Posts Tagged theoretical work

Recent Postings from theoretical work

Satellite Alignment: I. Distribution of Substructures and Their Dependence On Assembly History From N-Body Simulations [Replacement]

Observations have shown that the spatial distribution of satellite galaxies is not random, but aligned with the major axes of central galaxies. This alignment is dependent on galaxy properties, such that red satellites are more strongly aligned than blue satellites. Theoretical work done to interpret this phenomena has found that it is due to the non-spherical nature of dark matter halos. However, most studies over-predict the alignment signal under the assumption that the central galaxy shape follows the shape of the host halo. It is also not clear whether the color dependence of alignment is due to an assembly bias or an evolution effect. In this paper we study these problems using a cosmological N-body simulation. Subhalos are used to trace the positions of satellite galaxies. It is found that the shape of dark matter halos are mis-aligned at different radii. If the central galaxy shares the same shape as the inner host halo, then the alignment effect is weaker and agrees with observational data. However, it predicts almost no dependence of alignment on the color of satellite galaxies, though the late accreted subhalos show stronger alignment with the outer layer of the host halo than their early accreted counterparts. We find that this is due to the limitation of pure N-body simulations that satellites galaxies without associated subhalos (‘orphan galaxies’) are not resolved. These orphan (mostly red) satellites often reside in the inner region of host halos and should follow the shape of the host halo in the inner region.

An improved method to test the Distance--Duality relation [Replacement]

Many researchers have performed cosmological-model-independent tests for the distance duality (DD) relation. Theoretical work has been conducted based on the results of these tests. However, we find that almost all of these tests were perhaps not cosmological-model-independent after all, because the distance moduli taken from a given type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) compilation are dependent on a given cosmological model and Hubble constant. In this Letter, we overcome these defects and by creating a new cosmological-model-independent test for the DD relation. We use the original data from the Union2 SNe Ia compilation and the angular diameter distances from two galaxy cluster samples compiled by De Filippis et al. and Bonamente et al. to test the DD relation. Our results suggest that the DD relation is compatible with observations, and the spherical model is slightly better than the elliptical model at describing the intrinsic shape of galaxy clusters if the DD relation is valid. However, these results are different from those of previous work.

Twisting solar coronal jet launched at the boundary of an active region

A broad jet was observed in a weak magnetic field area at the edge of active region NOAA 11106. The peculiar shape and magnetic environment of the broad jet raised the question of whether it was created by the same physical processes of previously studied jets with reconnection occurring high in the corona. We carried out a multi-wavelength analysis using the EUV images from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) and magnetic fields from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) both on-board the SDO satellite. The jet consisted of many different threads that expanded in around 10 minutes to about 100 Mm in length, with the bright features in later threads moving faster than in the early ones, reaching a maximum speed of about 200 km s^{-1}. Time-slice analysis revealed a striped pattern of dark and bright strands propagating along the jet, along with apparent damped oscillations across the jet. This is suggestive of a (un)twisting motion in the jet, possibly an Alfven wave. A topological analysis of an extrapolated field was performed. Bald patches in field lines, low-altitude flux ropes, diverging flow patterns, and a null point were identified at the basis of the jet. Unlike classical lambda or Eiffel-tower shaped jets that appear to be caused by reconnection in current sheets containing null points, reconnection in regions containing bald patches seems to be crucial in triggering the present jet. There is no observational evidence that the flux ropes detected in the topological analysis were actually being ejected themselves, as occurs in the violent phase of blowout jets; instead, the jet itself may have gained the twist of the flux rope(s) through reconnection. This event may represent a class of jets different from the classical quiescent or blowout jets, but to reach that conclusion, more observational and theoretical work is necessary.

Gamma-ray binaries and related systems [Replacement]

After initial claims and a long hiatus, it is now established that several binary stars emit high (0.1-100 GeV) and very high energy (>100 GeV) gamma rays. A new class has emerged called ‘gamma-ray binaries’, since most of their radiated power is emitted beyond 1 MeV. Accreting X-ray binaries, novae and a colliding wind binary (eta Car) have also been detected – ‘related systems’ that confirm the ubiquity of particle acceleration in astrophysical sources. Do these systems have anything in common ? What drives their high-energy emission ? How do the processes involved compare to those in other sources of gamma rays: pulsars, active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants ? I review the wealth of observational and theoretical work that have followed these detections, with an emphasis on gamma-ray binaries. I present the current evidence that gamma-ray binaries are driven by rotation-powered pulsars. Binaries are laboratories giving access to different vantage points or physical conditions on a regular timescale as the components revolve on their orbit. I explain the basic ingredients that models of gamma-ray binaries use, the challenges that they currently face, and how they can bring insights into the physics of pulsars. I discuss how gamma-ray emission from microquasars provides a window into the connection between accretion–ejection and acceleration, while eta Car and novae raise new questions on the physics of these objects – or on the theory of diffusive shock acceleration. Indeed, explaining the gamma-ray emission from binaries strains our theories of high-energy astrophysical processes, by testing them on scales and in environments that were generally not foreseen, and this is how these detections are most valuable.

Gamma-ray binaries and related systems

After initial claims and a long hiatus, it is now established that several binary stars emit high (0.1-100 GeV) and very high energy (>100 GeV) gamma rays. A new class has emerged called ‘gamma-ray binaries’, since most of their radiated power is emitted beyond 1 MeV. Accreting X-ray binaries, novae and a colliding wind binary (eta Car) have also been detected – ‘related systems’ that confirm the ubiquity of particle acceleration in astrophysical sources. Do these systems have anything in common ? What drives their high-energy emission ? How do the processes involved compare to those in other sources of gamma rays: pulsars, active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants ? I review the wealth of observational and theoretical work that have followed these detections, with an emphasis on gamma-ray binaries. I present the current evidence that gamma-ray binaries are driven by rotation-powered pulsars. Binaries are laboratories giving access to different vantage points or physical conditions on a regular timescale as the components revolve on their orbit. I explain the basic ingredients that models of gamma-ray binaries use, the challenges that they currently face, and how they can bring insights into the physics of pulsars. I discuss how gamma-ray emission from microquasars provides a window into the connection between accretion–ejection and acceleration, while eta Car and novae raise new questions on the physics of these objects – or on the theory of diffusive shock acceleration. Indeed, explaining the gamma-ray emission from binaries strains our theories of high-energy astrophysical processes, by testing them on scales and in environments that were generally not foreseen, and this is how these detections are most valuable.

Astrophysics of Super-massive Black Hole Mergers [Cross-Listing]

We present here an overview of recent work in the subject of astrophysical manifestations of super-massive black hole (SMBH) mergers. This is a field that has been traditionally driven by theoretical work, but in recent years has also generated a great deal of interest and excitement in the observational astronomy community. In particular, the electromagnetic (EM) counterparts to SMBH mergers provide the means to detect and characterize these highly energetic events at cosmological distances, even in the absence of a space-based gravitational-wave observatory. In addition to providing a mechanism for observing SMBH mergers, EM counterparts also give important information about the environments in which these remarkable events take place, thus teaching us about the mechanisms through which galaxies form and evolve symbiotically with their central black holes.

Low temperature rate constants for the N(4S) + CH(X2{\Pi}r) reaction. Implications for N2 formation cycles in dense interstellar clouds

Rate constants for the potentially important interstellar N(4S) + CH(X2{\Pi}r) reaction have been measured in a continuous supersonic flow reactor over the range 56 K < T < 296 K using the relative rate technique employing both the N(4S) + OH(X2{\Pi}i) and N(4S) + CN(X2{\Sigma}+) reactions as references. Excess concentrations of atomic nitrogen were produced by the microwave discharge method upstream of the Laval nozzle and CH and OH radicals were created by the in-situ pulsed laser photolysis of suitable precursor molecules. In parallel, quantum dynamics calculations of the title reaction have been performed based on accurate global potential energy surfaces for the 13A’ and 13A" states of HCN and HNC, brought about through a hierarchical construction scheme. Both adiabatic potential energy surfaces are barrierless, each one having two deep potential wells suggesting that this reaction is dominated by a complex-forming mechanism. The experimental and theoretical work are inexcellent agreement, predicting a positive temperature dependence of the rate constant, in contrast to earlier experimental work at low temperature. The effects of the new low temperature rate constants on interstellar N2 formation are tested using a dense cloud model, yielding N2 abundances 10-20 % lower than previously predicted.

Modelling Giant Radio Halos

We review models for giant radio halos in clusters of galaxies, with a focus on numerical and theoretical work. After summarising the most important observations of these objects, we present an introduction to the theoretical aspects of hadronic models. We compare these models with observations using simulations and find severe problems for hadronic models. We give a short introduction to reacceleration models and show results from the first simulation of CRe reaccel- eration in cluster mergers. We find that in-line with previous theoretical work, reacceleration models are able to elegantly explain main observables of giant radio halos.

The 5 GHz Arecibo Search for Radio Flares from Ultracool Dwarfs

We present the results of a 4.75 GHz survey of 33 brown dwarfs and one young exoplanetary system for flaring radio emission, conducted with the 305-m Arecibo radio telescope. The goal of this program was to detect and characterize the magnetic fields of objects cooler than spectral type L3.5, the coolest brown dwarf detected prior to our survey. We have also attempted to detect flaring radio emission from the HR 8799 planetary system, guided by theoretical work indicating that hot, massive exoplanets may have strong magnetic fields capable of generating radio emission at GHz frequencies. We have detected and confirmed radio flares from the T6.5 dwarf 2MASS J10475385+2124234. This detection dramatically extends the temperature range over which brown dwarfs appear to be at least sporadic radio-emitters, from ~1900 K (L3.5) down to ~900 K (T6.5). It also demonstrates that the utility of radio detection as a unique tool to study the magnetic fields of substellar objects extends to the coolest dwarfs, and, plausibly to hot, massive exoplanets. We have also identified a single, 3.6 sigma flare from the L1 dwarf, 2MASS J1439284+192915. This detection is tentative and requires confirmation by additional monitoring observations.

Astrophysical Tests of Modified Gravity: the Morphology and Kinematics of Dwarf Galaxies

This paper is the third in a series on tests of gravity using observations of stars and nearby dwarf galaxies. We carry out four distinct tests using published data on the kinematics and morphology of dwarf galaxies, motivated by the theoretical work of Hui et al. (2009) and Jain and Vanderplas (2011). In a wide class of gravity theories a scalar field couples to matter and provides an attractive fifth force. Due to their different self-gravity, stars and gas may respond differently to the scalar force leading to several observable deviations from standard gravity. HI gas, red giant stars and main sequence stars can be displaced relative to each other, and the stellar disk can display warps or asymmetric rotation curves aligned with external potential gradients. To distinguish the effects of modified gravity from standard astrophysical phenomena, we use a control sample of galaxies that are expected to be screened from the fifth force. In all cases we find no significant deviation from the null hypothesis of general relativity. The limits obtained from dwarf galaxies are not yet competitive with the limits from cepheids obtained in our first paper, but can be improved to probe regions of parameter space that are inaccessible using other tests. We discuss how our methodology can be applied to new radio and optical observations of nearby galaxies.

Astrophysical Tests of Modified Gravity: the Morphology and Kinematics of Dwarf Galaxies [Replacement]

This paper is the third in a series on tests of gravity using observations of stars and nearby dwarf galaxies. We carry out four distinct tests using published data on the kinematics and morphology of dwarf galaxies, motivated by the theoretical work of Hui et al. (2009) and Jain and Vanderplas (2011). In a wide class of gravity theories a scalar field couples to matter and provides an attractive fifth force. Due to their different self-gravity, stars and gas may respond differently to the scalar force leading to several observable deviations from standard gravity. HI gas, red giant stars and main sequence stars can be displaced relative to each other, and the stellar disk can display warps or asymmetric rotation curves aligned with external potential gradients. To distinguish the effects of modified gravity from standard astrophysical phenomena, we use a control sample of galaxies that are expected to be screened from the fifth force. In all cases we find no significant deviation from the null hypothesis of general relativity. The limits obtained from dwarf galaxies are not yet competitive with the limits from cepheids obtained in our first paper, but can be improved to probe regions of parameter space that are inaccessible using other tests. We discuss how our methodology can be applied to new radio and optical observations of nearby galaxies.

Giant planets orbiting metal-rich stars show signatures of planet-planet interactions

Gas giants orbiting interior to the ice line are thought to have been displaced from their formation locations by processes that remain debated. Here we uncover several new metallicity trends, which together may indicate that two competing mechanisms deliver close-in giant planets: gentle disk migration, operating in environments with a range of metallicities, and violent planet-planet gravitational interactions, primarily triggered in metal-rich systems in which multiple giant planets can form. First, we show with 99.6% confidence that giant planets with semi-major axes between 0.1 and 1 AU orbiting metal-poor stars ([Fe/H]<$) are confined to lower eccentricities than those orbiting metal-rich stars. Second, we show with 98.3% confidence that eccentric proto-hot Jupiters undergoing tidal circularization primarily orbit metal-rich stars. Finally, we show that only metal-rich stars host a pile-up of hot Jupiters, helping account for the lack of such a pile-up in the overall Kepler sample. Migration caused by stellar perturbers (e.g. stellar Kozai) is unlikely to account for the trends. These trends further motivate follow-up theoretical work addressing which hot Jupiter migration theories can also produce the observed population of eccentric giant planets between 0.1 and 1 AU.

Giant planets orbiting metal-rich stars show signatures of planet-planet interactions [Replacement]

Gas giants orbiting interior to the ice line are thought to have been displaced from their formation locations by processes that remain debated. Here we uncover several new metallicity trends, which together may indicate that two competing mechanisms deliver close-in giant planets: gentle disk migration, operating in environments with a range of metallicities, and violent planet-planet gravitational interactions, primarily triggered in metal-rich systems in which multiple giant planets can form. First, we show with 99.1% confidence that giant planets with semi-major axes between 0.1 and 1 AU orbiting metal-poor stars ([Fe/H]<0) are confined to lower eccentricities than those orbiting metal-rich stars. Second, we show with 93.3% confidence that eccentric proto-hot Jupiters undergoing tidal circularization primarily orbit metal-rich stars. Finally, we show that only metal-rich stars host a pile-up of hot Jupiters, helping account for the lack of such a pile-up in the overall Kepler sample. Migration caused by stellar perturbers (e.g. stellar Kozai) is unlikely to account for the trends. These trends further motivate follow-up theoretical work addressing which hot Jupiter migration theories can also produce the observed population of eccentric giant planets between 0.1 and 1 AU.

The Post-Merger Magnetized Evolution of White Dwarf Binaries: The Double-Degenerate Channel of Sub-Chandrasekhar Type Ia Supernovae and the Formation of Magnetized White Dwarfs [Replacement]

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) play a crucial role as standardizable cosmological candles, though the nature of their progenitors is a subject of active investigation. Recent observational and theoretical work has pointed to merging white dwarf binaries, referred to as the double-degenerate channel, as the possible progenitor systems for some SNe Ia. Additionally, recent theoretical work suggests that mergers which fail to detonate may produce magnetized, rapidly-rotating white dwarfs. In this paper, we present the first multidimensional simulations of the post-merger evolution of white dwarf binaries to include the effect of the magnetic field. In these systems, the two white dwarfs complete a final merger on a dynamical timescale, and are tidally disrupted, producing a rapidly-rotating white dwarf merger surrounded by a hot corona and a thick, differentially-rotating disk. The disk is strongly susceptible to the magnetorotational instability (MRI), and we demonstrate that this leads to the rapid growth of an initially dynamically weak magnetic field in the disk, the spin-down of the white dwarf merger, and to the subsequent central ignition of the white dwarf merger. Additionally, these magnetized models exhibit new features not present in prior hydrodynamic studies of white dwarf mergers, including the development of MRI turbulence in the hot disk, magnetized outflows carrying a significant fraction of the disk mass, and the magnetization of the white dwarf merger to field strengths $\sim 2 \times 10^8$ G. We discuss the impact of our findings on the origins, circumstellar media, and observed properties of SNe Ia and magnetized white dwarfs.

The Post-Merger Magnetized Evolution of White Dwarf Binaries: The Double-Degenerate Channel of Sub-Chandrasekhar Type Ia Supernovae and the Formation of Magnetized White Dwarfs

Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) play a crucial role as standardizable cosmological candles, though the nature of their progenitors is a subject of active investigation. Recent observational and theoretical work has pointed to merging white dwarf binaries, referred to as the double-degenerate channel, as the possible progenitor systems for some SNe Ia. Additionally, recent theoretical work suggests that mergers which fail to detonate may produce magnetized, rapidly-rotating white dwarfs. In this paper, we present the first multidimensional simulations of the post-merger evolution of white dwarf binaries to include the effect of the magnetic field. In these systems, the two white dwarfs complete a final merger on a dynamical timescale, and are tidally disrupted, producing a rapidly-rotating white dwarf merger surrounded by a hot corona and a thick, differentially-rotating disk. The disk is strongly susceptible to the magnetorotational instability (MRI), and we demonstrate that this leads to the rapid growth of an initially dynamically weak magnetic field in the disk, the spin-down of the white dwarf merger, and to the subsequent central ignition of the white dwarf merger. Additionally, these magnetized models exhibit new features not present in prior hydrodynamic studies of white dwarf mergers, including the development of MRI turbulence in the hot disk, magnetized outflows carrying a significant fraction of the disk mass, and the magnetization of the white dwarf merger to field strengths $\sim 2 \times 10^8$ G. We discuss the impact of our findings on the origin and observed properties of SNe Ia and magnetized white dwarfs.

Interferometric Upper Limits on Millimeter Polarization of the Disks around DG Tau, GM Aur, and MWC 480

Millimeter-wavelength polarization measurements offer a promising method for probing the geometry of magnetic fields in circumstellar disks. Single dish observations and theoretical work have hinted that magnetic field geometries might be predominantly toroidal, and that disks should exhibit millimeter polarization fractions of 2-3%. While subsequent work has not confirmed these high polarization fractions, either the wavelength of observation or the target sources differed from the original observations. Here we present new polarimetric observations of three nearby circumstellar disks at 2" resolution with the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter Astronomy (CARMA). We reobserve GM Aur and DG Tau, the systems in which millimeter polarization detections have been claimed. Despite higher resolution and sensitivity at wavelengths similar to the previous observations, the new observations do not show significant polarization. We also add observations of a new HAeBe system, MWC 480. These observations demonstrate that a very low (<0.5%) polarization fraction is probably common at large (>100 AU) scales in bright circumstellar disks. We suggest that high-resolution observations may be worthwhile to probe magnetic field structure on linear distances smaller than the disk scale height, as well as in regions closer to the star that may have larger MRI-induced magnetic field strengths.

The emission measure distribution of impulsive phase flare footpoints

The temperature distribution of the emitting plasma is a crucial constraint when studying the heating of solar flare footpoints. However, determining this for impulsive phase footpoints has been difficult in the past due to insufficient spatial resolution to resolve the footpoints from the loop structures, and a lack of spectral and temporal coverage. We use the capabilities of Hinode/EIS to obtain the first emission measure distributions (EMDs) from impulsive phase footpoints in six flares. Observations with good spectral coverage were analysed using a regularized inversion method to recover the EMDs. We find that the EMDs all share a peak temperature of around 8 MK, with lines formed around this temperature having emission measures peaking between 10^28 and 10^29 cm^-5, indicating a substantial presence of plasma at very high temperatures within the footpoints. An EMD gradient of EM(T) ~ T is found in all events. Previous theoretical work on emission measure gradients shows this to be consistent with a scenario in which the deposited flare energy directly heats only the top layer of the flare chromosphere, while deeper layers are heated by conduction.

Rates of Superluminous Supernovae at z~0.2

We calculate the volumetric rate of superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) based on 5 events discovered with the ROTSE-IIIb telescope. We gather light curves of 19 events from the literature and our own unpublished data and employ crude k-corrections to constrain the pseudo-absolute magnitude distributions in the rest frame ROTSE-IIIb (unfiltered) band pass for both the hydrogen poor (SLSN-I) and hydrogen rich (SLSN-II) populations. We find that the peak magnitudes of the available SLSN-I are narrowly distributed ($M = -21.7 \pm 0.4$) in our unfiltered band pass and may suggest an even tighter intrinsic distribution when the effects of dust are considered, although the sample may be skewed by selection and publication biases. The presence of OII features near maximum light may uniquely signal a high luminosity event, and we suggest further observational and theoretical work is warranted to assess the possible utility of such SN 2005ap-like SLSN-I as distance indicators. Using the pseudo-absolute magnitude distributions derived from the light curve sample, we measure the SLSN-I rate to be about (32^{+77}_{-26}) events Gpc^{-3} yr^{-1} h_{71}^{3} at a weighted redshift of z = 0.17, and the SLSN-II rate to be about (151^{+151}_{-82}) events Gpc^{-3} yr^{-1} h_{71}^{3} at z = 0.15. Given that the exact nature and limits of these populations are still unknown, we discuss how it may be difficult to distinguish these rare SLSNe from other transient phenomena such as AGN activity and tidal disruption events even when multi-band photometry, spectroscopy, or even high resolution imaging are available. Including one spectroscopically peculiar event, we determine a total rate for SLSN-like events of (199^{+137}_{-86}) events Gpc^{-3} yr^{-1} h_{71}^{3} at z = 0.16.

The planetary nebula Abell 48 and its [WN4] nucleus [Replacement]

We have conducted a detailed multi-wavelength study of the peculiar planetary nebula Abell 48 and its central star. We present evidence for a new classification of the nucleus as a helium-rich, hydrogen-deficient star of type [WN4], one of only two currently known examples of its type. The evidence for either a massive WN or a low-mass [WN] interpretation is critically examined, and we firmly conclude that Abell 48 is a planetary nebula around an evolved low-mass star, rather than a Population I ejecta nebula. Importantly, the surrounding nebula has a morphology typical of planetary nebulae, and is not enriched in nitrogen, and thus not the ‘peeled atmosphere’ of a massive star. We estimate a distance of 1.6 kpc and a reddening, E(B-V) = 1.90 mag, the latter value clearly showing the nebula lies on the near side of the Galactic bar, and therefore cannot be a massive WN star. The ionized mass (0.3 M_sun) and electron density (700 cm^-3) are typical of middle-aged PNe. The observed stellar spectrum was compared to a grid of models from the Potsdam Wolf-Rayet (PoWR) grid. The best fit temperature is 71 kK, and the atmospheric composition is dominated by helium (>86 per cent by mass), with about 3-4 per cent nitrogen present. An upper limit on the hydrogen abundance is 10 per cent. Our results are in good agreement with the recent study of Todt et al. The unusually high nitrogen fraction is higher than any other low-mass H-deficient star, and is not explained by current post-AGB models. We give a discussion of the implications of this discovery for the late-stage evolution of intermediate-mass stars. There is now tentative evidence for two distinct helium-dominated post-AGB lineages, separate to the He+C dominated surface compositions produced by a late thermal pulse. Further theoretical work is needed to explain these recent discoveries.

Water ice deuteration: a tracer of the chemical history of protostars

Context. Millimetric observations have measured large degrees of molecular deuteration in several species seen around low-mass protostars. The Herschel Space Telescope, launched in 2009, is now providing new measures of the deuterium fractionation of water, the main constituent of interstellar ices. Aims. We aim at theoretically studying the formation and the deuteration of water which is believed to be formed on interstellar grain surfaces in molecular clouds. Methods. We used our gas-grain astrochemical model GRAINOBLE which considers the multilayer formation of interstellar ices. We varied several input parameters to study their impact on water deuteration. We included the treatment of ortho and para states of key species, including H2, that affects the deuterium fractionation of all molecules. The model also includes relevant laboratory and theoretical works on water formation and deuteration on grain surfaces. In particular, we computed the transmission probabilities of surface reactions using the Eckart model and we considered ice photodissociation following molecular dynamics simulations. Results. The use of a multilayer approach allowed us to study the influence of various parameters on the abundance and the deuteration of water. Deuteration of water is found to be very sensitive to the ortho-to-para ratio of H2 and the total density, but it also depends on the gas/grain temperatures and the visual extinction of the cloud. Since the deuteration is very sensitive to the physical conditions, the comparison with sub-millimetric observation towards the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293 allowed us to suggest that water ice is formed together with CO2 in molecular clouds with limited density while formaldehyde and methanol are mainly formed in a later phase, where the condensation becomes denser and colder.

Water ice deuteration: a tracer of the chemical history of protostars [Replacement]

Context. Millimetric observations have measured high degrees of molecular deuteration in several species seen around low-mass protostars. The Herschel Space Telescope, launched in 2009, is now providing new measures of the deuterium fractionation of water, the main constituent of interstellar ices. Aims. We aim at theoretically studying the formation and the deuteration of water, which is believed to be formed on interstellar grain surfaces in molecular clouds. Methods. We used our gas-grain astrochemical model GRAINOBLE, which considers the multilayer formation of interstellar ices. We varied several input parameters to study their impact on water deuteration. We included the treatment of ortho- and para-states of key species, including H2, which affects the deuterium fractionation of all molecules. The model also includes relevant laboratory and theoretical works on the water formation and deuteration on grain surfaces. In particular, we computed the transmission probabilities of surface reactions using the Eckart model, and we considered ice photodissociation following molecular dynamics simulations. Results. The use of a multilayer approach allowed us to study the influence of various parameters on the abundance and the deuteration of water. Deuteration of water is found to be very sensitive to the ortho-to-para ratio of H2 and to the total density, but it also depends on the gas/grain temperatures and the visual extinction of the cloud. Since the deuteration is very sensitive to the physical conditions, the comparison with sub-millimetric observation towards the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293 allows us to suggest that water ice is formed together with CO2 in molecular clouds with limited density, whilst formaldehyde and methanol are mainly formed in a later phase, where the condensation becomes denser and colder.

New results in RR Lyrae modeling: convective cycles, additional modes and more

Recent theoretical and observational findings breathed new life into the field of RR Lyrae stars. The ever more precise and complete measurements of the space asteroseismology missions revealed new details, such as the period doubling and the presence of the additional modes in the stars. Theoretical work also flourished: period doubling was explained and an additional mode has been detected in hydrodynamic models as well. Although the most intriguing mystery, the Blazhko-effect has remained unsolved, new findings indicate that the convective cycle model can be effectively ruled out for short- and medium-period modulations. On the other hand, the plausibility of the radial resonance model is increasing, as more and more resonances are detected both in models and stars.

Pulsation Frequencies and Modes of Giant Exoplanets

We calculate the eigenfrequencies and eigenfunctions of the acoustic oscillations of giant exoplanets and explore the dependence of the characteristic frequency and the eigenfrequencies on several parameters: the planet mass, the planet radius, the core mass, and the heavy element mass fraction in the envelope. We provide the eigenvalues for degree l up to 8 and radial order n up to 12. For the selected values of l and n, we find that the pulsation eigenfrequencies depend strongly on the planet mass and radius, especially at high frequency. We quantify this dependence through the calculation of the characteristic frequency which gives us an estimate of the scale of the eigenvalue spectrum at high frequency. For the mass range ~0.5 \leq M_P \leq 15 M_J, and fixing the planet radius to the Jovian value, we find that the characteristic frequency is ~164.0 (M_P/M_J)^{0.48} microHz, where M_P is the planet mass and M_J is Jupiter’s mass. For the radius range from 0.9 to 2.0 R_J, and fixing the planet’s mass to the Jovian value, we find that the characteristic frequency is ~164.0 (R_P/R_J)^{-2.09} microHz, where R_P is the planet radius. We explore the influence of the presence of a dense core on the pulsation frequencies and on the characteristic frequency of giant exoplanets. We find that the presence of heavy elements in the envelope affects the eigenvalue distribution in ways similar to the presence of a dense core. Additionally, we apply our formalism to Jupiter and Saturn and find results consistent with both the observationnal data of Gaulme et al. and previous theoretical work.

Pulsation Frequencies and Modes of Giant Exoplanets [Replacement]

We calculate the eigenfrequencies and eigenfunctions of the acoustic oscillations of giant exoplanets and explore the dependence of the characteristic frequency and the eigenfrequencies on several parameters: the planet mass, the planet radius, the core mass, and the heavy element mass fraction in the envelope. We provide the eigenvalues for degree $l$ up to 8 and radial order n up to 12. For the selected values of l and n, we find that the pulsation eigenfrequencies depend strongly on the planet mass and radius, especially at high frequency. We quantify this dependence through the calculation of the characteristic frequency which gives us an estimate of the scale of the eigenvalue spectrum at high frequency. For the mass range 0.5 < M_P < 15 M_J, and fixing the planet radius to the Jovian value, we find that the characteristic frequency is ~164.0 * (M_P/M_J)^(0.48) microHz, where M_P is the planet mass and M_J is Jupiter’s mass. For the radius range from 0.9 to 2.0 R_J, and fixing the planet’s mass to the Jovian value, we find that the characteristic frequency is ~164.0 * (R_P/R_J)^(-2.09) microHz, where R_P is the planet radius and R_J is Jupiter’s radius. We explore the influence of the presence of a dense core on the pulsation frequencies and on the characteristic frequency of giant exoplanets. We find that the presence of heavy elements in the envelope affects the eigenvalue distribution in ways similar to the presence of a dense core. Additionally, we apply our formalism to Jupiter and Saturn and find results consistent with both the observationnal data of Gaulme et al. (2011) and previous theoretical work.

Exploring wind-driving dust species in cool luminous giants I. Basic criteria and dynamical models of M-type AGB stars

This work is part of an ongoing effort aiming at identifying the actual wind-drivers among the dust species observed in circumstellar envelopes. In particular, we focus on the interplay between a strong stellar radiation field and the dust formation process. To identify critical properties of potential wind-driving dust species we use detailed radiation-hydrodynamical models which include a parameterized dust description, complemented by simple analytical estimates to help with the physical interpretation of the numerical results. The adopted dust description is constructed to mimic different chemical and optical dust properties in order to systematically study the effects of a realistic radiation field on the second stage of the mass loss mechanism. We see distinct trends in which combinations of optical and chemical dust properties are needed to trigger an outflow. Dust species with a low condensation temperature and a NIR absorption coefficient that decreases strongly with wavelength will not condense close enough to the stellar surface to be considered as potential wind-drivers. Our models confirm that metallic iron and Fe-bearing silicates are not viable as wind-drivers due to their near-infrared optical properties and resulting large condensation distances. TiO2 is also excluded as a wind-driver due to the low abundance of Ti. Other species, such a SiO2 and Al2O3, are less clear-cut cases due to uncertainties in the optical and chemical data and further work is needed. A strong candidate is Mg2SiO4 with grain sizes of 0.1-1 micron, where scattering contributes significantly to the radiative acceleration, as suggested by earlier theoretical work and supported by recent observations.

Fingerprints of the hierarchical building up of the structure on the gas kinematics of galaxies

Recent observational and theoretical works have suggested that the Tully-Fisher Relation might be generalised to include dispersion-dominated systems by combining the rotation and dispersion velocity in the definition of the kinematical indicator. Mergers and interactions have been pointed out as responsible of driving turbulent and disordered gas kinematics, which could generate Tully-Fisher Relation outliers. We intend to investigate the gas kinematics of galaxies by using a simulated sample which includes both, gas disc-dominated and spheroid-dominated systems. Cosmological hydrodynamical simulations which include a multiphase model and physically-motivated Supernova feedback were performed in order to follow the evolution of galaxies as they are assembled. Both the baryonic and stellar Tully-Fisher relations for gas disc-dominated systems are tight while, as more dispersion-dominated systems are included, the scatter increases. We found a clear correlation between $\sigma / V_{\rm rot}$ and morphology, with dispersion-dominated systems exhibiting the larger values ($> 0.7$). Mergers and interactions can affect the rotation curves directly or indirectly inducing a scatter in the Tully-Fisher Relation larger than the simulated evolution since $z \sim 3$. Kinematical indicators which combine rotation velocity and dispersion velocity can reduce the scatter in the baryonic and the stellar mass-velocity relations. Our findings also show that the lowest scatter in both relations is obtained if the velocity indicators are measured at the maximum of the rotation curve. Moreover, the rotation velocity estimated at the maximum of the gas rotation curve is found to be the best proxy for the potential well regardless of morphology.

Surface Properties of Asteroids from Mid-Infrared Observations and Thermophysical Modeling

The subject of this work is the physical characterization of asteroids, focusing on the thermal inertia of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs). Thermal inertia governs the Yarkovsky effect, a non-gravitational force which significantly alters the orbits of asteroids up to \sim 20 km in diameter. Yet, very little has previously been known about the thermal inertia of small asteroids including NEAs. Observational and theoretical work is reported. The thermal emission of asteroids has been observed in the mid-infrared (5-35 {\mu}m) wavelength range using the Spitzer Space Telescope and the 3.0m IRTF. A detailed thermophysical model (TPM) has been developed and extensively tested; this is the first detailed TPM shown to be applicable to NEA data. Our main result is the determination of the thermal inertia of 5 NEAs, increasing the total number of NEAs with measured thermal inertia to 6. For two of our targets, previously available estimates are refined. Our results allow the first determination of the typical thermal inertia of NEAs, which is around 300 J s^{-1/2} K^{-1} m^{-2}, larger than the typical thermal inertia of large main-belt asteroids (MBAs) by more than an order of magnitude. In particular, thermal inertia appears to increase with decreasing asteroid diameter. Our results have been used by colleagues to estimate the size dependence of the Yarkovsky effect, thus explaining the apparent difference in the size-frequency distribution of NEAs and similarly sized MBAs. Thermal inertia is a very sensitive indicator for the presence or absence of particulate material on the surface. Our results indicate that even sub-km asteroids are covered with coarse regolith.

Magnetic fields from low mass stars to brown dwarfs

Magnetic fields have been detected on stars across the H-R diagram and substellar objects either directly by their effect on the formation of spectral lines, or through the activity phenomena they power which can be observed across a large part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Stars show a very wide variety of magnetic properties in terms of strength, geometry or variability. Cool stars generate their magnetic fields by dynamo effect, and their properties appear to correlate – to some extent – with stellar parameters such as mass, rotation and age. With the improvements of instrumentation and data analysis techniques, magnetic fields can now be detected and studied down to the domain of very-low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, triggering new theoretical works aimed, in particular, at modelling dynamo action in these objects. After a brief discussion on the importance of magnetic field in stellar physics, the basics of dynamo theory and magnetic field measurements are presented. The main results stemming from observational and theoretical studies of magnetism are then detailed in two parts: the fully-convective transition, and the very-low mass stars and brown dwarfs domain.

The Relationship between the Sudden Change of the Lorentz Force and the Magnitude of Associated Flares

The rapid and irreversible change of photospheric magnetic fields associated with flares has been confirmed by many recent studies. These studies showed that the photospheric magnetic fields respond to coronal field restructuring and turn to a more horizontal state near the magnetic polarity inversion line (PIL) after eruptions. Recent theoretical work has shown that the change in the Lorentz force associated with a magnetic eruption will lead to such a field configuration at the photosphere. The Helioseismic Magnetic Imager has been providing unprecedented full-disk vector magnetograms covering the rising phase of the solar cycle 24. In this study, we analyze 18 flares in four active regions, with GOES X-ray class ranging from C4.7 to X5.4. We find that there are permanent and rapid changes of magnetic field around the flaring PIL, the most notable of which is the increase of the transverse magnetic field. The changes of fields integrated over the area and the derived change of Lorentz force both show a strong correlation with flare magnitude. It is the first time that such magnetic field changes have been observed even for C-class flares. Furthermore, for seven events with associated CMEs, we use an estimate of the impulse provided by the Lorentz force, plus the observed CME velocity, to estimate the CME mass. We find that if the time scale of the back reaction is short, i.e., in the order of 10 s, the derived values of CME mass (10^{15} g) generally agree with those reported in literature.

Searching for the High Energy Neutrino counterpart of the Fermi Bubbles signal or from Dark Matter annihilation

The recent uncovering of the Fermi Bubbles/haze in the Fermi gamma-ray data has generated theoretical work to explain such a signal of hard gamma-rays in combination with the WMAP haze signal. Many of these theoretical models can have distinctively different implications with regards to the production of high energy neutrinos. We discuss the neutrino signals from different models proposed for the explanation of the Fermi Bubbles/haze. More explicitly, from Dark Matter annihilation in the galactic halo with conditions of preferential CR diffusion, from recent AGN jet activity, from periodic diffusive shock acceleration, from stochastic 2nd order Fermi acceleration and from long time-scale star formation in the galactic center in combination with strong galactic winds. We find that some of these models will be probed by the IceCube DeepCore detector. Moreover, with a km^3 telescope located at the north hemisphere, we will be able to discriminate between the hadronic, leptonic and the DM models. Additionally using the reconstructed neutrino spectra we will probe annihilation of TeV scale dark matter towards the galactic center.

Laterally Propagating Detonations in Thin Helium Layers on Accreting White Dwarfs

Theoretical work has shown that intermediate mass (0.01Msun<M_He0.8Msun) WDs, these helium shells can be dense enough (5×10^5 g/cc) that the convectively burning region runs away on a timescale comparable to the sound travel time across the shell; raising the possibility for an explosive outcome. The nature of the explosion (i.e. deflagration or detonation) remains ambiguous. In the case of detonation, this causes a laterally propagating front whose properties in these geometrically thin and low density shells we begin to study here. Our calculations show that the radial expansion time of <0.1 s leads to incomplete helium burning, in agreement with recent work by Sim and collaborators, but that the nuclear energy released is still adequate to realize a self-sustaining detonation propagating laterally at slower than the Chapman-Jouguet speed. Our simulations resolve the subsonic region behind the front and are consistent with a direct computation of the reaction structure from the shock strength. The ashes are typically He rich, and consist of predominantly Ti-44, Cr-48, along with a small amount of Fe-52, with very little Ni-56 and with significant Ca-40 in carbon-enriched layers. If this helium detonation results in a Type Ia Supernova, its spectral signatures would appear for the first few days after explosion. (abridged)

Stellar dynamics and extreme-mass ratio inspirals

Nowadays it is well-established that in the centre of the Milky Way a massive black hole (MBH) with a mass of about four million solar masses is lurking. While there is an emerging consensus about the origin and growth of supermassive black holes (with masses larger than a billion solar masses), MBHs with smaller masses such as the one in our galactic centre remain an understudied enigma. The key to understanding these holes, how some of them grow by orders of magnitude in mass is to understand the dynamics of the stars in the galactic neighborhood. Stars and the central MBH chiefly interact through the gradual inspiral of the stars into the MBH due to the emission of gravitational radiation. Also stars produce gases which will be subsequently accreted by the MBH by collisions and disruptions brought about by the strong central tidal field. Such processes can contribute significantly to the mass of the MBH and progress in understanding them requires theoretical work in preparation for future gravitational radiation millihertz missions and X-ray observatories. In particular, a unique probe of these regions is the gravitational radiation that is emitted by some compact stars very close to the black holes and which will could be surveyed by a millihertz gravitational wave interferometer scrutinizing the range of masses fundamental to the understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes. By extracting the information carried by the gravitational radiation, we can determine the mass and spin of the central MBH with unprecedented precision and we can determine how the holes “eat” stars that happen to be near them.

Cyclotron Resonance Energies and Orbital Elements of Accretion Pulsar 4U 0115+63 During the Giant Outburst in 2008

We present both timing and spectral analysis of the outburst of 4U 0115+63 in April — May 2008 with INTEGRAL and RXTE observations. We have determined the spin period of the neutron star at $\sim 3.61430 \pm 0.00003$ s, and a spin up rate during the outburst of $\dot{P}=(-7.24 \pm 0.03)\times10^{-6} {\rm s d^{-1}}$, the angle of periapsis $\omega=48.67^\circ \pm 0.04^\circ$ in 2008 and its variation (apsidal motion) $\dot{\omega} = 0.048^\circ \pm 0.003^\circ {\rm yr}^{-1}$. We also confirm the relation of spin-up torque versus luminosity in this source during the giant outburst. The hard X-ray spectral properties of 4U 0115+63 during the outburst are studied with INTEGRAL and RXTE. Four cyclotron absorption lines are detected using the spectra from combined data of IBIS and JEM-X aboard INTEGRAL in the energy range of 3 — 100 keV. The 5 — 50 keV luminosities at an assumed distance of 7 kpc are determined to be in the range of $(1.5-12)\times 10^{37} {\rm ergs s^{-1}}$ during the outburst. The fundamental absorption line energy varies during the outburst: around 15 keV during the rising phase, and transiting to $\sim 10$ keV during the peak of the outburst, and further coming back to $\sim 15$ keV during the decreasing phase. The variations of photon index show the correlation with the fundamental line energy changes: the source becomes harder around the peak of the outburst and softer in both rising and decreasing phases. This correlation and transition processes during the outburst need further studies in both observations and theoretical work. The known relation of the fundamental line energy and X-ray luminosity is confirmed by our results, however, our discoveries suggest that some other factors besides luminosity play the important role in fundamental line energy variations and spectral transitions.

Photoionization Cross-Sections for the trans-iron element Se$^+$ from 18 eV to 31 eV

Absolute photoionization cross-section calculations are presented for Se$^+$ using large-scale close-coupling calculations within the Breit-Pauli and Dirac-Coulomb R-matrix approximations. The results from our theoretical work are compared with recent measurements made at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) radiation facility in Berkeley, California, USA. We report on results for the photon energy range 18.0 eV — 31.0 eV, which spans the ionization thresholds of the $\rm ^4S^o_{3/2}$ ground state and the low-lying $\rm ^2D^o_{5/2,3/2}$ and $\rm ^2P^o_{3/2,1/2}$ metastable states. Metastable fractions are inferred from our present work. Resonance energies and quantum defects of the prominent Rydberg resonances series identified in the spectra are compared for the $\rm 4p \rightarrow nd$ transitions with the recent ALS experimental measurements made on this complex trans-iron element.

Origin of Cosmic Rays

It is argued that there are three `origins’ of cosmic rays; the origin of the particles, the origin of the energy, and the site of the acceleration. The evidence for each origin is discussed and a plausible synthesis outlined for the particles of Galactic origin where the energy comes mainly (but not exclusively) from supernova explosions, the site of the acceleration is at strong collisionless shock waves, and the accelerated particles come from the interstellar and circumstellar material swept over by these shocks. If these shocks are capable (as indicated by recent observations and theoretical work) of significantly amplifying magnetic fields this picture appears capable of explaining the cosmic ray particles at all energies below the `ankle’ at $3\times10^{18}\,\rm eV$. The particles above this energy are generally taken to be of extra-galactic origin and possible acceleration sites for these UHE particles are briefly discussed.

Photoionization cross section calculations for the halogen-like ions Kr$^+$ and Xe$^+$

Photoionization cross sections calculations on the halogen-like ions; Kr$^+$ and Xe$^+$ have been performed for a photon energy range from each ion threshold to 15 eV, using large-scale close-coupling calculations within the Dirac-Coulomb R-matrix approximation. The results from our theoretical work are compared with recent measurements made at the ASTRID merged-beam set-up at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and from the Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) trap method at the SOLEIL synchrotron radiation facility in Saint-Aubin, France and the Advanced Light Soure (ALS). For each of these complex ions our theoretical cross section results over the photon energy range investigated are seen to be in excellent agreement with experiment. Resonance energy positions and quantum defects of the prominent Rydberg resonances series identified in the spectra are compared with experiment for these complex halogen like-ions.

A spatio-temporal description of the abrupt changes in the photospheric magnetic and Lorentz-force vectors during the 2011 February 15 X2.2 flare [Replacement]

The active region NOAA 11158 produced the first X-class flare of Solar Cycle 24, an X2.2 flare at 01:44 UT on 2011 February 15. Here we analyze SDO/HMI magnetograms covering a 12-hour interval centered at the time of this flare. We describe the spatial distributions of the photospheric magnetic changes associated with this flare, including the abrupt changes in the field vector, vertical electric current and Lorentz force vector. We also trace these parameters’ temporal evolution. The abrupt magnetic changes were concentrated near the neutral line and in two neighboring sunspots. Near the neutral line, the field vectors became more horizontal during the flare and the shear increased. This was due to an increase in strength of the horizontal field components near the neutral line, most significant in the horizontal component parallel to the neutral line but the perpendicular component also increased in strength. The vertical component did not show a significant, permanent overall change at the neutral line. The increase in total flux at the neutral line was accompanied by a compensating flux decrease in the surrounding volume. In both of the sunspots near the neutral line the azimuthal flux abruptly decreased during the flare but this change was permanent in only one of the spots. There was a large, abrupt, downward vertical Lorentz force change during the flare, consistent with results of past analyses and recent theoretical work. The horizontal Lorentz force acted in opposite directions on each side of neutral line, with the two sunspots at each end subject to abrupt torsional forces. The shearing forces were consistent with a decrease of shear near the neutral line, whereas the field itself became more sheared as a result of the flux collapsing towards the neutral line from the surrounding volume.

A spatio-temporal description of the abrupt changes in the photospheric magnetic and Lorentz-force vectors during the 2011 February 15 X2.2 flare

The active region NOAA 11158 produced the first X-class flare of Solar Cycle 24, an X2.2 flare at 01:44 UT on 2011 February 15. Here we analyze SDO/HMI magnetograms covering a 12-hour interval centered at the time of this flare. We describe the spatial distributions of the photospheric magnetic changes associated with this flare, including the abrupt changes in the field vector, vertical electric current and Lorentz force vector. We also trace these parameters’ temporal evolution. The abrupt magnetic changes were concentrated near the neutral line and in two neighboring sunspots. Near the neutral line, the field vectors became more horizontal during the flare and the shear increased. This was due to an increase in strength of the horizontal field components near the neutral line, most significant in the horizontal component parallel to the neutral line but the perpendicular component also increased in strength. The vertical component did not show a significant, permanent overall change at the neutral line. The increase in total flux at the neutral line was accompanied by a compensating flux decrease in the surrounding volume. In both of the sunspots near the neutral line the azimuthal flux abruptly decreased during the flare but this change was permanent in only one of the spots. There was a large, abrupt, downward vertical Lorentz force change during the flare, consistent with results of past analyses and recent theoretical work. The horizontal Lorentz force acted in opposite directions on each side of neutral line, with the two sunspots at each end subject to abrupt torsional forces. The shearing forces were consistent with a decrease of shear near the neutral line, whereas the field itself became more sheared as a result of the flux collapsing towards the neutral line from the surrounding volume.

A spatio-temporal description of the abrupt changes in the photospheric magnetic and Lorentz-force vectors during the 2011 February 15 X2.2 flare [Replacement]

The active region NOAA 11158 produced the first X-class flare of Solar Cycle 24, an X2.2 flare at 01:44 UT on 2011 February 15. Here we analyze SDO/HMI magnetograms covering a 12-hour interval centered at the time of this flare. We describe the spatial distributions of the photospheric magnetic changes associated with this flare, including the abrupt changes in the field vector, vertical electric current and Lorentz force vector. We also trace these parameters’ temporal evolution. The abrupt magnetic changes were concentrated near the neutral line and in two neighboring sunspots. Near the neutral line, the field vectors became more horizontal during the flare and the shear increased. This was due to an increase in strength of the horizontal field components near the neutral line, most significant in the horizontal component parallel to the neutral line but the perpendicular component also increased in strength. The vertical component did not show a significant, permanent overall change at the neutral line. The increase in total flux at the neutral line was accompanied by a compensating flux decrease in the surrounding volume. In both of the sunspots near the neutral line the azimuthal flux abruptly decreased during the flare but this change was permanent in only one of the spots. There was a large, abrupt, downward vertical Lorentz force change during the flare, consistent with results of past analyses and recent theoretical work. The horizontal Lorentz force acted in opposite directions on each side of neutral line, with the two sunspots at each end subject to abrupt torsional forces. The shearing forces were consistent with field contraction and decrease of shear near the neutral line, whereas the field itself became more sheared as a result of the flux collapsing towards the neutral line from the surrounding volume.

A spatio-temporal description of the abrupt changes in the photospheric magnetic and Lorentz-force vectors during the 2011 February 15 X2.2 flare [Replacement]

The active region NOAA 11158 produced the first X-class flare of Solar Cycle 24, an X2.2 flare at 01:44 UT on 2011 February 15. Here we analyze SDO/HMI magnetograms covering a 12-hour interval centered at the time of this flare. We describe the spatial distributions of the photospheric magnetic changes associated with this flare, including the abrupt changes in the field vector, vertical electric current and Lorentz force vector. We also trace these parameters’ temporal evolution. The abrupt magnetic changes were concentrated near the neutral line and in two neighboring sunspots. Near the neutral line, the field vectors became stronger and more horizontal during the flare and the shear increased. This was due to an increase in strength of the horizontal field components near the neutral line, most significant in the horizontal component parallel to the neutral line but the perpendicular component also increased in strength. The vertical component did not show a significant, permanent overall change at the neutral line. The increase in total flux at the neutral line was accompanied by a compensating flux decrease in the surrounding volume. In the two sunspots near the neutral line the azimuthal flux abruptly decreased during the flare but this change was permanent in only one of the spots. There was a large, abrupt, downward vertical Lorentz force change during the flare, consistent with results of past analyses and recent theoretical work. The horizontal Lorentz force acted in opposite directions along each side of neutral line, with the two sunspots at each end subject to abrupt torsional forces. The shearing forces were consistent with field contraction and decrease of shear near the neutral line, whereas the field itself became more sheared as a result of the flux collapsing towards the neutral line from the surrounding volume.

A spatio-temporal description of the abrupt changes in the photospheric magnetic and Lorentz-force vectors during the 2011 February 15 X2.2 flare [Replacement]

The active region NOAA 11158 produced the first X-class flare of Solar Cycle 24, an X2.2 flare at 01:44 UT on 2011 February 15. Here we analyze SDO/HMI magnetograms covering a 12-hour interval centered at the time of this flare. We describe the spatial distributions of the photospheric magnetic changes associated with this flare, including the abrupt changes in the field vector, vertical electric current and Lorentz force vector. We also trace these parameters’ temporal evolution. The abrupt magnetic changes were concentrated near the neutral line and in two neighboring sunspots. Near the neutral line, the field vectors became stronger and more horizontal during the flare and the shear increased. This was due to an increase in strength of the horizontal field components near the neutral line, most significant in the horizontal component parallel to the neutral line but the perpendicular component also increased in strength. The vertical component did not show a significant, permanent overall change at the neutral line. The increase in total flux at the neutral line was accompanied by a compensating flux decrease in the surrounding volume. In the two sunspots near the neutral line the azimuthal flux abruptly decreased during the flare but this change was permanent in only one of the spots. There was a large, abrupt, downward vertical Lorentz force change during the flare, consistent with results of past analyses and recent theoretical work. The horizontal Lorentz force acted in opposite directions along each side of neutral line, with the two sunspots at each end subject to abrupt torsional forces. The shearing forces were consistent with field contraction and decrease of shear near the neutral line, whereas the field itself became more sheared as a result of the flux collapsing towards the neutral line from the surrounding volume.

The origin of dust in galaxies revisited: the mechanism determining dust content

The origin of cosmic dust is a fundamental issue in planetary science. This paper revisits the origin of dust in galaxies, in particular, in the Milky Way, by using a chemical evolution model of a galaxy composed of stars, interstellar medium, metals (elements heavier than helium), and dust. We start from a review of time-evolutionary equations of the four components, and then, we present simple recipes for the stellar remnant mass and yields of metal and dust based on models of stellar nucleosynthesis and dust formation. After calibrating some model parameters with the data from the solar neighborhood, we have confirmed a shortage of the stellar dust production rate relative to the dust destruction rate by supernovae if the destruction efficiency suggested by theoretical works is correct. If the dust mass growth by material accretion in molecular clouds is active, the observed dust amount in the solar neighborhood is reproduced. We present a clear analytic explanation of the mechanism for determining dust content in galaxies after the activation of accretion growth: a balance between accretion growth and supernova destruction. Thus, the dust content is independent of the uncertainty of the stellar dust yield after the growth activation. The timing of the activation is determined by a critical metal mass fraction which depends on the growth and destruction efficiencies. The solar system formation seems to have occurred well after the activation and plenty of dust would have existed in the proto-solar nebula.

Compact object coalescence rate estimation from short gamma-ray burst observations

Recent observational and theoretical work increase the confidence that short-duration gamma-ray bursts are created by the coalescence of compact objects, like neutron stars and/or black holes. From the observation of short-duration gamma-ray bursts with know distances it is possible to infer their rate in the local universe, and draw conclusions for the rate of compact binary coalescences. Although the sample of such events with reliable redshift measurements is very small, we try to model the distribution with a luminosity function and a rate function. The analysis performed with a sample of 15 short gamma-ray bursts yields a range for the merger rate of 75 to 660 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$, with a median rate of 180 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$. This result is in general agreement with similar investigations using gamma-ray burst observations. Furthermore, we estimate the number of coincident observations of gravitational wave signals with short gamma-ray bursts in the advanced detector era. Assuming each short gamma-ray burst is created by a double neutron star merger, the expected rate of coincident observations is 0.1 to 1.1 per year, when assuming each short gamma-ray burst is created by a merger of a neutron star and a black hole, this rate becomes 0.4 to 4.0 per year.

Compact object coalescence rate estimation from short gamma-ray burst observations [Replacement]

Recent observational and theoretical work increase the confidence that short-duration gamma-ray bursts are created by the coalescence of compact objects, like neutron stars and/or black holes. From the observation of short-duration gamma-ray bursts with know distances it is possible to infer their rate in the local universe, and draw conclusions for the rate of compact binary coalescences. Although the sample of such events with reliable redshift measurements is very small, we try to model the distribution with a luminosity function and a rate function. The analysis performed with a sample of 15 short gamma-ray bursts yields a range for the merger rate of 75 to 660 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$, with a median rate of 180 Gpc$^{-3}$yr$^{-1}$. This result is in general agreement with similar investigations using gamma-ray burst observations. Furthermore, we estimate the number of coincident observations of gravitational wave signals with short gamma-ray bursts in the advanced detector era. Assuming each short gamma-ray burst is created by a double neutron star merger, the expected rate of coincident observations is 0.1 to 1.1 per year, when assuming each short gamma-ray burst is created by a merger of a neutron star and a black hole, this rate becomes 0.4 to 4.0 per year.

Do novae have optically thick winds during outburst with large deviations from spherical symmetry?

The evidence for the presence of optically thick winds, produced by classical novae after optical maximum, has been challenged in recent papers. In addition, signs of orbital phase dependent photometric variations, sometimes seen quite early in the development of nova outbursts, are hard to interpret in the framework of optically thick envelopes and especially winds. A general discussion for belief in the presence of optically thick winds with increasing ejection velocities during the early stages of novae after their explosion, must be given. This has to be done in order to clarify ideas about novae as well as to contribute in particular to the understanding of the behaviour of novae V1500 Cyg and V1493 Aql showing phase dependent variations during very early decline after the outburst. Possible ways of overcoming the apparent contradiction of phase dependent variations through the production of deviations from spherical symmetry of the winds, are looked at and order of magnitude estimates are made for different theoretical scenarios, which might produce such deviations. It is found that large deviations from spherical symmetry of the optically thick winds in early phases after the explosion can easily explain the problem of variations. In particular, the presence of a magnetic field might have had a non-negligible effect on the wind of V1500 Cyg, while at the present there is not enough information available concerning V1493 Aql. Optically thick winds/envelopes are almost certainly present in the early stages after optical maximum of a nova, while it is difficult to make pure Hubble flow models fit the observations of those stages. New more detailed observational and theoretical work, in particular including the effects of magnetic fields on the winds, is needed.

The influence of magnetic field geometry on magnetars X-ray spectra

Nowadays, the analysis of the X-ray spectra of magnetically powered neutron stars or magnetars is one of the most valuable tools to gain insight into the physical processes occurring in their interiors and magnetospheres. In particular, the magnetospheric plasma leaves a strong imprint on the observed X-ray spectrum by means of Compton up-scattering of the thermal radiation coming from the star surface. Motivated by the increased quality of the observational data, much theoretical work has been devoted to develop Monte Carlo (MC) codes that incorporate the effects of resonant Compton scattering in the modeling of radiative transfer of photons through the magnetosphere. The two key ingredients in this simulations are the kinetic plasma properties and the magnetic field (MF) configuration. The MF geometry is expected to be complex, but up to now only mathematically simple solutions (self-similar solutions) have been employed. In this work, we discuss the effects of new, more realistic, MF geometries on synthetic spectra. We use new force-free solutions in a previously developed MC code to assess the influence of MF geometry on the emerging spectra. Our main result is that the shape of the final spectrum is mostly sensitive to uncertain parameters of the magnetospheric plasma, but the MF geometry plays an important role on the angle-dependence of the spectra.

Detection of Gamma-Ray Polarization in Prompt Emission of GRB 100826A

We report the polarization measurement in prompt $\gamma$-ray emission of GRB 100826A with the Gamma-Ray Burst Polarimeter (GAP) aboard the small solar power sail demonstrator IKAROS. We detected the firm change of polarization angle (PA) during the prompt emission with 99.9% ($3.5 \sigma$) confidence level, and the average polarization degree ($\Pi$) of $27 \pm 11$% with 99.4% ($2.9 \sigma$) confidence level. Here the quoted errors are given at 1 $\sigma$ confidence level for two parameters of interest. The systematic errors have been carefully included in this analysis, unlike any previous reports. Such a high $\Pi$ can be obtained in several emission models of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), including synchrotron and photospheric models. However, it is difficult to explain the observed significant change of PA within the framework of axisymmetric jet as considered in many theoretical works. The non-axisymmetric (e.g., patchy) structures of the magnetic fields and/or brightness inside the relativistic jet are therefore required within the observable angular scale of $\sim \Gamma^{-1}$. Our observation strongly indicates that the polarization measurement is a powerful tool to constrain the GRB production mechanism, and more theoretical works are needed to discuss the data in more details.

Nuclear deformations in the region of the A=160 r-process abundance peak [Cross-Listing]

In the abundance spectrum of r-process nuclei the most prominent features are the peaks that form when the r-process flow passes through the closed neutron shells. However, there are also other features in the abundance spectrum that can not be explained by shell effects, like the peak in the region of the rare-earth nuclei around mass A=160. It has been argued that this peak is related to the deformation maximum of the neutron-rich isotopes. Recently, both experimental and theoretical work has been carried out to study the deformation of neutron-rich rare-earth nuclei and to search for the point of maximum deformation. This work has focused on the nuclei around 170Dy in order to understand the evolution of collectivity in the neutron shell with 82 < N < 126. These investigations will be discussed in terms of the Harris parameters of the Variable Moment of Inertia model. Finally, we will discuss the future possibilities to reach further into the neutron-rich rare-earth region at the new experimental facilities using radioactive beams.

Tidal Dissipation in Planet-Hosting Stars: Damping of Spin-Orbit Misalignment and Survival of Hot Jupiters

Observations of hot Jupiters around solar-type stars with very short orbital periods (~day) suggest that tidal dissipation in such stars is not too efficient so that these planets can survive against rapid orbital decay. This is consistent with recent theoretical works, which indicate that the tidal Q of planet-hosting stars can indeed be much larger than the values inferred from stellar binaries. On the other hand, recent measurements of Rossiter-McLaughlin effects in transiting hot Jupiter systems not only reveal that many such systems have misaligned stellar spin with respect to the orbital axis, but also show that systems with cooler host stars tend to have aligned spin and orbital axes. Winn et al. suggested that this obliquity – temperature correlation may be explained by efficient damping of stellar obliquity due to tidal dissipation in the star. This explanation, however, is in apparent contradiction with the survival of these short-period hot Jupiters. We show that in the solar-type parent stars of close-in exoplanetary systems, the effective tidal Q governing the damping of stellar obliquity can be much smaller than that governing orbital decay. This is because for misaligned systems, the tidal potential contains a Fourier component with frequency equal to the stellar spin frequency (in the rotating frame of the star). This component can excite inertial waves in the convective envelope of the star, and the dissipation of inertial waves then leads to a spin-orbit alignment torque, but not orbital decay. By contrast, for aligned systems, such inertial wave excitation is forbidden since the tidal forcing frequency is much larger than the stellar spin frequency. We derive a general effective tidal evolution theory for misaligned binaries, taking account of different tidal responses and dissipation rates for different tidal forcing components.

Tidal Dissipation in Planet-Hosting Stars: Damping of Spin-Orbit Misalignment and Survival of Hot Jupiters [Replacement]

Observations of hot Jupiters around solar-type stars with very short orbital periods (~day) suggest that tidal dissipation in such stars is not too efficient so that these planets can survive against rapid orbital decay. This is consistent with recent theoretical works, which indicate that the tidal Q of planet-hosting stars can indeed be much larger than the values inferred from stellar binaries. On the other hand, recent measurements of Rossiter-McLaughlin effects in transiting hot Jupiter systems not only reveal that many such systems have misaligned stellar spin with respect to the orbital axis, but also show that systems with cooler host stars tend to have aligned spin and orbital axes. Winn et al. suggested that this obliquity – temperature correlation may be explained by efficient damping of stellar obliquity due to tidal dissipation in the star. This explanation, however, is in apparent contradiction with the survival of these short-period hot Jupiters. We show that in the solar-type parent stars of close-in exoplanetary systems, the effective tidal Q governing the damping of stellar obliquity can be much smaller than that governing orbital decay. This is because for misaligned systems, the tidal potential contains a Fourier component with frequency equal to the stellar spin frequency (in the rotating frame of the star). This component can excite inertial waves in the convective envelope of the star, and the dissipation of inertial waves then leads to a spin-orbit alignment torque, but not orbital decay. By contrast, for aligned systems, such inertial wave excitation is forbidden since the tidal forcing frequency is much larger than the stellar spin frequency. We derive a general effective tidal evolution theory for misaligned binaries, taking account of different tidal responses and dissipation rates for different tidal forcing components.

 

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