Unstable standard candles. Periodic light curve modulation in fundamental mode classical Cepheids [SSA]


We report the discovery of periodic modulation of pulsation in 51 fundamental mode classical Cepheids of the Magellanic Clouds observed by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment. Although the overall incidence rate is very low, about 1 per cent in each of the Magellanic Clouds, in the case of the SMC and pulsation periods between 12 and 16d the incidence rate is nearly 40 per cent. On the other hand, in the LMC the highest incidence rate is 5 per cent for pulsation periods between 8 and 14d, and the overall amplitude of the effect is smaller. It indicates that the phenomenon is metallicity dependent. Typical modulation periods are between 70 and 300d. In nearly all stars the mean brightness is modulated, which, in principle, may influence the use of classical Cepheids for distance determination. Fortunately, the modulation of mean brightness does not exceed 0.01 mag in all but one star. Also, the effect averages out in typical observations spanning a long time base. Consequently, the effect of modulation on the determination of the distance moduli is negligible. The relative modulation amplitude of the fundamental mode is also low and, with one exception, it does not exceed 6 per cent. The origin of the modulation is unknown. We draw a hypothesis that the modulation is caused by the 2:1 resonance between the fundamental mode and the second overtone that shapes the famous Hertzsprung bump progression.

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R. Smolec
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 13 pages, 14 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

One-electron atoms in screened modified gravity [CEA]


In a large class of scalar-tensor theories that are potential candidates for dark energy, a non-minimal coupling between the scalar and the photon is possible. The presence of such an interaction grants us the exciting prospect of directly observing dark sector phenomenology in the electromagnetic spectrum. This paper investigates the behavior of one-electron atoms in this class of modified gravity models, exploring their viability as probes of deviations from general relativity in both laboratory and astrophysical settings. Building heavily on earlier studies, our main contribution is threefold: a thorough analysis finds additional fine structure corrections previously unaccounted for, which now predict a contribution to the Lamb shift larger by nearly four orders of magnitude. Secondly, we include the effects of the nuclear magnetic moment, allowing for the study of hyperfine structure and the 21 cm line, which hitherto have been unexplored in this context. Finally, we also examine how a background scalar leads to equivalence principle violations.

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L. Wong and A. Davis
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 10 pages, 2 figures. Submitted to PRD

Primordial anisotropies from cosmic strings during inflation [CEA]


In this work we study the imprints of a primordial cosmic string on inflationary power spectrum. Cosmic string induces two distinct contributions on curvature perturbations power spectrum. The first type of correction respects the translation invariance while violating isotropy. This generates quadrupolar statistical anisotropy in CMB maps which is constrained by the Planck data. The second contribution breaks both homogeneity and isotropy, generating a dipolar power asymmetry in variance of temperature fluctuations with its amplitude falling on small scales. We show that the strongest constraint on the tension of string is obtained from the quadrupolar anisotropy and argue that the mass scale of underlying theory responsible for the formation of string can not be much higher than the GUT scale. The predictions of string for the diagonal and off-diagonal components of CMB angular power spectrum are presented.

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S. Jazayeri, A. Sadr and H. Firouzjahi
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 25 pages, 6 figures

Exploring Halo Substructure with Giant Stars. XV. Discovery of a Connection between the Monoceros Ring and the Triangulum-Andromeda Overdensity? [GA]


Thanks to modern sky surveys, over twenty stellar streams and overdensity structures have been discovered in the halo of the Milky Way. In this paper, we present an analysis of spectroscopic observations of individual stars from one such structure, “A13”, first identified as an overdensity using the M giant catalog from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey. Our spectroscopic observations show that A13 has a velocity dispersion of $\lesssim$ 40 $\mathrm{km~s^{-1}}$, implying that it is a genuine coherent structure rather than a chance super-position of random halo stars. From its position on the sky, distance ($\sim$15 kpc heliocentric), and kinematic properties, A13 is likely to be an extension of another low Galactic latitude substructure — the Galactic Anticenter Stellar Structure (also known as the Monoceros Ring) — towards smaller Galactic longitude and farther distance. Furthermore, the kinematics of A13 also connect it with another structure in the southern Galactic hemisphere — the Triangulum-Andromeda overdensity. We discuss these three connected structures within a previously proposed scenario that one or all of these features originate from the disk of the Milky Way.

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T. Li, A. Sheffield, K. Johnston, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 10 pages, 8 figures. Submitted to AAS Journal

The pipeline for the ExoMars DREAMS scientific data archiving [IMA]


DREAMS (Dust Characterisation, Risk Assessment, and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) is a payload accommodated on the Schiaparelli Entry and Descent Module (EDM) of ExoMars 2016, the ESA and Roscosmos mission to Mars (Esposito (2015), Bettanini et al. (2014)). It is a meteorological station with the additional capability to perform measure- ments of the atmospheric electric fields close to the surface of Mars. The instrument package will make the first measurements of electric fields on Mars, providing data that will be of value in planning the second ExoMars mission in 2020, as well as possible future human missions to the red planet. This paper describes the pipeline to convert the raw telemetries to the final data products for the archive, with associated metadata.

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P. Schipani, L. Marty, M. Mannetta, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 4 pages, to appear in the Proceedings of ADASS 2016, Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) Conference Series

SPHERE / ZIMPOL observations of the symbiotic system R Aqr. I. Imaging of the stellar binary and the innermost jet clouds [SSA]


R Aqr is a symbiotic binary system consisting of a mira variable, a hot companion with a spectacular jet outflow, and an extended emission line nebula. We have used R Aqr as test target for the visual camera subsystem ZIMPOL, which is part of the new extreme adaptive optics (AO) instrument SPHERE at the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
We compare our observations with data from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and illustrate the complementarity of the two instruments. We determine from the Halpha emission the position, size, geometric structure, and line fluxes of the jet source and the clouds in the innermost region (<2″) of R Aqr and determine Halpha emissivities mean density, mass, recombination time scale, and other cloud parameters.
Our data resolve for the first time the R Aqr binary and we measure for the jet source a relative position 46+/-1 mas West of the mira. The central jet source is the strongest Halpha component. North east and south west from the central source there are many clouds with very diverse structures. We see in the SW a string of bright clouds arranged in a zig-zag pattern and, further out, more extended bubbles. In the N and NE we see a bright, very elongated filamentary structure and faint perpendicular “wisps” further out. Some jet clouds are also detected in the ZIMPOL [OI] and He I filters, as well as in the HST line filters for Halpha, [OIII], [NII], and [OI]. We determine jet cloud parameters and find a very well defined anti-correlation between cloud density and distance to the central binary. Future Halpha observations will provide the orientation of the orbital plane of the binary and allow detailed hydrodynamical investigations of this jet outflow and its interaction with the wind of the red giant companion.

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H. Schmid, A. Bazzon, J. Milli, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17

Comments: 24 pages, 14 figures (accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics)