Posts Tagged sigma level

Recent Postings from sigma level

The narrow X-ray tail and double H-alpha tails of ESO 137-002 in Abell 3627

We present the analysis of a deep Chandra observation of a ~2L_* late-type galaxy, ESO 137-002, in the closest rich cluster A3627. The Chandra data reveal a long (>40 kpc) and narrow tail with a nearly constant width (~3 kpc) to the southeast of the galaxy, and a leading edge ~1.5 kpc from the galaxy center on the upstream side of the tail. The tail is most likely caused by the nearly edge-on stripping of ESO 137-002′s ISM by ram pressure, compared to the nearly face-on stripping of ESO 137-001 discussed in our previous work. Spectral analysis of individual regions along the tail shows that the gas throughout it has a rather constant temperature, ~1 keV, very close to the temperature of the tails of ESO 137-001, if the same atomic database is used. The derived gas abundance is low (~0.2 solar with the single-kT model), an indication of the multiphase nature of the gas in the tail. The mass of the X-ray tail is only a small fraction (<5%) of the initial ISM mass of the galaxy, suggesting that the stripping is most likely at an early stage. However, with any of the single-kT, double-kT and multi-kT models we tried, the tail is always "over-pressured" relative to the surrounding ICM, which could be due to the uncertainties in the abundance, thermal vs. non-thermal X-ray emission, or magnetic support in the ICM. The H-alpha data from SOAR show a ~21 kpc tail spatially coincident with the X-ray tail, as well as a secondary tail (~12 kpc long) to the east of the main tail diverging at an angle of ~23 degrees and starting at a distance of ~7.5 kpc from the nucleus. At the position of the secondary H-alpha tail, the X-ray emission is also enhanced at the ~2 sigma level. We compare the tails of ESO 137-001 and ESO 137-002, and also compare the tails to simulations. Both the similarities and differences of the tails pose challenges to the simulations. Several implications are briefly discussed.

The masses of Local Group dwarf spheroidal galaxies: Not too small after all?

We investigate the claim that all dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) reside within halos that share a common, universal mass profile as has been derived for dSphs of the Galaxy. By folding in kinematic information for 25 Andromeda dSphs, more than doubling the previous sample size, we find that a singular mass profile can not be found to fit all the observations well. Further, the best-fit dark matter density profile measured for solely the Milky Way dSphs is marginally discrepant (at just beyond the 1 sigma level) with that of the Andromeda dSphs, where a profile with lower maximum circular velocity, and hence mass, is preferred. The agreement is significantly better when three extreme Andromeda outliers, And XIX, XXI and XXV, all of which have large half-light radii (>600pc) and low velocity dispersions (sigma_v < 5km/s) are omitted from the sample. We argue that the unusual properties of these outliers are likely caused by tidal interactions with the host galaxy. We also discuss the masses of all Local Group dSphs in the context of the ‘too big to fail problem’, and conclude that these are potentially reconcilable with theoretical predictions when the full scope of baryonic physics and observational uncertainties are taken into account.

The environments of luminous radio galaxies and type-2 quasars

We present the results of a comparison between the environments of 1) a complete sample of 46 southern 2Jy radio galaxies at intermediate redshifts (0.05 < z < 0.7), 2) a complete sample of 20 radio-quiet type-2 quasars (0.3 < z < 0.41), and 3) a control sample of 107 quiescent early-type galaxies at 0.2 < z < 0.7 in the Extended Groth Strip (EGS). The environments have been quantified using angular clustering amplitudes (Bgq) derived from deep optical imaging data. Based on these comparisons, we discuss the role of the environment in the triggering of powerful radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars. When we compare the Bgq distributions of the type-2 quasars and quiescent early-type galaxies, we find no significant difference between them. This is consistent with the radio-quiet quasar phase being a short-lived but ubiquitous stage in the formation of all massive early-type galaxies. On the other hand, PRGs are in denser environments than the quiescent population, and this difference between distributions of Bgq is significant at the 3 sigma level. This result supports a physical origin of radio loudness, with high density gas environments favouring the transformation of AGN power into radio luminosity, or alternatively, affecting the properties of the supermassive black holes themselves. Finally, focussing on the radio-loud sources only, we find that the clustering of weak-line radio galaxies (WLRGs) is higher than the strong-line radio galaxies (SLRGs), constituting a 3 sigma result. 82% of the 2Jy WLRGs are in clusters, according to our definition (Bgq > 400) versus only 31% of the SLRGs.

A Dynamic Dark Information Energy Consistent with Planck Data [Replacement]

The 2013 cosmology results from the European Space Agency Planck spacecraft provide new limits to the dark energy equation of state parameter. Planck data was combined with other astrophysical measurements, with two dataset combinations compatible with the cosmological constant explanation for dark energy, while another two dataset combinations show dark energy to be dynamic at the 2 sigma level. Here we show that Holographic Dark Information Energy (HDIE), a dynamic dark energy explanation, achieves a better, near optimal fit to both groups of Planck data combinations. HDIE uses Landauer’s principle to account for today’s dark energy value by the energy equivalence of the information, or entropy, of stellar heated gas and dust. Combining Landauer’s principle with the Holographic principle yields a dark energy equation of state parameter determined solely by star formation history, allowing us to solve the ‘cosmic coincidence problem’.

A Dynamic Dark Information Energy Consistent with Planck Data

The 2013 cosmology results from the European Space Agency Planck spacecraft provide new limits to the dark energy equation of state parameter. Planck data was combined with other astrophysical measurements, with two dataset combinations compatible with the cosmological constant explanation for dark energy, while another two dataset combinations show dark energy to be dynamic at the 2 sigma level. Here we show that Holographic Dark Information Energy (HDIE), a dynamic dark energy explanation, achieves a better, near optimal fit to both groups of Planck data combinations. HDIE uses Landauer’s principle to account for today’s dark energy value by the energy equivalence of the information, or entropy, of stellar heated gas and dust. Combining Landauer’s principle with the Holographic principle yields a dark energy equation of state parameter determined solely by star formation history, allowing us to solve the ‘cosmic coincidence problem’.

A Herschel Study of D/H in Water in the Jupiter-Family Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova and Prospects for D/H Measurements with CCAT

We present Herschel observations of water isotopologues in the atmosphere of the Jupiter-family comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova. No HDO emission is detected, with a 3 sigma upper limit of 2.0 10-4 for the D/H ratio. This value is consistent with the earlier Herschel measurement in the Jupiter-family comet 103P/Hartley 2. The canonical value of 3 10-4 measured pre-Herschel in a sample of Oort-cloud comets can be excluded at a 4.5 sigma level. The observations presented here further confirm that a diversity of D/H ratios exists in the comet population and emphasize the need for additional measurements with future ground-based facilities, such as CCAT, in the post-Herschel era.

The preferentially magnified active nucleus in IRAS F10214+4724 - II. Spatially resolved cold molecular gas

We present JVLA observations of the cold (CO (1-0)) molecular gas in IRAS F10214+4724, a lensed ULIRG at z=2.3 with an obscured active nucleus. The galaxy is spatially and spectrally well-resolved in the CO (1-0) emission line. A CO (1-0) counter-image is detected at the 3-sigma level. Five of the 42 km/s channels (with >5-sigma detections) are mapped back into the source plane and their total magnification posterior PDFs sampled. This reveals a roughly linear arrangement, tentatively a rotating disk. We derive a molecular gas mass of M_gas = 1.2 +- 0.2 x 10^10 M_sun, assuming a ULIRG L_{CO}-to-M_{gas} conversion ratio of \alpha = 0.8 M_sun / (K km/s pc^2) that agrees well with the derived range of \alpha = 0.3 – 1.3 for separate dynamical mass estimates at assumed inclinations of i = 90 – 30 degrees. Based on the AGN and CO (1-0) peak emission positions and the lens model, we predict a distortion of the CO Spectral Line Energy Distribution (SLED) where higher order J lines that may be partially excited by AGN heating will be preferentially lensed owing to their smaller solid angles and closer proximity to the AGN and therefore the cusp of the caustic. Comparison with other lensing inversion results shows that the narrow line region and AGN radio core in IRAS F10214+4724 are preferentially lensed by a factor >~ 3 and 11 respectively, relative to the molecular gas emission. This distorts the global continuum emission Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) and suggests caution in unsophisticated uses of IRAS F10214+4724 as an archetype high-redshift ULIRG. We explore two Large Velocity Gradient (LVG) models, incorporating spatial CO (1-0) and (3-2) information and present tentative evidence for an extended, low excitation cold gas component that implies that the total molecular gas mass in IRAS F10214+4724 is a factor >~2 greater than that calculated using spatially unresolved CO observations.

The XMM-Newton deep survey in the CDF-S VI. Obscured AGN selected as infrared power-law galaxies

Accretion onto SMBH is believed to occur mostly in obscured AGN. Such objects are proving rather elusive in surveys of distant galaxies, including those at X-ray energies. Our main goal is to determine whether the revised IRAC criteria of Donley et al. (2012) (objects with an IR power-law spectral shape), are effective at selecting X-ray type-2 AGN. We present the results from the X-ray spectral analysis of 147 AGN selected by cross-correlating the highest spectral quality ultra-deep XMM-Newton and the Spitzer/IRAC catalogues in the CDF-S. Consequently it is biased towards sources with high S/N X-ray spectra. In order to measure the amount of intrinsic absorption in these sources, we adopt a simple X-ray spectral model that includes a power-law modified by intrinsic absorption and a possible soft X-ray component. We find 21/147 sources to be heavily absorbed but the uncertainties in their obscuring column densities do not allow us to confirm their Compton-Thick nature without resorting to additional criteria. Although IR power-law galaxies are less numerous in our sample than IR non-power-law galaxies (60 versus 87 respectively), we find that the fraction of absorbed (N_{H} > 10^{22} cm^{-2}) AGN is significantly higher (at about 3 sigma level) for IR-power-law sources ($\sim$2/3) than for those sources that do not meet this IR selection criteria ($\sim$1/2). This behaviour is particularly notable at low luminosities, but it appears to be present, although with a marginal significance, at all luminosities. We therefore conclude that the IR power-law method is efficient in finding X-ray-absorbed sources. We would then expect that the long-sought dominant population of absorbed AGN is abundant among IR power-law spectral shape sources not detected in X-rays.

LoCuSS: The steady decline and slow quenching of star formation in cluster galaxies over the last four billion years

We present an analysis of the levels and evolution of star formation activity in a representative sample of 30 massive galaxy clusters at 0.15<z<0.30 from the Local Cluster Substructure Survey (LoCuSS), combining wide-field Spitzer 24um data with extensive spectroscopy of cluster members. The specific-SFRs of massive (M>10^10 M_sun) star-forming cluster galaxies within r200 are found to be systematically 28% lower than their counterparts in the field at fixed stellar mass and redshift, a difference significant at the 8.7-sigma level. This is the unambiguous signature of star formation in most (and possibly all) massive star-forming galaxies being slowly quenched upon accretion into massive clusters, their SFRs declining exponentially on quenching time-scales in the range 0.7-2.0 Gyr. We measure the mid-infrared Butcher-Oemler effect over the redshift range 0.0-0.4, finding rapid evolution in the fraction (f_SF) of massive (M_K<-23.1) cluster galaxies within r200 with SFRs>3M_sun/yr, of the form f_SF (1+z)^7.6. We dissect the origins of the Butcher-Oemler effect, revealing it to be due to the combination of a ~3x decline in the mean specific-SFRs of star-forming cluster galaxies since z~0.3 with a ~1.5x decrease in number density. Two-thirds of this reduction in the specific-SFRs of star-forming cluster galaxies is due to the steady cosmic decline in the specific-SFRs among those field galaxies accreted into the clusters. The remaining one-third reflects an accelerated decline in the star formation activity of galaxies within clusters. The slow quenching of star-formation in cluster galaxies is consistent with a gradual shut down of star formation in infalling spiral galaxies as they interact with the intra-cluster medium via ram-pressure stripping or starvation mechanisms. We find no evidence for the build-up of cluster S0 bulges via major nuclear star-burst episodes.

On the Hubble Space Telescope Trigonometric Parallax of the Dwarf Nova SS Cygni

SS Cygni is one of the brightest dwarf novae (DNe), and one of the best-studied prototypes of the cataclysmic variables. Astrometric observations with the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), published in 2004, gave an absolute trigonometric parallax of 6.06+/-0.44 mas. However, recent very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI), obtained during radio outbursts of SS Cyg, has yielded a significantly larger absolute parallax of 8.80+/-0.12 mas, as well as a large difference in the direction of the proper motion compared to the HST result. The VLBI distance reduces the implied luminosity of SS Cyg by about a factor of two, giving good agreement with predictions based on accretion-disk theory in order to explain the observed DN outburst behavior. This discrepancy raises the possibility of significant systematic errors in FGS parallaxes and proper motions. We have reanalyzed the archival HST/FGS data, including (1) a critical redetermination of the parallaxes of the background astrometric reference stars, (2) updated input values of the reference-star proper motions, and (3) correction of the position measurements for color-dependent shifts. Our new analysis yields a proper motion of SS Cyg that agrees well with the VLBI motion, and an absolute parallax of 8.32+/-0.27 mas, also statistically concordant with the VLBI result at the ~1.6 sigma level. Our results suggest that HST/FGS parallaxes are free of large systematic errors, when the data are reduced using high-quality input values for the astrometry of the reference stars, and when instrumental signatures are properly removed.

On the Hubble Space Telescope Trigonometric Parallax of the Dwarf Nova SS Cygni [Replacement]

SS Cygni is one of the brightest dwarf novae (DNe), and one of the best-studied prototypes of the cataclysmic variables. Astrometric observations with the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), published in 2004, gave an absolute trigonometric parallax of 6.06+/-0.44 mas. However, recent very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI), obtained during radio outbursts of SS Cyg, has yielded a significantly larger absolute parallax of 8.80+/-0.12 mas, as well as a large difference in the direction of the proper motion compared to the HST result. The VLBI distance reduces the implied luminosity of SS Cyg by about a factor of two, giving good agreement with predictions based on accretion-disk theory in order to explain the observed DN outburst behavior. This discrepancy raises the possibility of significant systematic errors in FGS parallaxes and proper motions. We have reanalyzed the archival HST/FGS data, including (1) a critical redetermination of the parallaxes of the background astrometric reference stars, (2) updated input values of the reference-star proper motions, and (3) correction of the position measurements for color-dependent shifts. Our new analysis yields a proper motion of SS Cyg that agrees well with the VLBI motion, and an absolute parallax of 8.30+/-0.41 mas, also statistically concordant with the VLBI result at the ~1.2 sigma level. Our results suggest that HST/FGS parallaxes are free of large systematic errors, when the data are reduced using high-quality input values for the astrometry of the reference stars, and when instrumental signatures are properly removed.

An X-ray cooling-core cluster surrounding a low power Compact Steep Spectrum Radio source 1321+045

We discovered an X-ray cluster in a Chandra observation of the compact steep spectrum (CSS) radio source 1321+045 (z=0.263). CSS sources are thought to be young radio objects at the beginning of their evolution and can potentially test the cluster heating process. 1321+045 is a relatively low luminosity source and its morphology consists of two radio lobes on the opposite sides of a radio core with no evidence for jets or hotspots. The optical emission line ratios are consistent with an interstellar medium (ISM) dominated by AGN-photoionization with a small contribution from star formation, and no contributions from shocks. Based on these ratios, we classify 1321+045 as a low excitation galaxy (LEG) and suggest that its radio activity is in a coasting phase. The X-ray emission associated with the radio source is detected with 36.1+/-8.3 counts, but the origin of this emission is highly uncertain. The current X-ray image of the cluster does not show any signatures of a radio source impact on the cluster medium. Chandra detects the cluster emission at >3 sigma level out to ~60 arcsec (~240 kpc). We obtain the best fit beta model parameters of the surface brightness profile of beta=0.58+/-0.2 and a core radius of 9.4^{+1.1}_{-0.9} arcsec. The average temperature of the cluster is equal to kT=4.4^{+0.5}_{-0.3} keV, with a temperature and cooling profile indicative of a cooling core. We measure the cluster luminosity L_(0.5-2 keV)=3×10^{44} erg s^{-1} and mass 1.5×10^{14} M_sun.

On the Statistical Analysis of X-ray Polarization Measurements

In many polarimetry applications, including observations in the X-ray band, the measurement of a polarization signal can be reduced to the detection and quantification of a deviation from uniformity of a distribution of measured angles. We explore the statistics of such polarization measurements using Monte Carlo simulations and chi-squared fitting methods. We compare our results to those derived using the traditional probability density used to characterize polarization measurements and quantify how they deviate as the intrinsic modulation amplitude grows. We derive relations for the number of counts required to reach a given detection level (parameterized by beta, the "number of sigma’s" of the measurement) appropriate for measuring the modulation amplitude by itself (single interesting parameter case) or jointly with the position angle (two interesting parameters case). We show that for the former case when the intrinsic amplitude is equal to the well known minimum detectable polarization (MDP) it is, on average, detected at the 3-sigma level. For the latter case, when one requires a joint measurement at the same confidence level, then more counts are needed than that required to achieve the MDP level. This additional factor is amplitude-dependent, but is approximately 2.2 for intrinsic amplitudes less than about 20%. It decreases slowly with amplitude and is 1.8 when the amplitude is 50%. We find that the position angle uncertainty at 1-sigma confidence is well described by the relation 28.5 (deg) / beta.

The supermassive black hole mass - S\'ersic index relations for bulges and elliptical galaxies

Scaling relations between supermassive black hole mass, M_BH, and host galaxy properties are a powerful instrument for studying their coevolution. A complete picture involving all of the black hole scaling relations, in which each relation is consistent with the others, is necessary to fully understand the black hole-galaxy connection. The relation between M_BH and the central light concentration of the surrounding bulge, quantified by the S\’ersic index n, may be one of the simplest and strongest such relations, requiring only uncalibrated galaxy images. We have conducted a census of literature S\’ersic index measurements for a sample of 54 local galaxies with directly measured M_BH values. We find a clear M_BH – n relation, despite an appreciable level of scatter due to the heterogeneity of the data. Given the current M_BH – L_sph and the L_sph – n relations, we have additionally derived the expected M_BH – n relations, which are marginally consistent at the 2 sigma level with the observed relations. Elliptical galaxies and the bulges of disc galaxies are each expected to follow two distinct bent M_BH – n relations due to the S\’ersic/core-S\’ersic divide. For the same central light concentration, we predict that M_BH in the S\’ersic bulges of disc galaxies are an order magnitude higher than in S\’ersic elliptical galaxies if they follow the same M_BH – L_sph relation.

Centaurs and Scattered Disk Objects in the Thermal Infrared: Analysis of WISE/NEOWISE Observations

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) observed 52 Centaurs and Scattered Disk Objects in the thermal infrared, including the 15 discoveries that were new. We present analyses of these observations to estimate sizes and mean optical albedos. We find mean albedos of 0.08 +/- 0.04 for the entire data set. Thermal fits yield average beaming parameters of 0.9 +/- 0.2 that are similar for both SDO and Centaur sub-classes. Biased cumulative size distributions yield size-frequency distribution power law indices ~ -1.7 +/- 0.3. The data also reveal a relation between albedo and color at the 3-sigma level. No significant relation between diameter and albedos is found.

Enhanced Halpha activity at periastron in the young and massive spectroscopic binary HD200775

Young close binaries clear central cavities in their surrounding circumbinary disk from which the stars can still accrete material. This process takes place within the very first astronomical units, and is still not well constrained as the observational evidence has been gathered, until now, only by means of spectroscopy. The young object HD200775 (MWC361) is a massive spectroscopic binary (separation of ~15.9mas, ~5.0~AU), with uncertain classification (early/late Be), that shows a strong and variable Halpha emission. We aim to study the mechanisms that produce the Halpha line at the AU-scale. Combining the radial velocity measurements and astrometric data available in the literature, we determined new orbital parameters. With the VEGA instrument on the CHARA array, we spatially and spectrally resolved the Halpha emission of HD200775, at low and medium spectral resolutions (R~1600 and 5000) over a full orbital period (~3.6 years). We observe that the Halpha equivalent width varies with the orbital phase, and increases close to periastron, as expected from theoretical models that predict an increase of the mass transfer from the circumbinary disk to the primary disk. In addition, using spectral visibilities and differential phases, we find marginal variations of the typical extent of the Halpha emission (at 1 to 2-sigma level) and location (at 1 to 5-sigma level). The spatial extent of the Halpha emission, as probed by a Gaussian FWHM, is minimum at the ascending node (0.67+/-0.20 mas, i.e., 0.22+/-0.06 AU), and more than doubles at periastron. In addition, the Gaussian photocenter is slightly displaced in the direction opposite to the secondary, ruling out the scenario in which all or most of the Halpha emission is due to accretion onto the secondary. These findings, together with the wide Halpha line profile, may be due to a non-spherical wind enhanced at periastron.

The extragalactic background light from the measurements of the attenuation of high-energy gamma-ray spectrum [Replacement]

The attenuation of high-energy gamma-ray spectrum due to the electron-positron pair production against the extragalactic background light (EBL) provides an indirect method to measure the EBL of the universe. We use the measurements of the absorption features of the gamma-rays from blazars as seen by Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to explore the EBL flux density and constrain the EBL spectrum, star formation rate density (SFRD) and photon escape fraction from galaxies out to z=6. Our results are basically consistent with the existing determinations of the quantities. We find a larger photon escape fraction at high redshifts, especially at z=3, compared to the result from the recent Ly-alpha measurements. Our SFRD result is consistent with the data from both gamma-ray burst and UV observations in 1-sigma level. However, the average SFRD we obtain at z>~3 matches the gamma-ray data better than the UV data. Thus our SFRD result at z>~6 favors that it is sufficiently high enough to reionize the universe.

Recovering Joys Law as a Function of Solar Cycle, Hemisphere, and Longitude

Bipolar active regions in both hemispheres tend to be tilted with respect to the East West equator of the Sun in accordance with Joys law that describes the average tilt angle as a function of latitude. Mt. Wilson observatory data from 1917 to 1985 are used to analyze the active-region tilt angle as a function of solar cycle, hemisphere, and longitude, in addition to the more common dependence on latitude. Our main results are as follows: i) We recommend a revision of Joys law toward a weaker dependence on latitude (slope of 0.13 to 0.26) and without forcing the tilt to zero at the Equator. ii) We determine that the hemispheric mean tilt value of active regions varies with each solar cycle, although the noise from a stochastic process dominates and does not allow for a determination of the slope of Joys law on an 11-year time scale. iii) The hemispheric difference in mean tilt angles, 1.1 degrees + 0.27, over Cycles 16 to 21 was significant to a three-sigma level, with average tilt angles in the northern and southern hemispheres of 4.7 degrees + 0.26 and 3.6 degrees + 0.27 respectively. iv) Area-weighted mean tilt angles normalized by latitude for Cycles 15 to 21 anticorrelate with cycle strength for the southern hemisphere and whole-Sun data, confirming previous results by Dasi-Espuig, Solanki, Krivova, et al. (2010, Astron. Astrophys. 518, A7). The northern hemispheric mean tilt angles do not show a dependence on cycle strength. vi) Mean tilt angles do not show a dependence on longitude for any hemisphere or cycle. In addition, the standard deviation of the mean tilt is 29 to 31 degrees for all cycles and hemispheres indicating that the scatter is due to the same consistent process even if the mean tilt angles vary.

Magnetic Fields in the Large Scale Structure from Faraday Rotation measurements

We search for magnetic fields outside galaxies and galaxy clusters by investigating redshift evolution of Faraday rotation measures (RM) of extragalactic radio sources. Our analysis reveals a strong evidence for the redshift dependence of the mean of the absolute value of the RM. The evidence is further strengthened if the Galactic contribution to the RM is subtracted. The hypothesis of the absence of the redshift evolution of residual RM is ruled out at 5 sigma level. The observed redshift dependence of RM is consistent with the possibility of the presence of nano-Gauss strength magnetic fields with correlation length shorter than 0.1 Mpc in the weakly overdense elements of the Large Scale Structure traced by the Ly-alpha clouds.

The second ULX transient in M31: Chandra, HST and XMM observations, and evidence for an extended corona

XMM J004243.6+412519 is a transient X-ray source in M31, first discovered 2012 January 15. Different approaches to fitting the brightest follow-up observation gave luminosities 1.3–2.5E+39 erg/s, making it the second ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) in M31, with a probable black hole accretor. These different models represent different scenarios for the corona: optically thick and compact, or optically thin and extended. We obtained Chandra ACIS and {\em HST} ACS observations of this object as part of our transient monitoring program, and also observed it serendipitously in a 120 ks XMM-Newton observation. We identify an optical counterpart at J2000 position 00:42:43.70 +41:25:18.54; its F435W (~ B band) magnitude was 25.97+/-0.03 in the 2012 March 7 observation, and >28.4 at the 4 sigma level during the 2012 September 7 observation, indicating a low mass donor. We created two alternative lightcurves, using the different corona scenarios, finding linear decay for the compact corona and exponential decay for the extended corona; linear decay implies a disk that is >5 magnitudes brighter than we observed. We therefore favor the extended corona scenario, but caution that there is no statistical preference for this model in the X-ray spectra alone. Using two empirical relations between the X-ray to optical ratio and the orbital period, we estimate a period of ~9–30 hr; this period is consistent with that of the first ULX in M31 (18 +5 -6 hr).

The Stellar Initial Mass Function of Ultra-Faint Dwarf Galaxies: Evidence for IMF Variations with Galactic Environment

We present constraints on the stellar initial mass function (IMF) in two ultra-faint dwarf (UFD) galaxies, Hercules and Leo IV, based on deep HST/ACS imaging. The Hercules and Leo IV galaxies are extremely low luminosity (M_V = -6.2, -5.5), metal-poor (<[Fe/H]>= -2.4, -2.5) systems that have old stellar populations (> 11 Gyr). Because they have long relaxation times, we can directly measure the low-mass stellar IMF by counting stars below the main-sequence turnoff without correcting for dynamical evolution. Over the stellar mass range probed by our data, 0.52 – 0.77 Msun, the IMF is best fit by a power-law slope of alpha = 1.2^{+0.4}_{-0.5} for Hercules and alpha = 1.3 +/- 0.8 for Leo IV. For Hercules, the IMF slope is more shallow than a Salpeter IMF (alpha=2.35) at the 5.8-sigma level, and a Kroupa IMF (alpha=2.3 above 0.5 Msun) at 5.4-sigma level. We simultaneously fit for the binary fraction, finding f_binary = 0.47^{+0.16}_{-0.14} for Hercules, and 0.47^{+0.37}_{-0.17} for Leo IV. The UFD binary fractions are consistent with that inferred for Milky Way stars in the same mass range, despite very different metallicities. In contrast, the IMF slopes in the UFDs are shallower than other galactic environments. In the mass range 0.5 – 0.8 Msun, we see a trend across the handful of galaxies with directly measured IMFs such that the power-law slopes become shallower (more bottom-light) with decreasing galactic velocity dispersion and metallicity. This trend is qualitatively consistent with results in elliptical galaxies inferred via indirect methods and is direct evidence for IMF variations with galactic environment.

100-year DASCH Light Curves of Kepler Planet-Candidate Host Stars

We present 100 year light curves of Kepler planet-candidate host stars from the Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard (DASCH) project. 261 out of 997 host stars have at least 10 good measurements on DASCH scans of the Harvard plates. 109 of them have at least 100 good measurements, including 70% (73 out of 104) of all host stars with g<=13 mag, and 44% (100 out of 228) of all host stars with g<=14 mag. Our typical photometric uncertainty is ~0.1-0.15 mag. No variation is found at 3-sigma level for these host stars, including 16 candidate hot Jupiter systems which might be expected to show enhanced flares from magnetic interactions between dwarf primaries and their close and relatively massive planet companions.

100-year DASCH Light Curves of Kepler Planet-Candidate Host Stars [Replacement]

We present 100 year light curves of Kepler planet-candidate host stars from the Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard (DASCH) project. 261 out of 997 host stars have at least 10 good measurements on DASCH scans of the Harvard plates. 109 of them have at least 100 good measurements, including 70% (73 out of 104) of all host stars with g<=13 mag, and 44% (100 out of 228) of all host stars with g<=14 mag. Our typical photometric uncertainty is ~0.1-0.15 mag. No variation is found at 3-sigma level for these host stars, including 21 confirmed or candidate hot Jupiter systems which might be expected to show enhanced flares from magnetic interactions between dwarf primaries and their close and relatively massive planet companions.

MAGIICAT I. The MgII Absorber-Galaxy Catalog

We describe the MgII Absorber-Galaxy Catalog, MAGIICAT, a compilation of 182 spectroscopically identified intermediate redshift (0.07 < z < 1.1) isolated galaxies with measurements of MgII 2796, 2803 absorption from their circumgalactic medium within projected distances of 200 kpc from background quasars. We standardized all galaxy properties to the Lambda CDM cosmology and galaxy luminosities, absolute magnitudes, and rest-frame colors to the B- and K-band on the AB system. We present galaxy and rest-frame MgII equivalent width, Wr(2796), versus galaxy redshift. The well-known anti-correlation between Wr(2796) and quasar-galaxy impact parameter, D, is significant to the 8 sigma level. The mean color of MAGIICAT galaxies is consistent with an Sbc galaxy for all redshifts. We present B- and K-band luminosity functions for different Wr(2796) and redshift subsamples: "weak absorbing" [Wr(2796) < 0.3 Angstroms], "strong absorbing" [W_r(2796) > 0.3 Angstroms], low redshift (z < zmed), and high redshift (z > zmed), where zmed = 0.359 is the median galaxy redshift. We find no differences between the luminosity function subsamples, except for a ~0.5 magnitude dimming with decreasing redshift in the B-band for weak absorbing M_B < -18 galaxies. Rest-frame color B-K correlates with M_K at the 8 sigma level for the whole sample but is driven by the strong absorbing, high redshift subsample (6 sigma). We find possible faint-end "roll offs" in both the B- and K-band luminosity functions. Using M_K as a proxy for stellar mass, we infer that in low stellar mass galaxies, MgII absorption is preferentially detected in blue galaxies and the absorption is more likely to be weak.

MAGIICAT I. The MgII Absorber-Galaxy Catalog [Replacement]

We describe the MgII Absorber-Galaxy Catalog, MAGIICAT, a compilation of 182 spectroscopically identified intermediate redshift (0.07 < z < 1.1) galaxies with measurements of MgII 2796, 2803 absorption from their circumgalactic medium within projected distances of 200 kpc from background quasars. In this work, we present "isolated" galaxies, which are defined as having no spectroscopically identified galaxy within a projected distance of 100 kpc and a line of sight velocity separation of 500 km/s. We standardized all galaxy properties to the Lambda CDM cosmology and galaxy luminosities, absolute magnitudes, and rest-frame colors to the B- and K-band on the AB system. We present galaxy properties and rest-frame MgII equivalent width, Wr(2796), versus galaxy redshift. The well-known anti-correlation between Wr(2796) and quasar-galaxy impact parameter, D, is significant to the 8 sigma level. The mean color of MAGIICAT galaxies is consistent with an Sbc galaxy for all redshifts. We also present B- and K-band luminosity functions for different Wr(2796) and redshift subsamples: "weak absorbing" [Wr(2796) < 0.3 Ang], "strong absorbing" [Wr(2796) > 0.3 Ang], low redshift (z < zmed), and high redshift (z > zmed), where zmed = 0.359 is the median galaxy redshift. Rest-frame color B-K correlates with M_K at the 8 sigma level for the whole sample but is driven by the strong absorbing, high redshift subsample (6 sigma). Using M_K as a proxy for stellar mass and examining the luminosity functions, we infer that in lower stellar mass galaxies, MgII absorption is preferentially detected in blue galaxies and the absorption is more likely to be weak.

Indication for an intermediate-mass black hole in the globular cluster NGC 5286 from kinematics

Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs, 10^2-10^5 M_sun) fill the gap between stellar-mass black holes and supermassive black holes (SMBHs). Simulations have shown that IMBHs may form in dense star clusters, and therefore may still be present in these smaller stellar systems. We investigate the Galactic globular cluster NGC 5286 for indications of a central IMBH using spectroscopic data from VLT/FLAMES, velocity measurements from the Rutgers Fabry Perot at CTIO, and photometric data from HST. We run analytic spherical and axisymmetric Jeans models with different central black-hole masses, anisotropy, mass-to-light ratio, and inclination. Further, we compare the data to a grid of N-body simulations without tidal field. Additionally, we use one N-body simulation to check the results of the spherical Jeans models for the total cluster mass. Both the Jeans models and the N-body simulations favor the presence of a central black hole in NGC 5286 and our detection is at the 1- to 1.5-sigma level. From the spherical Jeans models we obtain a best fit with black-hole mass M_BH=(1.5+-1.0)x10^3 M_sun. The error is the 68% confidence limit from Monte Carlo simulations. Axisymmetric models give a consistent result. The best fitting N-body model is found with a black hole of 0.9% of the total cluster mass (4.38+-0.18)x10^5 M_sun, which results in an IMBH mass of M_BH=(3.9+-2.0)x10^3 M_sun. Jeans models give lower values for the total cluster mass. Our test of the Jeans models with N-body simulation data shows that this discrepancy has two reasons: The influence of a radially varying M/L profile, and underestimation of the velocity dispersion as the measurements are limited to bright stars. We conclude that detection of IMBHs in Galactic globular clusters remains a challenging task unless their mass fractions are above those found for SMBHs in nearby galaxies. [abridged]

Gravitational redshifts from large-scale structure

The recent measurement of the gravitational redshifts of galaxies in galaxy clusters by Wojtak et al. has opened a new observational window on dark matter and modified gravity. By stacking clusters this determination effectively used the line of sight distortion of the cross-correlation function of massive galaxies and lower mass galaxies to estimate the gravitational redshift profile of clusters out to 4 Mpc/h. Here we use a halo model of clustering to predict the distortion due to gravitational redshifts of the cross-correlation function on scales from 1 – 100 Mpc/h. We compare our predictions to simulations and use the simulations to make mock catalogues relevant to current and future galaxy redshift surveys. Without formulating an optimal estimator, we find that the full BOSS survey should be able to detect gravitational redshifts from large-scale structure at the ~4 sigma level. Upcoming redshift surveys will greatly increase the number of galaxies useable in such studies and the BigBOSS and Euclid experiments should be capable of measurements with precision at the few percent level. As has been recently pointed out by McDonald, Kaiser and Zhao et al, other interesting effects including relativistic beaming and transverse Doppler shift can add additional asymmetric distortions to the correlation function. While these contributions are subdominant to the gravitational redshift on large scales, they represent additional opportunities to probe gravitational physics and indicate that many qualitatively new measurements should soon be possible using large redshift surveys.

Sensitive Search For Radio Variables And Transients In The Extended Chandra Deep-Field South

We report on an analysis of the Extended Chandra Deep Field South (E-CDFS) region using archival data from the Very Large Array, with the goal of studying radio variability and transients at the sub-mJy level. The 49 epochs of E-CDFS observations at 1.4 GHz sample timescales from one day to 3 months. We find that only a fraction (1%) of unresolved radio sources above 40 uJy are variable at the 4-sigma level. There is no evidence that the fractional variability changes along with the known transition of radio source populations below one milliJansky. Optical identifications of the sources show that the variable radio emission is associated with the central regions of an active galactic nucleus or a star-forming galaxy. After a detailed comparison of the efficacy of various source-finding algorithms, we use the best to carry out a transient search. No transients were found. This implies that the areal density of transients with peak flux density greater than 0.21 mJy is less than 0.37 deg^-2 (at a confidence level of 95%). This result is approximately an order of magnitude below the transient rate measured at 5 GHz by Bower et al. (2007) but it is consistent with more recent upper limits from Frail et al. (2012). Our findings suggest that the radio sky at 1.4 GHz is relatively quiet. For multi-wavelength transient searches, such as the electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves, this frequency may be optimal for reducing the high background of false positives.

A CMB lensing mass map and its correlation with the cosmic infrared background

We use a temperature map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) obtained using the South Pole Telescope at 150 GHz to construct a map of the gravitational convergence to z ~ 1100, revealing the fluctuations in the projected mass density. This map shows individual features that are significant at the ~ 4 sigma level, providing the first image of CMB lensing convergence. We cross-correlate this map with Herschel/SPIRE maps covering 90 square degrees at wavelengths of 500, 350, and 250 microns. We show that these submillimeter-wavelength (submm) maps are strongly correlated with the lensing convergence map, with detection significances in each of the three submm bands ranging from 6.7 to 8.8 sigma. We fit the measurement of the cross power spectrum assuming a simple constant bias model and infer bias factors of b=1.3-1.8, with a statistical uncertainty of 15%, depending on the assumed model for the redshift distribution of the dusty galaxies that are contributing to the Herschel/SPIRE maps.

Robust Lower Bounds on Magnetic Fields in Intergalactic Voids from Long-Term GeV-TeV Light Curves of the Blazar Mrk 421

Lower bounds are derived on the amplitude B of intergalactic magnetic fields (IGMFs) in the region between our Galaxy and the blazar Mrk 421, from constraints on the delayed GeV flux of pair echos that are emitted by secondary electrons and positrons produced in gamma-gamma interactions between primary TeV gamma-rays and the cosmic infrared background. The distribution of galaxies mapped by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows that this region is dominated by a large intergalactic void. We utilize data from long-term, simultaneous GeV-TeV observations by the Fermi Large Area Telescope and the ARGO-YBJ experiment extending over 600 days. For an assumed value of B, we evaluate the daily GeV flux of the pair echo expected from the TeV data, select the dates where this exceeds the Fermi 2-sigma sensitivity, compute the probability that this flux is excluded by the Fermi data for each date, and then combine the probabilities using the inverse normal method. Consequently, we exclude B < 10^(-20.5) G for a field coherence length of 1 kpc at about 4-sigma level. This is much more significant than the 2-sigma bounds we obtained previously from observations of Mrk 501 involving Cherenkov telescopes, by virtue of more extensive data and improved statistical analysis. Compared with most other studies of IGMF bounds, the evidence we present here for a non-zero IGMF is more robust as it does not rely on unproven assumptions on the primary TeV emission during unobserved periods.

The Halo Occupation Distribution of X-ray-Bright Active Galactic Nuclei: A Comparison with Luminous Quasars

We perform halo occupation distribution (HOD) modeling of the projected two-point correlation function (2PCF) of high-redshift (z~1.2) X-ray-bright active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the XMM-COSMOS field measured by Allevato et al. The HOD parameterization is based on low-luminosity AGN in cosmological simulations. At the median redshift of z~1.2, we derive a median mass of (1.02+0.21/-0.23)x10^{13} Msun/h for halos hosting central AGN and an upper limit of ~10% on the AGN satellite fraction. Our modeling results indicate (at the 2.5-sigma level) that X-ray AGN reside in more massive halos compared to more bolometrically luminous, optically-selected quasars at similar redshift. The modeling also yields constraints on the duty cycle of the X-ray AGN, and we find that at z~1.2 the average duration of the X-ray AGN phase is two orders of magnitude longer than that of the quasar phase. Our inferred mean occupation function of X-ray AGN is similar to recent empirical measurements with a group catalog and suggests that AGN halo occupancy increases with increasing halo mass. We project the XMM-COSMOS 2PCF measurements to forecast the required survey parameters needed in future AGN clustering studies to enable higher precision HOD constraints and determinations of key physical parameters like the satellite fraction and duty cycle. We find that N^{2}/A~5×10^{6} deg^{-2} (with N the number of AGN in a survey area of A deg^{2}) is sufficient to constrain the HOD parameters at the 10% level, which is easily achievable by upcoming and proposed X-ray surveys.

The Halo Occupation Distribution of X-ray-Bright Active Galactic Nuclei: A Comparison with Luminous Quasars [Replacement]

We perform halo occupation distribution (HOD) modeling of the projected two-point correlation function (2PCF) of high-redshift (z~1.2) X-ray-bright active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the XMM-COSMOS field measured by Allevato et al. The HOD parameterization is based on low-luminosity AGN in cosmological simulations. At the median redshift of z~1.2, we derive a median mass of (1.02+0.21/-0.23)x10^{13} Msun/h for halos hosting central AGN and an upper limit of ~10% on the AGN satellite fraction. Our modeling results indicate (at the 2.5-sigma level) that X-ray AGN reside in more massive halos compared to more bolometrically luminous, optically-selected quasars at similar redshift. The modeling also yields constraints on the duty cycle of the X-ray AGN, and we find that at z~1.2 the average duration of the X-ray AGN phase is two orders of magnitude longer than that of the quasar phase. Our inferred mean occupation function of X-ray AGN is similar to recent empirical measurements with a group catalog and suggests that AGN halo occupancy increases with increasing halo mass. We project the XMM-COSMOS 2PCF measurements to forecast the required survey parameters needed in future AGN clustering studies to enable higher precision HOD constraints and determinations of key physical parameters like the satellite fraction and duty cycle. We find that N^{2}/A~5×10^{6} deg^{-2} (with N the number of AGN in a survey area of A deg^{2}) is sufficient to constrain the HOD parameters at the 10% level, which is easily achievable by upcoming and proposed X-ray surveys.

The kinematics of the Local Group in a cosmological context

Recent observations constrained the tangential velocity of M31 with respect to the Milky Way (MW) to be v_tan<34.4 km/s and the radial velocity to be in the range v_rad=-109+/- 4.4 km/s (van der Marel et al. 2012). In this study we use a large volume high resolution N-body cosmological simulation (Bolshoi) together with three constrained simulations to statistically study this kinematics in the context of the LCDM. The comparison of the ensembles of simulated pairs with the observed LG at the 1-sigma level in the uncertainties has been done with respect to the radial and tangential velocities, the reduced orbital energy (e_tot), angular momentum (l_orb) and the dimensionless spin parameter, lambda. Our main results are: (i) the preferred radial and tangential velocities for pairs in LCDM are v_rad=-80+/-20 km/s, v_tan=50+/-10 km/s, (ii) pairs around that region are 3 to 13 times more common than pairs within the observational values, (iii) 15%to 24% of LG-like pairs in LCDM have energy and angular momentum consistent with observations while (iv) 9% to 13% of pairs in the same sample show similar values in the inferred dimensionless spin parameter. It follows that within current observational uncertainties the quasi-conserved quantities that characterize the orbit of the LG, i.e. e_tot, r_orb and lambda, do not challenge the standard LCDM model, but the model is in tension with regard to the actual values of the radial and tangential velocities. This might hint to a problem of the LCDM model to reproduce the observed LG.

Asteroseismic determination of obliquities of the exoplanet systems Kepler-50 and Kepler-65

Results on the obliquity of exoplanet host stars — the angle between the stellar spin axis and the planetary orbital axis — provide important diagnostic information for theories describing planetary formation. Here we present the first application of asteroseismology to the problem of stellar obliquity determination in systems with transiting planets and Sun-like host stars. We consider two systems observed by the NASA Kepler Mission which have multiple transiting small (super-Earth sized) planets: the previously reported Kepler-50 and a new system, Kepler-65, whose planets we validate in this paper. Both stars show rich spectra of solar-like oscillations. From the asteroseismic analysis we find that each host has its rotation axis nearly perpendicular to the line of sight with the sines of the angles constrained at the 1-sigma level to lie above 0.97 and 0.91, respectively. We use statistical arguments to show that coplanar orbits are favoured in both systems, and that the orientations of the planetary orbits and the stellar rotation axis are correlated.

Cosmological Parameters from Pre-Planck CMB Measurements

Recent data from the WMAP, ACT and SPT experiments provide precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background temperature power spectrum over a wide range of angular scales. The combination of these observations is well fit by the standard, spatially flat LCDM cosmological model, constraining six free parameters to within a few percent. The scalar spectral index, n_s = 0.9678 +/- 0.0088, is less than unity at the 3.6 sigma level, consistent with simple models of inflation. The damping tail of the power spectrum at high resolution, combined with the amplitude of gravitational lensing measured by ACT and SPT, constrains the effective number of relativistic species to be N_eff = 3.24 +/- 0.39, in agreement with the standard model’s three species of light neutrinos.

Cosmological Parameters from Pre-Planck CMB Measurements [Replacement]

Recent data from the WMAP, ACT and SPT experiments provide precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background temperature power spectrum over a wide range of angular scales. The combination of these observations is well fit by the standard, spatially flat LCDM cosmological model, constraining six free parameters to within a few percent. The scalar spectral index, n_s = 0.9690 +/- 0.0089, is less than unity at the 3.6 sigma level, consistent with simple models of inflation. The damping tail of the power spectrum at high resolution, combined with the amplitude of gravitational lensing measured by ACT and SPT, constrains the effective number of relativistic species to be N_eff = 3.28 +/- 0.40, in agreement with the standard model’s three species of light neutrinos.

CFHTLenS: The Environmental Dependence of Galaxy Halo Masses from Weak Lensing

We use weak gravitational lensing to analyse the dark matter halos around satellite galaxies in galaxy groups in the CFHTLenS dataset. This dataset is derived from the CFHTLS-Wide survey, and encompasses 154 sq. deg of high-quality shape data. Using the photometric redshifts, we divide the sample of lens galaxies with stellar masses in the range 10^9 Msun to 10^10.5 Msun into those likely to lie in high-density environments (HDE) and those likely to lie in low-density environments (LDE). Through comparison with galaxy catalogues extracted from the Millennium Simulation, we show that the sample of HDE galaxies should primarily (~61%) consist of satellite galaxies in groups, while the sample of LDE galaxies should consist of mostly (~87%) non-satellite (field and central) galaxies. Comparing the lensing signals around samples of HDE and LDE galaxies matched in stellar mass, the lensing signal around HDE galaxies clearly shows a positive contribution from their host groups on their lensing signals at radii of ~500–1000 kpc, the typical separation between satellites and group centres. More importantly, the subhalos of HDE galaxies are less massive than those around LDE galaxies by a factor 0.65 +/- 0.12, significant at the 2.9 sigma level. A natural explanation is that the halos of satellite galaxies are stripped through tidal effects in the group environment. Our results are consistent with a typical tidal truncation radius of ~40 kpc.

The GROUSE project III: Ks-band observations of the thermal emission from WASP-33b

In recent years, day-side emission from about a dozen hot Jupiters has been detected through ground-based secondary eclipse observations in the near-infrared. These near-infrared observations are vital for determining the energy budgets of hot Jupiters, since they probe the planet’s spectral energy distribution near its peak. The aim of this work is to measure the Ks-band secondary eclipse depth of WASP-33b, the first planet discovered to transit an A-type star. This planet receives the highest level of irradiation of all transiting planets discovered to date. Furthermore, its host-star shows pulsations and is classified as a low-amplitude delta-Scuti. As part of our GROUnd-based Secondary Eclipse (GROUSE) project we have obtained observations of two separate secondary eclipses of WASP-33b in the Ks-band using the LIRIS instrument on the William Herschel Telescope (WHT). The telescope was significantly defocused to avoid saturation of the detector for this bright star (K~7.5). To increase the stability and the cadence of the observations, they were performed in staring mode. We collected a total of 5100 and 6900 frames for the first and the second night respectively, both with an average cadence of 3.3 seconds. On the second night the eclipse is detected at the 12-sigma level, with a measured eclipse depth of 0.244+0.027-0.020 %. This eclipse depth corresponds to a brightness temperature of 3270+115-160 K. The measured brightness temperature on the second night is consistent with the expected equilibrium temperature for a planet with a very low albedo and a rapid re-radiation of the absorbed stellar light. For the other night the short out-of-eclipse baseline prevents good corrections for the stellar pulsations and systematic effects, which makes this dataset unreliable for eclipse depth measurements. This demonstrates the need of getting a sufficient out-of-eclipse baseline.

Gravitational conundrum? Dynamical mass segregation versus disruption of binary stars in dense stellar systems

Upon their formation, dynamically cool (collapsing) star clusters will, within only a few million years, achieve stellar mass segregation for stars down to a few solar masses, simply because of gravitational two-body encounters. Since binary systems are, on average, more massive than single stars, one would expect them to also rapidly mass segregate dynamically. Contrary to these expectations and based on high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope observations, we show that the compact, 15-30 Myr-old Large Magellanic Cloud cluster NGC 1818 exhibits tantalizing hints at the >= 2 sigma level of significance (> 3 sigma if we assume a power-law secondary-to-primary mass-ratio distribution) of an increasing fraction of F-star binary systems (with combined masses of 1.3-1.6 Msun) with increasing distance from the cluster center, specifically between the inner 10 to 20" (approximately equivalent to the cluster’s core and half-mass radii) and the outer 60 to 80". If confirmed, this will offer support of the theoretically predicted but thus far unobserved dynamical disruption processes of the significant population of ‘soft’ binary systems—with relatively low binding energies compared to the kinetic energy of their stellar members—in star clusters, which we have access to here by virtue of the cluster’s unique combination of youth and high stellar density.

An X-ray and Multiwavelength Survey of Highly Radio-Loud Quasars at z > 4: Jet-Linked Emission in the Brightest Radio Beacons of the Early Universe

(Abridged) We present a systematic study of the X-ray and multiwavelength properties of a sample of 17 highly radio-loud quasars (HRLQs) at z > 4 with sensitive X-ray coverage from new Chandra and archival Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift observations. Eight of the new and archival observations are reported in this work for the first time. New Chandra observations of two moderately radio-loud and highly optically luminous quasars at z > 4 are also reported. Our HRLQ sample represents the top ~5% of radio-loud quasars in terms of radio loudness. We found that our HRLQs have an X-ray emission enhancement over HRLQs at lower redshifts (by a typical factor of ~3), and this effect, after controlling for several factors which may introduce biases, has been solidly estimated to be significant at the 3-4 sigma level. HRLQs at z=3-4 are also found to have a similar X-ray emission enhancement over z < 3 HRLQs, which supports further the robustness of our results. We discuss models for the X-ray enhancement’s origin including a fractional contribution from inverse Compton scattering of cosmic microwave background photons. No strong correlations are found between the relative X-ray brightness and optical/UV emission-line rest-frame equivalent widths (REWs) for radio-loud quasars. However, the line REWs are positively correlated with radio loudness, which suggests that relativistic jets make a negligible contribution to the optical/UV continua of these HRLQs (contrary to the case where the emission lines are diluted by the relativistically boosted continuum). Our HRLQs are generally consistent with the known anti-correlation between radio loudness and X-ray power-law photon index. We also found that the two moderately radio-loud quasars appear to have the hardest X-ray spectra among our objects, suggesting that intrinsic X-ray absorption (N_H~10^23 cm^-2) may be present.

Extended analysis of CMB constraints on non-Gaussianity in isocurvature perturbations

We study CMB constraints on non-Gaussianity from isocurvature perturbations of general types. Specifically, we study CDM/neutrino isocurvature perturbations which are uncorrelated or totally correlated with adiabatic ones. Using the data from the WMAP 7-year observation at V and W bands, we obtained optimal constraints on the nonlinearity parameters of adiabatic and isocurvature perturbations. Our result shows that primordial perturbations are consistent with Gaussian ones at around 2 sigma level for above mentioned isocurvature modes.

What X-ray source counts can tell about the large scale matter distribution

Sources generating most of the X-ray background (XRB) are dispersed over a wide range of redshifts. Thus, statistical characteristics of the source distribution carry the information on the matter distribution on very large scales. We test the possibility to detect the variation of the X-ray source number counts over the celestial sphere. A large number of Chandra pointings spread over both galactic hemispheres is investigated. A search for all the point-like sources in the soft band of 0.5 – 2 keV is performed, and statistical assessment of the population of sources below the detection threshold is carried out. A homogeneous sample of the number counts at fluxes above ~10^{-16} erg/s/cm^2 for more than 300 ACIS fields was constructed. The counts correlations between overlapping fields were used to assess the accuracy of the computational methods used in the analysis. It is shown that the source number counts vary between fields at the level only slightly larger than the fluctuation amplitude expected for the random (Poissonian) distribution. Nevertheless, small asymmetry between galactic hemispheres is present. The average number of sources in the northern hemisphere is larger than in the southern at the 2.75 sigma level. Also the autocorrelation function of the source density in both hemispheres are substantially different. Possible explanations for the observed anisotropies are considered. If the effect is unrelated to the observational selection, a large scale inhomogeneities in the distribution of X-ray sources are required. Correlations of the source number counts observed in the southern hemisphere could be generated by a coherent structure extending over 1200 Mpc.

Discovery of an Halpha emitting disk around the supermassive black hole of M31

Due to its proximity, the mass of the supermassive black hole in the nucleus of Andromeda galaxy (M31), the most massive black hole in the Local Group of galaxies, has been measured by several methods involving the kinematics of a stellar disk that surrounds it. We report here the discovery of an eccentric Halpha emitting disk around the black hole at the center of M31 and show how modeling this disk can provide an independent determination of the mass of the black hole. Our model implies a mass of 5.0_{-1.0}^{+0.8} x 10^7 Mo for the central black hole, consistent with the average of determinations by methods involving stellar dynamics, and compatible (at 1-sigma level) with measurements obtained from the most detailed models of the stellar disk around the central black hole. This value is also consistent with the M-sigma relation. In order to make a comparison, we applied our simulation on the stellar kinematics in the nucleus of M31 and concluded that the parameters obtained for the stellar disk are not formally compatible with the parameters obtained for the Halpha emitting disk. This result suggests that the stellar and the Halpha emitting disks are intrinsically different from each other. A plausible explanation is that the Halpha emission is associated with a gaseous disk. This hypothesis is supported by the detection of traces of weaker nebular lines in the nuclear region of M31. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that the Halpha emission is, at least partially, generated by stars.

The dependence of the mass-size relation of early-type galaxies on environment in the local Universe

The early–type galaxy (ETG) mass–size relation has been largely studied to understand how these galaxies have assembled their mass. One key observational result of the last years is that massive galaxies increased their size by a factor of a few at fixed stellar mass from z~2. Minor mergers have been put forward in hierarchical models as a plausible driver of this size growth. Some of these models, predict a significant environmental dependence in the sense that galaxies residing in more massive halos tend to be larger than galaxies in lower mass halos, at fixed stellar mass and redshift. At present, observational results of this environmental dependence have been contradictory. In this paper we revisit this issue in the local Universe, by carefully investigating how the sizes of massive ETGs depend on large-scale environment using an updated and accurate sample of massive ETGs (>10^{11}) in different environments – field, group, clusters – from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR7. Observations do not show any environmental dependence of the sizes of central and satellites ETGs at fixed stellar mass. The size-mass relation of early-type galaxies seems to be universal, i.e., independent of the mass of the host halo and of the position of the galaxy in that halo (central or satellite). We compare our observational results with two hierarchical models built from the Millennium Simulation. Once observational errors are properly included in model predictions, we find our results to broadly agree (at 1-2 sigma level) with one of the models, but strongly disagree with the other (at ~3sigma level), proving how useful environment is in testing galaxy evolution models.

Inferring the mass of sub-millimetre galaxies by exploiting their gravitational magnification of background galaxies

Dust emission at sub-millimetre wavelengths allows us to trace the early phases of star formation in the Universe. In order to understand the physical processes involved in this mode of star formation, it is essential to gain knowledge about the dark matter structures – most importantly their masses – that sub-millimetre galaxies live in. Here we use the magnification effect of gravitational lensing to determine the average mass and dust content of sub-millimetre galaxies with 250mu flux densities of S_250>15mJy selected using data from the Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey. The positions of hundreds of sub-millimetre foreground lenses are cross-correlated with the positions of background Lyman-break galaxies at z~3-5 selected using optical data from the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey. We detect a cross-correlation signal at the 7-sigma level over a sky area of one square degree, with ~80% of this signal being due to magnification, whereas the remaining ~20% comes from dust extinction. Adopting some simple assumptions for the dark matter and dust profiles and the redshift distribution enables us to estimate the average mass of the halos hosting the sub-millimetre galaxies to be log(M_200/M_sun)=13.17+0.05-0.08(stat.) and their average dust mass fraction (at radii of >10kpc) to be M_dust/M_200~6×10^-5. This supports the picture that sub-millimetre galaxies are dusty, forming stars at a high rate, reside in massive group-sized halos, and are a crucial phase in the assembly and evolution of structure in the Universe.

Probing primordial non-Gaussianity: The 3D Bispectrum of Ly-alpha forest and the redshifted 21-cm signal from the post reionization epoch

We explore possibility of using the three dimensional bispectra of the Ly-alpha forest and the redshifted 21-cm signal from the post-reionization epoch to constrain primordial non-Gaussianity. Both these fields map out the large scale distribution of neutral hydrogen and maybe treated as tracers of the underlying dark matter field. We first present the general formalism for the auto and cross bispectrum of two arbitrary three dimensional biased tracers and then apply it to the specific case. We have modeled the 3D Ly-alpha transmitted flux field as a continuous tracer sampled along 1D skewers which corresponds to quasars sight lines. For the post reionization 21-cm signal we have used a linear bias model. We use a Fisher matrix analysis to present the first prediction for bounds on f_NL and the other bias parameters using the three dimensional 21-cm bispectrum and other cross bispectra. The bounds on f_NL depend on the survey volume, and the various observational noises. We have considered a BOSS like Ly-alpha survey where the average number density of quasars \bar{n} = 10^{-3} Mpc^{-2} and the spectra are measured at a 2-sigma level. For the 21-cm signal we have considered a 4000 hrs observation with a futuristic SKA like radio array. We find that bounds on f_NL obtained in our analysis (6 <\Delta f_NL < 65) is competitive with CMBR and galaxy surveys and may prove to be an important alternative approach towards constraining primordial physics using future data sets. Further, we have presented a hierarchy of power of the bispectrum-estimators towards detecting the f_NL. Given the quality of the data sets, one may use this method to optimally choose the right estimator and thereby provide better constraints on f_NL. This shall be important in the quest towards understanding the mechanism behind the generation of primordial perturbations.

Probing primordial non-Gaussianity: The 3D Bispectrum of Ly-alpha forest and the redshifted 21-cm signal from the post reionization epoch [Replacement]

We explore possibility of using the three dimensional bispectra of the Ly-alpha forest and the redshifted 21-cm signal from the post-reionization epoch to constrain primordial non-Gaussianity. Both these fields map out the large scale distribution of neutral hydrogen and maybe treated as tracers of the underlying dark matter field. We first present the general formalism for the auto and cross bispectrum of two arbitrary three dimensional biased tracers and then apply it to the specific case. We have modeled the 3D Ly-alpha transmitted flux field as a continuous tracer sampled along 1D skewers which corresponds to quasars sight lines. For the post reionization 21-cm signal we have used a linear bias model. We use a Fisher matrix analysis to present the first prediction for bounds on f_{NL} and the other bias parameters using the three dimensional 21-cm bispectrum and other cross bispectra. The bounds on f_{NL} depend on the survey volume, and the various observational noises. We have considered a BOSS like Ly-alpha survey where the average number density of quasars \bar{n} = 10^{-3} Mpc^{-2} and the spectra are measured at a 2-sigma level. For the 21-cm signal we have considered a 4000 hrs observation with a futuristic SKA like radio array. We find that bounds on f_{NL} obtained in our analysis (6 < \Delta f_{NL} < 65) is competitive with CMBR and galaxy surveys. We also find that by combining the various cross-bispectrum estimators it is possible to constrain f_{NL} at a level \Delta f_{NL} ~ 4.7. For the equilateral and orthogonal template we obtain \Delta f_{NL}^{equ}~17 and \Delta f_{NL}^{orth}~13 respectively for the combined estimator. This shall be important in the quest towards understanding the mechanism behind the generation of primordial perturbations.

Chandra Measurements of a Complete Sample of X-ray Luminous Galaxy Clusters: the Gas Mass Fraction

We present Chandra X-ray measurements of the gas mass fraction out to r500 for a complete sample of the 35 most luminous clusters from the Brightest Cluster Sample and the Extended Brightest Cluster Sample at redshift z=0.15-0.30. The sample includes relaxed and unrelaxed clusters, and the data were analysed independently using two pipelines and two different models for the gas density and temperature. We measure an average of fgas(r500) = 0.163 +/- 0.032, which is in agreement with the cosmic baryon fraction (Omega_b / Omega_M = 0.167 +/- 0.006) at the 1-sigma level, after adding the stellar baryon fraction. Earlier studies reported gas mass fractions significantly lower than the cosmic baryon fraction at r500, and in some cases higher values that are consistent with the cosmic baryon fraction towards the virial radius.In this paper we show that the most X-ray luminous clusters in the redshift range z=0.15-0.30 have a gas mass fraction that is consistent with the cosmic value at r500.

Testing standard and non-standard neutrino physics with cosmological data

Cosmological constraints on the sum of neutrino masses and on the effective number of neutrino species in standard and non-standard scenarios are computed using the most recent available cosmological data. Our cosmological data sets include the measurement of the Baryonic Acoustic Oscillation (BAO) feature in the Data Release 9 CMASS sample of the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). We study in detail the different degeneracies among the parameters, as well as the impact of the different data sets used in the analyses. When considering bounds on the sum of the three active neutrino masses, the information in the BAO signal from galaxy clustering measurements is approximately equally powerful as the shape information from the matter power spectrum. The most stringent bound we find is sum m_nu<0.32 eV at 95 % CL. When non-standard neutrino scenarios with neff massless or massive neutrino species are examined, power spectrum shape measurements provide slightly better bounds than the BAO signal only, due to the breaking of parameter degeneracies. Recent BOSS data combined with CMB and Hubble Space Telescope measurements give neff=3.66^{+0.20 +0.73}_{-0.21 -0.69} in the massless neutrino scenario, and similar results are obtained in the massive case. The evidence for extra radiation neff>3 often claimed in the literature therefore remains at the 2 sigma level when considering up-to-date cosmological data sets. Measurements from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe combined with a prior on the Hubble parameter from the Hubble Space Telescope are very powerful in constraining either the sum of the three active neutrino masses or the number of massless neutrino species. If the former two parameters are allowed to freely vary, however, the bounds from the combination of these two cosmological probes get worse by an order of magnitude.

Prospects for measuring the relative velocities of galaxy clusters in photometric surveys using the kinetic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect

We consider the prospects for measuring the pairwise kinetic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (kSZ) signal from galaxy clusters discovered in large photometric surveys such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We project that the DES cluster sample will, in conjunction with existing mm-wave data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT), yield a detection of the pairwise kSZ signal at the 8-13 sigma level, with sensitivity peaking for clusters separated by ~100 Mpc distances. A next-generation version of SPT would allow for a 18-30 sigma detection and would be limited by variance from the kSZ signal itself and residual thermal Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (tSZ) signal. Throughout our analysis we assume photometric redshift errors, which wash out the signal for clusters separated by <~50 Mpc; a spectroscopic survey of the DES sample would recover this signal and allow for a 26-43 sigma detection, and would again be limited by kSZ/tSZ variance. Assuming a standard model of structure formation, these high-precision measurements of the pairwise kSZ signal will yield detailed information on the gas content of the galaxy clusters. Alternatively, if the gas can be sufficiently characterized by other means (e.g. using tSZ, X-ray, or weak lensing), then the relative velocities of the galaxy clusters can be isolated, thereby providing a precision measurement of gravity on 100 Mpc scales. We briefly consider the utility of these measurements for constraining theories of modified gravity.

 

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