Posts Tagged transport mechanism

Recent Postings from transport mechanism

Advective transport of interstellar plasma into the heliosphere across the reconnecting heliopause

We discuss results of magnetohydrodynamical model simulations of plasma dynamics in the proximity of the heliopause (HP). The model is shown to fit details of the magnetic field variations observed by Voyager 1 spacecraft during the transition from the heliosphere to the local interstellar medium (LISM). We propose an interpretation of magnetic field structures observed by Voyager 1 in terms of fine-scale physical processes. Our simulations reveal an effective transport mechanism of relatively dense LISM plasma across the reconnecting HP into the heliosphere. The mechanism is associated with annihilation of magnetic sectors in the heliospheric plasma near the HP.

First asteroseismic limits on the nature of dark matter

We report the first constraints on the properties of weakly interacting low-mass dark matter (DM) particles using asteroseismology. The additional energy transport mechanism due to accumulated asymmetric DM particles modifies the central temperature and density of low-mass stars and suppresses the convective core expected in 1.1-1.3 Ms stars even for an environmental DM density as low as the expected in the solar neighbourhood. An asteroseismic modelling of the stars KIC 8006161, HD 52265 and Alpha Cen B revealed small frequency separations significantly deviated from the observations, leading to the exclusion of a region of the DM parameter space mass vs. spin-dependent DM-proton scattering cross section comparable with present experimental constraints.

First asteroseismic limits on the nature of dark matter [Replacement]

We report the first constraints on the properties of weakly interacting low-mass dark matter (DM) particles using asteroseismology. The additional energy transport mechanism due to accumulated asymmetric DM particles modifies the central temperature and density of low-mass stars and suppresses the convective core expected in 1.1-1.3 Ms stars even for an environmental DM density as low as the expected in the solar neighborhood. An asteroseismic modeling of the stars KIC 8006161, HD 52265 and Alpha Cen B revealed small frequency separations significantly deviated from the observations, leading to the exclusion of a region of the DM parameter space mass versus spin-dependent DM-proton scattering cross section comparable with present experimental constraints.

Modelling stellar activity cycles using deep-seated dynamos and surface flux transport

We investigate the relations between tachocline-based dynamos and the surface flux transport mechanisms in stars with outer convection zones. Using our combined models of flux generation and transport, we demonstrate the importance of the buoyant rise of magnetic flux, which physically determines the emergence latitudes and tilt angles of bipolar magnetic regions. The combined effects of the dynamo strength, flux rise, and surface transport lead to various cyclic and non-cyclic time series of total unsigned surface magnetic flux.

Flux-transport and mean-field dynamo theories of solar cycles

We point out the difficulties in carrying out direct numerical simulation of the solar dynamo problem and argue that kinematic mean-field models are our best theoretical tools at present for explaining various aspects of the solar cycle in detail. The most promising kinematic mean-field model is the flux transport dynamo model, in which the toroidal field is produced by differential rotation in the tachocline, the poloidal field is produced by the Babcock–Leighton mechanism at the solar surface and the meridional circulation plays a crucial role. Depending on whether the diffusivity is high or low, either the diffusivity or the meridional circulations provides the main transport mechanism for the poloidal field to reach the bottom of the convection zone from the top. We point out that the high-diffusivity flux transport dynamo model is consistent with various aspects of observational data. The irregularities of the solar cycle are primarily produced by fluctuations in the Babcock–Leighton mechanism and in the meridional circulation. We summarize recent work on the fluctuations of meridional circulation in the flux transport dynamo, leading to explanations of such things as the Waldmeier effect.

Attempts to reproduce the rotation profile of the red giant KIC 7341231 observed by Kepler

Thanks to the asteroseimic study of the red giant star KIC 7341231 observed by Kepler, it has been possible to infer its radial differential rotation profile (Deheuvels et al. 2012). This opens new ways to constrain the physical mechanisms responsible of the angular momentum transport in stellar interiors by directly comparing this radial rotation profile with the ones computed using stellar evolution codes including dynamical processes. In this preliminary work, we computed different models of KIC 7341231 with the Geneva stellar evolution code that includes transport mechanisms due to a shellular rotation and the associated large-scale meridional circulation and shear-induced turbulence. Once the global parameters of the star had been established, we modified some of the model’s input parameters in order to understand their effects on the predicted rotation profile of the modeled star. As a result, we find a discrepancy between the rotation profile deduced from asteroseismic measurements and the profiles predicted from models including shellular rotation and related meridional flows and turbulence. This indicates that a most powerful mechanism is in action to extract angular momentum from the core of this star.

The Search for Supernova-produced Radionuclides in Terrestrial Deep-sea Archives

An enhanced concentration of 60Fe was found in a deep ocean’s crust in 2004 in a layer corresponding to an age of ~2 Myr. The confirmation of this signal in terrestrial archives as supernova-induced and detection of other supernova-produced radionuclides is of great interest. We have identified two suitable marine sediment cores from the South Australian Basin and estimated the intensity of a possible signal of the supernova-produced radionuclides 26Al, 53Mn, 60Fe and the pure r-process element 244Pu in these cores. A finding of these radionuclides in a sediment core might allow to improve the time resolution of the signal and thus to link the signal to a supernova event in the solar vicinity ~2 Myr ago. Furthermore, it gives an insight on nucleosynthesis scenarios in massive stars, the condensation into dust grains and transport mechanisms from the supernova shell into the solar system.

Gas Metallicities in the Extended Disks of NGC 1512 and NGC 3621. Chemical Signatures of Metal Mixing or Enriched Gas Accretion?

(Abridged) We have obtained spectra of 135 HII regions located in the inner and extended disks of the spiral galaxies NGC 1512 and NGC 3621, spanning the range of galactocentric distances 0.2-2 x R25 (from 2-3 kpc to 18-25 kpc). We find that the excitation properties of nebulae in the outer (R>R25) disks are similar to those of the inner disks, but on average younger HII regions tend to be selected in the bright inner disks. Reddening by dust is not negligible in the outer disks, and subject to significant large-scale spatial variations. For both galaxies the radial abundance gradient flattens to a constant value outside of the isophotal radius. The outer disk O/H abundance ratio is highly homogeneous, with a scatter of only ~0.06 dex. Based on the excitation and chemical (N/O ratio) analysis we find no compelling evidence for variations in the upper initial mass function of the ionizing clusters of extended disks. The O/H abundance in the outer disks of the target galaxies corresponds to 35% of the solar value (or higher, depending on the metallicity diagnostic). This conflicts with the notion that metallicities in extended disks of spiral galaxies are necessarily low. The observed metal enrichment cannot be produced with the current level of star formation. We discuss the possibility that metal transport mechanisms from the inner disks lead to metal pollution of the outer disks. Gas accretion from the intergalactic medium, enriched by outflows, offers an alternative solution.

Main sequence stars with asymmetric dark matter

We study the effects of feebly or non-annihilating weakly interacting Dark Matter (DM) particles on stars that live in DM environments denser than that of our Sun. We find that the energy transport mechanism induced by DM particles can produce unusual conditions in the core of Main Sequence stars, with effects which can potentially be used to probe DM properties. We find that solar mass stars placed in DM densities of rhochi>= e2 GeV/cm3 are sensitive to Spin-Dependent scattering cross-section sigmsd >= e-37 cm2 and a DM particle mass as low as mchi=5 GeV, accessing a parameter range weakly constrained by current direct detection experiments.

Faint AGN in z>~6 Lyman-break Galaxies Powered by Cold Accretion and Rapid Angular Momentum Transport [Replacement]

We develop a radiation pressure-balanced model for the interstellar medium of high-redshift galaxies that describes many facets of galaxy formation at z>~6, including star formation rates and distributions and gas accretion onto central black holes. We first show that the vertical gravitational force in the disk of such a model is dominated by the disk self-gravity supported by the radiation pressure of ionizing starlight on gas. Constraining our model to reproduce the UV luminosity function of Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs), we limit the available parameter-space to wind mass-loading factors 1–4 times the canonical value for momentum-driven winds. We then focus our study by exploring the effects of different angular momentum transport mechanisms in the galactic disk and find that accretion driven by gravitational torques, such as from linear spiral waves or non-linear orbit crossings, can build up black hole masses by z=6 consistent with the canonical M-sigma relation with a duty cycle of unity, while accretion mediated by a local viscosity such as in an alpha-disk results in negligible BH accretion. Both gravitational torque models produce X-ray emission from active galactic nuclei (AGN) in high-redshift LBGs in excess of the estimated contribution from high-mass X-ray binaries. Using a recent analysis of deep Chandra observations by Cowie et al., we can already begin to rule out the most extreme regions of our parameter-space: the inflow velocity of gas through the disk must either be less than one percent of the disk circular velocity or the X-ray luminosity of the AGN must be substantially obscured. Moderately deeper future observations or larger sample sizes will be able to probe the more reasonable range of angular momentum transport models and obscuring geometries.

Faint AGN in z>~6 Lyman-break Galaxies Powered by Cold Accretion and Rapid Angular Momentum Transport

We develop a radiation pressure-balanced model for the interstellar medium of high-redshift galaxies that describes many facets of galaxy formation at z>~6, including star formation rates and distributions and gas accretion onto central black holes. We first show that the vertical gravitational force in the disk of such a model is dominated by the disk self-gravity but that both radiation pressure on dust grains and turbulent pressure from dense clumps and disk instabilities are negligible compared with the radiation pressure of starlight on gas. Constraining our model to reproduce the UV luminosity function of Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs), we limit the available parameter-space to wind mass-loading factors 1–4 times the canonical value for momentum-driven winds. We then focus our study by exploring the effects of different angular momentum transport mechanisms in the galactic disk and find that viscosity driven by gravitational torques, such as from linear spiral waves or non-linear orbit crossings, can build up black hole masses by z=6 consistent with canonical M-sigma relations with a duty cycle of unity, while infall mediated by a local viscosity such as in an alpha-disk results in negligible BH accretion. Both gravitational torque models produce X-ray emission from active galactic nuclei in high redshift LBGs in excess of the estimated contribution from high-mass X-ray binaries and consistent with a recent analysis of deep Chandra observations by Cowie et al. We find that future observations with larger sample sizes may be able to distinguish between these different angular momentum transport mechanisms.

The Kepler light curves of V1504 Cygni and V344 Lyrae: A study of the Outburst Properties

We examine the Kepler light curves of V1504 Cyg and V344 Lyr, encompassing ~736 d at 1 min cadence. During this span each system exhibited ~64-65 outbursts, including six superoutbursts. We find that, in both systems, the normal outbursts between two superoutbursts increase in duration over time by a factor ~1.2-1.9, and then reset to a small value after the following superoutburst. In both systems the trend of quiescent intervals between normal outbursts is to increase to a local maximum about half way through the supercycle – the interval from one superoutburst to the next – and then to decrease back to a small value by the time of the next superoutburst. This is inconsistent with Osaki’s thermal-tidal model, which predicts a monotonic increase in the quiescent intervals between normal outbursts during a supercycle. Also, most of the normal outbursts have an asymmetric, fast-rise/slower-decline shape, consistent with outbursts triggered at large radii. The exponential rate of decay of the plateau phase of the superoutbursts is 8 d/mag for V1504 Cyg and 12 d/mag for V344 Lyr. This time scale gives a direct measure of the viscous time scale in the outer accretion disk given the expectation that the entire disk is in the hot, viscous state during superoutburst. The resulting constraint on the Shakura-Sunyaev parameter, alpha_{hot} ~ 0.1, is consistent with the value inferred from the fast dwarf nova decays. By looking at the slow decay rate for superoutbursts, which occur in systems below the period gap, in combination with the slow decay rate in one long outburst above the period gap (in U Gem), we infer a steep dependence of the decay rate on orbital period for long outbursts. This implies a steep dependence of alpha_{cold} on orbital period, consistent with tidal torquing as being the dominant angular momentum transport mechanism in quiescent disks in interacting binary systems.

Bridging the gap: disk formation in the Class 0 phase with ambipolar diffusion and Ohmic dissipation

Context: Ideal MHD simulations have revealed catastrophic magnetic braking (MB) in the protostellar phase, which prevents the formation of a centrifugal disk around a nascent protostar. Aims: We determine if non-ideal MHD, including the effects of ambipolar diffusion and Ohmic dissipation determined from a detailed chemical network model, allows for disk formation at the earliest stages of star formation (SF). Methods: We employ the axisymmetric thin-disk approximation in order to resolve a dynamic range of 9 orders of magnitude in length and 16 in density, while also calculating partial ionization using up to 19 species in a detailed chemical equilibrium model. MB is applied using a steady-state approximation, and a barotropic relation is used to capture the thermal evolution. Results: We resolve the formation of the first and second cores, with expansion waves at the periphery of each, a magnetic diffusion shock, and prestellar infall profiles at larger radii. Power-law profiles in each region can be understood analytically. After the formation of the second core, centrifugal support rises rapidly and a low-mass disk of radius ~10 R_Sun is formed, when the second core has mass ~0.001 M_Sun. The mass-to-flux ratio is ~10,000 times the critical value in the central region. Conclusions: A centrifugal disk can indeed form in the earliest stage of SF, due to a shut-off of MB caused by magnetic field dissipation in the first core region. There is enough angular momentum loss to allow the second collapse to occur directly, and a low-mass stellar core to form with a surrounding disk. The disk mass and size will depend upon how the angular momentum transport mechanisms within the disk can keep up with mass infall onto the disk. We estimate that the disk will remain <~10 AU, undetectable even by ALMA, in the early Class 0 phase.

Bridging the gap: disk formation in the Class 0 phase with ambipolar diffusion and Ohmic dissipation [Replacement]

Context: Ideal MHD simulations have revealed catastrophic magnetic braking (MB) in the protostellar phase, which prevents the formation of a centrifugal disk around a nascent protostar. Aims: We determine if non-ideal MHD, including the effects of ambipolar diffusion and Ohmic dissipation determined from a detailed chemical network model, allows for disk formation at the earliest stages of star formation (SF). Methods: We employ the axisymmetric thin-disk approximation in order to resolve a dynamic range of 9 orders of magnitude in length and 16 in density, while also calculating partial ionization using up to 19 species in a detailed chemical equilibrium model. MB is applied using a steady-state approximation, and a barotropic relation is used to capture the thermal evolution. Results: We resolve the formation of the first and second cores, with expansion waves at the periphery of each, a magnetic diffusion shock, and prestellar infall profiles at larger radii. Power-law profiles in each region can be understood analytically. After the formation of the second core, centrifugal support rises rapidly and a low-mass disk of radius ~10 R_Sun is formed, when the second core has mass ~0.001 M_Sun. The mass-to-flux ratio is ~10,000 times the critical value in the central region. Conclusions: A small centrifugal disk can form in the earliest stage of SF, due to a shut-off of MB caused by magnetic field dissipation in the first core region. There is enough angular momentum loss to allow the second collapse to occur directly, and a low-mass stellar core to form with a surrounding disk. The disk mass and size will depend upon how the angular momentum transport mechanisms within the disk can keep up with mass infall onto the disk. We estimate that the disk will remain <~10 AU, undetectable even by ALMA, in the early Class 0 phase.

Magnetic Structure of Sunspots

In this review we give an overview about the current state-of-knowledge of the magnetic field in sunspots from an observational point of view. We start by offering a brief description of tools that are most commonly employed to infer the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere with emphasis in the photosphere of sunspots. We then address separately the global and local magnetic structure of sunspots, focusing on the implications of the current observations for the different sunspots models, energy transport mechanisms, extrapolations of the magnetic field towards the Corona and other issues.

Formation of stars and planets: the role of magnetic fields

Star formation is thought to be triggered by gravitational collapse of the dense cores of molecular clouds. Angular momentum conservation during the collapse results in the progressive increase of the centrifugal force, which eventually halts the inflow of material and leads to the development of a central mass surrounded by a disc. In the presence of an angular momentum transport mechanism, mass accretion onto the central object proceeds through this disc, and it is believed that this is how stars typically gain most of their mass. However, the mechanisms responsible for this transport of angular momentum are not well understood. Although the gravitational field of a companion star or even gravitational instabilities (particularly in massive discs) may play a role, the most general mechanisms are turbulence viscosity driven by the magnetorotational instability (MRI), and outflows accelerated centrifugally from the surfaces of the disc. Both processes are powered by the action of magnetic fields and are, in turn, likely to strongly affect the structure, dynamics, evolutionary path and planet-forming capabilities of their host discs. The weak ionisation of protostellar discs, however, may prevent the magnetic field from effectively coupling to the gas and shear and driving these processes. Here I examine the viability and properties of these magnetically-driven processes in protostellar discs. The results indicate that, despite the weak ionisation, the magnetic field is able to couple to the gas and shear for fluid conditions thought to be satisfied over a wide range of radii in these discs.

Massive star models with magnetic braking

Magnetic fields at the surface of a few early-type stars have been directly detected. These fields have magnitudes between a few hundred G up to a few kG. In one case, evidence of magnetic braking has been found. We investigate the effects of magnetic braking on the evolution of rotating ($\upsilon_{\rm ini}$=200 km s$^{-1}$) 10 M$_\odot$ stellar models at solar metallicity during the main-sequence (MS) phase. The magnetic braking process is included in our stellar models according to the formalism deduced from 2D MHD simulations of magnetic wind confinement by ud-Doula and co-workers. Various assumptions are made regarding both the magnitude of the magnetic field and of the efficiency of the angular momentum transport mechanisms in the stellar interior. When magnetic braking occurs in models with differential rotation, a strong and rapid mixing is obtained at the surface accompanied by a rapid decrease in the surface velocity. Such a process might account for some MS stars showing strong mixing and low surface velocities. When solid-body rotation is imposed in the interior, the star is slowed down so rapidly that surface enrichments are smaller than in similar models with no magnetic braking. In both kinds of models (differentially or uniformly rotating), magnetic braking due to a field of a few 100 G significantly reduces the angular momentum of the core during the MS phase. This reduction is much greater in solid-body rotating models.

Self-similar and charged spheres in the free-streaming approximation [Replacement]

We evolve nonadiabatic charged spherical distributions of matter. Dissipation is described by the free-streaming approximation. We match a self-similar interior solution with the Reissner-Nordstr\”om-Vaidya exterior solution. The transport mechanism is decisive to the fate of the gravitational collapse. Almost a half of the total initial mass is radiated away. The transport mechanism determines the way in which the electric charge is redistributed.

Self-similar and charged spheres in the free-streaming approximation [Cross-Listing]

We evolve nonadiabatic charged spherical distributions of matter. Dissipation is described by the free-streaming approximation. We match a self-similar interior solution with the Reissner-Nordstr\”om-Vaidya exterior solution. The transport mechanism is decisive to the fate of the gravitational collapse. Almost a half of the total initial mass is radiated away. The transport mechanism determines the way in which the electric charge is redistributed.

The Potential Importance of Non-Local, Deep Transport on the Energetics, Momentum, Chemistry, and Aerosol Distributions in the Atmospheres of Earth, Mars and Titan

A review of non-local, deep transport mechanisms in the atmosphere of Earth provides a good foundation for examining whether similar mechanisms are operating in the atmospheres of Mars and Titan. On Earth, deep convective clouds in the tropics constitute the upward branch of the Hadley Cell and provide a conduit through which energy, moisture, momentum, aerosols and chemical species are moved from the boundary layer to the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. This transport produces mid-tropospheric minima in quantities such as water vapor and moist static energy and maxima where the clouds detrain. Analogs to this terrestrial transport are found in the strong and deep thermal circulations associated with topography on Mars and with Mars dust storms. Observations of elevated dust layers on Mars further support the notion that non-local deep transport is an important mechanism in the atmosphere of Mars. On Titan, the presence of deep convective clouds almost assures that non-local, deep transport is occurring and these clouds may play a role in global cycling of energy, momentum, and methane. Based on the potential importance of non-local deep transport in Earth’s atmosphere and supported by evidence for such transport in the atmospheres of Mars and Titan, greater attention to this mechanism in extraterrestrial atmospheres is warranted.

Massive stellar models: rotational evolution, metallicity effects

The Be star phenomenon is related to fast rotation, although the cause of this fast rotation is not yet clearly established. The basic effects of fast rotation on the stellar structure are reviewed: oblateness, mixing, anisotropic winds. The processes governing the evolution of the equatorial velocity of a single star (transport mechanisms and mass loss) are presented, as well as their metallicity dependence. The theoretical results are compared to observations of B and Be stars in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds.

The negative magnetic pressure effect in stratified turbulence

While the rising flux tube paradigm is an elegant theory, its basic assumptions, thin flux tubes at the bottom of the convection zone with field strengths two orders of magnitude above equipartition, remain numerically unverified at best. As such, in recent years the idea of a formation of sunspots near the top of the convection zone has generated some interest. The presence of turbulence can strongly enhance diffusive transport mechanisms, leading to an effective transport coefficient formalism in the mean-field formulation. The question is what happens to these coefficients when the turbulence becomes anisotropic due to a strong large-scale mean magnetic field. It has been noted in the past that this anisotropy can also lead to highly non-diffusive behaviour. In the present work we investigate the formation of large-scale magnetic structures as a result of a negative contribution of turbulence to the large-scale effective magnetic pressure in the presence of stratification. In direct numerical simulations of forced turbulence in a stratified box, we verify the existence of this effect. This phenomenon can cause formation of large-scale magnetic structures even from initially uniform large-scale magnetic field.

Electrostatic Barrier Against Dust Growth in Protoplanetary Disks. II. Measuring the Size of the "Frozen" Zone

Coagulation of submicron-sized dust grains is the initial step of dust evolution in protoplanetary disks. This process can be significantly slowed down by the negative charging of dust aggregates in the weakly ionized disks. We apply the growth criteria obtained in Paper I to finding out a location where the charging stalls dust growth at the fractal growth stage, to which we will refer as the "frozen zone." We find that the frozen zone likely exists and covers a wide region of a disk, typically from a few AU to 100 AU from the central star. The maximum mass of the "frozen" fractal aggregates is approximately 10^-7 g at 1 AU and as small as a few monomer masses at 100 AU. The disk mass and the monomer size do not significantly affect the size of the frozen zone within a realistic range of these parameters. Strong turbulence can significantly reduce the size of the frozen zone, but such turbulence will cause the fragmentation of macroscopic aggregates made after the fractal stage. We consider the vertical mixing of frozen aggregates due to weak turbulence and the radial infall of large aggregates from outer regions as possible mechanisms preventing complete freezeout of dust evolution in the frozen zone. Our simple estimation shows that these mechanisms can lead to the supply of large and compacted aggregates and the removal of fractal aggregates on a timescale of 10^6 yr or longer. This overturns previous theoretical understanding that very small dust particles get depleted on much shorter timescales without fragmentation. Thus, the existence of the frozen zone (together with the above transport mechanisms) might explain the "slow" (~10^6 yr) dust evolution suggested by infrared observation of T Tauri stars and by radioactive dating of chondrites.

The growth of supermassive black holes fed by accretion disks [Replacement]

Supermassive black holes are probably present in the centre of the majority of the galaxies. There is a consensus that these exotic objects are formed by the growth of seeds either by accreting mass from a circumnuclear disk and/or by coalescences during merger episodes. The mass fraction of the disk captured by the central object and the related timescale are still open questions, as well as how these quantities depend on parameters like the initial mass of the disk or the seed or on the angular momentum transport mechanism. This paper is addressed to these particular aspects of the accretion disk evolution and of the growth of seeds. The time-dependent hydrodynamic equations were solved numerically for an axi-symmetric disk in which the gravitational potential includes contributions both from the central object and from the disk itself. The numerical code is based on a Eulerian formalism, using a finite difference method of second-order, according to the Van Leer upwind algorithm on a staggered mesh. The present simulations indicate that seeds capture about a half of the initial disk mass, a result weakly dependent on model parameters. The timescales required for accreting 50% of the disk mass are in the range 130-540 Myr, depending on the adopted parameters. These timescales permit to explain the presence of bright quasars at z ~ 6.5. Moreover, at the end of the disk evolution, a "torus-like" geometry develops, offering a natural explanation for the presence of these structures in the central regions of AGNs, representing an additional support to the unified model.

The growth of supermassive black holes fed by accretion disks

Supermassive black holes are probably present in the centre of the majority of the galaxies. There is a consensus that these exotic objects are formed by the growth of seeds either by accreting mass from a circumnuclear disk and/or by coalescences during merger episodes. The mass fraction of the disk captured by the central object and the related timescale are still open questions, as well as how these quantities depend on parameters like the initial mass of the disk or the seed or on the angular momentum transport mechanism. This paper is addressed to these particular aspects of the accretion disk evolution and of the growth of seeds. The time-dependent hydrodynamic equations were solved numerically for an axi-symmetric disk in which the gravitational potential includes contributions both from the central object and from the disk itself. The numerical code is based on a Eulerian formalism, using a finite difference method of second-order, according to the Van Leer upwind algorithm on a staggered mesh. The present simulations indicate that seeds capture about a half of the initial disk mass, a result weakly dependent on model parameters. The timescales required for accreting 50% of the disk mass are in the range 130-540 Myr, depending on the adopted parameters. These timescales permit to explain the presence of bright quasars at z ~ 6.5. Moreover, at the end of the disk evolution, a “torus-like" geometry develops, offering a natural explanation for the presence of these structures in the central regions of AGNs, representing an additional support to the unified model.

Detecting individual gravity modes in the Sun

Many questions are still open regarding the structure and the dynamics of the solar core. By constraining more this region in the solar evolution models, we can reduce the incertitudes on some physical processes and on momentum transport mechanisms. A first big step was made with the detection of the signature of the dipole-gravity modes in the Sun, giving a hint of a faster rotation rate inside the core. A deeper analysis of the GOLF/SoHO data unveils the presence of a pattern of peaks that could be interpreted as dipole gravity modes. In that case, those modes can be characterized, thus bringing better constraints on the rotation of the core as well as some structural parameters such as the density at these very deep layers of the Sun interior.

C2D Spitzer-IRS spectra of disks around T Tauri stars. IV. Crystalline silicates

Dust grains in the planet forming regions around young stars are expected to be heavily processed due to coagulation, fragmentation and crystallization. This paper focuses on the crystalline silicate dust grains in protoplanetary disks. As part of the Cores to Disks Legacy Program, we obtained more than a hundred Spitzer/IRS spectra of TTauri stars. More than 3/4 of our objects show at least one crystalline silicate emission feature that can be essentially attributed to Mg-rich silicates. Observational properties of the crystalline features seen at lambda > 20 mu correlate with each other, while they are largely uncorrelated with the properties of the amorphous silicate 10 mu feature. This supports the idea that the IRS spectra essentially probe two independent disk regions: a warm zone (< 1 AU) emitting at lambda ~ 10 mu and a much colder region emitting at lambda > 20 mu (< 10 AU). We identify a crystallinity paradox, as the long-wavelength crystalline silicate features are 3.5 times more frequently detected (~55 % vs. ~15%) than the crystalline features arising from much warmer disk regions. This suggests that the disk has an inhomogeneous dust composition within ~10 AU. The abundant crystalline silicates found far from their presumed formation regions suggests efficient outward radial transport mechanisms in the disks. The analysis of the shape and strength of both the amorphous 10 mu feature and the crystalline feature around 23 mu provides evidence for the prevalence of micron-sized grains in upper layers of disks. Their presence in disk atmospheres suggests efficient vertical diffusion, likely accompanied by grain-grain fragmentation to balance the efficient growth expected. Finally, the depletion of submicron-sized grains points toward removal mechanisms such as stellar winds or radiation pressure.

Time-dependent models of the structure and evolution of self-gravitating protoplanetary discs

Angular momentum transport within young massive protoplanetary discs may be dominated by self-gravity at radii where the disk is too weakly ionized to allow the development of the magneto-rotational instability. We use time-dependent one-dimensional disc models, based on a local cooling time calculation of the efficiency of transport, to study the radial structure and stability (against fragmentation) of protoplanetary discs in which self-gravity is the sole transport mechanism. We find that self-gravitating discs rapidly attain a quasi-steady state in which the surface density in the inner disc is high and the strength of turbulence very low (alpha ~ 10^{-3} or less inside 5 au). Temperatures high enough to form crystalline silicates may extend out to several au at early times within these discs. None of our discs spontaneously develop regions that would be unambiguously unstable to fragmentation into substellar objects, though the outer regions (beyond 20 au) of the most massive discs are close enough to the threshold that fragmentation cannot be ruled out. We discuss how the mass accretion rates through such discs may vary with disc mass and with mass of the central star, and note that a determination of the \dot{M}-M_* relation for very young systems may allow a test of the model.

Observations of conduction driven evaporation in the early rise phase of solar flares

In the classical flare picture, hard X-ray emission from the chromosphere is succeeded by soft-X-ray emission from hot plasma in the flare loop, the soft X-ray emission being a direct consequence of the impact of the non-thermal particle beam. However, observations of events exist in which a pronounced increase in soft X-ray emission is observed minutes before the onset of the hard X-ray emission. Such pre-flare emission clearly contradicts the classical flare picture. For the first time, the pre-flare phase of such solar flares is studied in detail. We want to explain the time evolution of the observed emission by means of alternative energy transport mechanisms such as heat conduction. RHESSI events displaying pronounced pre-flare emission were analyzed in imaging and spectroscopy. The pre-flare phase is characterized by purely thermal emission from a coronal source with increasing emission measure and density. After this earliest phase, a small non-thermal tail to higher energies appears in the spectra, becoming more and more pronounced. However, images still only display one X-ray source, implying that this non-thermal emission is coronal. The increase of emission measure and density indicates that material is added to the coronal region. The most plausible origin is evaporated material from the chromosphere. Energy provided by a heat flux is capable of driving chromospheric evaporation.

Detection of VHE Gamma Radiation from the Pulsar Wind Nebula MSH 15-52 with H.E.S.S

This work reports on the discovery of HESS J1514-591, a VHE gamma-ray source found at the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) MSH 15-52 and its associated pulsar PSR B1509-58. The discovery was made with the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), which currently provides the most sensitive measurement in the energy range of about 0.2-100 TeV. This analysis is the first to include all H.E.S.S. data from observations dedicated to MSH 15-52. The corresponding flux above 1 TeV is (4.4+/-0.2stat+/-1.0syst) x 10^{-12}cm^{-2}s^{-1}. The energy spectrum obeys a power-law with a differential flux at 1 TeV of (5.8+/-0.2stat+/-1.3syst) x 10^{-12}cm^{-2}s^{-1}TeV^{-1} and a photon index of 2.32+/-0.04stat+/-0.10syst. The gamma-ray emission extends along the pulsar jet, previously resolved in X-rays. This becomes more apparent after image deconvolution. The emission region along the jet axis decreases with increasing energy. An upper limit for the pulsed gamma-ray flux from PSR B1509-58 was calculated. Additional discussions include: the system of MSH 15-52 and PSR B1509-58, theory and methods of VHE gamma-ray astronomy and H.E.S.S., the first (Richardson-Lucy) deconvolution of VHE gamma-ray maps, search for pulsed emission from pulsars. The results are discussed within the framework of PWNs and are explained by inverse Compton scattering of leptons. A hadronic component is not excluded, but its gamma-ray emission would not be significant. Moreover, it is concluded that advection is the dominant transport mechanism over diffusion in the magnetized flow of the pulsar wind from PSR B1509-58. A correlation analysis with the Chandra X-ray data suggests that gamma radiation is emitted from the region of PSR B1509-58, but not from the neighboring optical nebula RCW 89.

The role of magnetic fields in star formation

Star formation is thought to be triggered by the gravitational collapse of the dense cores of molecular clouds. Angular momentum conservation during the collapse results in the progressive increase of the centrifugal force, which eventually halts the inflow of material and leads to the development of a central mass surrounded by a disc. In the presence of an angular momentum transport mechanism, mass accretion onto the central object proceeds through this disc, and it is believed that this is how stars typically gain most of their mass. However, the mechanisms responsible for this transport of angular momentum are not well understood. The most promising are turbulence viscosity driven by the magnetorotational instability (MRI), and outflows accelerated centrifugally from the surfaces of the disc. Both processes are powered by the action of magnetic fields and are, in turn, likely to strongly affect the structure, dynamics, evolutionary path and planet-forming capabilities of their host discs. The weak ionization of protostellar discs, however, may prevent the magnetic field from effectively coupling to the gas and drive these processes. Here I examine the viability and properties of these magnetically driven processes in protostellar discs. The results indicate that, despite the weak ionization, the field is able to couple to the gas and shear for fluid conditions thought to be satisfied over a wide range of radii in these discs.

 

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