Posts Tagged spatial resolution

Recent Postings from spatial resolution

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

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.

Ks- and Lp-band polarimetry on stellar and bow-shock sources in the Galactic center

Infrared observations of the Galactic center (GC) provide a unique opportunity to study stellar and bow-shock polarization effects in a dusty environment. The goals of this work are to present new Ks- and Lp-band polarimetry on an unprecedented number of sources in the central parsec of the GC, thereby expanding our previous results in the H- and Ks-bands. We use AO-assisted Ks- and Lp-band observations, obtained at the ESO VLT. High precision photometry and the new polarimetric calibration method for NACO allow us to map the polarization in a region of 8" x 25" (Ks) resp. 26" x 28" (Lp). These are the first polarimetric observations of the GC in the Lp-band in 30 years, with vastly improved spatial resolution compared to previous results. This allows resolved polarimetry on bright bow-shock sources in this area for the first time at this wavelength. We find foreground polarization to be largely parallel to the Galactic plane (Ks-band: 6.1% at 20 degrees, Lp-band: 4.5% at 20 degrees, in good agreement with our previous findings and with older results. The previously described Lp-band excess in the foregound polarization towards the GC could be confirmed here for a much larger number of sources. The bow-shock sources contained in the FOV seem to show a different relation between the polarization in the observed wavelength bands than what was determined for the foreground. This points to the different relevant polarization mechanisms. The resolved polarization patterns of IRS 5 and 10W match the findings we presented earlier for IRS~1W. Additionally, intrinsic Lp-band polarization was measured for IRS 1W and 21, as well as for other, less prominent MIR-excess sources (IRS 2S, 2L, 5NE). The new data offer support for the presumed bow-shock nature of several of these sources (1W, 5, 5NE, 10W, 21) and for the model of bow-shock polarization presented in our last work.

The Red MSX Source Survey: the Massive Young Stellar Population of our Galaxy [Replacement]

We present the Red MSX Source (RMS) Survey, the largest statistically selected catalog of young massive protostars and HII regions to date. We outline the construction of the catalog using mid and near infrared color selection, as well as the detailed follow up work at other wavelengths, and at higher spatial resolution in the infrared. We show that within the adopted selection bounds we are more than 90% complete for the massive protostellar population, with a positional accuracy of the exciting source of better than 2 arcseconds. We briefly summarize some of the results that can be obtained from studying the properties of the objects in the catalog as a whole, and find evidence that the most massive stars form: (i) preferentially nearer the Galactic centre than the anti-centre; (ii) in the most heavily reddened environments, suggestive of high accretion rates; and (iii) from the most massive cloud cores.

The Red MSX Source Survey: the Massive Young Stellar Population of our Galaxy

We present the Red MSX Source (RMS) Survey, the largest statistically selected catalog of young massive protostars and HII regions to date. We outline the construction of the catalog using mid and near infrared color selection, as well as the detailed follow up work at other wavelengths, and at higher spatial resolution in the infrared. We show that within the adopted selection bounds we are more than 90% complete for the massive protostellar population, with a positional accuracy of the exciting source of better than 2 arcseconds. We briefly summarize some of the results that can be obtained from studying the properties of the objects in the catalog as a whole, and find evidence that the most massive stars form: (i) preferentially nearer the Galactic centre than the anti-centre; (ii) in the most heavily reddened environments, suggestive of high accretion rates; and (iii) from the most massive cloud cores.

SOFIA/FORCAST Imaging of the Circumnuclear Ring at the Galactic Center

We present 19.7, 31.5, and 37.1 {\mu}m images of the inner 6 pc of the Galactic Center of the Milky Way with a spatial resolution of 3.2 – 4.6” taken by the Faint Object Infrared Camera on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The images reveal in detail the "clumpy" structure of the Circumnuclear Ring (CNR)–the torus of hot gas and dust orbiting the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center with an inner radius of 1.4 pc. The CNR exhibits features of a classic HII region: the dust emission at 19.7 {\mu}m closely traces the ionized gas emission observed in the radio while the 31.5 and 37.1 {\mu}m emission traces the photo-dissociation region beyond the ionized gas. The 19.7/37.1 color temperature map reveals a radial temperature gradient across the CNR with temperatures ranging from 65-85 K, consistent with the prevailing paradigm in which the dust is centrally heated by the inner cluster of hot, young stars. We produce a 37.1 {\mu}m intensity model of the CNR with the derived geometric properties and find that it is consistent with the observed 37.1 {\mu}m map of the CNR. Dense ($5 to 9 \times 10^{4} \, \mathrm{cm}^{-3}$) clumps with a FWHM of ~0.15 pc exist along the inner edge of the CNR and shadow the material deeper into the ring. The clumps are unlikely to be long-lived structures since they are not dense enough to be stable against tidal shear from the supermassive black hole.

Comparing Dawn, Hubble Space Telescope, and Ground-Based Interpretations of (4) Vesta

Observations of asteroid 4 Vesta by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft are interesting because its surface has the largest range of albedo, color and composition of any other asteroid visited by spacecraft to date. These hemispherical and rotational variations in surface brightness and composition have been attributed to impact processes since Vesta’s formation. Prior to Dawn’s arrival at Vesta, its surface properties were the focus of intense telescopic investigations for nearly a hundred years. Ground-based photometric and spectroscopic observations first revealed these variations followed later by those using Hubble Space Telescope. Here we compare interpretations of Vesta’s rotation period, pole, albedo, topographic, color, and compositional properties from ground-based telescopes and HST with those from Dawn. Rotational spectral variations observed from ground-based studies are also consistent with those observed by Dawn. While the interpretation of some of these features was tenuous from past data, the interpretations were reasonable given the limitations set by spatial resolution and our knowledge of Vesta and HED meteorites at that time. Our analysis shows that ground-based and HST observations are critical for our understanding of small bodies and provide valuable support for ongoing and future spacecraft missions.

A strongly magnetized pulsar within grasp of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole

The center of our Galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius (Sgr) A*. Young, massive stars within 0.5 pc of SgrA* are evidence of an episode of intense star formation near the black hole a few Myr ago. Some of them might have left behind a young neutron star traveling deep into SgrA*’s gravitational potential. However, no neutron star closer than ~200 parsec from the supermassive black hole has been detected so far. On 2013 April 25, a short X-ray burst was observed from the direction of the Galactic center. Thanks to the superb spatial resolution of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, we could pinpoint the associated, persistent pulsating X-ray source at an angular distance of 2.4+/-0.3 arcsec from SgrA*. Using a series of Chandra and Swift observations we have refined the spin period and its derivative (P=3.7635443(3) and \dot{P}=7.6(2)x10^{-12} s/s), confirmed by radio observations performed with the Green Bank (GBT) and Parkes single dish antennas, that also measured a Dispersion Measure of DM=1750 +/-50 pc cm^{-3}, the highest ever detected for a radio pulsar. We have found that this X-ray source is a young magnetar at only ~0.07-2 pc away from SgrA*, and that with high probability (~90%), it is in a bound orbit around the black hole. The passage of radiation fronts produced by the past activity from the magnetar through the molecular clouds surrounding the Galactic center region might also partially explain the light echoes observed in the Fe fluorescence features.

The Starburst-Driven Molecular Wind in NGC 253 and the Suppression of Star Formation

The under-abundance of very massive galaxies in the universe is frequently attributed to the effect of galactic winds. Although ionized galactic winds are readily observable most of the expelled mass is likely in cooler atomic and molecular phases. Expanding molecular shells observed in starburst systems such as NGC 253 and M 82 may facilitate the entrainment of molecular gas in the wind. While shell properties are well constrained, determining the amount of outflowing gas emerging from such shells and the connection between this gas and the ionized wind requires spatial resolution <100 pc coupled with sensitivity to a wide range of spatial scales, hitherto not available. Here we report observations of NGC 253, a nearby starburst galaxy (D~3.4 Mpc) known to possess a wind, which trace the cool molecular wind at 50 pc resolution. At this resolution the extraplanar molecular gas closely tracks the H{\alpha} filaments, and it appears connected to molecular expanding shells located in the starburst region. These observations allow us to directly measure the molecular outflow rate to be > 3 Msun/yr and likely ~9 Msun/yr. This implies a ratio of mass-outflow rate to star formation rate of at least {\eta}~1-3, establishing the importance of the starburst-driven wind in limiting the star formation activity and the final stellar content.

The Starburst-Driven Molecular Wind in NGC 253 and the Suppression of Star Formation [Replacement]

The under-abundance of very massive galaxies in the universe is frequently attributed to the effect of galactic winds. Although ionized galactic winds are readily observable most of the expelled mass is likely in cooler atomic and molecular phases. Expanding molecular shells observed in starburst systems such as NGC 253 and M 82 may facilitate the entrainment of molecular gas in the wind. While shell properties are well constrained, determining the amount of outflowing gas emerging from such shells and the connection between this gas and the ionized wind requires spatial resolution <100 pc coupled with sensitivity to a wide range of spatial scales, hitherto not available. Here we report observations of NGC 253, a nearby starburst galaxy (D~3.4 Mpc) known to possess a wind, which trace the cool molecular wind at 50 pc resolution. At this resolution the extraplanar molecular gas closely tracks the H{\alpha} filaments, and it appears connected to molecular expanding shells located in the starburst region. These observations allow us to directly measure the molecular outflow rate to be > 3 Msun/yr and likely ~9 Msun/yr. This implies a ratio of mass-outflow rate to star formation rate of at least {\eta}~1-3, establishing the importance of the starburst-driven wind in limiting the star formation activity and the final stellar content.

The location and impact of jet-driven outflows of cold gas: the case of 3C293

The nearby radio galaxy 3C293 is one of a small group of objects where extreme outflows of neutral hydrogen have been detected. However, due to the limited spatial resolution of previous observations, the exact location of the outflow was not able to be determined. In this letter, we present new higher resolution VLA observations of the central regions of this radio source and detect a fast outflow of HI with a FWZI velocity of \Delta v~1200 km/s associated with the inner radio jet, approximately 0.5 kpc west of the central core. We investigate possible mechanisms which could produce the observed HI outflow and conclude that it is driven by the radio-jet. However, this outflow of neutral hydrogen is located on the opposite side of the nucleus to the outflow of ionised gas previously detected in this object. We calculate a mass outflow rate in the range of 8-50 solar masses/yr corresponding to a kinetic energy power injected back into the ISM of 1.38×10^{42} – 1.00×10^{43} erg/s or 0.01 – 0.08 percent of the Eddington luminosity. This places it just outside the range required by some galaxy evolution simulations for negative feedback from the AGN to be effective in halting star-formation within the galaxy.

Resolving The Moth at Millimeter Wavelengths

HD 61005, also known as "The Moth," is one of only a handful of debris disks that exhibit swept-back "wings" thought to be caused by interaction with the ambient interstellar medium (ISM). We present 1.3 mm Submillimeter Array (SMA) observations of the debris disk around HD 61005 at a spatial resolution of 1.9 arcsec that resolve the emission from large grains for the first time. The disk exhibits a double-peaked morphology at millimeter wavelengths, consistent with an optically thin ring viewed close to edge-on. To investigate the disk structure and the properties of the dust grains we simultaneously model the spatially resolved 1.3 mm visibilities and the unresolved spectral energy distribution. The temperatures indicated by the SED are consistent with expected temperatures for grains close to the blowout size located at radii commensurate with the millimeter and scattered light data. We also perform a visibility-domain analysis of the spatial distribution of millimeter-wavelength flux, incorporating constraints on the disk geometry from scattered light imaging, and find suggestive evidence of wavelength-dependent structure. The millimeter-wavelength emission apparently originates predominantly from the thin ring component rather than tracing the "wings" observed in scattered light. The implied segregation of large dust grains in the ring is consistent with an ISM-driven origin for the scattered light wings.

Investigations of small-scale magnetic features on the solar surface

Solar activity is controlled by the magnetic field, which also causes the variability of the solar irradiance that in turn is thought to influence the climate on Earth. The magnetic field manifests itself in the form of structures of largely different sizes. This thesis concentrates on two types of the smallest known magnetic features: The first part studies the properties of umbral dots, dot-like bright features in the dark umbra of a sunspot. The obtained umbral dot properties provide a remarkable confirmation of the results of recent magneto-hydrodynamical simulations. Observations as well as simulations show that umbral dots differ from their surroundings mainly in the lowest photospheric layers, where the temperature is enhanced and the magnetic field is weakened. In addition, the interior of the umbral dots displays strong upflow velocities which are surrounded by weak downflows. This qualitative agreement further strengthens the interpretation of umbral dots as localized columns of overturning convection. The second part of the thesis investigates bright points, which are small-scale brightness enhancements in the darker intergranular lanes of the quiet Sun produced by magnetic flux concentrations. Observational data obtained by the balloon-borne solar telescope SUNRISE are used in this thesis. For the first time contrasts of bright points in the important ultraviolet spectral range are determined. A comparison of observational data with magneto-hydrodynamical simulations revealed a close correspondence, but only after effects due to the limited spectral and spatial resolution were carefully included. 98% of the synthetic bright points are found to be associated with a nearly vertical kilo-Gauss field.

A diversity of dusty AGN tori: Data release for the VLTI/MIDI AGN Large Program and first results for 23 galaxies

The AGN-heated dust distribution (the "torus") is increasingly recognized not only as the absorber required in unifying models, but as a tracer for the reservoir that feeds the nuclear Super-Massive Black Hole. Yet, even its most basic structural properties (such as its extent, geometry and elongation) are unknown for all but a few archetypal objects. Since most AGNs are unresolved in the mid-infrared, we utilize the MID-infrared interferometric Instrument (MIDI) at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) that is sensitive to structures as small as a few milli-arcseconds (mas). We present here an extensive amount of new interferometric observations from the MIDI AGN Large Program (2009 – 2011) and add data from the archive to give a complete view of the existing MIDI observations of AGNs. Additionally, we have obtained high-quality mid-infrared spectra from VLT/VISIR. We present correlated and total flux spectra for 23 AGNs and derive flux and size estimates at 12 micron using simple axisymmetric geometrical models. Perhaps the most surprising result is the relatively high level of unresolved flux and its large scatter: The median "point source fraction" is 70 % for type 1 and 47 % for type 2 AGNs meaning that a large part of the flux is concentrated on scales smaller than about 5 mas (0.1 – 10 pc). Among sources observed with similar spatial resolution, it varies from 20 % – 100 %. For 18 of the sources, two nuclear components can be distinguished in the radial fits. While these models provide good fits to all but the brightest sources, significant elongations are detected in eight sources. The half-light radii of the fainter sources are smaller than expected from the size ~ L^0.5 scaling of the bright sources and show a large scatter, especially when compared to the relatively tight size–luminosity relation in the near-infrared.

Thermodynamic fluctuations in solar photospheric three-dimensional convection simulations and observations

Numerical 3D radiative (M)HD simulations of solar convection are used to understand the physical properties of the solar photosphere. To validate this approach, it is important to check that no excessive thermodynamic fluctuations arise as a consequence of the partially incomplete treatment of radiative transfer. We investigate the realism of 3D convection simulations carried out with the Stagger code. We compared the characteristic properties of several spectral lines in solar disc centre observations with spectra synthesized from the simulations. We degraded the synthetic spectra to the spatial resolution of the observations using the continuum intensity distribution. We estimated the necessary spectral degradation by comparing atlas spectra with averaged observed spectra. In addition to deriving a set of line parameters directly, we used the SIR code to invert the spectra. Most of the line parameters from the observational data are matched well by the degraded simulation spectra. The inversions predict a macroturbulent velocity below 10 m/s for the simulation at full spatial resolution, whereas they yield ~< 1000 m/s at a spatial resolution of 0.3". The temperature fluctuations in the inversion of the degraded simulation do not exceed those from the observational data (of the order of 100-200 K rms for -2<log tau<-0.5). The comparison of line parameters in spatially averaged profiles with the averaged values of line parameters in spatially resolved profiles indicates a significant change of (average) line properties at a spatial scale between 0.13" and 0.3". Up to a spatial resolution of 0.3", we find no indications of the presence of excessive thermodynamic fluctuations in the 3D HD simulation. To definitely confirm that simulations without spatial degradation contain fully realistic thermodynamic fluctuations requires observations at even better spatial resolution.

Thermodynamic fluctuations in solar photospheric three-dimensional convection simulations and observations [Replacement]

Numerical 3D radiative (M)HD simulations of solar convection are used to understand the physical properties of the solar photosphere. To validate this approach, it is important to check that no excessive thermodynamic fluctuations arise as a consequence of the partially incomplete treatment of radiative transfer. We investigate the realism of 3D convection simulations carried out with the Stagger code. We compared the characteristic properties of several spectral lines in solar disc centre observations with spectra synthesized from the simulations. We degraded the synthetic spectra to the spatial resolution of the observations using the continuum intensity distribution. We estimated the necessary spectral degradation by comparing atlas spectra with averaged observed spectra. In addition to deriving a set of line parameters directly, we used the SIR code to invert the spectra. Most of the line parameters from the observational data are matched well by the degraded simulation spectra. The inversions predict a macroturbulent velocity below 10 m/s for the simulation at full spatial resolution, whereas they yield ~< 1000 m/s at a spatial resolution of 0.3". The temperature fluctuations in the inversion of the degraded simulation do not exceed those from the observational data (of the order of 100-200 K rms for -2<log tau<-0.5). The comparison of line parameters in spatially averaged profiles with the averaged values of line parameters in spatially resolved profiles indicates a significant change of (average) line properties at a spatial scale between 0.13" and 0.3". Up to a spatial resolution of 0.3", we find no indications of the presence of excessive thermodynamic fluctuations in the 3D HD simulation. To definitely confirm that simulations without spatial degradation contain fully realistic thermodynamic fluctuations requires observations at even better spatial resolution.

Anti-parallel EUV flows observed along active region filament threads with Hi-C

Plasma flows within prominences/filaments have been observed for many years and hold valuable clues concerning the mass and energy balance within these structures. Previous observations of these flows primarily come from H-alpha and cool EUV lines (e.g., 304A) where estimates of the size of the prominence threads has been limited by the resolution of the available instrumentation. Evidence of `counter-steaming’ flows has previously been inferred from these cool plasma observations but now, for the first time, these flows have been directly imaged along fundamental filament threads within the million degree corona (at 193A). In this work we present observations of an active region filament observed with Hi-C that exhibits anti-parallel flows along adjacent filament threads. Complementary data from SDO/AIA and HMI are presented. The ultra-high spatial and temporal resolution of Hi-C allow the anti-parallel flow velocities to be measured (70-80 km/s) and gives an indication of the resolvable thickness of the individual strands (0.8” +/- 0.1”). The temperature distribution of the plasma flows was estimated to be log T(K) = 5.45 +/- 0.10 using EM loci analysis. We find that SDO/AIA cannot clearly observe these anti-parallel flows nor measure their velocity or thread width due to its larger pixel size. We suggest that anti-parallel/counter-streaming flows are likely commonplace within all filaments and are currently not observed in EUV due to current instrument spatial resolution.

The Hot and Energetic Universe: The evolution of galaxy groups and clusters

Major astrophysical questions related to the formation and evolution of structures, and more specifically of galaxy groups and clusters, will still be open in the coming decade and beyond: what is the interplay of galaxy, supermassive black hole, and intergalactic gas evolution in the most massive objects in the Universe – galaxy groups and clusters? What are the processes driving the evolution of chemical enrichment of the hot diffuse gas in large-scale structures? How and when did the first galaxy groups in the Universe, massive enough to bind more than 10^7 K gas, form? Focussing on the period when groups and clusters assembled (0.5<z<2.5), we show that, due to the continuum and line emission of this hot intergalactic gas at X-ray wavelengths, Athena+, combining high sensitivity with excellent spectral and spatial resolution, will deliver breakthrough observations in view of the aforementioned issues. Indeed, the physical and chemical properties of the hot intra-cluster gas, and their evolution across time, are a key to understand the co-evolution of galaxy and supermassive black hole within their environments.

Nuclear Water Maser Emission in Centaurus A

We report the detection of a 22GHz water maser line in the nearest (D~3.8Mpc) radio galaxy Centaurus A using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). The line is centered at a velocity of ~960kms-1, which is redshifted by about 400kms-1 from the systemic velocity. Such an offset, as well as the width of ~120kms-1, could be consistent with either a nuclear maser arising from an accretion disk of the central supermassive black hole, or for a jet maser that is emitted from the material that is shocked near the base of the jet in Centaurus\,A. The best spatial resolution of our ATCA data constrains the origin of the maser feature within <3pc from the supermassive black hole. The maser exhibits a luminosity of ~1Lo, which classifies it as a kilomaser, and appears to be variable on timescales of months. A kilomaser can also be emitted by shocked gas in star forming regions. Given the small projected distance from the core, the large offset from systemic velocity, as well as the smoothness of the line feature, we conclude that a jet maser line emitted by shocked gas around the base of the AGN is the most likely explanation. For this scenario we can infer a minimum density of the radio jet of ~>10cm-3, which indicates substantial mass entrainment of surrounding gas into the propagating jet material.

Stellar population gradients and spatially resolved kinematics in luminous post-starburst galaxies

We have used deep integral field spectroscopy obtained with the GMOS instrument on Gemini-North to determine the spatial distribution of the post-starburst stellar population in four luminous E+A galaxies at z<0.04. We find all four galaxies have centrally-concentrated gradients in the young stellar population contained within the central ~1 kpc. This is in agreement with the Balmer line gradients found in local low luminosity E+A galaxies. The results from higher redshift (z~0.1) samples of luminous E+A galaxies have been varied, but in general have found the post-starburst signature to be extended or a galaxy-wide phenomenon or have otherwise failed to detect gradients in the stellar populations. The ubiquity of the detection of a centrally concentrated young stellar population in local samples, and the presence of significant radial gradients in the stellar populations when the E+A galaxy core is well resolved raises the possibility that spatial resolution issues may be important in interpreting the higher redshift results. The two early type E+A galaxies in our sample that can be robustly kinematically classified, using the LambdaR parameter, are fast-rotators. Combined with previous measurements, this brings the total number of E+A galaxies with measurements of LambdaR to twenty-six, with only four being classified as slow-rotators. This fraction is similar to the fraction of the early-type population as a whole and argues against the need for major mergers in the production of E+A galaxies, since major mergers should result in an increased fraction of slow rotators.

Magnetic fields in nearby normal galaxies: Energy equipartition

We present maps of total magnetic field using ‘equipartition’ assumptions for five nearby normal galaxies at sub-kpc spatial resolution. The mean magnetic field is found to be ~11 \mu G. The field is strongest near the central regions where mean values are ~20–25 \mu G and falls to ~15 \mu G in disk and ~10 \mu G in the outer parts. There is little variation in the field strength between arm and interarm regions, such that, in the interarms, the field is < 20 percent weaker than in the arms. There is no indication of variation in magnetic field as one moves along arm or interarm after correcting for the radial variation of magnetic field. We also studied the energy densities in gaseous and ionized phases of the interstellar medium and compared to the energy density in the magnetic field. The energy density in the magnetic field was found to be similar to that of the gas within a factor of <2 at sub-kpc scales in the arms, and thus magnetic field plays an important role in pressure balance of the interstellar medium. Magnetic field energy density is seen to dominate over the kinetic energy density of gas in the interarm regions and outer parts of the galaxies and thereby helps in maintaining the large scale ordered fields seen in those regions.

The influence of numerical resolution on coronal density in hydrodynamic models of impulsive heating

The effect of the numerical spatial resolution in models of the solar corona and corona / chromosphere interface is examined for impulsive heating over a range of magnitudes using one dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. It is demonstrated that the principle effect of inadequate resolution is on the coronal density. An underresolved loop typically has a peak density of at least a factor of two lower than a resolved loop subject to the same heating, with larger discrepencies in the decay phase. The temperature for under-resolved loops is also lower indicating that lack of resolution does not "bottle up" the heat flux in the corona. Energy is conserved in the models to under 1% in all cases, indicating that this is not responsible for the low density. Instead, we argue that in under-resolved loops the heat flux "jumps across" the transition region to the dense chromosphere from which it is radiated rather than heating and ablating transition region plasma. This emphasises the point that the interaction between corona and chromosphere occurs only through the medium of the transition region. Implications for three dimensional magnetohydrodynamic coronal models are discussed.

How well do we know the polar hydrogen distribution on the Moon?

A detailed comparison is made of results from the Lunar Prospector Neutron Spectrometer (LPNS) and the Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector Collimated Sensors for EpiThermal Neutrons (LEND CSETN). Using the autocorrelation function and power spectrum of the polar count rate maps produced by these experiments, it is shown that the LEND CSETN has a footprint that is at least as big as would be expected for an omni-directional detector at an orbital altitude of 50 km. The collimated flux into the field of view of the collimator is negligible. Arguments put forward asserting otherwise are considered and found wanting for various reasons. The maps of lunar polar hydrogen with the highest contrast, i.e. spatial resolution, are those resulting from pixon image reconstructions of the LPNS data. These typically provide weight percentages of water equivalent hydrogen that are accurate to 30% within the polar craters.

Can all cosmological observations be accurately interpreted with a unique geometry? [Replacement]

The recent analysis of the Planck results reveals a tension between the best fits for ({\Omega}m0, H0) derived from the cosmic microwave background or baryonic acoustic oscillations on the one hand, and the Hubble diagram on the other hand. These observations probe the universe on very different scales since they involve light beams of very different angular sizes; hence the tension between them may indicate that they should not be interpreted the same way. More precisely, this Letter questions the accuracy of using only the (perturbed) Friedmann-Lema\^itre geometry to interpret all the cosmological observations, regardless of their angular or spatial resolution. We show that using an inhomogeneous "Swiss-cheese" model to interpret the Hubble diagram allows to reconcile it with the Planck results. Such an approach does not require us to invoke new physics nor to violate the Copernican principle.

Can all cosmological observations be accurately interpreted with a unique geometry?

The recent analysis of the Planck results reveals a tension between the best fits for ({\Omega}m0, H0) derived from the cosmic microwave background or baryonic acoustic oscillations on the one hand, and the Hubble diagram on the other hand. These observations probe the universe on very different scales since they involve light beams of very different angular sizes, hence the tension between them may indicate that they should not be interpreted the same way. More precisely, this letter questions the accuracy of using only the (perturbed) Friedmann-Lema\^itre geometry to interpret all the cosmological observations, regardless of their angular or spatial resolution. We show that using an inhomogeneous "Swiss-cheese" model to interpret the Hubble diagram allows to reconcile it with the Planck results. Such an approach does not require to invoke new physics nor to violate the Copernican principle.

 

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