Asteroseismic inversions in the Kepler era: application to the Kepler Legacy sample [SSA]

In the past few years, the CoRoT and Kepler missions have carried out what is now called the space photometry revolution. This revolution is still ongoing thanks to K2 and will be continued by the Tess and Plato2.0 missions. However, the photometry revolution must also be followed by progress in stellar modelling, in order to lead to more precise and accurate determinations of fundamental stellar parameters such as masses, radii and ages. In this context, the long-lasting problems related to mixing processes in stellar interior is the main obstacle to further improvements of stellar modelling. In this contribution, we will apply structural asteroseismic inversion techniques to targets from the Kepler Legacy sample and analyse how these can help us constrain the fundamental parameters and mixing processes in these stars. Our approach is based on previous studies using the SOLA inversion technique to determine integrated quantities such as the mean density, the acoustic radius, and core conditions indicators, and has already been successfully applied to the 16Cyg binary system. We will show how this technique can be applied to the Kepler Legacy sample and how new indicators can help us to further constrain the chemical composition profiles of stars as well as provide stringent constraints on stellar ages.

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G. Buldgen, D. Reese and M. Dupret
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: To appear in the proceedings of the Kasc 9 Tasc 2 workshop

A Hubble Space Telescope Survey for Novae in M87. III. Novae as Effective Standard Candles [SSA]

Ten weeks’ daily imaging of the giant elliptical galaxy M87 with the Hubble Space Telescope has yielded 41 nova light curves of unprecedented quality for extragalactic cataclysmic variables. We have recently used these light curves to demonstrate that the observational scatter in the so-called Maximum-Magnitude Rate of Decline (MMRD) relation for classical novae is so large as to render the nova-MMRD useless as a standard candle. Here we demonstrate that the Buscombe – de Vaucouleurs hypothesis, that all novae converge to nearly the same absolute magnitude about two weeks after maximum light, is strongly supported by our M87 nova data. For 24 novae in V-band (F606W filter) and I-band (F814W filter) light with daily-sampled light curves and well determined maxima, we find that the times of minimum scatter of nova absolute magnitude are, respectively, 17 and 20 days after maximum light. At those epochs novae display M_{V,17} = -6.06 +/- 0.23 and M_{I,20} = -6.11 +/- 0.34 . The distances of single novae in the Milky Way, sparse or elliptical galaxies, or free-floating in intergalactic space can be reasonably well-determined with the above calibrations.

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M. Shara, T. Doyle, A. Pagnotta, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: 11 pages, 4 figures, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal

Occultations of astrophysical radio sources as probes of planetary environments: A case study of Jupiter and possible applications to exoplanets [EPA]

Properties of planetary atmospheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres are difficult to measure from Earth. Radio occultations are a common method for measuring these properties, but they traditionally rely on radio transmissions from a spacecraft near the planet. Here we explore whether occultations of radio emissions from a distant astrophysical radio source can be used to measure magnetic field strength, plasma density, and neutral density around planets. In a theoretical case study of Jupiter, we find that significant changes in polarization angle due to Faraday rotation occur for radio signals that pass within 10 Jupiter radii of the planet and that significant changes in frequency and power occur from radio signals that pass through the neutral atmosphere. There are sufficient candidate radio sources, such as pulsars, active galactic nuclei, and masers, that occultations are likely to occur at least once per year. For pulsars, time delays in the arrival of their emitted pulses can be used to measure plasma density. Exoplanets, whose physical properties are very challenging to observe, may also occult distant astrophysical radio sources, such as their parent stars.

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P. Withers and M. Vogt
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: Published in ApJ on 13 February 2017 – this http URL

Performance of a continuously rotating half-wave plate on the POLARBEAR telescope [IMA]

A continuously rotating half-wave plate (CRHWP) is a promising tool to improve the sensitivity to large angular scales in cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization measurements. With a CRHWP, single detectors can measure all three of the Stokes parameters, $I$, $Q$ and $U$, thereby avoiding the set of systematic errors that can be introduced by mismatches in the properties of orthogonal detector pairs. We focus on the implementation of CRHWPs in large aperture telescopes (i.e. the primary mirror is larger than the current maximum half-wave plate diameter of $\sim$0.5 m), where the CRHWP can be placed between the primary mirror and focal plane. In this configuration, one needs to address the intensity to polarization ($I{\rightarrow}P$) leakage of the optics, which becomes a source of 1/f noise and also causes differential gain systematics that arise from CMB temperature fluctuations. In this paper, we present the performance of a CRHWP installed in the POLARBEAR experiment, which employs a Gregorian telescope with a 2.5 m primary illumination pattern. The CRHWP is placed near the prime focus between the primary and secondary mirrors. We find that the $I{\rightarrow}P$ leakage is larger than the expectation from the physical properties of our primary mirror, resulting in a 1/f knee of 100 mHz. The excess leakage could be due to imperfections in the detector system, i.e. detector non-linearity in the responsivity and time-constant. We demonstrate, however, that by subtracting the leakage correlated with the intensity signal, the 1/f noise knee frequency is reduced to 32 mHz ($\ell \sim$39 for our scan strategy), which is sufficient to probe the primordial B-mode signal. We also discuss methods for further noise subtraction in future projects where the precise temperature control of instrumental components and the leakage reduction will play a key role.

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S. Takakura, M. Aguilar, Y. Akiba, et. al.
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: 27 pages, 5 figures, 3 tables, to be submitted to JCAP

Periodic optical variability of AGN [GA]

Here we present the evidence for periodicity of an optical emission detected in several AGN. Significant periodicity is found in light curves and radial velocity curves. We discuss possible mechanisms that could produce such periodic variability and their implications. The results are consistent with possible detection of the orbital motion in proximity of the AGN central supermassive black holes.

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E. Bon, P. Marziani and N. Bon
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: 5 pages, 2 figures, in press

Unraveling the escape dynamics and the nature of the normally hyperbolic invariant manifolds in tidally limited star clusters [GA]

The escape mechanism of orbits in a star cluster rotating around its parent galaxy in a circular orbit is investigated. A three degrees of freedom model is used for describing the dynamical properties of the Hamiltonian system. The gravitational field of the star cluster is represented by a smooth and spherically symmetric Plummer potential. We distinguish between ordered and chaotic orbits as well as between trapped and escaping orbits, considering only unbounded motion for several energy levels. The Smaller Alignment Index (SALI) method is used for determining the regular or chaotic nature of the orbits. The basins of escape are located and they are also correlated with the corresponding escape time of the orbits. Areas of bounded regular or chaotic motion and basins of escape were found to coexist in the $(x,z)$ plane. The properties of the normally hyperbolic invariant manifolds (NHIMs), located in the vicinity of the index-1 Lagrange points $L_1$ and $L_2$, are also explored. These manifolds are of paramount importance as they control the flow of stars over the saddle points, while they also trigger the formation of tidal tails observed in star clusters. Bifurcation diagrams of the Lyapunov periodic orbits as well as restrictions of the Poincar\’e map to the NHIMs are deployed for elucidating the dynamics in the neighbourhood of the saddle points. The extended tidal tails, or tidal arms, formed by stars with low velocity which escape through the Lagrange points are monitored. The numerical results of this work are also compared with previous related work.

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E. Zotos and C. Jung
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) journal

Evolution of linear wave dark matter perturbations in the radiation-dominant era [CEA]

Linear perturbations of the wave dark matter, or $\psi$ dark matter ($\psi$DM), of particle mass $\sim 10^{-22}$eV in the radiation-dominant era are analyzed, and the matter power spectrum at the photon-matter equality is obtained. We identify four phases of evolution for $\psi$DM perturbations, where the dynamics can be vastly different from the counterparts of cold dark matter (CDM). While in late stages after mass oscillation long-wave $\psi$DM perturbations are almost identical to CDM perturbations, some subtle differences remain, let alone intermediate-to-short waves that bear no resemblance with those of CDM throughout the whole evolutionary history. The dissimilarity is due to quantum mechanical effects which lead to severe mode suppression. We also discuss the axion model with a cosine field potential. The power spectrum of axion models are generally almost identical to those of $\psi$DM, but in the extreme case when the initial axion angle is near the field potential top, this axion model predicts a higher spectral cutoff than $\psi$DM, which is equivalent to having a higher particle mass for $\psi$DM.

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U. Zhang and T. Chiueh
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: 20 pages, 7 figures