Posts Tagged spatial resolution

Recent Postings from spatial resolution

Peculiar Near-Nucleus Outgassing of Comet 17P/Holmes During Its 2007 Outburst

We present high angular resolution Submillimeter Array observations ofthe outbursting Jupiter family comet 17P/Holmes on 2007 October 26-29, achieving a spatial resolution of 2.5", or ~3000 km at the comet distance. The observations resulted in detections of the rotational lines CO 3-2, HCN 4-3, H$^{13}$CN 4-3, CS 7-6, H$_2$CO 3$_{1,2}$-2$_{1,1}$, H$_2$S 2$_{2,0}$-2$_{1,1}$, and multiple CH$_3$OH lines, along with the associated dust continuum at 221 and 349 GHz. The continuum has a spectral index of 2.7$\pm$0.3, slightly steeper than blackbody emission from large dust particles. From the imaging data, we identify two components in the molecular emission. One component is characterized by a relatively broad line width (~1 km s$^{-1}$ FWHM) exhibiting a symmetric outgassing pattern with respect to the nucleus position. The second component has a narrower line width (<0.5 km s$^{-1}$ FWHM) with the line center red-shifted by 0.1-0.2 km s$^{-1}$ (cometocentric frame), and shows a velocity shift across the nucleus position with the position angle gradually changing from 66 to 30 degrees within the four days of observations. We determine distinctly different CO/HCN ratios for each of the components. For the broad-line component we find CO/HCN <7, while in the narrow-line component, CO/HCN = 40$\pm$5. We hypothesize that the narrow-line component originates from the ice grain halo found in near-nucleus photometry, believed to be created by sublimating recently released ice grains around the nucleus during the outburst. In this interpretation, the high CO/HCN ratio of this component reflects the more pristine volatile composition of nucleus material released in the outburst.

Design and development of a freeform active mirror for an astronomy application

The advent of extremely large telescopes will bring unprecedented light-collecting power and spatial resolution, but it will also lead to a significant increase in the size and complexity of focal-plane instruments. The use of freeform mirrors could drastically reduce the number of components in optical systems. Currently, manufacturing issues limit the common use of freeform mirrors at short wavelengths. This article outlines the use of freeform mirrors in astronomical instruments with a description of two efficient freeform optical systems. A new manufacturing method is presented which seeks to overcome the manufacturing issues through hydroforming of thin polished substrates. A specific design of an active array is detailed, which will compensate for residual manufacturing errors, thermoelastic deformation, and gravity-induced errors during observations. The combined hydroformed mirror and the active array comprise the Freeform Active Mirror Experiment, which will produce an accurate, compact, and stable freeform optics dedicated to visible and near-infrared observations.

ALMA Observations of the Antennae Galaxies: I. A New Window on a Prototypical Merger

We present the highest spatial resolution (~0.5") CO (3-2) observations to date of the "overlap" region in the merging Antennae galaxies (NGC 4038/39), taken with the ALMA. We report on the discovery of a long (3 kpc), thin (aspect ratio 30/1), filament of CO gas which breaks up into roughly ten individual knots. Each individual knot has a low internal velocity dispersion (~10 km/s), and the dispersion of the ensemble of knots in the filament is also low (~10 km/s). At the other extreme, we find that the individual clouds in the Super Giant Molecular Cloud 2 region discussed by Wilson and collaborators have a large range of internal velocity dispersions (10 to 80 km/s), and a large dispersion amongst the ensemble (~80 km/s). We use a combination of optical and near-IR data from HST, radio continuum observations taken with the VLA, and CO data from ALMA to develop an evolutionary classification system which provides a framework for studying the sequence of star cluster formation and evolution, from diffuse SGMCs, to proto, embedded, emerging, young, and intermediate/old clusters. The relative timescales have been assessed by determining the fractional population of sources at each evolutionary stage. Using the evolutionary framework, we estimate the maximum age range of clusters in a single SGMC is ~10 Myr, which suggests that the molecular gas is removed over this timescale resulting in the cessation of star formation and the destruction of the GMC within a radius of about 200 pc. (abridged)

Enhancing spatial resolution of soft x-ray CCD detectors by single-photon centroid determination [Cross-Listing]

In Charge Coupled Device (CCD) detectors the electrons excited upon absorption of a single x-ray photon quickly diffuse and generate charge-spots often larger than pixel dimensions. In the soft x-ray range this phenomenon drastically limits the effective spatial resolution to approximately 25\mu m, irrespective of the pixel size. For very low fluence the charge-cloud centroid determination can be used, on each individual spot, to estimate the actual photon impact position with sub-pixel precision. The readout noise and speed, together with the charge and spatial undersampling, are the main factors limiting the accuracy of this procedure in commercial devices. We have developed and extensively tested an algorithm for efficient centroid reconstruction on images acquired by low noise detectors not designed for single photon counting. We have thus measured a position uncertainty of 6-7\mu m in CCDs with 13.5\mu m and 20.0\mu m pixel size, around 1 keV photon energy. We have analyzed the centroid calculation performances by modelling the spot generation process. We show how the resolution is affected by both random uncertainty, mainly ascribed to the readout noise, and systematic error, due to the undersampling of the charge spot. This study was motivated by the growing need of of high-resolution high-sensitivity 2D position sensitive detectors in resonant inelastic (soft) x-ray scattering (RIXS), an emergent synchrotron radiation based spectroscopy.

The 2014 March 29 X-flare: sub-arcsecond resolution observations of Fe XXI 1354.1

The Interface Region Imaging Spectrometer (IRIS) is the first solar instrument to observe ~10 MK plasma at subarcsecond spatial resolution through imaging spectroscopy of the Fe XXI 1354.1 forbidden line. IRIS observations of the X1 class flare that occurred on 2014 March 29 at 17:48 UT reveal Fe XXI emission from both the flare ribbons and the post-flare loop arcade. Fe XXI appears at the ribbon locations around 75 seconds after the ribbons appear in the chromospheric continuum, and 1354.1 shows blue-shifts of 100-200 km/s, suggesting hot plasma upflow into the corona. The Fe XXI ribbon emission is compact with a spatial extent of <2", and can extend beyond the chromospheric ribbon locations. Examples are found of both decreasing and increasing blue-shift in the direction away from the ribbon locations, and blue-shifts were present for at least 6 minutes after the flare peak. The post-flare loop arcade, seen in Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) 131 A filtergram images that are dominated by Fe XXI, exhibited bright loop-tops with an asymmetric intensity distribution. The sizes of the loop-tops are resolved by IRIS at > 1", and line widths in the loop-tops are not broader than in the loop-legs suggesting the loop-tops are not sites of enhanced turbulence. Line-of-sight speeds in the loop arcade are typically <10 km/s, and mean non-thermal motions fall from 43 km/s at the flare peak to 26 km/s six minutes later. If the average velocity in the loop arcade is assumed to be at rest, then it implies a new reference wavelength for the Fe XXI line of 1354.106 +/- 0.023 A.

Galaxy Mass Assembly with VLT & HST and lessons for E-ELT/MOSAIC

The fraction of distant disks and mergers is still debated, while 3D-spectroscopy is revolutionizing the field. However its limited spatial resolution imposes a complimentary HST imagery and a robust analysis procedure. When applied to observations of IMAGES galaxies at z=0.4-0.8, it reveals that half of the spiral progenitors were in a merger phase, 6 billion year ago. The excellent correspondence between methodologically-based classifications of morphologies and kinematics definitively probes a violent origin of disk galaxies as proposed by Hammer et al. (2005). Examination of nearby galaxy outskirts reveals fossil imprints of such ancient merger events, under the form of well organized stellar streams. Perhaps our neighbor, M31, is the best illustration of an ancient merger, which modeling in 2010 leads to predict the gigantic plane of satellites discovered by Ibata et al. (2013). There are still a lot of discoveries to be done until the ELT era, which will open an avenue for detailed and accurate 3D-spectroscopy of galaxies from the earliest epochs to the present.

The Star Formation Relation for Regions in the Galactic Plane: The Effect of Spatial Resolution

We examined the relations between molecular gas surface density and star formation rate surface density in a 11 square degree region of the Galactic Plane. Dust continuum at 1.1 mm from the Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey and 22 micron emission from the WISE All-sky survey were used as tracers of molecular gas and star formation rate, respectively, across Galactic longitude of 31.5 > l > 20.5 and Galactic latitude of 0.5 > b > -0.5. The relation was studied over a range of resolutions from 33 arcsecond to 20 arcminute by convolving images to larger scales. The pixel-by-pixel correlation between 1.1 mm and 22 micron increases rapidly at small scales and levels off at the scale of 5 – 8 arcminute. We studied the star formation relation based on pixel-by-pixel analysis and 1.1 mm and 22 micron peaks analysis. The star formation relation was found to be nearly linear with no significant changes in the form of the relation across all spatial scales and lie above the extragalactic relation from Kennicutt (1998). The average gas depletion time is approximately 200 Myr and does not change significantly at different scales, but the scatter in the depletion time decreases as the scale increases.

Pair separation of magnetic elements in the quiet Sun

The dynamic properties of the quiet Sun photosphere can be investigated by analyzing the pair dispersion of small-scale magnetic fields (i.e., magnetic elements). By using $25$ hr-long Hinode magnetograms at high spatial resolution ($0".3$), we tracked $68,490$ magnetic element pairs within a supergranular cell near the disk center. The computed pair separation spectrum, calculated on the whole set of particle pairs independently of their initial separation, points out what is known as a super-diffusive regime with spectral index $\gamma=1.55\pm0.05$, in agreement with the most recent literature, but extended to unprecedented spatial and temporal scales (from granular to supergranular). Furthermore, for the first time, we investigated here the spectrum of the mean square displacement of pairs of magnetic elements, depending on their initial separation $r_0$. We found that there is a typical initial distance above (below) which the pair separation is faster (slower) than the average. A possible physical interpretation of such a typical spatial scale is also provided.

Numerical Tests of Rotational Mixing in Massive Stars with the new Population Synthesis Code BONNFIRES

We use our new population synthesis code BONNFIRES to test how surface abundances predicted by rotating stellar models depend on the numerical treatment of rotational mixing, such as spatial resolution, temporal resolution and computation of mean molecular weight gradients. We find that even with identical numerical prescriptions for calculating the rotational mixing coefficients in the diffusion equation, different timesteps lead to a deviation of the coefficients and hence surface abundances. We find the surface abundances vary by 10-100% between the model sequences with short timestep of 0.001Myr to model sequences with longer timesteps. Model sequences with stronger surface nitrogen enrichment also have longer main-sequence lifetimes because more hydrogen is mixed to the burning cores. The deviations in main-sequence lifetimes can be as large as 20%. Mathematically speaking, no numerical scheme can give a perfect solution unless infinitesimally small timesteps are used. However, we find that the surface abundances eventually converge within 10% between modelling sequences with sufficiently small timesteps below 0.1Myr. The efficiency of rotational mixing depends on the implemented numerical scheme and critically on the computation of the mean molecular weight gradient. A smoothing function for the mean molecular weight gradient results in stronger rotational mixing. If the discretization scheme or the computational recipe for calculating the mean molecular weight gradient is altered, re-calibration of mixing parameters may be required to fit observations. If we are to properly understand the fundamental physics of rotation in stars, it is crucial that we minimize the uncertainty introduced into stellar evolution models when numerically approximating rotational mixing processes.

Metallicity Measurements of Gamma-Ray Burst and Supernova Explosion Sites: Lessons from HII regions in M31

We examine how the small-scale ($<$ kpc) variation of metallicity within a galaxy, which is found in nearby galaxies, affect the observational estimates of metallicities in the explosion sites of transient events such as supernovae (SNe) and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Assuming the same luminosity, metallicity, and spatial distributions of \HII\ regions (hereafter HIIR) as observed in M31, we compute the apparent metallicities that we would obtain when the spectrum of a target region is blended with those of surrounding HIIR within the length scale of typical spatial resolution. When the spatial resolution of spectroscopy is $\lesssim$ 1 kpc, which is typical for the existing studies of SN sites, we find that the apparent metallicities reflect the metallicities of target regions, but with significant systematic uncertainties in some cases. When the spatial resolution is $\gtrsim$ a few kpc, regardless of the target regions (which has a wide range of 12+log(O/H) = 8.1–9.3 for the M31 HIIR), we always obtain an apparent metallicity of 12+log(O/H)$\sim$8.8, which is the average metallicity of HIIR in M31. Given that the apparent metallicities measured with $\gtrsim$ kpc scale resolutions do not necessarily reflect the immediate environment of stellar explosions, current observational estimates of high-metallicity for some long-GRB host galaxies do {\em not} rule out the hypothesis that long-GRBs are exclusively born in low-metallicity environment.

Interferometry from Space: A Great Dream

During some thirty years, 1980-2010, technical studies of optical interferometry from instruments in space were pursued as promising for higher spatial resolution and for higher astrometric accuracy. Nulling interferometry was studied for both high spatial resolution and high contrast. These studies were great dreams deserving further historical attention. ESA’s interest in interferometry began in the early 1980s. The studies of optical interferometry for the global astrometry mission GAIA began in 1993 and ended in 1998 when interferometry was dropped as unsuited for the purpose, and the Gaia mission to be launched in 2013 is not based on interferometry. \c{opyright} Anita Publications. All rights reserved.

The effect of spatial resolution on optical and near-IR studies of stellar clusters: Implications for the origin of the red excess

Recent ground based near-IR studies of stellar clusters in nearby galaxies have suggested that young clusters remain embedded for 7-10Myr in their progenitor molecular cloud, in conflict with optical based studies which find that clusters are exposed after 1-3Myr. Here, we investigate the role that spatial resolution plays in this apparent conflict. We use a recent catalogue of young ($<10$~Myr) massive ($>5000$~\msun) clusters in the nearby spiral galaxy, M83, along with Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging in the optical and near-IR, and ground based near-IR imaging, to see how the colours (and hence estimated properties such as age and extinction) are affected by the aperture size employed, in order to simulate studies of differing resolution. We find that the near-IR is heavily affected by the resolution, and when aperture sizes $>40$~pc are used, all young/blue clusters move red-ward in colour space, which results in their appearance as heavily extincted clusters. However, this is due to contamination from nearby sources and nebular emission, and is not an extinction effect. Optical colours are much less affected by resolution. Due to the larger affect of contamination in the near-IR, we find that, in some cases, clusters will appear to show near-IR excess when large ($>20$~pc) apertures are used. Our results explain why few young ($<6$~Myr), low extinction ($\av < 1$~mag) clusters have been found in recent ground based near-IR studies of cluster populations, while many such clusters have been found in higher resolution HST based studies. Additionally, resolution effects appear to (at least partially) explain the origin of the near-IR excess that has been found in a number of extragalactic YMCs.

The FUV to Near-IR Morphologies of Luminous Infrared Galaxies in the GOALS Sample

We compare the morphologies of a sample of 20 LIRGs from the Great Observatories All-sky LIRG Survey (GOALS) in the FUV, B, I and H bands, using the Gini (G) and M20 parameters to quantitatively estimate the distribution and concentration of flux as a function of wavelength. HST images provide an average spatial resolution of ~80 pc. While our LIRGs can be reliably classified as mergers across the entire range of wavelengths studied here, there is a clear shift toward more negative M20 (more bulge-dominated) and a less significant decrease in G values at longer wavelengths. We find no correlation between the derived FUV G-M20 parameters and the global measures of the IR to FUV flux ratio, IRX. Given the fine resolution in our HST data, this suggests either that the UV morphology and IRX are correlated on very small scales, or that the regions emitting the bulk of the IR emission emit almost no FUV light. We use our multi-wavelength data to simulate how merging LIRGs would appear from z~0.5-3 in deep optical and near-infrared images such as the HUDF, and use these simulations to measure the G-M20 at these redshifts. Our simulations indicate a noticeable decrease in G, which flattens at z >= 2 by as much as 40%, resulting in mis-classifying our LIRGs as disk-like, even in the rest-frame FUV. The higher redshift values of M20 for the GOALS sources do not appear to change more than about 10% from the values at z~0. The change in G-M20 is caused by the surface brightness dimming of extended tidal features and asymmetries, and also the decreased spatial resolution which reduced the number of individual clumps identified. This effect, seen as early as z~0.5, could easily lead to an underestimate of the number of merging galaxies at high-redshift in the rest-frame FUV.

A Flare Observed in Coronal, Transition Region and Helium I 10830 \AA\ Emissions

On June 17, 2012, we observed the evolution of a C-class flare associated with the eruption of a filament near a large sunspot in the active region NOAA 11504. We obtained high spatial resolution filtergrams using the 1.6 m New Solar Telescope at the Big Bear Solar Observatory in broad-band TiO at 706 nm (bandpass:10 \AA) and He I 10830 \AA\ narrow-band (bandpass: 0.5 \AA, centered 0.25 \AA\ to the blue). We analyze the spatio-temporal behavior of the He I 10830 \AA\ data, which were obtained over a 90" X 90" field of view with a cadence of 10 sec. We also analyze simultaneous data from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly and Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment instruments on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, and data from Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager and GOES spacecrafts. Non-thermal effects are ignored in this analysis. Several quantitative aspects of the data, as well as models derived using the "0D" Enthalpy-Based Thermal Evolution of Loops model (EBTEL: Klimchuk et al. 2008) code, indicate that the triplet states of the 10830 \AA\ multiplet are populated by photoionization of chromospheric plasma followed by radiative recombination. Surprisingly, the He II 304 \AA\ line is reasonably well matched by standard emission measure calculations, along with the C IV emission which dominates the AIA 1600 \AA\ channel during flares. This work lends support to some of our previous work combining X-ray, EUV and UV data of flares to build models of energy transport from corona to chromosphere.

A study of dynamical processes in the Orion KL region using ALMA-- Probing molecular outflow and inflow

This work reports a high spatial resolution observations toward Orion KL region with high critical density lines of CH$_{3}$CN (12$_{4}$-11$_{4}$) and CH$_{3}$OH (8$_{-1, 8}$-7$_{0, 7}$) as well as continuum at $\sim$1.3 mm band. The observations were made using the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array with a spatial resolution of $\sim$1.5$^{\prime\prime}$ and sensitives about 0.07 K and $\sim$0.18 K for continuum and line, respectively. The observational results showed that the gas in the Orion KL region consists of jet-propelled cores at the ridge and dense cores at east and south of the region, shaped like a wedge ring. The outflow has multiple lobes, which may originate from an explosive ejection and is not driven by young stellar objects. Four infrared bubbles were found in the Spitzer/IRAC emissions. These bubbles, the distributions of the previously found H$_2$ jets, the young stellar objects and molecular gas suggested that BN is the explosive center. The burst time was estimated to be $\leq$ 1300 years. In the mean time, signatures of gravitational collapse toward Source I and hot core were detected with material infall velocities of 1.5 km~s$^{-1}$ and $\sim$ 0.6 km~s$^{-1}$, corresponding to mass accretion rates of 1.2$\times$10$^{-3}$M$_{\sun}$/Yr and 8.0$\times$10$^{-5}$M$_{\sun}$/Yr, respectively. These observations may support that high-mass stars form via accretion model, like their low-mass counterparts.

Clumping factors of HII, HeII and HeIII

Estimating the intergalactic medium ionization level of a region needs proper treatment of the reionization process for a large representative volume of the universe. The clumping factor, a parameter which accounts for the effect of recombinations in unresolved, small-scale structures, aids in achieving the required accuracy for the reionization history even in simulations with low spatial resolution. In this paper, we study for the first time the redshift evolution of clumping factors of different ionized species of H and He in a small but very high resolution simulation of the reionization process. We investigate the dependence of the value and redshift evolution of clumping factors on their definition, the ionization level of the gas, the grid resolution, box size and mean dimensionless density of the simulations.

Near- to Mid- Infrared Imaging and Spectroscopy of Two Buried AGNs of the Nearby Merging Galaxy NGC 6240 with Subaru/IRCS+AO and GTC/CanariCam

We report near-infrared K’, L’, and M’ band imaging observations of the nearby merging galaxy NGC 6240 with the Infrared Camera and Spectrograph on the Subaru telescope. The observations were performed with the assistance of the Subaru Adaptive Optics System, and the achieved spatial resolutions were around 0.10–0.20$^{\prime\prime}$. We also obtained new mid-infrared imaging in the Si-2 filter band (8.7$\mu$m) and N-band (7.5–13$\mu$m) spectroscopy of this galaxy with the CanariCam on the Gran Telescopio Canarias with a spatial resolution of 0.4–0.5$^{\prime\prime}$. In the K’ band image the two nuclei of the galaxy each show a double-peak suggesting the complex geometry of the source, while the L’, M’, and Si-2 band images show single compact structures in each of the two nuclei. Assuming that the center core observed at wavelengths longer than 3.8$\mu$m is associated with dust heated by the buried AGN, we re-evaluated the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of the southern nucleus from 2 to 30$\mu$m with the additional literature values, and performed the SED+spectroscopy fitting using the clumpy torus models of Nenkova et al. (2008) and a Bayesian fitting approach. The model fit suggests that the high covering factor torus emission in the southern nucleus is also obscured by foreground dust in the host galaxy. The estimated AGN bolometric luminosity of the southern nucleus, $L_{\rm bol}({\rm AGN})\sim1\times10^{45}$ [erg$\cdot$s$^{-1}$], accounts for approximately 40% of the whole luminosity of the system.

The Black Hole Mass of NGC 4151. II. Stellar Dynamical Measurement from Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectroscopy

We present a revised measurement of the mass of the central black hole (Mbh) in the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 4151. The new stellar dynamical mass measurement is derived by applying an axisymmetric orbit-superposition code to near-infrared integral field data obtained using adaptive optics with the Gemini NIFS spectrograph. When our models attempt to fit both the NIFS kinematics and additional low spatial resolution kinematics, our results depend sensitively on how chi-squared is computed–probably a consequence of complex bar kinematics that manifest immediately outside the nuclear region. The most robust results are obtained when only the high spatial resolution kinematic constraints in the nuclear region are included in the fit. Our best estimates for the BH mass and H-band mass-to-light ratio are Mbh~(3.76+/-1.15)E7 Msun (1-sigma error) and M/L(H-band)~0.34+/-0.03 Msun/Lsun (3-sigma error), respectively (the quoted errors reflect the model uncertainties). Our BH mass measurement is consistent with estimates from both reverberation mapping (3.57[+0.45/-0.37]E7 Msun) and gas kinematics (3.0[+0.75/-2.2]E7 Msun; 1-sigma errors), and our best-fit mass-to-light ratio is consistent with the photometric estimate of M/L(H-band)=0.4+/-0.2 Msun/Lsun. The NIFS kinematics give a central bulge velocity dispersion sigma_c=116+/-3 km/s, bringing this object slightly closer to the M-sigma relation for quiescent galaxies. Although NGC 4151 is one of only a few Seyfert 1 galaxies in which it is possible to obtain a direct dynamical BH mass measurement–and thus, an independent calibration of the reverberation mapping mass scale–the complex bar kinematics makes it less than ideally suited for this purpose.

Constraining the Sub-AU-Scale Distribution of Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide Gas around Young Stars with the Keck Interferometer

We present Keck Interferometer observations of T Tauri and Herbig Ae/Be stars with a spatial resolution of a few milliarcseconds and a spectral resolution of ~2000. Our observations span the K-band, and include the Br gamma transition of Hydrogen and the v=2-0 and v=3-1 transitions of carbon monoxide. For several targets we also present data from Keck/NIRSPEC that provide higher spectral resolution, but a seeing-limited spatial resolution, of the same spectral features. We analyze the Br gamma emission in the context of both disk and infall/outflow models, and conclude that the Br gamma emission traces gas at very small stellocentric radii, consistent with the magnetospheric scale. However some Br gamma-emitting gas also seems to be located at radii of >0.1 AU, perhaps tracing the inner regions of magnetically launched outflows. CO emission is detected from several objects, and we generate disk models that reproduce both the KI and NIRSPEC data well. We infer the CO spatial distribution to be coincident with the distribution of continuum emission in most cases. Furthermore the Br gamma emission in these objects is roughly coincident with both the CO and continuum emission. We present potential explanations for the spatial coincidence of continuum, Br gamma, and CO overtone emission, and explore the implications for the low occurrence rate of CO overtone emission in young stars. Finally, we provide additional discussion of V1685 Cyg, which is unusual among our sample in showing large differences in emitting region size and spatial position as a function of wavelength.

Combining dark matter detectors and electron-capture sources to hunt for new physics in the neutrino sector

In this letter we point out the possibility to study new physics in the neutrino sector using dark matter detectors based on liquid xenon. These are characterized by very good spatial resolution and extremely low thresholds for electron recoil energies. When combined with a radioactive $\nu_e$ source, both features in combination allow for a very competitive sensitivity to neutrino magnetic moments and sterile neutrino oscillations. We find that, for realistic values of detector size and source strength, the bound on the neutrino magnetic moment can be improved by an order of magnitude with respect to the present value. Regarding sterile neutrino searches, we find that most of the gallium anomaly could be explored at the 95\% confidence level just using spectral information.

Combining dark matter detectors and electron-capture sources to hunt for new physics in the neutrino sector [Replacement]

In this letter we point out the possibility to study new physics in the neutrino sector using dark matter detectors based on liquid xenon. These are characterized by very good spatial resolution and extremely low thresholds for electron recoil energies. When combined with a radioactive $\nu_e$ source, both features in combination allow for a very competitive sensitivity to neutrino magnetic moments and sterile neutrino oscillations. We find that, for realistic values of detector size and source strength, the bound on the neutrino magnetic moment can be improved by an order of magnitude with respect to the present value. Regarding sterile neutrino searches, we find that most of the gallium anomaly could be explored at the 95% confidence level just using shape information.

A Star-Forming Shock Front in Radio Galaxy 4C+41.17 Resolved with Laser-Assisted Adaptive Optics Spectroscopy

Near-infrared integral-field spectroscopy of redshifted [O III], H-beta and optical continuum emission from z=3.8 radio galaxy 4C+41.17 is presented, obtained with the laser-guide-star adaptive optics facility on the Gemini North telescope. Employing a specialized dithering technique, a spatial resolution of 0.10 arcsec or 0.7 kpc is achieved in each spectral element, with velocity resolution of ~70 km/s. Spectra similar to local starbursts are found for bright knots coincident in archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) restframe-ultraviolet images, which also allows a key line diagnostic to be mapped together with new kinematic information. There emerges a clearer picture of the nebular emission associated with the jet in 8.3 GHz and 15 GHz Very Large Array maps, closely tied to a Ly-alpha-bright shell-shaped structure seen with HST. This supports a previous interpretation of that arc tracing a bow shock, inducing 10^10-11 M_solar star-formation regions that comprise the clumpy broadband optical/ultraviolet morphology near the core.

The Gemini Planet Imager: First Light

The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a dedicated facility for directly imaging and spectroscopically characterizing extrasolar planets. It combines a very high-order adaptive optics system, a diffraction-suppressing coronagraph, and an integral field spectrograph with low spectral resolution but high spatial resolution. Every aspect of GPI has been tuned for maximum sensitivity to faint planets near bright stars. During first light observations, we achieved an estimated H band Strehl ratio of 0.89 and a 5-sigma contrast of $10^6$ at 0.75 arcseconds and $10^5$ at 0.35 arcseconds. Observations of Beta Pictoris clearly detect the planet, Beta Pictoris b, in a single 60-second exposure with minimal post-processing. Beta Pictoris b is observed at a separation of $434 \pm 6$ milli-arcseconds and position angle $211.8 \pm 0.5$ deg. Fitting the Keplerian orbit of Beta Pic b using the new position together with previous astrometry gives a factor of three improvement in most parameters over previous solutions. The planet orbits at a semi-major axis of $9.0^{+0.8}_{-0.4}$ AU near the 3:2 resonance with the previously-known 6 AU asteroidal belt and is aligned with the inner warped disk. The observations give a 4% posterior probability of a transit of the planet in late 2017.

Cosmic Reionization On Computers I. Design and Calibration of Simulations [Replacement]

Cosmic Reionization On Computers (CROC) is a long-term program of numerical simulations of cosmic reionization. Its goal is to model fully self-consistently (albeit not necessarily from the first principles) all relevant physics, from radiative transfer to gas dynamics and star formation, in simulation volumes of up to 100 comoving Mpc, and with spatial resolution approaching 100 pc in physical units. In this method paper we describe our numerical method, the design of simulations, and the calibration of numerical parameters. Using several sets (ensembles) of simulations in 20 Mpc/h and 40 Mpc/h boxes with spatial resolution reaching 125 pc at z=6, we are able to match the observed galaxy UV luminosity functions at all redshifts between 6 and 10, as well as obtain reasonable agreement with the observational measurements of the Gunn-Peterson optical depth at z<6.

Cosmic Reionization On Computers I. Design and Calibration of Simulations

Cosmic Reionization On Computers (CROC) is a long-term program of numerical simulations of cosmic reionization. Its goal is to model fully self-consistently (albeit not necessarily from the first principles) all relevant physics, from radiative transfer to gas dynamics and star formation, in simulation volumes of up to 100 comoving Mpc, and with spatial resolution approaching 100 pc in physical units. In this method paper we describe our numerical method, the design of simulations, and the calibration of numerical parameters. Using several sets (ensembles) of simulations in 20 Mpc/h and 40 Mpc/h boxes with spatial resolution reaching 125 pc at z=6, we are able to match the observed galaxy UV luminosity functions at all redshifts between 6 and 10, as well as obtain reasonable agreement with the observational measurements of the Gunn-Peterson optical depth at z<6.

High Spatial Resolution of the Mid-Infrared Emission of Compton-Thick Seyfert 2 Galaxy Mrk3

Mid-infrared (MIR) spectra observed with Gemini/Michelle were used to study the nuclear region of the Compton-thick Seyfert 2 (Sy 2) galaxy Mrk 3 at a spatial resolution of $\sim$200 pc. No polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) emission bands were detected in the N-band spectrum of Mrk 3. However, intense [Ar III] 8.99 $\mu$m, [S IV] 10.5 $\mu$m and [Ne II] 12.8 $\mu$m ionic emission-lines, as well as silicate absorption feature at 9.7$\mu$m have been found in the nuclear extraction ($\sim$200 pc). We also present subarcsecond-resolution Michelle N-band image of Mrk 3 which resolves its circumnuclear region. This diffuse MIR emission shows up as a wings towards East-West direction closely aligned with the S-shaped of the Narrow Line Region (NLR) observed at optical [O III]$\lambda$5007\AA image with Hubble/FOC. The nuclear continuum spectrum can be well represented by a theoretical torus spectral energy distribution (SED), suggesting that the nucleus of Mrk 3 may host a dusty toroidal structure predicted by the unified model of active galactic nucleus (AGN). In addition, the hydrogen column density (N$_H\,=\,4.8^{+3.3}_{-3.1}\times\,10^{23}$ cm$^{-2}$) estimated with a torus model for Mrk 3 is consistent with the value derived from X-ray spectroscopy. The torus model geometry of Mrk 3 is similar to that of NGC 3281, both Compton-thick galaxies, confirmed through fitting the 9.7$\mu$m silicate band profile. This results might provide further evidence that the silicate-rich dust can be associated with the AGN torus and may also be responsible for the absorption observed at X-ray wavelengths in those galaxies.

Calibration and performance of the STAR Muon Telescope Detector using cosmic rays [Cross-Listing]

We report the timing and spatial resolution from the Muon Telescope Detec- tor (MTD) installed in the STAR experiment at RHIC. Cosmic ray muons traversing the STAR detector have an average transverse momentum of 6 GeV/c. Due to their very small multiple scattering, these cosmic muons pro- vide an ideal tool to calibrate the detectors and measure their timing and spatial resolution. The values obtained were ?100 ps and ?1-2 cm, respec- tively. These values are comparable to those obtained from cosmic-ray bench tests and test beams.

A treatment procedure for Gemini North/NIFS data cubes: application to NGC 4151

We present a detailed procedure for treating data cubes obtained with the Near-Infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) of the Gemini North telescope. This process includes the following steps: correction of the differential atmospheric refraction, spatial re-sampling, Butterworth spatial filtering, ‘instrumental fingerprint’ removal and Richardson-Lucy deconvolution. The clearer contours of the structures obtained with the spatial re-sampling, the high spatial-frequency noise removed with the Butterworth spatial filtering, the removed ‘instrumental fingerprints’ (which take the form of vertical stripes along the images) and the improvement of the spatial resolution obtained with the Richardson-Lucy deconvolution result in images with a considerably higher quality. An image of the Br{\gamma} emission line from the treated data cube of NGC 4151 allows the detection of individual ionized-gas clouds (almost undetectable without the treatment procedure) of the narrow-line region of this galaxy, which are also seen in an [O III] image obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. The radial velocities determined for each one of these clouds seem to be compatible with models of biconical outflows proposed by previous studies. Considering the observed improvements, we believe that the procedure we describe in this work may result in more reliable analysis of data obtained with this instrument.

Hyperspectral imaging spectroscopy of a Mars analogue environment at the North Pole Dome, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia

A visible and near infrared (VNIR) to shortwave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral dataset of the Early Archaean North Pole Dome, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, has been analysed for indications of hydrothermal alteration. Occurrence maps of hydrothermal alteration minerals were produced. It was found that using a spatial resolution on the ground of approximately 5 m and spectral coverage from 0.4 to 2.5 mm was sufficient to delineate several hydrothermal alteration zones and associated veins, including phyllic, serpentinitic and chloritic alteration. These results suggest this level of spectral and spatial resolution would be ideal for localising shallow epithermal activity, should such activity have existed, on the surface of Mars.

Revealing the large nuclear dust structures in NGC 1068 with MIDI/VLTI

To understand the relation between the small "obscuring torus" and dusty structures at larger scales (5-10 pc) in NGC 1068, we use ESO’s Mid-Infrared Interferometer (MIDI) with the 1.8 m Auxiliary Telescopes to achieve the necessary spatial resolution (~ 20-100 millarcsec). We use the chromatic phases in the data to improve the spatial fidelity of the analysis. We present interferometric data for NGC 1068 obtained in 2007 and 2012. We find no evidence of source variability. Many (u,v) points show non-zero chromatic phases indicating significant asymmetries. Gaussian model fitting of the correlated fluxes and chromatic phases provides a 3-component best fit with estimates of sizes, temperatures and positions of the components. A large, warm, off-center component is required at a distance approximately 90 mas to the north-west at a PA ~ -18 deg. The dust at 5-10 pc in the polar region contributes 4 times more to the mid-infrared flux at 12 um than the dust located at the center. This dust may represent the inner wall of a dusty cone. If similar regions are heated by the direct radiation from the nucleus, then they will contribute substantially to the classification of many Seyfert galaxies as Type 2. Such a region is also consistent in other Seyfert galaxies (the Circinus galaxy, NGC 3783 and NGC 424).

HiRes Deconvolved Spitzer Images of 89 Protostellar Jets and Outflows: New Data on Evolution of Outflow Morphology

To study the role of protosellar jets and outflows in the time evolution of the parent cores and the protostars, the astronomical community needs a large enough data base of infrared images of protostars at the highest spatial resolution possible, to reveal the details of their morphology. Spitzer provides unprecedented sensitivity in the infrared to study both the jet and outflow features, however its spatial resolution is limited by its 0.85m mirror. Here we use a high resolution deconvolution algorithm, "HiRes", to improve the visualization of spatial morphology by enhancing resolution (to sub-arcsecond levels in the IRAC bands) and removing the contaminating sidelobes from bright sources in a sample of 89 protostellar objects. These reprocessed images are useful to detect: (i) wide angle outflow seen in scattered light; (ii) morphological details of H2 emission in jets and bow shocks; and (iii) compact features in MIPS 24 micron images as protostar/ disk and atomic/ionic line emissions associated with the jets. The HiRes fits image data of such a large homogeneous sample presented here will be useful to the community in studying these protostellar objects. To illustrate the utility of this HiRes sample, we show how the opening angle of the wide angle outflows in 31 sources, all observed in the HiRes processed Spitzer images, correlates with age. Our data suggest a power law fit to opening angle versus age with an exponent of ~0.32 and 0.02, respectively for ages less than 8000 yr and greater than 8000 yr.

The effects of spatial resolution on Integral Field Spectrograph surveys at different redshifts. The CALIFA perspective

Over the past decade, 3D optical spectroscopy has become the preferred tool for understanding the properties of galaxies and is now increasingly used to carry out galaxy surveys. Low redshift surveys include SAURON, DiskMass, ATLAS3D, PINGS and VENGA. At redshifts above 0.7, surveys such as MASSIV, SINS, GLACE, and IMAGES have targeted the most luminous galaxies to study mainly their kinematic properties. The on-going CALIFA survey ($z\sim0.02$) is the first of a series of upcoming Integral Field Spectroscopy (IFS) surveys with large samples representative of the entire population of galaxies. Others include SAMI and MaNGA at lower redshift and the upcoming KMOS surveys at higher redshift. Given the importance of spatial scales in IFS surveys, the study of the effects of spatial resolution on the recovered parameters becomes important. We explore the capability of the CALIFA survey and a hypothetical higher redshift survey to reproduce the properties of a sample of objects observed with better spatial resolution at lower redshift. Using a sample of PINGS galaxies, we simulate observations at different redshifts. We then study the behaviour of different parameters as the spatial resolution degrades with increasing redshift.

Detection of a High Brightness Temperature Radio Core in the AGN-Driven Molecular Outflow Candidate NGC 1266

We present new high spatial resolution Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) HI absorption and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) continuum observations of the Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN)-driven molecular outflow candidate NGC 1266. Although other well-known systems with molecular outflows may be driven by star formation in a central molecular disk, the molecular mass outflow rate reported in Alatalo et al. (2011) in NGC 1266 of 13 M$_{\odot}$ year$^{-1}$ exceeds star formation rate estimates from a variety of tracers. This suggests that an additional energy source, such as an AGN, may play a significant role in powering the outflow. Our high spatial resolution HI absorption data reveal compact absorption against the radio continuum core co-located with the putative AGN, and the presence of a blueshifted spectral component re-affirms that gas is indeed flowing out of the system. Our VLBA observations at 1.65 GHz reveal one continuum source within the densest portion of the molecular gas, with a diameter d < 8 mas (1.2 pc), a radio power $P_{\mathrm{rad}}$ = 1.48 $\times$ 10$^{20}$ W Hz$^{-1}$, and a brightness temperature $T_{\mathrm{b}}$ > 1.5 x 10$^7$ K that is most consistent with an AGN origin. The radio continuum energetics implied by the compact VLBA source, as well as archival VLA continuum observations at lower spatial resolution, further support the possibility that the AGN in NGC 1266 could be driving the molecular outflow. These findings suggest that even low-level AGNs may be able to launch massive outflows in their host galaxies.

The TeV blazar Markarian 421 at the highest spatial resolution

We report the results obtained for the AGN Markarian 421 by model-fitting the data in the visibility plane, studing the proper motion of jet components, the light curve, and the spectral index of the jet features. We compare the radio data with optical light curves obtained at the Steward Observatory, considering also the optical polarization information. Mrk 421 has a bright nucleus and a one-sided jet extending towards the north-west for a few parsecs. The model-fits show that brightness distribution is well described using 6-7 circular Gaussian components, four of which are reliably identified at all epochs; all components are effectively stationary except for component D, at ~0.4 mas from the core, whose motion is however subluminal. Analysis of the light curve shows two different states, with the source being brighter and more variable in the first half of 2011 than in the second half. The highest flux density is reached in February. A comparison with the optical data reveals an increase of the V magnitude and of the fractional polarization simultaneous with the enhancement of the radio activity.

3D maps of the local ISM from inversion of individual color excess measurements

Three-dimensional (3D) maps of the Galactic interstellar matter (ISM) are a potential tool of wide use, however accurate and detailed maps are still lacking. One of the ways to construct the maps is to invert individual distance-limited ISM measurements, a method we have here applied to measurements of stellar color excess in the optical. We have assembled color excess data together with the associated parallax or photometric distances to constitute a catalog of ~ 23,000 sightlines for stars within 2.5 kpc. The photometric data are taken from Stromgren catalogs, the Geneva photometric database, and the Geneva-Copenhagen survey. We also included extinctions derived towards open clusters. We applied, to this color excess dataset, an inversion method based on a regularized Bayesian approach, previously used for mapping at closer distances. We show the dust spatial distribution resulting from the inversion by means of planar cuts through the differential opacity 3D distribution, and by means of 2D maps of the integrated opacity from the Sun up to various distances. The mapping assigns locations to the nearby dense clouds and represents their distribution at the spatial resolution that is allowed by the dataset properties, i.e. of the order of ~10 pc close to the Sun and increasing to ~100 pc beyond 1 kpc. Biases towards nearby and/or weakly extincted stars make this dataset particularly appropriate to map the local and neighboring cavities, and to locate faint, extended nearby clouds, both goals that are difficult or impossible with other mapping methods. The new maps reveal a ~1 kpc wide empty region in the third quadrant in the continuation of the so-called CMa tunnel of the Local Cavity, a cavity that we identify as the Superbubble GSH238+00+09 detected in radio emission maps and that is found to be bounded by the Orion and Vela clouds.

A Significantly Low CO Abundance Toward the TW Hya Protoplanetary Disk: A Path to Active Carbon Chemistry?

In this Letter we report the CO abundance relative to H2 derived toward the circumstellar disk of the T-Tauri star TW Hya from the HD (1-0) and C18O (2-1) emission lines. The HD (1-0) line was observed by the Herschel Space Observatory Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer whereas C18O (2-1) observations were carried out with the Submillimeter Array at a spatial resolution of 2.8" x 1.9" (corresponding to 142 x 97 AU). In the disk’s warm molecular layer (T>20 K) we measure a disk-averaged gas-phase CO abundance relative to H2 of $\chi{\rm(CO)}=(0.1-3)x10^{-5}$, substantially lower than the canonical value of $\chi{\rm(CO)}=10^{-4}$. We infer that the best explanation of this low $\chi$(CO) is the chemical destruction of CO followed by rapid formation of carbon chains, or perhaps CO2, that can subsequently freeze-out, resulting in the bulk mass of carbon locked up in ice grain mantles and oxygen in water. As a consequence of this likely time-dependent carbon sink mechanism, CO may be an unreliable tracer of H2 gas mass.

Discovery of New Companions to High Proper Motion Stars from the VVV Survey

[abridged] The severe crowding in the direction of the inner Milky Way suggests that the census of stars within a few tens of parsecs in that direction may not be complete. We search for new nearby objects companions of known high proper motion (HPM) stars located towards the densest regions of the Southern Milky Way where the background contamination presented a major problem to previous works. The common proper motion (PM) method was used–we inspected the area around 167 known HPM (>=200 mas/yr) stars: 67 in the disk and 100 in the bulge. Multi-epoch images were provided by 2MASS and the VISTA Variables in Via Lactea (VVV). The VVV is a new on-going ZYJHKs plus multi-epoch Ks survey of ~562 deg^2 of Milky Way’s bulge and inner Southern disk. Seven new co-moving companions were discovered around known HPM stars; six known co-moving pairs were recovered; a pair of stars that was thought to be co-moving was found to have different proper motions; published HPMs of eight stars were not confirmed; last but not least, spectral types ranging from G8V to M5V were derived from new infrared spectroscopy for seventeen stars, members of the co-moving pairs. The seven newly discovered stars constitute ~4% of the nearby HPM star list but this is not a firm limit on the HPM star incompleteness because our starting point–the HPM list assembled from the literature–is incomplete itself, missing many nearby HPM M and L type objects, and it is contaminated with non-HPM stars. We have demonstrated, that the superior sub-arcsec spatial resolution, with respect to previous surveys, allows the VVV to examine further the binary nature nature of known HPM stars. The >=5 yr span of VVV will provide sufficient baseline for finding new HPM stars from VVV data alone.

A Chandra View Of Nonthermal Emission In The Northwestern Region Of Supernova Remnant RCW 86: Particle Acceleration And Magnetic Fields

The shocks of supernova remnants (SNRs) are believed to accelerate particles to cosmic ray (CR) energies. The amplification of the magnetic field due to CRs propagating in the shock region is expected to have an impact on both the emission from the accelerated particle population, as well as the acceleration process itself. Using a 95 ks observation with the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) onboard the Chandra X-ray Observatory, we map and characterize the synchrotron emitting material in the northwestern region of RCW 86. We model spectra from several different regions, filamentary and diffuse alike, where emission appears dominated by synchrotron radiation. The fine spatial resolution of Chandra allows us to obtain accurate emission profiles across 3 different non-thermal rims in this region. The narrow width (l = 10”-30”) of these filaments constrains the minimum magnetic field strength at the post-shock region to be approximately 80 {\mu}G.

Observational Requirements for Lyman-alpha Forest Tomographic Mapping of Large-Scale Structure at z ~ 2

The z > 2 Lyman-alpha (Lya) forest traces the underlying dark-matter distribution on large scales and, given sufficient sightlines, can be used to create 3D maps of large-scale structure. We examine the observational requirements to construct such maps and estimate the signal-to-noise as a function of exposure time and sightline density. Sightline densities at z = 2.25 are n_los = [360, 1200,3300] deg^{-2} at limiting magnitudes of g =[24.0, 24.5,25.0], resulting in transverse sightline separations of d_perp = [3.6, 1.9, 1.2] h^{-1} Mpc, which roughly sets the reconstruction scale. We simulate these reconstructions using mock spectra with realistic noise properties, and find that spectra with S/N = 4 per angstrom can be used to generate maps that clearly trace the underlying dark-matter at overdensities of rho/<rho> ~ 1. For the VLT/VIMOS spectrograph, exposure times t_exp = [4, 6, 10] hrs are sufficient for maps with spatial resolution epsilon_3d = [5.0, 3.2, 2.3] h^{-1} Mpc. Assuming ~ 250 h^{-1} Mpc is probed along the line-of-sight, 1 deg^2 of survey area would cover a comoving volume of ~ 10^6 h^{-3} Mpc^3 at <z>=2.3, enabling efficient mapping of large volumes with 8-10m telescopes. These maps could be used to study galaxy environments, detect proto-clusters, and study the topology of large-scale structure at high-z.

Fragmentation, infall, and outflow around the showcase massive protostar NGC7538 IRS1 at 500 AU resolution

Aims: Revealing the fragmentation, infall, and outflow processes in the immediate environment around massive young stellar objects is crucial for understanding the formation of the most massive stars. Methods: With this goal in mind we present the so far highest spatial-resolution thermal submm line and continuum observations toward the young high-mass protostar NGC7538 IRS1. Using the Plateau de Bure Interferometer in its most extended configuration at 843mum wavelength, we achieved a spatial resolution of 0.2"x0.17", corresponding to ~500AU at a distance of 2.7\,kpc. Results: For the first time, we have observed the fragmentation of the dense inner core of this region with at least three subsources within the inner 3000 AU. The outflow exhibits blue- and red-shifted emission on both sides of the central source indicating that the current orientation has to be close to the line-of-sight, which differs from other recent models. We observe rotational signatures in northeast-southwest direction; however, even on scales of 500 AU, we do not identify any Keplerian rotation signatures. This implies that during the early evolutionary stages any stable Keplerian inner disk has to be very small (<=500 AU). The high-energy line HCN(4-3)v2=1 (E_u/k=1050K) is detected over an extent of approximately 3000 AU. In addition to this, the detection of red-shifted absorption from this line toward the central dust continuum peak position allows us to estimate infall rates of ~1.8×10^(-3)Msun/yr on the smallest spatial scales. Although all that gas will not necessarily be accreted onto the central protostar, nevertheless, such inner core infall rates are among the best proxies of the actual accretion rates one can derive during the early embedded star formation phase. These data are consistent with collapse simulations and the observed high multiplicity of massive stars.

Aligned grains and inferred toroidal magnetic fields in the envelopes of massive young stellar objects

Massive young stellar objects (YSOs), like low-mass YSOs, are thought to be surrounded by optically thick envelopes and/or discs and are observed to have associated regions that produce polarized light at near-infrared wavelengths. These polarized regions are thought to be lower-density outflows along the polar axes of the YSO envelopes. Using the 0.2 arcsec spatial resolution of the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer on the Hubble Space Telescope we are examining the structure of the envelopes and outflow regions of massive YSOs in star-forming regions within a few kpc of the Sun. Here we report on 2 micron polarimetry of Mon R2-IRS3, S140-IRS1, and AFGL 2591. All three sources contain YSOs with highly-polarized monopolar outflows, with Mon R2-IRS3 containing at least two YSOs in a small cluster. The central stars of all four YSOs are also polarized, with position angles perpendicular to the directions of the outflows. We infer that this polarization is due to scattering and absorption by aligned grains. We have modelled our observations of S140-IRS1 and AFGL 2591 as light scattered and absorbed both by spherical grains and by elongated grains that are aligned by magnetic fields. Models that best reproduce the observations have a substantial toroidal component to the magnetic field in the equatorial plane. Moreover, the toroidal magnetic field in the model that best fits AFGL 2591 extends a large fraction of the height of the model cavity, which is 10^5 au. We conclude that the massive YSOs in this study all show evidence of the presence of a substantial toroidal magnetic field.

The effect of softening on dynamical simulations of galaxies

Dynamical simulations are a fundamental tool for studying the secular evolution of disc galaxies. Even at their maximum resolution, they still follow a limited number of particles and typically resolve scales of the order of a few tens of parsecs. Generally, the spatial resolution is defined by (some multiple of) the softening length, whose value is set as a compromise between the desired resolution and the need for limiting small-scale noise. Several works have studied the question whether a softening scale fixed in space and time provides a good enough modelling of an astrophysical system. Here we address this question within the context of dynamical simulations and disc instabilities. We first follow the evolution of a galaxy-like object in isolation and then set up a simulation of an idealised merger event. Alongside a run using the standard fixed-softening approach, we performed simulations where the softening lengths were let to vary from particle to particle according to the evolution of the local density field in space and time. Even though during the most violent phases of the merging the fixed-softening simulation tends to underestimate the resulting matter densities, as far as the evolution of the disc component is concerned we found no significant differences among the runs. We conclude that using an appropriate fixed softening scale is a safe approach to the problem of modelling an N-body, non-cosmological disc galaxy system.

Large scale IRAM 30m CO-observations in the giant molecular cloud complex W43 [Replacement]

We aim to give a full description of the distribution and location of dense molecular clouds in the giant molecular cloud complex W43. It has previously been identified as one of the most massive star-forming regions in our Galaxy. To trace the moderately dense molecular clouds in the W43 region, we initiated an IRAM 30m large program, named W43-HERO, covering a large dynamic range of scales (from 0.3 to 140 pc). We obtained on-the-fly-maps in 13CO (2-1) and C18O (2-1) with a high spectral resolution of 0.1 km/s and a spatial resolution of 12". These maps cover an area of ~1.5 square degrees and include the two main clouds of W43, as well as the lower density gas surrounding them. A comparison with Galactic models and previous distance calculations confirms the location of W43 near the tangential point of the Scutum arm at a distance from the Sun of approximately 6 kpc. The resulting intensity cubes of the observed region are separated into sub-cubes, centered on single clouds which are then analyzed in detail. The optical depth, excitation temperature, and H2 column density maps are derived out of the 13CO and C18O data. These results are then compared with those derived from Herschel dust maps. The mass of a typical cloud is several 10^4 solar masses while the total mass in the dense molecular gas (>100 cm^-3) in W43 is found to be about 1.9e6 solar masses. Probability distribution functions obtained from column density maps derived from molecular line data and Herschel imaging show a log-normal distribution for low column densities and a power-law tail for high densities. A flatter slope for the molecular line data PDF may imply that those selectively show the gravitationally collapsing gas.

Large scale IRAM 30m CO-observations in the giant molecular cloud complex W43

We aim to give a full description of the distribution and location of dense molecular clouds in the giant molecular cloud complex W43. It has previously been identified as one of the most massive star-forming regions in our Galaxy. To trace the moderately dense molecular clouds in the W43 region, we initiated an IRAM 30m large program, named W43-HERO, covering a large dynamic range of scales (from 0.3 to 140 pc). We obtained on-the-fly-maps in 13CO (2-1) and C18O (2-1) with a high spectral resolution of 0.1 km/s and a spatial resolution of 12". These maps cover an area of ~1.5 square degrees and include the two main clouds of W43, as well as the lower density gas surrounding them. A comparison with Galactic models and previous distance calculations confirms the location of W43 near the tangential point of the Scutum arm at a distance from the Sun of approximately 6 kpc. The resulting intensity cubes of the observed region are separated into sub-cubes, centered on single clouds which are then analyzed in detail. The optical depth, excitation temperature, and H2 column density maps are derived out of the 13CO and C18O data. These results are then compared with those derived from Herschel dust maps. The mass of a typical cloud is several 10^4 solar masses while the total mass in the dense molecular gas (>100 cm^-3) in W43 is found to be about 1.9e6 solar masses. Probability distribution functions obtained from column density maps derived from molecular line data and Herschel imaging show a log-normal distribution for low column densities and a power-law tail for high densities. A flatter slope for the molecular line data PDF may imply that those selectively show the gravitationally collapsing gas.

Bright Debris Disk Candidates Observed with AKARI/Far-Infrared Surveyor (FIS)

We cross-correlate \hip\ main-sequence star catalog with \fis\ catalog, and identify 136 stars (at $>90$% reliability) with far-infrared detections at least in one band. After rejecting 51 stars classified as young stellar objects, Be stars, other type stars with known dust disks or with potential contaminations and 2 stars without infrared excess emission, we obtain a sample of 83 candidate stars with debris disks. Stars in our sample cover spectral types from B to K-types with most being early types. This represents an unique sample of luminous debris disks that derived uniformly from all sky survey with a spatial resolution a factor of two better than the previous such survey by \iras. Moreover, by collecting the infrared photometric data from other public archives, 85% of them have infrared excesses in more than one bands, allowing the estimate of the dust temperatures. We fit the blackbody model to the broad band spectral energy distribution of these stars to derive the statistical distribution of the disk parameters. 7 stars require an additional warm component of temperature around 200 K. While a substantial fraction of our sample(58 stars) have weak 12 \micron\ excess indicating that a warm dust component maybe common among these bright debris disk systems.

Breaking the Obscuring Screen: A Resolved Molecular Outflow in a Buried QSO

We present Keck laser guide star adaptive optics observations of the nearby buried QSO F08572+3915:NW. We use near-infrared integral field data taken with OSIRIS to reveal a compact disk and molecular outflow using Pa-alpha and H_2 rotational-vibrational transitions at a spatial resolution of 100 pc. The outflow emerges perpendicular to the disk into a bicone of one-sided opening angle 100 degrees up to distances of 400 pc from the nucleus. The integrated outflow velocities, which reach at least -1300 km/s, correspond exactly to those observed in (unresolved) OH absorption, but are smaller (larger) than those observed on larger scales in the ionized (neutral atomic) outflow. These data represent a factor of >10 improvement in the spatial resolution of molecular outflows from mergers/QSOs, and plausibly represent the early stages of the excavation of the dust screen from a buried QSO.

The ALHAMBRA survey: reliable morphological catalogue of 22,051 early- and late-type galaxies

ALHAMBRA is a photometric survey designed to trace the cosmic evolution and cosmic variance. It covers a large area of ~ 4 sq. deg in 8 fields, where 7 fields overlap with other surveys, allowing to have complementary data in other wavelengths. All observations were carried out in 20 continuous, medium band (30 nm width) optical and 3 near-infrared (JHK) bands, providing the precise measurements of photometric redshifts. In addition, morphological classification of galaxies is crucial for any kind of galaxy formation and cosmic evolution studies, providing the information about star formation histories, their environment and interactions, internal perturbations, etc. We present a morphological classification of > 40,000 galaxies in the ALHAMBRA survey. We associate to every galaxy a probability to be early-type using the automated Bayesian code galSVM. Despite of the spatial resolution of the ALHAMBRA images (~ 1 arcsec), for 22,051 galaxies we obtained the contamination by other type of less than 10%. Of those, 1,640 and 10,322 galaxies are classified as early- (down to redshifts ~ 0.5) and late-type (down to redshifts ~ 1.0), respectively, with magnitudes F613W < 22.0. In addition, for magnitude range 22.0 < F613W < 23.0 we classified other 10,089 late-type galaxies with redshifts < 1.3. We show that the classified objects populate the expected regions in the colour-mass and colour-magnitude planes. The presented dataset is especially attractive given the homogeneous multi-wavelength coverage available in the ALHAMBRA fields, and is intended to be used in a variety of scientific applications. The low-contamination catalogue (< 10%) is made publicly available with the present paper.

Study of Rapid Formation of a Delta Sunspot Associated with the 2012 July 2 C7.4 Flare Using High-resolution Observations of New Solar Telescope

Rapid, irreversible changes of magnetic topology and sunspot structure associated with flares have been systematically observed in recent years. The most striking features include the increase of horizontal field at the polarity inversion line (PIL) and the co-spatial penumbral darkening. A likely explanation of the above phenomenon is the back reaction to the coronal restructuring after eruptions: a coronal mass ejection carries the upward momentum while the downward momentum compresses the field lines near the PIL. Previous studies could only use low resolution (above 1") magnetograms and white-light images. Therefore, the changes are mostly observed for X-class flares. Taking advantage of the 0.1" spatial resolution and 15s temporal cadence of the New Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory, we report in detail the rapid formation of sunspot penumbra at the PIL associated with the C7.4 flare on 2012 July 2. It is unambiguously shown that the solar granulation pattern evolves to alternating dark and bright fibril structure, the typical pattern of penumbra. Interestingly, the appearance of such a penumbra creates a new delta sunspot. The penumbral formation is also accompanied by the enhancement of horizontal field observed using vector magnetograms from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. We explain our observations as due to the eruption of a flux rope following magnetic cancellation at the PIL. Subsequently the re-closed arcade fields are pushed down towards the surface to form the new penumbra. NLFFF extrapolation clearly shows both the flux rope close to the surface and the overlying fields.

A STIS Atlas of CaII Triplet Absorption Line Kinematics in Galactic Nuclei

The relations observed between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies suggest a fundamental link in the processes that cause these two objects to evolve. A more comprehensive understanding of these relations could be gained by increasing the number of supermassive black hole mass (M) measurements. This can be achieved, in part, by continuing to model the stellar dynamics at the centers of galactic bulges using data of the highest possible spatial resolution. Consequently, we present here an atlas of galaxies in the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) data archive that may have spectra suitable for new M estimates. Archived STIS G750M data for all non-barred galactic bulges are co-aligned and combined, where appropriate, and the radial signal-to-noise ratios calculated. The line-of-sight velocity distributions from the CaII triplet are then determined using a maximum penalized likelihood method. We find 19 out of 42 galaxies may provide useful new M estimates since they are found to have data that is comparable in quality with data that has been used in the past to estimate M. However, we find no relation between the signal-to-noise ratio in the previously analyzed spectra and the uncertainties of the black hole masses derived from the spectra. We also find that there is a very limited number of appropriately observed stellar templates in the archive from which to estimate the effects of template mismatching.

Kinematics and excitation of the nuclear spiral in the active galaxy Arp 102B

We present a two-dimensional analysis of the gaseous excitation and kinematics of the inner 2.5 x 1.7 kpc^2 of the LINER/Seyfert 1 galaxy Arp 102B, from optical spectra obtained with the GMOS integral field spectrograph on the Gemini North telescope at a spatial resolution of 250 pc. Emission-line flux maps show the same two-armed nuclear spiral we have discovered in previous observations with the HST-ACS camera. One arm reaches 1 kpc to the east and the other 500 pc to the west, with a 8.4 GHz VLA bent radio jet correlating with the former. The gas density is highest (500 – 900 cm^(-3)) at the nucleus and in the northern border of the east arm, at a region where the radio jet seems to be deflected. Channel maps show blueshifts but also some redshifts at the eastern arm and jet location which can be interpreted as originated in the front and back walls of an outflow pushed by the radio jet, suggesting also that the outflow is launched close to the plane of the sky. We estimate a mass outflow rate along the east arm of 0.26 – 0.32 Msun yr^(-1) (depending on the assumed outflow geometry), which is between one and two orders of magnitude higher than the mass accretion rate to the active nucleus, implying that there is mass-loading of the nuclear outflow from circumnuclear gas. The power of this outflow is 0.06 – 0.3%Lbol. We propose a scenario in which gas has been recently captured by Arp 102B in an interaction with Arp 102A, settling in a disk rotating around the nucleus of Arp 102B and triggering its nuclear activity. A nuclear jet is pushing the circumnuclear gas, giving origin to the nuclear arms. A blueshifted emitting gas knot is observed at 300 pc south-east from the nucleus and can be interpreted as another (more compact) outflow, with a possible counterpart to the north-west.


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