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A close-pair binary in a distant triple supermassive black-hole system

Galaxies are believed to evolve through merging, which should lead to multiple supermassive black holes in some. There are four known triple black hole systems, with the closest pair being 2.4 kiloparsecs apart (the third component is more distant at 3 kiloparsecs), which is far from the gravitational sphere of influence of a black hole with mass $\sim$10$^9$ M$_\odot$ (about 100 parsecs). Previous searches for compact black hole systems concluded that they were rare, with the tightest binary system having a separation of 7 parsecs. Here we report observations of a triple black hole system at redshift z=0.39, with the closest pair separated by $\sim$140 parsecs. The presence of the tight pair is imprinted onto the properties of the large-scale radio jets, as a rotationally-symmetric helical modulation, which provides a useful way to search for other tight pairs without needing extremely high resolution observations. As we found this tight pair after searching only six galaxies, we conclude that tight pairs are more common than hitherto believed, which is an important observational constraint for low-frequency gravitational wave experiments.

The curious case of HD41248. A pair of static signals buried behind red-noise

Gaining a better understanding of the effects of stellar induced radial velocity noise is critical for the future of exoplanet studies, since the discovery of the lowest-mass planets using this method will require us to go below the intrinsic stellar noise limit. An interesting test case in this respect is that of the southern solar analogue HD41248. The radial velocity time series of this star has been proposed to contain either a pair of signals with periods of around 18 and 25 days, that could be due to a pair of resonant super-Earths, or a single and varying 25 day signal that could arise due to a complex interplay between differential rotation and modulated activity. In this letter we build-up more evidence for the former scenario, showing that the signals are still clearly significant even after more than 10 years of observations and they likely do not change in period, amplitude, or phase as a function of time, the hallmarks of static Doppler signals. We show that over the last two observing seasons this star was more intrinsically active and the noise reddened, highlighting why better noise models are needed to find the lowest amplitude signals, in particular models that consider noise correlations. This analysis shows that there is still sufficient evidence for the existence of two super-Earths on the edge of, or locked into, a 7:5 mean motion resonance orbiting HD41248.

Quintessence and effective AdS brane geometries [Replacement]

A geometric torsion dynamics leading to an effective curvature in a second order formalism on a D4-brane is revisited with a renewed interest. We obtain two effective $AdS_4$ brane geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_3$-brane. One of them is shown to describe an AdS Schwarzschild spinning black hole and the other is shown to describe a spinning black hole bound state. It is argued that a D-instanton in a vacuum created anti D3-brane within a pair may describe a quintessence. It may seen to incorporate a varying vacuum energy density in a brane universe. We consider the effective curvature scalar on $S^1\times S^1$ to analyze torsion-less geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_2$-brane. The emergent $AdS_3$ brane is shown to describe a Schwarzschild and a Reissner-Nordstrom (RN) geometries in presence of extra dimension(s).

Quintessence and effective AdS brane geometries [Replacement]

A geometric torsion dynamics leading to an effective curvature in a second order formalism on a D4-brane is revisited with a renewed interest. We obtain two effective $AdS_4$ brane geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_3$-brane. One of them is shown to describe an AdS Schwarzschild spinning black hole and the other is shown to describe a spinning black hole bound state. It is argued that a D-instanton in a vacuum created anti D3-brane within a pair may describe a quintessence. It may seen to incorporate a varying vacuum energy density in a brane universe. We consider the effective curvature scalar on $S^1\times S^1$ to analyze torsion-less geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_2$-brane. The emergent $AdS_3$ brane is shown to describe a Schwarzschild and a Reissner-Nordstrom (RN) geometries in presence of extra dimension(s).

Quintessence and effective AdS brane geometries [Cross-Listing]

A geometric torsion dynamics leading to an effective curvature in a second order formalism on a D4-brane is revisited with a renewed interest. We obtain two effective $AdS_4$ brane geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_3$-brane. One of them is shown to describe an AdS Schwarzschild spinning black hole and the other is shown to describe a spinning black hole bound state. It is argued that a D-instanton in a vacuum created anti D3-brane within a pair may describe a quintessence. It may seen to incorporate a varying vacuum energy density in a brane universe. We consider the effective curvature scalar on $S^1\times S^1$ to analyze torsion-less geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_2$-brane. The emergent $AdS_3$ brane is shown to describe a Schwarzschild and a Reissner-Nordstrom (RN) geometries in presence of extra dimension(s).

Quintessence and effective AdS brane geometries

A geometric torsion dynamics leading to an effective curvature in a second order formalism on a D4-brane is revisited with a renewed interest. We obtain two effective $AdS_4$ brane geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_3$-brane. One of them is shown to describe an AdS Schwarzschild spinning black hole and the other is shown to describe a spinning black hole bound state. It is argued that a D-instanton in a vacuum created anti D3-brane within a pair may describe a quintessence. It may seen to incorporate a varying vacuum energy density in a brane universe. We consider the effective curvature scalar on $S^1\times S^1$ to analyze torsion-less geometries on a vacuum created pair of $(D{\bar D})_2$-brane. The emergent $AdS_3$ brane is shown to describe a Schwarzschild and a Reissner-Nordstrom (RN) geometries in presence of extra dimension(s).

Binary Satellite Galaxies

Suggestions have appeared in the literature that the following five pairs of Milky Way and Andromeda satellite galaxies are gravitationally bound: Draco and Ursa Minor, Leo IV and V, Andromeda I and III, NGC 147 and 185, and the Magellanic clouds. Under the assumption that a given pair is gravitationally bound, the Virial theorem provides an estimate of its total mass and so its instantaneous tidal radius. For all of these pairs except for the Magellanic clouds the resulting total mass is 2 to 4 orders of magnitude higher than that within the half light radius. Furthermore in the case of each pair except for Leo IV and Leo V, the estimated tidal radius is inferior to the separation between the two satellites. Therefore all or almost all of these systems are not gravitationally bound. We note several possible explanations for the proximities and similar radial velocities of the satellites in each pair, for example they may have condensed from the same infalling structure or they may be bound by a nongravitational interaction between dark matter and an extremely light particle.

An investigation of star formation and dust attenuation in major mergers using ultraviolet and infrared data

Merger processes play an important role in galaxy formation and evolution. To study the influence of merger processes on the evolution of dust properties and cosmic star formation rate, we investigate a local sample of major merger galaxies and a control sample of isolated galaxies using GALEX ultraviolet (UV) and Spitzer infrared (IR) images. Through a statistical study, we find that dust attenuation in merger galaxies is enhanced with respect to isolated galaxies. We find this enhancement is contributed mainly by spiral galaxies in spiral-spiral (S-S) pairs, and increases with the increasing stellar mass of a galaxy. Combining the IR and UV parts of star formation rates (SFRs), we then calculated the total SFRs and specific star formation rates (SSFRs). We find the SSFRs to be enhanced in merger galaxies. This enhancement depends on galaxy stellar mass and the companion’s morphology, but depends little on whether the galaxy is a primary or secondary component or on the separation between two components. These results are consistent with a previous study based only on IR images. In addition, we investigate the nuclear contributions to SFRs. SFRs in paired galaxies are more concentrated in the central part of the galaxies than in isolate galaxies. Our studies of dust attenuation show that the nuclear parts of pairs most resemble ULIRGs. Including UV data in the present work not only provides reliable information on dust attenuation, but also refines analyses of SFRs.

On The Relative Sizes of Planets Within Kepler Multiple Candidate Systems

We present a study of the relative sizes of planets within the multiple candidate systems discovered with the $Kepler$ mission. We have compared the size of each planet to the size of every other planet within a given planetary system after correcting the sample for detection and geometric biases. We find that for planet-pairs for which one or both objects is approximately Neptune-sized or larger, the larger planet is most often the planet with the longer period. No such size–location correlation is seen for pairs of planets when both planets are smaller than Neptune. Specifically, if at least one planet in a planet-pair has a radius of $\gtrsim 3R_\oplus$, $68\pm 6%$ of the planet pairs have the inner planet smaller than the outer planet, while no preferred sequential ordering of the planets is observed if both planets in a pair are smaller than $\lesssim3 R_\oplus$.

The intriguing life of star-forming galaxies in the redshift range 1 < z < 2 using MASSIV

MASSIV (Massiv Assembly Survey with SINFONI in VVDS) is an ESO large program which consists of 84 star-forming galaxies, spanning in a wide range of stellar masses, observed with the IFU SINFONI on the VLT, in the redshift range 1 < z < 2. To be representative of the normal galaxy population, the sample has been selected from a well-defined, complete and representative parent sample. The kinematics of individual galaxies reveals that 58% of the galaxies are slow rotators, which means that a high fraction of these galaxies should probably be formed through major merger processes which might have produced gaseous thick or spheroidal structures supported by velocity dispersion rather than by rotation. Computations on the major merger rate from close pairs indicate that a typical star-forming galaxy underwent ~0.4 major mergers since ~9.5 Gyr, showing that merging is a major process driving mass assembly into the red sequence galaxies. These objects are also intriguing due to the fact that more than one galaxy over four is more metal-rich in its outskirts than in its center.

Non-perturbative QCD effects in $\eta_c$ and $\eta_b$ decays into baryons and WIMP scattering off nuclei [Cross-Listing]

In this work we estimate the helicity suppressed decay rates of $\eta_b$ resonances into baryon pairs due to instanton-induced effects by rescaling the corresponding partial widths of the experimentally measured branching ratios for the $\eta_c(1S) \to p\bar{p}$ and $\eta_c(1S) \to \Lambda\bar(\Lambda)$ decay modes. Thus we point out that both $\eta_b(1S) \to p\bar{p}$ and $\eta_b(1S) \to \Lambda\bar(\Lambda)$ channels could be detected at a Super B factory and LHC experiments. Furthermore, we examine related instanton-induced effects on WIMP scattering off nuclei concluding, albeit with large uncertainties, that they might enhance the spin-dependent cross section for a light pseudoscalar Higgs boson mediator, thereby inducing a dependence on the momentum transfer to the recoling nucleus.

Multipolar Planetary Nebulae: Not as Geometrically Diversified as Thought

Planetary nebulae (PNe) have diverse morphological shapes, including point-symmetric and multipolar structures. Many PNe also have complicated internal structures such as torus, lobes, knots, and ansae. A complete accounting of all the morphological structures through physical models is difficult. A first step toward such an understanding is to derive the true three-dimensional structure of the nebulae. In this paper, we show that a multipolar nebula with three pairs of lobes can explain many of such features, if orientation and sensitivity effects are taken into account. Using only six parameters – the inclination and position angles of each pair – we are able to simulate the observed images of 20 PNe with complex structures. We suggest that the multipolar structure is an intrinsic structure of PNe and the statistics of multipolar PNe has been severely underestimated in the past.

Collaborating with "professional" amateurs: low-mass stars in fragile multiple system

The boundary between professional and amateur astronomers gets narrower and narrower. We present several real examples, most of them published in refereed journals, of works resulting from fruitful collaborations between key amateur astronomers in Spain and professional colleagues. The common denominator of these works is the search for binaries, mostly nearby, wide, common proper-motion pairs with low-mass stellar components, including some of the most fragile systems ever found.

Afterglow emission in Gamma-Ray Bursts: I. Pair-enriched ambient medium and radiative blast waves

Forward shocks caused by the interaction between a relativistic blast wave and the circum-burst medium are thought to be responsible for the afterglow emission in Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). We consider the hydrodynamics of a spherical relativistic blast wave expanding into the surrounding medium and we generalize the standard theory in order to account for several effects that are generally ignored. In particular, we consider the role of adiabatic and radiative losses on the hydrodynamical evolution of the shock, under the assumption that the cooling losses are fast. Our model can describe adiabatic, fully radiative and semi-radiative blast waves, and can describe the effects of a time-varying radiative efficiency. The equations we present are valid for arbitrary density profiles, and also for a circum-burst medium enriched with electron-positron pairs. The presence of pairs enhances the fraction of shock energy gained by the leptons, thus increasing the importance of radiative losses. Our model allows to study whether the high-energy (>0.1 GeV) emission in GRBs may originate from afterglow radiation. In particular, it is suitable to test whether the fast decay of the high-energy light curve observed in several Fermi LAT GRBs can be ascribed to an initial radiative phase, followed by the standard adiabatic evolution.

Analysis of defect formation in semiconductor cryogenic bolometric detectors created by heavy dark matter

The cryogenic detectors in the form of bolometers are presently used for different applications, in particular for very rare or hypothetical events associated with new forms of matter, specifically related to the existence of Dark Matter. In the detection of particles with a semiconductor as target and detector, usually two signals are measured: ionization and heat. The amplification of the thermal signal is obtained with the prescriptions from Luke-Neganov effect. The energy deposited in the semiconductor lattice as stable defects in the form of Frenkel pairs at cryogenic temperatures, following the interaction of a dark matter particle, is evaluated and consequences for measured quantities are discussed. This contribution is included in the energy balance of the Luke effect. Applying the present model to germanium and silicon, we found that for the same incident weakly interacting massive particle the energy deposited in defects in germanium is about twice the value for silicon.

Multiple Gamma Lines from Semi-Annihilation [Cross-Listing]

Hints in the Fermi data for a 130 GeV gamma line from the galactic center have ignited interest in potential gamma line signatures of dark matter. Explanations of this line based on dark matter annihilation face a parametric tension since they often rely on large enhancements of loop-suppressed cross sections. In this paper, we pursue an alternative possibility that dark matter gamma lines could arise from "semi-annihilation" among multiple dark sector states. The semi-annihilation reaction with a single final state photon is typically enhanced relative to ordinary annihilation into photon pairs. Semi-annihilation allows for a wide range of dark matter masses compared to the fixed mass value required by annihilation, opening the possibility to explain potential dark matter signatures at higher energies. The most striking prediction of semi-annihilation is the presence of multiple gamma lines, with as many as order N^3 lines possible for N dark sector states, allowing for dark sector spectroscopy. A smoking gun signature arises in the simplest case of degenerate dark matter, where a strong semi-annihilation line at 130 GeV would be accompanied by a weaker annihilation line at 173 GeV. As a proof of principle, we construct two explicit models of dark matter semi-annihilation, one based on non-Abelian vector dark matter and the other based on retrofitting Rayleigh dark matter.

Multiple Gamma Lines from Semi-Annihilation [Replacement]

Hints in the Fermi data for a 130 GeV gamma line from the galactic center have ignited interest in potential gamma line signatures of dark matter. Explanations of this line based on dark matter annihilation face a parametric tension since they often rely on large enhancements of loop-suppressed cross sections. In this paper, we pursue an alternative possibility that dark matter gamma lines could arise from "semi-annihilation" among multiple dark sector states. The semi-annihilation reaction with a single final state photon is typically enhanced relative to ordinary annihilation into photon pairs. Semi-annihilation allows for a wide range of dark matter masses compared to the fixed mass value required by annihilation, opening the possibility to explain potential dark matter signatures at higher energies. The most striking prediction of semi-annihilation is the presence of multiple gamma lines, with as many as order N^3 lines possible for N dark sector states, allowing for dark sector spectroscopy. A smoking gun signature arises in the simplest case of degenerate dark matter, where a strong semi-annihilation line at 130 GeV would be accompanied by a weaker annihilation line at 173 GeV. As a proof of principle, we construct two explicit models of dark matter semi-annihilation, one based on non-Abelian vector dark matter and the other based on retrofitting Rayleigh dark matter.

A stable all nitrogen metallic salt at terapascal pressures [Cross-Listing]

Nitrogen, as the seventh most abundant element in the universe, is an important constituent of the atmospheres and interiors of planets such as the Earth and the surfaces of moons such as Triton. The phase diagram and equation of state of dense nitrogen is therefore of interest in understanding the fundamental physics and chemistry of planetary processes and in discovering new materials. We predict stable phases of nitrogen at multi-TPa pressures, including a $P4/nbm$ structure consisting of partially charged N$_{2}^{\delta+}$ pairs and N$_{5}^{\delta-}$ tetrahedra, which is stable in the range 2.5-7.1 TPa. This is followed by a modulated $Fdd2$ structure at 7.1-11.5 TPa, which also exhibits significant charge transfer. The $P4/nbm$ metallic nitrogen salt and $Fdd2$ modulated structure exhibit strongly ionic features and charge density distortions, which is unexpected in an element at such high pressures and could represent a new class of nitrogen materials.

Multi-Band Feeds: A Design Study

Broadband antenna feeds are of particular interest to existing and future radio telescopes for multi-frequency studies of astronomical sources. Although a 1:15 range in frequency is difficult to achieve, the well-known Eleven feed design offers a relatively uniform response over such a range, and reasonably well-matched responses in E & H planes. However, given the severe Radio Frequency Interference in several bands over such wide spectral range, one desires to selectively reject the corresponding bands. With this view, we have explored the possibilities of having a multi-band feed antenna spanning a wide frequency range, but which would have good response only in a number of pre-selected (relatively) RFI-free windows (for a particular telescope-site). The designs we have investigated use the basic configuration of pairs of dipoles as in the Eleven feed, but use simple wire dipoles instead of folded dipoles used in the latter. From our study of the two designs we have investigated, we find that the design with feed-lines constructed using co-axial lines shows good rejection in the unwanted parts of the spectrum and control over the locations of resonant bands.

A dynamical study on the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets I: Tidally evolved planet-satellite pairs

We investigate the obliquity and spin period of Earth-Moon like systems after 4.5 Gyr of tidal evolution with various satellite masses and initial planetary obliquity and discuss their relations to the habitability of the planet. We find three possible outcomes: either i) the system is still evolving, ii) the system is double synchronous or iii) the satellite has collided with the planet. The transition between case i) and ii) is abrupt and occurs at slightly larger satellite mass ($m_s \sim 0.02m_p$) than the lunar mass. We suggest that cases ii) and iii) are less habitable than case i). Using results from models of giant impacts and satellite accretion, we found that the systems that mimic our own with rotation period $12 < P_p < 48$ h and current planetary obliquity $\varepsilon_p < 40^\circ$ or $\varepsilon_p > 140^\circ$ only represent 14% of the possible outcomes. Elser et al. (2011) conclude that the probability of a terrestrial planet having a heavy satellite is 13%. Combining these results suggests that the probability of ending up with a system such as our own is of the order of 2%.

Indirect Probes of Supersymmetry Breaking in the JEM-EUSO Observatory [Cross-Listing]

In this paper we propose indirect probes of the scale of supersymmetry breaking, through observations in the Extreme Universe Space Observatory onboard Japanese Experiment Module (JEM-EUSO). We consider scenarios where the lightest supersymmetric particle is the gravitino, and the next to lightest (NLSP) is a long lived slepton. We demonstrate that JEM-EUSO will be able to probe models where the NLSP decays, therefore probing supersymmetric breaking scales below $5 \times 10^6$ GeV. The observatory field of view will be large enough to detect a few tens of events per year, depending on its energy threshold. This is complementary to a previous proposal (Albuquerque et al., 2004) where it was shown that 1 Km$^3$ neutrino telescopes can directly probe this scale. NLSPs will be produced by the interaction of high energy neutrinos in the Earth. Here we investigate scenarios where they subsequently decay, either in the atmosphere after escaping the Earth or right before leaving the Earth, producing taus. These can be detected by JEM-EUSO and have two distinctive signatures: one, they are produced in the Earth and go upwards in the atmosphere, which allows discrimination from atmospheric taus and, second, as NLSPs are always produced in pairs, coincident taus will be a strong signature for these events. Assuming that the neutrino flux is equivalent to the Waxman-Bahcall limit, we determine the rate of taus from NLSP decays reaching JEM-EUSO’s field of view.

Testing the universality of star formation - II. Comparing separation distributions of nearby star-forming regions and the field

We have measured the multiplicity fractions and separation distributions of seven young star-forming regions using a uniform sample of young binaries. Both the multiplicity fractions and separation distributions are similar in the different regions. A tentative decline in the multiplicity fraction with increasing stellar density is apparent, even for binary systems with separations too close (19-100au) to have been dynamically processed. The separation distributions in the different regions are statistically indistinguishable over most separation ranges, and the regions with higher densities do not exhibit a lower proportion of wide (300-620au) relative to close (62-300au) binaries as might be expected from the preferential destruction of wider pairs. Only the closest (19-100au) separation range, which would be unaffected by dynamical processing, shows a possible difference in separation distributions between different regions. The combined set of young binaries, however, shows a distinct difference when compared to field binaries, with a significant excess of close (19-100au) systems among the younger binaries. Based on both the similarities and differences between individual regions, and between all seven young regions and the field, especially over separation ranges too close to be modified by dynamical processing, we conclude that multiple star formation is not universal and, by extension, the star formation process is not universal.

The significance of the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect revisited

We revisit the state of the integrated Sachs-Wolfe (ISW) effect measurements in light of newly available data and address criticisms about the measurements which have recently been raised. We update the data set previously assembled by Giannantonio et al. to include new data releases for both the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and the large-scale structure (LSS) of the Universe. We find that our updated results are consistent with previous measurements. By fitting a single template amplitude, we now obtain a combined significance of the ISW detection at the 4.4 sigma level, which fluctuates by 0.4 sigma when alternative data cuts and analysis assumptions are considered. We also make new tests for systematic contaminations of the data, focusing in particular on the issues raised by Sawangwit et al. Amongst them, we address the rotation test, which aims at checking for possible systematics by correlating pairs of randomly rotated maps. We find results consistent with the expected data covariance, no evidence for enhanced correlation on any preferred axis of rotation, and therefore no indication of any additional systematic contamination. We publicly release the results, the covariance matrix, and the sky maps used to obtain them.

Common Proper Motion Wide White Dwarf Binaries Selected From The Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Wide binaries made up of two white dwarfs (WDs) receive far less attention than their tight counterparts. However, our tests using the binary population synthesis code {\tt StarTrack} indicate that, for any set of reasonable initial conditions, there exists a significant observable population of double white dwarfs (WDWDs) with orbital separations of 10$^2$ to 10$^5$ AU. We adapt the technique of Dhital et al.\ to search for candidate common proper motion WD companions separated by $<10\amin$ around the $>$12,000 spectroscopically confirmed hydrogen-atmosphere WDs recently identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Using two techniques to separate random alignments from high-confidence pairs, we find nine new high-probability wide WDWDs and confirm three previously identified candidate wide WDWDs. This brings the number of known wide WDWDs to 45; our new pairs are a significant addition to the sample, especially at small proper motions ($<$200 mas/yr) and large angular separations ($>$10\asec). Spectroscopic follow-up and an extension of this method to a larger, photometrically selected set of SDSS WDs may eventually produce a large enough dataset for WDWDs to realize their full potential as testbeds for theories of stellar evolution.

COSMOGRAIL XII: Time delays and 9-yr optical monitoring of the lensed quasar RX J1131-1231

We present the results from 9 years of optically monitoring the gravitationally lensed z=0.658 quasar RX J1131-1231. The R band light curves of the 4 individual images of the quasar are obtained using deconvolution photometry, for a total of 707 epochs. Several sharp quasar variability features strongly constrain the time delays between the quasar images. Using three different numerical techniques, we measure these delays for all possible pairs of quasar images, while always processing the 4 light curves simultaneously. For all three methods, the delays between the 3 close images A, B and C are compatible with being 0, while we measure the delay of image D to be 91 days, with a fractional uncertainty of 1.5% (1 sigma), including systematic errors. Our analysis of random and systematic errors accounts in a realistic way for the observed quasar variability, fluctuating microlensing magnification over a broad range of temporal scales, noise properties, and seasonal gaps. Finally, we find that our time delay measurement methods yield compatible results when applied to subsets of the data.

Planck intermediate results. VIII. Filaments between interacting clusters

About half of the baryons of the Universe are expected to be in the form of filaments of hot and low density intergalactic medium. Most of these baryons remain undetected even by the most advanced X-ray observatories which are limited in sensitivity to the diffuse low density medium. The Planck satellite has provided hundreds of detections of the hot gas in clusters of galaxies via the thermal Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (tSZ) effect and is an ideal instrument for studying extended low density media through the tSZ effect. In this paper we use the Planck data to search for signatures of a fraction of these missing baryons between pairs of galaxy clusters. Cluster pairs are good candidates for searching for the hotter and denser phase of the intergalactic medium (which is more easily observed through the SZ effect). Using an X-ray catalogue of clusters and the Planck data, we select physical pairs of clusters as candidates. Using the Planck data we construct a local map of the tSZ effect centered on each pair of galaxy clusters. ROSAT data is used to construct X-ray maps of these pairs. After having modelled and subtracted the tSZ effect and X-ray emission for each cluster in the pair we study the residuals on both the SZ and X-ray maps. For the merging cluster pair A399-A401 we observe a significant tSZ effect signal in the intercluster region beyond the virial radii of the clusters. A joint X-ray SZ analysis allows us to constrain the temperature and density of this intercluster medium. We obtain a temperature of kT = 7.1 +- 0.9, keV (consistent with previous estimates) and a baryon density of (3.7 +- 0.2)x10^-4, cm^-3. The Planck satellite mission has provided the first SZ detection of the hot and diffuse intercluster gas.

Can R CrB stars form from the merger of two helium white dwarfs?

Due to orbital decay by gravitational-wave radiation, some close-binary helium white dwarfs are expected to merge within a Hubble time. The immediate merger products are believed to be helium-rich sdO stars, essentially helium main-sequence stars. We present new evolution calculations for these post-merger stars beyond the core helium-burning phase. The most massive He-sdO’s develop a strong helium-burning shell and evolve to become helium-rich giants. We include nucleosynthesis calculations following the merger of $0.4 \rm M_{\odot}$ helium white-dwarf pairs with metallicities $Z = 0.0001, 0.004, 0.008$ and 0.02. The surface chemistries of the resulting giants are in partial agreement with the observed abundances of R Coronae Borealis and extreme helium stars. Such stars might represent a third, albeit rare, evolution channel for the latter, in addition to the CO+He white dwarf merger and the very-late thermal pulse channels proposed previously. We confirm a recent suggestion that lithium seen in R\,CrB stars could form naturally during the hot phase of a merger in the presence of \iso{3}{He} from the donor white dwarf.

Dark Radiation in LARGE Volume Models [Cross-Listing]

We consider reheating driven by volume modulus decays in the LARGE Volume Scenario. Such reheating always generates non-zero dark radiation through the decays to the axion partner, while the only competitive visible sector decays are Higgs pairs via the Giudice-Masiero term. In the framework of sequestered models where the cosmological moduli problem is absent, the simplest model with a shift-symmetric Higgs sector generates 1.56 < N_{eff} – N_{eff,SM} < 1.74. For more general cases, the known experimental bounds on N_{eff} strongly constrain the parameters and matter content of the models.

Dark Radiation in LARGE Volume Models [Replacement]

We consider reheating driven by volume modulus decays in the LARGE Volume Scenario. Such reheating always generates non-zero dark radiation through the decays to the axion partner, while the only competitive visible sector decays are Higgs pairs via the Giudice-Masiero term. In the framework of sequestered models where the cosmological moduli problem is absent, the simplest model with a shift-symmetric Higgs sector generates 1.56 < N_{eff} – N_{eff,SM} < 1.74. For more general cases, the known experimental bounds on N_{eff} strongly constrain the parameters and matter content of the models.

Transit Timing Variation of Near-Resonant KOI Pairs: Confirmation of 12 Multiple Planet Systems

We extract Transit Timing Variation (TTV) signals for pairs of transiting planet candidates that are near first-order Mean Motion Resonances (MMR), using publicly available Kepler lightcurves (Q0-Q9). We are able to solidly confirm the planetary nature of 12 new pairs because their TTV signals exhibit sinusoidal variations at the expected timescale and with reasonable phases. Applying the analytical TTV expressions to these systems, we determine planet masses for three pairs of them (KOI 148, 500, 1589), based on the fact that they have nearly zero TTV phase shifts and therefore likely zero free eccentricities. For the remaining nine systems (KOI 152, 248, 829, 869, 877, 880, 898, 1270, and 1336) that show non-zero TTV phase shifts, we are able to obtain their mass upper limits, mass ratios and thus density ratios. Combining another 11 previously confirmed Kepler near-MMR pairs, we find that the whole sample is generally consistent with the fiducial mass-radius relation, m \propto R2.06, and most of them are like twins with similar sizes and densities, although a few distinct exceptions, such as KOI 148, 869 and Kepler 36. In addition, there seems to be a marginal pattern, i.e., for slightly more pairs, the inner one has a smaller radius but larger density than that of the outer one. Finally, we discuss the uncertainties and implications of our findings

The G-O Rule and Waldmeier Effect in the Variations of the Numbers of Large and Small Sunspot Groups

We have analysed the combined Greenwich and Solar Optical Observing Network (SOON) sunspot group data during the period of 1874-2011 and determined variations in the annual numbers (counts) of the small, large and big sunspot groups (these classifications are made on the basis of the maximum areas of the sunspot groups). We found that the amplitude of an even-numbered cycle of the number of large groups is smaller than that of its immediately following odd-numbered cycle. This is consistent with the well known Gnevyshev and Ohl rule or G-O rule of solar cycles, generally described by using the Zurich sunspot number (Rz). During cycles 12-21 the G-O rule holds good for the variation in the number of small groups also, but it is violated by cycle pair (22, 23) as in the case of Rz. This behaviour of the variations in the small groups is largely responsible for the anomalous behaviour of Rz in cycle pair (22, 23). It is also found that the amplitude of an odd-numbered cycle of the number of small groups is larger than that of its immediately following even-numbered cycle. This can be called as `reverse G-O rule’. In the case of the number of the big groups, both cycle pairs (12, 13) and (22, 23) violated the G-O rule. In many cycles the positions of the peaks of the small, large, and big groups are different and considerably differ with respect to the corresponding positions of the Rz peaks. In the case of cycle 23, the corresponding cycles of the small and large groups are largely symmetric/less asymmetric (Waldmeier effect is weak/absent) with their maxima taking place two years later than that of Rz. The corresponding cycle of the big groups is more asymmetric (strong Waldmeier effect) with its maximum epoch taking place at the same time as that of Rz.

Antenna-coupled TES bolometers for the Keck Array, Spider, and Polar-1

Between the BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments, we have deployed over 1500 dual polarized antenna coupled bolometers to map the Cosmic Microwave Background’s polarization. We have been able to rapidly deploy these detectors because they are completely planar with an integrated phased-array antenna. Through our experience in these experiments, we have learned of several challenges with this technology- specifically the beam synthesis in the antenna- and in this paper we report on how we have modified our designs to mitigate these challenges. In particular, we discus differential steering errors between the polarization pairs’ beam centroids due to microstrip cross talk and gradients of penetration depth in the niobium thin films of our millimeter wave circuits. We also discuss how we have suppressed side lobe response with a Gaussian taper of our antenna illumination pattern. These improvements will be used in Spider, Polar-1, and this season’s retrofit of Keck Array.

Properties of the Schwinger series and pair creation in strong fields [Cross-Listing]

Probabilities of a pair of fermions and bosons creation in a static and spatially uniform electric field E are represented in the Schwinger formulas by infinite series. It is believed that in weak fields the main contribution to the probability is given by the first term of series, however the size of the remainder apparently was analyzed by nobody. We study the mathematical structure of the Schwinger series by using methods developed during last decades and prove that the given series allows an exact summation and the contribution of remainder growths rapidly with the field strength. As a rule, it is argued that the pair of particles begin to be produced efficiently from the vacuum only in the fields of strength E >= E_cr. However, the direct calculation shows that the Schwinger formula for creation of e+e- pairs is valid only at the field intensities of E < 0.0291*E_cr. At higher fields, the probability of pair production in an unit space-time volume exceeds unity. In this regard, we refine the formula for the probability of pair creation and numerically find that in the field of strength 2.95% of E_cr the pair production probability is almost 100%.

Subsurface Supergranular Vertical Flows as Measured Using Large Distance Separations in Time-Distance Helioseismology

As large–distance rays (say, 10\,-\,$24 ^\circ$) approach the solar surface approximately vertically, travel times measured from surface pairs for these large separations are mostly sensitive to vertical flows, at least for shallow flows within a few Mm of the solar surface. All previous analyses of supergranulation have used smaller separations and have been hampered by the difficulty of separating the horizontal and vertical flow components. We find that the large separation travel times associated with supergranulation cannot be studied using the standard phase-speed filters of time-distance helioseismology. These filters, whose use is based upon a refractive model of the perturbations, reduce the resultant travel time signal by at least an order of magnitude at some distances. More effective filters are derived. Modeling suggests that the center–annulus travel time difference $[\delta t_{\rm{oi}}]$ in the separation range $\Delta=10$\,-\,$24 ^\circ$ is insensitive to the horizontally diverging flow from the centers of the supergranules and should lead to a constant signal from the vertical flow. Our measurement of this quantity, $5.1 \pm 0.1\secs$, is constant over the distance range. This magnitude of signal cannot be caused by the level of upflow at cell centers seen at the photosphere of $10\ms$ extended in depth. It requires the vertical flow to increase with depth. A simple Gaussian model of the increase with depth implies a peak upward flow of $240\ms$ at a depth of $2.3\Mm$ and a peak horizontal flow of $700\ms$ at a depth of $1.6\Mm$.

Extracting Planet Mass and Eccentricity From TTV data [Replacement]

Most planet pairs in the Kepler data that have measured transit time variations (TTV) are near first-order mean-motion resonances. We derive analytical formulae for their TTV signals. We separate planet eccentricity into free and forced parts, where the forced part is purely due to the planets’ proximity to resonance. This separation yields simple analytical formulae. The phase of the TTV depends sensitively on the presence of free eccentricity: if the free eccentricity vanishes, the TTV will be in phase with the longitude of conjunctions. This effect is easily detectable in current TTV data. The amplitude of the TTV depends on planet mass and free eccentricity, and it determines planet mass uniquely only when the free eccentricity is sufficiently small. We proceed to analyze the TTV signals of six short period Kepler pairs. We find that three of these pairs (Kepler-18,24,25) have TTV phase consistent with zero. The other three (Kepler-23,28,32) have small TTV phases, but ones that are distinctly non-zero. We deduce that the free eccentricities of the planets are small, < 0.01, but not always vanishing. Furthermore, as a consequence of this, we deduce that the true masses of the planets are fairly accurately determined by the TTV amplitudes, within a factor < 2. The smallness of the free eccentricities suggests that the planets have experienced substantial dissipation. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the observed pile-up of Kepler pairs near mean-motion resonances is caused by resonant repulsion. But the fact that some of the planets have non-vanishing free eccentricity suggests that after resonant repulsion occurred there was a subsequent phase in the planets’ evolution when their eccentricities were modestly excited, perhaps by interplanetary interactions.

Extracting Planet Mass and Eccentricity From TTV data

Most planet pairs in the Kepler data that have measured transit time variations (TTV) are near first-order mean-motion resonances. We derive analytical formulae for their TTV signals. We separate planet eccentricity into free and forced parts, where the forced part is purely due to the planets’ proximity to resonance. This separation yields simple analytical formulae. The phase of the TTV depends sensitively on the presence of free eccentricity: if the free eccentricity vanishes, the TTV will be in phase with the longitude of conjunctions. This effect is easily detectable in current TTV data. The amplitude of the TTV depends on planet mass and the free eccentricity, and it determines planet mass uniquely only when the free eccentricity is sufficiently small. We proceed to analyze the TTV signals of six short period Kepler pairs. We find three (Kepler-18,24,25) are consistent with having zero TTV phase and are likely devoid of free eccentricities. This result, combined with the observed pile-up of Kepler pairs near mean-motion resonances (explainable by resonant repulsion), suggests that the orbits of at least some low-mass Kepler planets have experienced substantial dissipation. The fact that these pairs likely have zero free eccentricity allows accurate determination of planet masses, subject only to uncertainties in transit parameters. The remaining three systems (Kepler-23,28,32) appear to have free eccentricities of a few percent.

Relative Orientation of Pairs of Spiral Galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

We find, from our study of binary spiral galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 6, that the relative orientation of disks in binary spiral galaxies is consistent with their being drawn from a random distribution of orientations. For 747 isolated pairs of luminous disk galaxies, the distribution of phi, the angle between the major axes of the galaxy images, is consistent with a uniform distribution on the interval [0 degrees, 90 degrees]. With the assumption that the disk galaxies are oblate spheroids, we can compute cos(beta), where beta is the angle between the rotation axes of the disks. In the case that one galaxy in the binary is face-on or edge-on, the tilt ambiguity is resolved, and cos(beta) can be computed unambiguously. For 94 isolated pairs with at least one face-on member, and for 171 isolated pairs with at least one edge-on member, the distribution of cos(beta) is statistically consistent with the distribution of cos(i) for isolated disk galaxies. This result is consistent with random orientations of the disks within pairs.

Dissipation in planar resonant planetary systems

Close-in planetary systems detected by the Kepler mission present an excess of periods ratio that are just slightly larger than some low order resonant values. This feature occurs naturally when resonant couples undergo dissipation that damps the eccentricities (Papaloizou & Terquem 2010, Batygin & Morbidelli 2012, Lithwick & Wu 2012). However, the resonant angles appear to librate at the end of the migration process, which is often believed to be an evidence that the systems remain in resonance. Here we provide an analytical model for the dissipation in resonant planetary systems valid for low eccentricities. We confirm that dissipation accounts for an excess of pairs that lie just aside from the nominal periods ratios, as observed by the Kepler mission. In addition, by a global analysis of the phase space of the problem, we demonstrate that these final pairs are non-resonant. Indeed, the separatrices that exist in the resonant systems disappear with the dissipation, and remains only a circulation of the orbits around a single elliptical fixed point. Furthermore, the apparent libration of the resonant angles can be explained using the classical secular averaging method. We show that this artifact is only due to the severe damping of the amplitudes of the eigenmodes in the secular motion.

Dissipation in planar resonant planetary systems [Replacement]

Close-in planetary systems detected by the Kepler mission present an excess of periods ratio that are just slightly larger than some low order resonant values. This feature occurs naturally when resonant couples undergo dissipation that damps the eccentricities. However, the resonant angles appear to librate at the end of the migration process, which is often believed to be an evidence that the systems remain in resonance. Here we provide an analytical model for the dissipation in resonant planetary systems valid for low eccentricities. We confirm that dissipation accounts for an excess of pairs that lie just aside from the nominal periods ratios, as observed by the Kepler mission. In addition, by a global analysis of the phase space of the problem, we demonstrate that these final pairs are non-resonant. Indeed, the separatrices that exist in the resonant systems disappear with the dissipation, and remains only a circulation of the orbits around a single elliptical fixed point. Furthermore, the apparent libration of the resonant angles can be explained using the classical secular averaging method. We show that this artifact is only due to the severe damping of the amplitudes of the eigenmodes in the secular motion.

Neutrino photoproduction on pseudo Nambu-Goldstone bosons [Cross-Listing]

Production of single neutrinos as well as neutrino-antineutrino pairs by photons interacting with pseudo Nambu-Goldstone bosons is studied within the Standard Model. The corresponding cross sections are found analytically. The energy loss due to neutrino emission in a thermal plasma of photons and pions (kaons) is calculated and some related implications for astrophysics are discussed. It is shown that the obtained neutrino emissivities may be significantly enhanced in dense matter due to in-medium modification of the total pion decay width.

Neutrino photoproduction on pseudo Nambu-Goldstone bosons [Replacement]

Production of single neutrinos as well as neutrino-antineutrino pairs by photons interacting with pseudo Nambu-Goldstone bosons is studied within the Standard Model. The corresponding cross sections are found analytically. The energy loss due to neutrino emission in a thermal plasma of photons and pions is calculated. It is shown that the obtained neutrino emissivity may be significantly enhanced in hot and dense matter due to in-medium modification of the pion decay constant. Phenomenological consequences for ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions and astrophysics are discussed.

Electrically charged curvaton

We consider the possibility that the primordial curvature perturbation was generated through the curvaton mechanism from a scalar field with an electric charge, or precisely the Standard Model U(1) weak hypercharge. This links the dynamics of the very early universe concretely to the Standard Model of particle physics, and because the coupling strength is known, it reduces the number of free parameters in the curvaton model. We show that the model is compatible with CMB observations for Hubble rate $H_* > 10^8 GeV$ and curvaton mass $m > 10^{-2}H_*$. Charge fluctuations generated during inflation are screened by electron-positron pairs, and therefore do not violate observational constraints. The interaction with the gauge field leads to interesting dynamics after inflation, including resonant preheating, with potentially highly non-trivial observational consequences, which should be studied more carefully using numerical field theory simulations.

Constraints on the Topology of the Universe: Extension to General Geometries

We present an update to the search for a non-trivial topology of the universe by searching for matching circle pairs in the cosmic microwave background using the WMAP 7 year data release. We extend the exisiting bounds to encompass a wider range of possible topologies by searching for matching circle pairs with opening angles 10 degree < \alpha < 90 degree and separation angles 11 degree < \theta < 180 degree. The extended search reveal two small anomalous regions in the CMB sky. Numerous pairs of well-matched circles are found where both circles pass through one or the other of those regions. As this is not the signature of any known manifold, but is a likely consequence of contamination in those sky regions, we repeat the search excluding circle pairs where both pass through either of the two regions. We then find no statistically significant pairs of matched circles, and so no hints of a non-trivial topology. The absence of matched circles increases the lower limit on the length of the shortest closed null geodesic that self-intersects at our location in the universe (equivalently the injectivity radius at our location) to 98.5% of the diameter of the last scattering surface or approximately 26 Gpc. It extends the limit to any manifolds in which the intersecting arcs of said geodesic form an angle greater than 10^o.

What if Dark Matter Gamma-Ray Lines come with Gluon Lines? [Cross-Listing]

In dark matter (DM) models, the production of a gamma line (or of a "box-shaped" gamma-ray spectrum) from DM annihilation proceeds in general from a loop diagram involving a heavy charged particle. If the charged particle in the loop carries also a color charge, this leads inevitably to DM annihilation to gluons, with a naturally larger rate. We consider a scenario in which DM candidates annihilate dominantly into gluon pairs, and determine (as far as possible, model-independent) constraints from a variety of observables: a) the dark matter relic density, b) the production of anti-protons, c) DM direct detection and d) gluon-gluon fusion processes at LHC. Among other things, we show that this scenario together with the recent claim for a possible gamma line from the Galactic center in the Fermi-LAT data, leads to a relic abundance of DM that may be naturally close to the cosmological observations.

Speckle interferometry and orbits of "fast" visual binaries

Results of speckle observations at the 4.1-m SOAR telescope in 2012 (158 measures of 121 systems, 27 non-resolutions) are reported. The aim is to follow fast orbital motion of recently discovered or neglected close binaries and sub-systems. Here 8 previously known orbits are defined better, two more are completely revised, and five orbits are computed for the first time. Using differential photometry from Hipparcos or speckle and the standard relation between mass and absolute magnitude, the component’s masses and dynamical parallaxes are estimated for all 15 systems with new or updated orbits. Two astrometric binaries HIP 54214 and 56245 are resolved here for the first time, another 8 are measured. We highlight several unresolved pairs that may actually be single despite multiple historic measures, such as 104 Tau and f Pup AB. Continued monitoring is needed to understand those enigmatic cases.

Neutrinos in IceCube/KM3NeT as probes of Dark Matter Substructures in Galaxy Clusters [Cross-Listing]

Galaxy clusters are one of the most promising candidate sites for dark matter annihilation. We focus on dark matter with mass in the range 10 GeV – 100 TeV annihilating to muon pairs, neutrino pairs, top pairs, or two neutrino pairs, and forecast the expected sensitivity to the annihilation cross section into these channels by observing galaxy clusters at IceCube/KM3NeT. Presence of dark matter substructures in galaxy clusters enhances the signal by 2-3 orders of magnitude over the contribution from the smooth component of the dark matter distribution. Optimizing for the angular size of the region of interest for galaxy clusters, the sensitivity to the annihilation cross section of heavy DM with mass in the range 300 GeV – 100 TeV will be about one order of magnitude better than the best present limit obtained by observing the Milky Way halo. We find that neutrinos from cosmic ray interactions in the galaxy cluster, in addition to the atmospheric neutrinos, are a source of background. We show that significant improvement in the experimental sensitivity can be achieved for lower DM masses in the range 10 GeV – 300 GeV if neutrino-induced cascades can be reconstructed to approximately 5 degrees accuracy, as may be possible in KM3NeT. We therefore propose that a low-energy extension "KM3NeT-Core", similar to DeepCore in IceCube, be considered for an extended reach at low DM masses.

Constraints on Hadronically Decaying Dark Matter [Cross-Listing]

We present general constraints on dark matter stability in hadronic decay channels derived from measurements of cosmic-ray antiprotons.We analyze various hadronic decay modes in a model-independent manner by examining the lowest-order decays allowed by gauge and Lorentz invariance for scalar and fermionic dark matter particles and present the corresponding lower bounds on the partial decay lifetimes in those channels. We also investigate the complementarity between hadronic and gamma-ray constraints derived from searches for monochromatic lines in the sky, which can be produced at the quantum level if the dark matter decays into quark-antiquark pairs at leading order.

Constraints on Hadronically Decaying Dark Matter [Replacement]

We present general constraints on dark matter stability in hadronic decay channels derived from measurements of cosmic-ray antiprotons.We analyze various hadronic decay modes in a model-independent manner by examining the lowest-order decays allowed by gauge and Lorentz invariance for scalar and fermionic dark matter particles and present the corresponding lower bounds on the partial decay lifetimes in those channels. We also investigate the complementarity between hadronic and gamma-ray constraints derived from searches for monochromatic lines in the sky, which can be produced at the quantum level if the dark matter decays into quark-antiquark pairs at leading order.

The solar differential rotation in the 18th century

The sunspot drawings of Johann Staudacher of 1749–1799 were used to determine the solar differential rotation in that period. These drawings of the full disk lack any indication of their orientation. We used a Bayesian estimator to obtain the position angles of the drawings, the corresponding heliographic spot positions, a time offset between the drawings and the differential rotation parameter \delta\Omega, assuming the equatorial rotation period is the same as today. The drawings are grouped in pairs, and the resulting marginal distributions for \delta\Omega were multiplied. We obtain \delta\Omega=-0.048 \pm 0.025 d^-1 (-2.75^o/d) for the entire period. There is no significant difference to the value of the present Sun. We find an (insignificant) indication for a change of \delta\Omega throughout the observing period from strong differential rotation, \delta\Omega\approx -0.07 d^-1, to weaker differential rotation, \delta\Omega\approx-0.04 d^-1.

Gamma Ray Constraints on Flavor Violating Asymmetric Dark Matter [Replacement]

We show how cosmic gamma rays can be used to constrain models of asymmetric Dark Matter decaying into lepton pairs by violating flavor. First of all we require the models to explain the anomalies in the charged cosmic rays measured by PAMELA, FERMI and HESS; performing combined fits we determine the allowed values of the Dark Matter mass and lifetime. For these models, we then determine the constraints coming from the measurement of the isotropic gamma-ray background by FERMI for a complete set of lepton flavor violating primary modes and over a range of DM masses from 100 GeV to 10 TeV. We find that the FERMI constraints rule out the flavor violating asymmetric Dark Matter interpretation of the charged cosmic ray anomalies.

 

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