astrophysical discs

Astrophysical discs are warped whenever a misalignment is present in the system, or when a flat disc is made unstable by external forces. The evolution of the shape and mass distribution of a warped disc is driven not only by external influences but also by an internal torque, which transports angular momentum through the disc. This torque depends on internal flows driven by the oscillating pressure gradient associated with the warp, and on physical processes operating on smaller scales, which may include instability and turbulence. We introduce a local model for the detailed study of warped discs. Starting from the shearing sheet of Goldreich & Lynden-Bell, we impose the oscillating geometry of the orbital plane by means of a coordinate transformation. This warped shearing sheet (or box) is suitable for analytical and computational treatments of fluid dynamics, magnetohydrodynamics, etc., and it can be used to compute the internal torque that drives the large-scale evolution of the disc. The simplest hydrodynamic states in the local model are horizontally uniform laminar flows that oscillate at the orbital frequency. These correspond to the nonlinear solutions for warped discs found in previous work by Ogilvie, and we present an alternative derivation and generalization of that theory. In a companion paper we show that these laminar flows are often linearly unstable, especially if the disc is nearly Keplerian and of low viscosity. The local model can be used in future work to determine the nonlinear outcome of the hydrodynamic instability of warped discs, and its interaction with others such as the magnetorotational instability.

WASP-80b: a gas giant transiting a cool dwarf

We report the discovery of a planet transiting the star WASP-80 (1SWASP J201240.26-020838.2; 2MASS J20124017-0208391; TYC 5165-481-1; BPM 80815; V=11.9, K=8.4). Our analysis shows this is a 0.55 +/- 0.04 Mjup, 0.95 +/- 0.03 Rjup gas giant on a circular 3.07 day orbit around a star with a spectral type between K7V and M0V. This system produces one of the largest transit depths so far reported, making it a worthwhile target for transmission spectroscopy. We find a large discrepancy between the v sin i inferred from stellar line broadening and the observed amplitude of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. This can be understood either by an orbital plane nearly perpendicular to the stellar spin or by an additional, unaccounted for source of broadening.

The nearby eclipsing stellar system delta Velorum - IV. Differential astrometry with VLT/NACO at the 100 microarcsecond level

Context. delta Vel contains the brightest eclipsing binary in the southern sky (delta Vel A), and a nearby third star located ~0.6" away (delta Vel B). The proximity of delta Vel B (usable as a reference) makes it a particularly well-suited target to detect the astrometric displacement of the center of light of the eclipsing pair. Aims. We obtained NACO astrometric observations with two goals: (1) to confirm the orientation of the orbital plane of the eclipsing pair on the sky determined by interferometry (Paper III) and (2) demonstrate the capabilities of narrow-angle adaptive optics astrometry on a simple system with predictable astrometric properties. Methods. We measured the angular separation vector between the eclipsing binary delta Vel A and the visual companion delta Vel B from narrow-band images at 2.17 microns obtained with the VLT/NACO adaptive optics system. Based on these observations and our previous determination of the orbital parameters of the wide binary delta Vel A-B, we derive the apparent displacement of the center-of-light of the eclipsing pair at 11 epochs over its orbital cycle. Results. We detect the astrometric wobble of the center of light of the delta Vel A pair relatively to B with a typical measurement precision of ~50 microarcseconds per epoch, for a total amplitude of the measured displacement of ~2 milliarcseconds. Conclusions. The detected wobble is in agreement with our model presented in Paper III and confirms the orientation of the Aab orbital plane on the sky. The residual dispersion compared to our model is 110 microarcseconds rms, that we tentatively attribute to photometric variability of the fast rotating A-type components Aa and/or Ab in the BrGamma line. Based on these results, we conclude that in favorable conditions (bright source with only two resolved components, small angular separation), narrow-angle astrometry with adaptive optics on an 8-meter class telescope can reach an accuracy of 50 to 100 microarcseconds.

The 2011 Periastron Passage of the Be Binary delta Scorpii

We describe the results of the world-wide observing campaign of the highly eccentric Be binary system delta Scorpii 2011 periastron passage which involved professional and amateur astronomers. Our spectroscopic observations provided a precise measurement of the system orbital period at 10.8092+/- 0.0005 years. Fitting of the He II 4686A line radial velocity curve determined the periastron passage time on 2011 July 3, UT 9:20 with a 0.9–day uncertainty. Both these results are in a very good agreement with recent findings from interferometry. We also derived new evolutionary masses of the binary components (13 and 8.2 Msun) and a new distance of 136 pc from the Sun, consistent with the HIPPARCOS parallax. The radial velocity and profile variations observed in the H_alpha line near the 2011 periastron reflected the interaction of the secondary component and the circumstellar disk around the primary component. Using these data, we estimated a disk radius of 150 Rsun. Our analysis of the radial velocity variations measured during the periastron passage time in 2000 and 2011 along with those measured during the 20th century, the high eccentricity of the system, and the presence of a bow shock-like structure around it suggest that delta Sco might be a runaway triple system. The third component should be external to the known binary and move on an elliptical orbit that is tilted by at least 40 degree with respect to the binary orbital plane for such a system to be stable and responsible for the observed long-term radial velocity variations.

Precession of the Sagittarius stream

Using a variety of stellar tracers — blue horizontal branch stars, main-sequence turn-off stars and red giants — we follow the path of the Sagittarius (Sgr) stream across the sky in Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. Our study presents new Sgr debris detections, accurate distances and line-of-sight velocities that together help to shed new light on the puzzle of the Sgr tails. For both the leading and the trailing tail, we trace the points of their maximal extent, or apo-centric distances, and find that they lie at R^L = 47.8 +/- 0.5 kpc and R^T = 102.5 +/- 2.5 kpc respectively. The angular difference between the apo-centres is 93.2 +/- 3.5 deg, which is smaller than predicted for isothermal haloes. It is consistent with models of the Milky Way in which the dark matter density falls more quickly with radius. Based on its position and radial velocity, we show that the unusually large globular cluster NGC 2419 is associated with the Sgr trailing stream. We measure the precession of the orbital plane of the Sgr debris in the Milky Way potential and show Sgr debris in the primary tails evolves differently to the secondary tails, both in the North and the South.

Isofrequency pairing of geodesic orbits in Kerr geometry [Replacement]

Bound geodesic orbits around a Kerr black hole can be parametrized by three constants of the motion: the (specific) orbital energy, angular momentum and Carter constant. Generically, each orbit also has associated with it three frequencies, related to the radial, longitudinal and (mean) azimuthal motions. Here we note the curious fact that these two ways of characterizing bound geodesics are not in a one-to-one correspondence. While the former uniquely specifies an orbit up to initial conditions, the latter does not: there is a (strong-field) region of the parameter space in which pairs of physically distinct orbits can have the same three frequencies. In each such isofrequency pair the two orbits exhibit the same rate of periastron precession and the same rate of Lense-Thirring precession of the orbital plane, and (in a certain sense) they remain "synchronized" in phase.

Isofrequency pairing of geodesic orbits in Kerr geometry [Cross-Listing]

Bound geodesic orbits around a Kerr black hole can be parametrized by three constants of the motion: the (specific) orbital energy, angular momentum and Carter constant. Generically, each orbit also has associated with it three frequencies, related to the radial, longitudinal and (mean) azimuthal motions. Here we note the curious fact that these two ways of characterizing bound geodesics are not in a one-to-one correspondence. While the former uniquely specifies an orbit up to initial conditions, the latter does not: there is a (strong-field) region of the parameter space in which pairs of physically distinct orbits can have the same three frequencies. In each such isofrequency pair the two orbits exhibit the same rate of periastron precession and the same rate of Lense-Thirring precession of the orbital plane, and (in a certain sense) they remain "synchronized" in phase.

Deviation of Stellar Orbits from Test Particle Trajectories Around Sgr A* Due to Tides and Winds

Monitoring the orbits of stars around Sgr A* offers the possibility of detecting the precession of their orbital planes due to frame dragging, of measuring the spin and quadrupole moment of the black hole, and of testing the no-hair theorem. Here we investigate whether the deviations of stellar orbits from test-particle trajectories due to wind mass loss and tidal dissipation of the orbital energy compromise such measurements. We find that the effects of stellar winds are, in general, negligible. On the other hand, for the most eccentric orbits (e>0.96) for which an optical interferometer, such as GRAVITY, will detect orbital plane precession due to frame dragging, the tidal dissipation of orbital energy occurs at timescales comparable to the timescale of precession due to the quadrupole moment of the black hole. As a result, this non-conservative effect is a potential source of systematic uncertainty in testing the no-hair theorem with stellar orbits.

Effects of non-spherical symmetry on binary orbits of asteroids and comets

We develop a theoretical framework for the calculation of orbits for a system consisting of a spherical object and a non-spherical body, which is then specialized to a prolate ellipsoid. Particular trajectories are presented that illustrate a drastic contrast between the familiar elliptical orbits of spherical binary systems and the trajectories around the prolate spheroid. We also show here, and in a media video representation of the computed orbits, how the spherical satellite instantaneous orbital plane and eccentricity evolve. We also explicitly verify the conservation of the total angular momentum and energy of the system, prolate plus satellite, while the intrinsic rotational angular momentum and energy of the prolate changes with time at the expense of the orbital energy and angular momentum of the sphere. We then consider a particular orbit where an initially bound satellite gains sufficient orbital energy and eventually escapes, with its total energy now positive. The inverse process, where a satellite is captured by a prolate, is also considered, and we determine the probability of this event occurring, as a function of the initial relative velocity and parameter of impact of the system. We end with a discussion of a plausible scenario where an escaping satellite in the Oort cloud could wind up with a new heliocentric Earth`s crossing orbit. In the Appendices we develop the necessary equations for the application of the above formalism to orbits around a general homogeneous ellipsoid.

Dust particles in mean motion resonances influenced by an interstellar gas flow

The orbital evolution of a dust particle captured in a mean motion resonance with a planet in circular orbit under the action of the Poynting-Robertson effect, radial stellar wind and an interstellar gas flow of is investigated. The secular time derivative of Tisserand parameter is analytically derived for arbitrary orbit orientation. From the secular time derivative of Tisserand parameter a general relation between the secular time derivatives of eccentricity and inclination is obtained. In the planar case (the case when the initial dust particle position vector, initial dust particle velocity vector and interstellar gas velocity vector lie in the planet orbital plane) is possible to calculate directly the secular time derivative of eccentricity. Using numerical integration of equation of motion we confirmed our analytical results in the three-dimensional case and also in the planar case. Evolutions of eccentricity of the dust particle captured in an exterior mean motion resonance under the action of the Poynting-Robertson effect, radial stellar wind for the cases with and without the interstellar gas flow are compared. Qualitative properties of the orbital evolution in the planar case are determined. Two main groups of the secular orbital evolutions exist. In the first group the eccentricity and argument of perihelion approach to some values. In the second group the eccentricity oscillates and argument of perihelion rapidly shifts.

Dust particles in mean motion resonances influenced by an interstellar gas flow [Replacement]

The orbital evolution of a dust particle captured in a mean motion resonance with a planet in circular orbit under the action of the Poynting-Robertson effect, radial stellar wind and an interstellar gas flow of is investigated. The secular time derivative of Tisserand parameter is analytically derived for arbitrary orbit orientation. From the secular time derivative of Tisserand parameter a general relation between the secular time derivatives of eccentricity and inclination is obtained. In the planar case (the case when the initial dust particle position vector, initial dust particle velocity vector and interstellar gas velocity vector lie in the planet orbital plane) is possible to calculate directly the secular time derivative of eccentricity. Using numerical integration of equation of motion we confirmed our analytical results in the three-dimensional case and also in the planar case. Evolutions of eccentricity of the dust particle captured in an exterior mean motion resonance under the action of the Poynting-Robertson effect, radial stellar wind for the cases with and without the interstellar gas flow are compared. Qualitative properties of the orbital evolution in the planar case are determined. Two main groups of the secular orbital evolutions exist. In the first group the eccentricity and argument of perihelion approach to some values. In the second group the eccentricity oscillates and argument of perihelion rapidly shifts.

Dust particles in mean motion resonances influenced by an interstellar gas flow [Replacement]

The orbital evolution of a dust particle captured in a mean motion resonance with a planet in circular orbit under the action of the Poynting-Robertson effect, radial stellar wind and an interstellar gas flow of is investigated. The secular time derivative of Tisserand parameter is analytically derived for arbitrary orbit orientation. From the secular time derivative of Tisserand parameter a general relation between the secular time derivatives of eccentricity and inclination is obtained. In the planar case (the case when the initial dust particle position vector, initial dust particle velocity vector and interstellar gas velocity vector lie in the planet orbital plane) is possible to calculate directly the secular time derivative of eccentricity. Using numerical integration of equation of motion we confirmed our analytical results in the three-dimensional case and also in the planar case. Evolutions of eccentricity of the dust particle captured in an exterior mean motion resonance under the action of the Poynting-Robertson effect, radial stellar wind for the cases with and without the interstellar gas flow are compared. Qualitative properties of the orbital evolution in the planar case are determined. Two main groups of the secular orbital evolutions exist. In the first group the eccentricity and argument of perihelion approach to some values. In the second group the eccentricity oscillates and argument of perihelion rapidly shifts.

Exploring the nature of new main-belt comets with the 10.4m GTC telescope: (300163) 2006 VW139

We aim to study the dust ejected by main-belt comet (MBC) (300163) 2006 VW139 to obtain information on the ejection mechanism and the spectral properties of the object, to see if they are compatible with those of "normal" comets. Images in the g and r band and a low-resolution spectrum in the 0.35-0.9 micron region were obtained with the GTC telescope (La Palma, Spain). Images were analyzed to produce a color map and derive a lower limit of the absolute magnitude. A Monte Carlo (MC) scattering model was used to derive dust properties such as mass loss rates and ejection velocities as a function of time. The spectrum was compared to that of MBC 133P/Elst-Pizarro and used to search for CN emission. The spectrum of 2006 VW139 is typical of a C-class asteroid, with a spectral slope S=0.5+/-1.0%/1000A. It is similar to the spectrum of 133P and other MBCs. No CN emission is detected. A CN production rate upper limit of 3.76e23 1/s is derived. The MBC present a narrow almost linear tail that extends up to 40.000 km in the anti-solar direction and more than 80.000 km in the direction of the object’s orbital plane. The color of the tail is slightly redder than the Sun (S=3 to 6%/1000A). The MC dust tail model derived the mass loss rates and ejection velocity as a function of time, and the results show that the activity onset occurs shortly after perihelion, and lasts about 100 days; the total ejected mass is about 2e6 kg. The spectrum of VW139 suggests that it is not a "normal" comet. It is typical of the other observed MBCs. Even if no CN emission is detected, the more likely activation mechanism is water-ice sublimation. Like other well studied MBCs, VW139 is likely a primitive C-class asteroid that has a water-ice subsurface depth reservoir that has recently been exposed to sunlight or to temperatures that produce enough heat to sublime the ice.

An X-Ray and Optical Light Curv Model of the Eclipsing Symbiotic Binary SMC3

Some binary evolution scenarios to Type Ia supernovae include long-period binaries that evolve to symbiotic supersoft X-ray sources in their late stage of evolution. However, symbiotic stars with steady hydrogen burning on the white dwarf’s (WD) surface are very rare, and the X-ray characteristics are not well known. SMC3 is one such rare example and a key object for understanding the evolution of symbiotic stars to Type Ia supernovae. SMC3 is an eclipsing symbiotic binary, consisting of a massive WD and red giant (RG), with an orbital period of 4.5 years in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The long-term V light curve variations are reproduced as orbital variations in the irradiated RG, whose atmosphere fills its Roche lobe, thus supporting the idea that the RG supplies matter to the WD at rates high enough to maintain steady hydrogen burning on the WD. We also present an eclipse model in which an X-ray emitting region around the WD is almost totally occulted by the RG swelling over the Roche lobe on the trailing side, although it is always partly obscured by a long spiral tail of neutral hydrogen surrounding the binary in the orbital plane.

Origin of Two Types of X-Ray Outbursts in Be/X-Ray Binaries. I. Accretion Scenarios

We propose the new scenario for X-ray outbursts in Be/X-ray binaries that normal and giant outbursts are respectively caused by radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs) and Bondi-Hoyle-Lyttleton (BHL) accretion of the material transferred from the outermost part of a Be disk misaligned with the binary orbital plane. Based on simulated mass-transfer rates from misaligned Be disks, together with simplified accretion flow models, we show that mass-accretion rates estimated from the luminosity of the normal X-ray outbursts are consistent with those obtained with advection-dominated accretion flows, not with the standard, radiative-cooling dominated, accretion. Our RIAF scenario for normal X-ray outbursts resolves problems that have challenged the standard disk picture for these outbursts. When a misaligned Be disk crosses the orbit of the neutron star, e.g., by warping, the neutron star can capture a large amount of mass via BHL-type accretion during the disk transit event. We numerically show that such a process can reproduce the X-ray luminosity of giant X-ray outbursts. In the case of very high Be disk density, the accretion flow associated with the disk transit becomes supercritical, giving rise to the luminosity higher than the Eddington luminosity.

Binary Black Hole Accretion Flows From a Misaligned Circumbinary Disk

We study the basic properties of accretion flows onto binary supermassive black holes, including the cases in which a circumbinary disk is misaligned with the binary orbital plane, by means of three-dimensional Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulations. We find that a circular binary system with a misaligned circumbinary disk normally produces a double peaked mass-accretion-rate variation per binary orbit. This is because each black hole passes across the circumbinary disk plane and captures gas twice in one orbital period. Even in misaligned systems, however, a single peaked mass-accretion-rate variation per binary orbit is produced, if the orbital eccentricity is moderately large (e\lesssim0.3). The number of peaks in mass accretion rates can be understood simply in terms of the orbital phase dependence of the distance between each binary black hole and its closest inner edge of the circumbinary disk. In the cases of eccentric binary black holes having different masses, the less massive black hole can get closer to the circumbinary disk than the massive one, thus tidally splitting gas from its inner edge, but the created gas flows are comparably captured by both black holes with a short time delay. As a consequence, the combined light curve shows periodic occurrence of double-peaked flares with a short interval. This may account for the observed light variations of OJ287.

Assembly of Protoplanetary Disks and Inclinations of Circumbinary Planets

The Kepler satellite has discovered a number of transiting planets around close binary stars. These circumbinary systems have highly aligned planetary and binary orbits. In this paper, we explore how the mutual inclination between the planetary and binary orbits may reflect the physical conditions of the assembly of protoplanetary disks and the interaction between protostellar binaries and circumbinary disks. Given the turbulent nature of star-forming molecular clouds, it is possible that the gas falling onto the outer region of a circumbinary disk and the central protostellar binary have different axes of rotation. Thus, the newly assembled circumbinary disk can be misaligned with respect to the binary. However, the gravitational torque from the binary produces a warp and twist in the disk, and the back-reaction torque tends to align the disk and the binary orbital plane. We present a new, analytic calculation of this alignment torque, and show that the binary-disk inclination angle can be reduced appreciably after the binary accretes a few percent of its mass from the disk. Our calculation suggests that in the absence of other disturbances, circumbinary disks and planets around close (sub-AU) stellar binaries, for which mass accretion onto the proto-binary is very likely to have occurred, are expected to be highly aligned with the binary orbits, while disks and planets around wide binaries can be misaligned.

Assembly of Protoplanetary Disks and Inclinations of Circumbinary Planets [Replacement]

The Kepler satellite has discovered a number of transiting planets around close binary stars. These circumbinary systems have highly aligned planetary and binary orbits. In this paper, we explore how the mutual inclination between the planetary and binary orbits may reflect the physical conditions of the assembly of protoplanetary disks and the interaction between protostellar binaries and circumbinary disks. Given the turbulent nature of star-forming molecular clouds, it is possible that the gas falling onto the outer region of a circumbinary disk and the central protostellar binary have different axes of rotation. Thus, the newly assembled circumbinary disk can be misaligned with respect to the binary. However, the gravitational torque from the binary produces a warp and twist in the disk, and the back-reaction torque tends to align the disk and the binary orbital plane. We present a new, analytic calculation of this alignment torque, and show that the binary-disk inclination angle can be reduced appreciably after the binary accretes a few percent of its mass from the disk. Our calculation suggests that in the absence of other disturbances, circumbinary disks and planets around close (sub-AU) stellar binaries, for which mass accretion onto the proto-binary is very likely to have occurred, are expected to be highly aligned with the binary orbits, while disks and planets around wide binaries can be misaligned. Measurements of the mutual inclinations of circumbinary planetary systems can provide a clue to the birth environments of such systems.

Mini-Oort clouds: Compact isotropic planetesimal clouds from planet-planet scattering

Starting from planetary systems with three giant planets and an outer disk of planetesimals, we use dynamical simulations to show how dynamical instabilities can transform planetesimal disks into 100-1000 AU-scale isotropic clouds. The instabilities involve a phase of planet-planet scattering that concludes with the ejection of one or more planets and the inward-scattering of the surviving gas giant(s) to remove them from direct dynamical contact with the planetesimals. "Mini-Oort clouds" are thus formed from scattered planetesimals whose orbits are frozen by the abrupt disappearance of the perturbing giant planet. Although the planetesimal orbits are virtually isotropic, the surviving giant planets tend to have modest inclinations (typically ~10 degrees) with respect to the initial orbital plane. The collisional lifetimes of mini-Oort clouds are long (10 Myr to >10 Gyr) and there is a window of ~100 Myr or longer during which they produce spherical clouds of potentially observable dust at 70 microns. If the formation channel for hot Jupiters commonly involves planetary close encounters, we predict a correlation between this subset of extrasolar planetary systems and mini-Oort clouds.

The Formation and Evolution of Wind-Capture Disks In Binary Systems

We study the formation, evolution and physical properties of accretion disks formed via wind capture in binary systems. Using the AMR code AstroBEAR, we have carried out high resolution 3D simulations that follow a stellar mass secondary in the co-rotating frame as it orbits a wind producing AGB primary. We first derive a resolution criteria, based on considerations of Bondi-Hoyle flows, that must be met in order to properly resolve the formation of accretion disks around the secondary. We then compare simulations of binaries with three different orbital radii (10, 15, 20 AU). Disks are formed in all three cases, however the size of the disk and, most importantly, its accretion rate decreases with orbital radii. In addition, the shape of the orbital motions of material within the disk becomes increasingly elliptical with increasing binary separation. The flow is mildly unsteady with "fluttering" around the bow shock observed. The disks are generally well aligned with the orbital plane after a few binary orbits. We do not observe the presence of any large scale, violent instabilities (such as the flip-flop mode). For the first time, moreover, it is observed that the wind component that is accreted towards the secondary has a vortex tube-like structure, rather than a column-like one as it was previously thought. In the context of AGB binary systems that might be precursors to Pre-Planetary and Planetary Nebula, we find that the wind accretion rates at the chosen orbital separations are generally too small to produce the most powerful outflows observed in these systems if the companions are main sequence stars but marginally capable if the companions are white dwarfs. It is likely that many of the more powerful PPN and PN involve closer binaries than the ones considered here. The results also demonstrate principles of broad relevance to all wind-capture binary systems.

The Formation and Evolution of Wind-Capture Disks In Binary Systems [Replacement]

We study the formation, evolution and physical properties of accretion disks formed via wind capture in binary systems. Using the AMR code AstroBEAR, we have carried out high resolution 3D simulations that follow a stellar mass secondary in the co-rotating frame as it orbits a wind producing AGB primary. We first derive a resolution criteria, based on considerations of Bondi-Hoyle flows, that must be met in order to properly resolve the formation of accretion disks around the secondary. We then compare simulations of binaries with three different orbital radii (10, 15, 20 AU). Disks are formed in all three cases, however the size of the disk and, most importantly, its accretion rate decreases with orbital radii. In addition, the shape of the orbital motions of material within the disk becomes increasingly elliptical with increasing binary separation. The flow is mildly unsteady with "fluttering" around the bow shock observed. The disks are generally well aligned with the orbital plane after a few binary orbits. We do not observe the presence of any large scale, violent instabilities (such as the flip-flop mode). For the first time, moreover, it is observed that the wind component that is accreted towards the secondary has a vortex tube-like structure, rather than a column-like one as it was previously thought. In the context of AGB binary systems that might be precursors to Pre-Planetary and Planetary Nebula, we find that the wind accretion rates at the chosen orbital separations are generally too small to produce the most powerful outflows observed in these systems if the companions are main sequence stars but marginally capable if the companions are white dwarfs. It is likely that many of the more powerful PPN and PN involve closer binaries than the ones considered here. The results also demonstrate principles of broad relevance to all wind-capture binary systems.

An alternative technique for timing the double pulsar system

Freire et al. (2009, MNRAS, 396, 1764) have put forward a technique for timing the double pulsar system PSR J0737-3039A/B (hereafter A and B, respectively). Their technique can be used to determine the sense of rotation of A relative to its orbital plane. In this paper, we present another technique with the same purpose. Two well-known periods, the sidereal day and solar day, are often used to define the spin period of the earth. Their difference is caused by a kinematic effect which correlated with earth’s rotation and revolution. We think that this kinematic effect should exist in the double pulsar system and can be used to determine the sense of rotation of the pulsars. Commonly, B’s modulation frequency is considered to be equal to A’s rotation frequency, because B’s signal is modulated by A’s energy flux. When the kinematic effect is considered, B’s modulation frequency will be, similar to the solar day and sidereal day, a little higher or lower than A’s rotation frequency. If this frequency offset can be found, A’s rotation sense will be determined and the position of the lighthouse model will be consolidated.

Measuring the orbital inclination of Z Andromedae from Rayleigh scattering

The orbital inclination of the symbiotic prototype Z And has not been established yet. At present, two very different values are considered, i ~ 44 degrees and i >~ 73 degrees. The correct value of i is a key parameter in, for example, modeling the highly-collimated jets of Z And. The aim of this paper is to measure the orbital inclination of Z And. First, we derive the hydrogen column density (nH), which causes the Rayleigh scattering of the far-UV spectrum at the orbital phase phi = 0.961 plus/minus 0.018. Second, we calculate nH as a function of i and phi for the ionization structure during the quiescent phase. Third, we compare the nH(i,phi) models with the observed value. The most probable shaping of the HI/HII boundaries and the uncertainties in the orbital phase limit i of Z And to 59 -2/+3 degrees. Systematic errors given by using different wind velocity laws can increase i up to ~74 degrees. A high value of i is supported independently by the orbitally related variation in the far-UV continuum and the obscuration of the OI] 1641 A emission line around the inferior conjunction of the giant. The derived value of the inclination of the Z And orbital plane allows treating satellite components of H-alpha and H-beta emission lines as highly-collimated jets.

Formation and Early Evolution of Circumstellar Disks in Turbulent Molecular Cloud Cores

We investigate the formation and evolution of circumstellar disks in turbulent cloud cores until several 104 years after protostar formation using smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) calculations. The formation and evolution process of circumstellar disk in turbulent cloud cores differs substantially from that in rigidly rotating cloud cores. In turbulent cloud cores, a filamentary structure appears before the protostar formation and the protostar forms in the filament. If the turbulence is initially sufficiently strong, the remaining filament twists around the protostar and directly becomes a rotation-supported disk. Upon formation, the disk orientation is generally misaligned with the angular momentum of its host cloud core and it dynamically varies during the main accretion phase, even though the turbulence is weak. This is because the angular momentum of the entire cloud core is mainly determined by the large scale velocity field whose wavelength is comparable to the cloud scale, whereas the angular momentum of the disk is determined by the local velocity field where the protostar forms and these two velocity fields do not correlate with each other. In the case of disk evolution in a binary or multiple stars, the disks are misaligned with each other at least during the main accretion phase, because there is no correlation between the velocity fields around the position where each protostar forms. In addition, each disk is also misaligned with the binary orbital plane. Such misalignment can explain the recent observations of misaligned disks and misaligned protostellar outflows.

A New Method of Determining the Characteristics of Evolved Binary Systems Revealed in the Observed Circumstellar Patterns: Application to AFGL 3068

The binary characteristics of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars are imprinted in the asymmetric patterns of their circumstellar envelopes. We develop a simple method for constraining the orbital parameters of such binary stars from the characteristics of a spiral-like pattern observed at large distances from the central stars. We place constraints on the properties of AFGL 3068 (i.e., the masses of binary components, the viewing inclination of the orbital plane, as well as the orbital period, velocity, and separation). In particular, the mass of the companion star of AFGL 3068 is estimated to be greater than 2.6 solar mass. This method is applicable to other AGB stars, providing a step toward understanding the role binary stars can play in explaining the diverse patterns in observed circumstellar envelopes.

 

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